Tourists can only stay in Ecuador 6 months out of the year. Then you must high-tail it out of Ecuador right away or you'll pay a fine, perhaps even be deported. You can avoid all this by applying for and receiving an Ecuador residency visa. Then no more messing up your time in Ecuador by worrying if your visa is about to expire.
You can take your time, enjoy Ecuador at your leisure and take advantage of the great culture, great prices and low cost of living.
This information is accurate as of 03/05/09. Before arriving in Ecuador, you should verify with us that requirements for residency have not changed. The requirements for residency are known to change frequently. (important)
The general requirements for Ecuador residency visas include:
A police report on police letterhead for anyone age 18 or older. You can obtain the police report from either your state or local police department where you live. No fingerprints are required. Note: although the police report is currently not being required for most nationalities, this requirement can change at any time and you should obtain your police report to be safe.
If married, a copy of your marriage certificate.
If filing for an Ecuador residency visa with any children under the age of 18, you must get a letter of good conduct from the child's school. A birth certificate must also be provided for any child under the age of 18. If both parents are not present in Ecuador, you must obtain a letter of permission from the other parent stating that the child may apply for residency.
All documents must be notarized and be official copies from the proper agencies. You must bring all documents to your closest Ecuadorian Consulate in order to get the documents certified as authentic. The Consulate will apply an apostille stamp to the documents. The apostille stamp is required for all documents and may alternatively be issued by the Secretary of State in your state of residency. It is better to receive the apostille stamp by the Consulate.
All documents in English must be translated into Spanish. Any bilingual notary can perform this task. The notary will apply a notary seal.
You must arrive in Ecuador on a 12-IX tourist/business visa. This visa comes in 3 and 6 month versions. You obtain this visa from your closest Ecuadorian Consulate. The current cost is $230. Many of the requirements for the 12-IX are the same for residency.
Once the Consulate issues you the 12-IX, they will return your original documents to you so you can then use them for residency. Some Consulates have been known to issue the 12-IX while the client waits. If you cannot personally go to the Consulate, it may be possible to exchange documents with them through courier or the mail.
You should call your closest Consulate to verify their requirements for the 12-IX and ask how they can best help you. The 12-IX visa is good for up to one year after being issued. The first date you enter Ecuador will begin your 3 or 6 months. You may come and go as much as you want (the visa should be stamped "multiples").
For the first two years after receiving residency, you must live in Ecuador 9 months out of the year. After two years, you must be in Ecuador every 18 months.
Persons with a pension from a stable source or those with retirement Social Security can qualify for this type of Ecuador retirement visa. Pensions and Social Security need to be "until death" type benefits. A minimum of $800 plus $100 for each dependant must be received each month.
Annuity recipients, trustees who live off cash deposited in the Central Bank of Ecuador, or persons living on income from a trustalso qualify for an Ecuador retirment visa. Trustees or persons living off a trust must have at least the equivalent of 5 years times the monthly minimum in their deposit account. The Immigration Advisory Board may modify the monthly minimum required.
This Ecuador residency visa is for persons purchasing real estate such as land or a house. Also, persons investing in securities or fiduciary documents qualify for this type of residency. A minimum investment of $25,000 is required plus an additional $500 for each dependant filing for residency.
For those purchasing land, it's important that the real property value of the land appears on the escritura (deed). It's common practice here in Ecuador for those selling land to ask for a reduced amount to be listed as the value of the land. This is done in order to save the seller taxes. This situation presents a problem for the buyer of the land when they go to apply for an Ecuador residency visa if the minimum investment requirement has not been met.
If this has happened to you, you should seek our legal assistance in order to satisfy the requirements of residency.
This type of Ecuador residency visa is for those persons engaged in investments in industries, agriculture, cattle raising or the export trade. A minimum capital investment of $30,000 is required.
This residency is intended for agents, proxies, legal & religious representatives or press correspondents. An agent holds unlimited power of attorney for an Ecuadorian company which employees at least 80% Ecuadorians locally. This visa can also be issued to technicians or technical experts working under permanent contracts with no specific term of validity.
This Ecuador residency visa is for those persons holding professional degrees from foreign universities. The person applying for this type of residency must already have a job in Ecuador and must provide proper documentation from the employer. Any other requirements such as bar exams, etc. must be met if required by Ecuadorian law.
This Ecuador residency visa is granted to family members of persons holding residency in Ecuador. For example, if the head of the household is granted residency in one of the other classes of residency, the wife, children and other family members would likely be granted this type of residency.
As the name of the type of residency implies, those persons receiving this type of Ecuador residency visa are dependant on the primary visa holder. Those persons married to an Ecuadorian would also receive this type of residency.
We can refer you to a reputable legal services agency. Please submit your query using the form below.