Hold up! Ecuador has released more visa changes for 2022. We suggest reading these first.
Ecuador routinely updates visa requirements for tourist, temporary & permanent residency visas. They announced numerous changes in February 2021 that may affect you, so we've covered the most important updates below.
Not sure which Ecuador residency visas you may be eligible for? Our Residency Visa Calculator will guide you in less than 30 seconds. Go try it out 🙂
1. Article 65 of the Human Mobility Law was introduced on the 5th February 2021 and is now in effect. It may still take some time for the accompanying regulations to be adopted by the migration offices around the country. As this is uncharted waters, we'd encourage anyone with doubts to contact their visa facilitator (or contact us for a recommendation).
2. There was one anticipated rule change where the 6-month Special Tourist Visa was to be replaced by a more flexible Business Visa. However, this rule has not yet come into effect and we don't recommend relying on this new visa.
3. If you want to apply for permanent residency, it currently is not clear how long you need to spend in Ecuador on your temporary visa. In particular, there is confusion as to whether you can spend any time outside of Ecuador at all. There is a new regulation expected to the passed during May 2021 that will address this.
We'll keep this page updated as news emerges.
The temporary visa rules have been updated to allow for unlimited renewals. This applies to all temporary visa types such as the Professional, Investor, Rentista, Retirement, Volunteer, Student & Dependant.
This matters to those that are on the fence about whether they should take the next step and apply for permanent residency. This change effectively allows you to keep your temporary residency for as long as you like, provided you're ok with renewing it every 2 years.
If you're thinking about eventually becoming an Ecuadorian citizen, then it's still best to obtain permanent residency sooner rather than renewing your temporary residency a few times.
The fees for renewing your temporary residency are the same as your original application.
This visa change is a real bonus for digital nomads or anyone that works remotely from Ecuador.
The old rule limited temporary visa holders to a maximum of 90 days outside of Ecuador during each 12 month period.
So now, it's theoretically possible to visit Ecuador and apply for your temporary residency. Then once you've received your visa & cedula, you can leave the country for say 1 year, and then return and either renew your temporary residency or apply for permanent residency.
I'm not aware of many other countries that offer this level of flexibility during temporary residency, so this change alone could really help drive more visits from digital nomads or really anyone that doesn't want to be tied down in one location for too long.
This can also potentially give remote workers more ammunition to ask their current employer for permission to work from Ecuador as you now have complete freedom to spend as much or as little time in your head office.
If you really value your travel freedom, then perhaps continuously renewing your temporary visa every 2 years is the best option. Why? Because permanent resident visas still have a maximum of 180 days every year allowed outside of Ecuador.
This update makes a lot of sense, especially given the difficult circumstances that dependants can find themselves in if they're no longer with the main visa holder.
For example, a common scenario for a married couple of retirement age is to move to Ecuador and apply for a retirement visa. But, perhaps only one person is eligible because they meet the social security income requirements. Then, the 2nd person could still apply as a dependant of the main visa holder. It's also considerably cheaper than applying for 2 retirement visas.
But, what if something then happens to the main visa holder? Perhaps they are in an accident and they pass away. What then happens to the dependant? Previously, this very difficult time was made even worse with the added stress of needing to figure out how they can legally stay in their adopted country. And, they only had 30 days to organize it or they'd need to leave the country. How stressful!
There still might be good reasons to apply for 2 individual retirement visas, so I'd consider using a visa facilitator before making this decision.
They've decreased the types of relationships that are now eligible for the dependant visa when applying for temporary residency.
The previous rule allowed for a wider range of relationships such as grandchildren, brothers, brothers-in-law etc that could obtain a dependant visa.
But now, you'll only be able to obtain a dependant visa for your:
Note, this is different from the rules for permanent residency which have not changed and still allow for wider relationships.
This update mainly affects those that spend little time in Ecuador, but still wanted to keep their options open.
The first 2 years of your permanent residency have also changed a little bit. You're still allowed a maximum of 180 days outside of Ecuador each year for your first 2 years. But, instead of being able to pay a substantial fine, you'll lose your permanent residency and need to start again with temporary residency.
