Uhrlau was born in 1946 in Hamburg. He studied politics, sociology and economics in Hamburg and later worked for the Hamburg police college. He began working for Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, in 1981 and was responsible for establishing the Brandenburg branch of the agency in 1991 after German reunification. He joined the BND in 1998 and became president in December 2005.
- Interview with Head of German Intelligence: 'Al-Qaida Faces Difficult Times Ahead', Der Spiegel, 9 May 2011.
- History of the Bundesnachrichtendienst, Bundesnachrichtendienst, accessed 15 June 2013.
- Ex-Geheimdienstchef: Uhrlau heuert bei der Deutschen Bank an, Der Spiegel (German), 2 February 2012.