But, the previous rule allowed for an incredible amount of freedom to spend time outside of Ecuador and still maintain your permanent resident status. You could basically just fly into Ecuador for 1 day, then fly out and then keep your permanent residency status for another 5 years. This clearly doesn't help the Ecuadorian economy, so I'm not super surprised that they've rolled this back to a more reasonable 2 years.
The catalyst for this rule change appears to be the many people that were effectively stranded in Ecuador during the COVID pandemic.
Many visitors on tourist visas could not leave the country and were forced to stay and then apply for tourist visa extensions. But, what happens once that 90-day extension expires? You either had to apply for a different visa or accept the $800 fine and the 2-year ban on entering Ecuador.
This new rule eases that burden on these visitors that have either:
They now have the option of accepting a one-year ban on entering Ecuador OR paying the $200 if they want to re-enter within the one-year period. The $400 fine will automatically be voided after one year.
I applaud the Ecuadorian government for using common sense and decreasing the fines for overstaying during the pandemic. Let's hope they don't increase the fines again anytime soon.
You should have health insurance whilst living in Ecuador. This can be either private or public (IESS).
Health insurance was previously a requirement before any temporary or permanent visa was issued. They've now gone away with that is, but have introduced a substantial caveat - you still need to have health insurance before they'll issue your cedula.
A cedula is like a driver's license that you carry everywhere with you and you'll quickly memorize your number because everyone asks you for it when you buy anything or do anything official like open a bank account.
You normally receive your Cedula after you've received your temporary residency. So, the effect on most applicants will be the same. You're going to need health insurance as you'll definitely want your cedula.
All of the preceding rule changes mentioned have now come into effect. The following is an anticipated rule change that is not yet in effect. We've been in contact with the Ministry (late March 2021), and they have confirmed that
The first 180 days in Ecuador are pretty straightforward for citizens from most countries. You obtain a tourist stamp when you enter which is valid for 90 days. Then, a Tourist Visa Extension is easily obtainable for another 90 days.
But, now what happens after these initial 180 days? You can apply for a temporary residency visa if you're ready. However, for many (myself included) it can take quite a while for you to even gather all of your documents, have them apostilled, and then finally sent to Ecuador.
In the meantime, your visa clock doesn't stop ticking, so it may be necessary to obtain some sort of bridging visa. The previous best option for this was the Special Tourist Visa. This visa was valid for 90 days, but you could only apply for it once every 5 years - which means it's really not practical to use it any more than once. This visa has now been repealed.
The new Commerce Visa is much more practical as it allows you to spend 180 additional days in Ecuador every year! I believe the 'commerce' requirements are pretty loose, but as it's a new visa it's still hard to say what activities will be eligible.
Wow, that is a lot of visa changes to comprehend. Do these changes affect you? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
And, if you haven't checked out our Residency Visa Calculator, we suggest spending the next 30 seconds doing exactly that.
If you have any questions about these changes or are not clear about the visa requirements in general, feel free to reach out and we can put you in touch with our recommended visa facilitator.
We've been trying our best to answer your questions in the comments. But honestly, it's getting a little out of control. We're effectively giving free mini-consultations based on your personal circumstances. If you do value our work and would like to support us (and this site), please consider buying us a Coffee Tree for our family's eventual farm.
Note, providing a donation does not guarantee a response to your visa question, but it will provide a small additional incentive for us to do so. This token amount (it's only like $5+) is really just an acknowledgment of our work.
144 comments on “Ecuador's Visa Updates 2021”
This is great news well presented Jason! Those limitations with the Temp Visa were the primary reasons I was not considering applying.
Although they are not calling it a Digital Nomad Visa (they should) it will now be one of the most affordable and flexible DN visas in the world!
Thanks Siobhan. Yes, lots more flexibility with these temporary residency visas. I think it will be a long time before Ecuador embraces any sort of digital nomad visa and I'm actually a little on the fence as to whether they are a good idea as they generally hike up the income requirements. If they don't, then I'm all for it. My full opinion if you're interested is in this article.
Do you have any additional information on the Commerce Visa you can provide?
No news yet Steve. I wouldn't hold your breath on this one.
Major bummer for us... We have had our visa for 9 years now. We were thinking of moving somewhere else for a few years, and then returning before our 5 years was up. Suddenly cutting that to 2 years is a royal PITA...
It doesn't say how long we must stay upon returning inside that 2-year mark. Can we just pass through immigration and catch the next plane out, perhaps on our way to some other country we are visiting?
Hey Burt - I know these changes do decrease some of the flexibility with the time allowed outside of Ecuador. There is no minimum amount of time required for your visit to Ecuador to keep the visa afoot. So long as you pass through immigration once within 2 years you shouldn't have any issue maintaining your visa. As you've been in Ecuador for 9 years, perhaps it's worthwhile applying for citizenship as this would give you the flexibility you desire?
Thanks for the excellent write-up. This is good news for people with temporary visas.
A question- I have my Rentista Visa...when the 2 years are up and I want to renew, do I have to go through the full process again? FBI fingerprints, birth certificate, divorce decree, etc. (all of these bing apostilled).
Hey Brad - No, you don't need a new set of documents to renew the temporary resident visa. You'll only need to obtain a new criminal report from abroad if you spent more than 90 consecutive days outside of Ecuador. Of course, the other option is to apply for permanent residency rather than renewing your temporary residency. Let us know how you get on 🙂
I have asked several people and no one can give a clear answer, but do you know if this applies to people who already have their temporary visas or to people who get their temporary visas after this new law? We got our temporary visas in September 2020 and would love this to apply to us!!
Hey Heather, unfortunately, the new laws only apply to temporary residency visas obtained after 5 Feb 2021. I know it's a bit of a downer as I'd also like to be able to take advantage of these changes, but alas I cannot. Note, the changes to the permanent residency visas apply regardless of the date the visa was obtained (I know this may not affect you - but it may be helpful for others).
Hey, I was wondering about the $400 dollar fee. Could I pay that fee and re enter Ecuador I’ve been gone for about 3 month and really need to go back. But i overstayed (112 days). TIA
Hi Bryan - if you want to come back within one year, then you'll need to pay the fine for overstaying (currently $200) at Migración. the fine for overstaying has been reduced to $200 and needs to be paid at Migración before you can return. You can have someone in Ecuador pay it on your behalf. I know some visa facilitators also offer this service (contact us if you want a recommendation). The other option is to simply wait out the one-year ban, but I understand this may not be your preferred option.
In an earlier comment you said a background check to renew a temp visa was not needed if you spent less then 90 days abroad.
Does that also apply if you currently have a resident visa but plan to apply for a permanent visa later this year?
Hey Carol - I believe so yes. I had to get a new criminal check when I applied for Permanent Residency, but that was only because I was outside of the country for more than 90 days (due to COVID).
I don't understand. You say a change was
No time limit on how long you can be outside of Ecuador", and here you seem to say it's 90 day limit.
The old rule did limit temporary residencies to spend maximum 90 days outside of Ecuador and still maintain their visa. The new rule does not have these restrictions. Does that clarify it for you?
Hey a quick question. On Monday 5th of april i have got a cita to get my profesional visa. Now however i read a out this "commerce visa" for additional 180 days. Could you tell me how much does it cost and what are the requirements to get it? Have a great day
Hey Przemek - I believe this change is still making its way through the system. There is also the chance that it's been scrapped completely and will never see the light of day. Bottom line is that this visa does not have any history - so I would suggest sticking with the proven temporary residency visa path you're currently on rather than changing courses now.
Interesting changes. I live in Ecuador since 1996 always with en investment visa. Two years ago I got the permanent residenca without requierements, my question: the new visa was issued May 19,2019, so I can leave Ecuador after May 19, 2021 for maximum 2 years? I'm german so I'm not interested to get ecuad. Citizenship.
Hey Kornelia - yep, that's my understanding. But, if you did need to spend more than 180 days outside of Ecuador within your first 2 years, then the fine has been reduced to $200 - which might be much cheaper than making a special trip back to Ecuador just for this.
Thanks for the info. You did not discuss Investor Visas. Can you comment on those?
Hey Lisa - the changes to both temporary and permanent residency laws apply to all visa categories, including investor visas. Is there a particular question you had in mind?
Hi im interested in becoming a permanent resident in retirement which is not for 10 years. Is it possible for me to just go for a 1 weeks vacation and apply for temporary residence go back home and wait for approval etc or would I need to stay there an extended period of time? Then in say a year i could come back and apply for permanent residence and just pay the $200 fine the first 2 years and come back every other year to maintain permanent residency until im ready to move down for good.
Is this possible or will i run into problems? Thanks and sorry for the long message.
Hey Jason - I like your long-term thinking. However, a lot can change with the visa laws in 10 years, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend this approach. Your biggest hurdle right now are the permanent residency requirements - you need to have your temporary residency & reside in Ecuador for 21 months before you can apply for it. So, this means you'll need to commit to staying here longer than your current plan allows. You could theoretically keep renewing a temporary residency visa every 2 years, but if you aren't going to be spending much time here, then it may not be worthwhile as you can already get your first 6 months in Ecuador every year easily just with your initial 90 tourist stamp + 90 day tourist visa.
I’m on the fence about obtaining Dual nationality (USA/Ecuador), so that’s not a priority at the moment for me. And while travel flexibility is a high priority, with COVID, travel is more complex now. So now, with these changes coming it seems that renewing my Temp. Visa is the best option for now. Then, renewing every two years after this first renewal. So how does this scenario look to you: First off, My Temp. Visa was issued Jan. 23, 2020. OK, since I’m allowed one renewal under current law. QUESTION: is this CORRECT? Then, just renew my temp. Visa for an additional 2 years. Then, watch to see if the rule change allowing 2 year temp. Visa renewal takes effect. Then simply decide to renew or change to permanent status at some point down the line when the renewal comes due? Does that sound doable? QUESTION: What docs./fees are required to do a simple temp. Visa renewal? I did not get my Cedula after issuance of my Temp. visa, since we went into lockdown immediately after issuance of my visa. I plan to obtain a cedula now. QUESTION: Is a cedula required to renew my temp. Visa? And finally, I do not have IESS insurance. I plan to obtain it as soon as I have my Cedula. However, QUESTION: I’m being told I must show six months of Insurance “history” prior to applying for a permanent visa. Is this also required for renewing a temp. Visa?
Hey BT - that's a lot of questions, but I'll try to help you out.
1) Cedula: You'll need health insurance in order to obtain your cedula. I suggest you obtain this first.
2) Temp Visa: The new temporary visa rule changes do not apply to you, so you have one renewal. I would not suggest waiting to see if they will change (ie unlimited renewals for older temporary residency visas). You may find yourself needing to reapply for a new visa rather than renewing (renewing is a much simpler process).
3) Permanent Residency: If you're already in Ecuador, and likely to be here for 21 months during your temporary residency visa, then I'd suggest the better long-term option for you would be to apply for permanent residency. I know travel is important to you, but as you've said it's more difficult right now, so perhaps it's the perfect time to bunker down in Ecuador to ensure you can obtain your permanent residency.
Addendum to my previous reply: my temp. Visa is a “Rentista” type.
So you can’t get a temporary visa and leave you must stay there 21 consecutive months to apply for permanent residency?
21 months inside of Ecuador yes. I don't believe they need to be consecutive.
Muchas gracias. So IESS first in Loja (I was told I need a cedula to buy it!) Then Cedula in Machala, then criminal history check in Guayaquil. Etc. and go for perm. Visa, got it! I’ll report back on how I do.
BT - I'd suggest getting your cedula first. But, they may require you to have private health insurance before they issue it. I'd check with your Migracion office in Machala to check how long you'd need private health insurance for before they'll give you the cedula. You may need to prepay 3-6 months private health insurance & take the letter they provide to say you're covered (ie Ecuasanitas or similar).
Today is March 31. Are these still the most current changes?
Dena - these are the most recent substantial updates to the visa laws, yes. They tend to make large updates every 3-4 years. Are there likely to be smaller, more recent changes that aren't covered here, yes. We've focused on these changes as they are the ones that will likely affect expats the most. We'll cover any future substantial updates as they come to light.
I'd like to know the requirements to get the investor visa?
Thanks for this great article.
Hey Frank - sure, we've covered the Investor Visa Requirements here. Feel free to let us know how you get on!
I overstayed my visa by 2 days. I am in the process of getting the $200 fine. After I pay this, will I need to apply for a visa or will I automatically get my 90 days back?
Abbie - after you pay the fine you shouldn't have any restrictions when re-entering Ecuador and your normal entry rules should apply. ie If you're from one of the countries that need a visa to enter Ecuador, then yes, you'll need a visa. I suggest you read this article about Ecuador's general visa requirements 🙂
Hey Jason. Thank you for this information- it is more than helpful!
I live in the US. I just started the process of registering my degree with SENESCYT (going for the professional visa in the future). However, I don't actually plan to relocate too Ecuador until a couple more years.
With that being said, would it make sense to go ahead and apply for the professional visa once I'm approved in SENESCYT (since there is no time frame on how long you can be outside of Ecuador now)? Would there be any issues in doing this?
I ask because I'll be in Ecuador for three weeks this summer. So, I am trying to get an idea if going ahead and applying for the professional visa while I am visiting would make things more convenient moving forward in the future before I physically relocate.
Thanks Dusty. You can theoretically get a temporary residency visa now and renew, but I wouldn't go through this process & expense until I know that I want to move to Ecuador (I've done this with another country and it didn't work out so well...). If I was in your shoes, I would:
a) Visit Ecuador for 3 weeks as you've planned
b) Decide if Ecuador residency is something you want to pursue.
c) If so, start planning your date of entry.
d) Gather all of your documents for the professional visa (including criminal check)
e) Bring these to Ecuador with you and then apply for your visa. If you run out of time with your tourist visa, you can always apply for a 90 day extension which should be ample time for you to get your residency visa.
Thank you for all the information. Do you have the specific resolution number or specific law that details the changes in the penalties for overstaying on a tourist visa?
Hey Micheal, I do not. This change came from the visa facilitator that we use and we've confirmed with the ministry. If you have any doubts, then I suggest also confirming with your closest migracion office. If you are able to dig up the resolution then please feel free to share 🙂
Thanks Michael - This doesn't appear to be updated with the overstay fine of 0.5 basic salaries though. It still mentions 1 basic salary is the fine (but in practice it is currently 0.5).
I was quoted $1500 to get a retirement visa for all their services. Can I do this cheaper?
Hey Geoffrey - my experience is that you can always find someone to do anything cheaper. I've found visa facilitator fees generally range between $500-$2000. I don't suggest choosing a facilitator solely on price though as I don't believe this is necessarily a reliable indicator of quality in this type of market. Look at their track record and reputation. Of course, the cheapest option is to apply for the retirement visa yourself rather than through a facilitator. It really depends on your risk profile. I generally only recommend those with advanced Spanish apply for the visa themselves as there's quite a bit to the process.
If my mother gets a temporary retiree visa, can I also get a temporary visa as her dependent? Thank you!
Good question Matt. They did reduce the types of relationships that can obtain dependant visas, but I'm not sure if they made any changes to exclude adult children from obtaining dependant visas through their parent(s). I'd suggest checking with a visa facilitator on this question before making any decisions.
Today is my 91st day in Ecuador and I extended my visa this morning for 90 days (until July 19). My husband is from Ecuador and I plan to apply for the amparo visa once I have all my supporting documents. I am going to the USA in June to get my background check and apostille my documents. I will return to Ecuador July 21, two days after my visa extension expires, but plan to apply for the amparo visa ASAP. I’m concerned I will have issues entering Ecuador. What are my options?
Hey Linsey - before these changes I would have suggested the Special Tourist Visa as a bridging visa to give you an additional 6 months whilst you get your Amparo application together, but this has been removed and there is still no replacement. You could potentially apply for the Amparo visa whilst in the US, but you may need to wait longer than you'd like before you can return to Ecuador. I'd suggest reaching out to a visa facilitator to provide concrete options based on your circumstances. You're welcome to contact us if you require a facilitator recommendation.
Thank you for all of your amazing help to everyone!
I have been in Ecuador for 2.5 months and my initial 90 days finished on 7th may. I want to stay until July (2 more months) and was thinking to extend. I heard that if I extend then I cant come back for a year anyway from the date I exit..... so now I have just read this that I dont need to extend I can instead overstay and take the option for the 1 year ban?
I am actually thinking this could be better because then of I decide to come back before 1 year I can pay the €200 and return. Is that correct? Or do I pay the fine anyway of I overstay?
Hey Jenni - thanks for the kind words.
Yes, you can technically overstay your tourist visa and only pay the $200 should you decide to come back within a year (you'll need to arrange to have someone pay this fine inside of Ecuador). However, by overstaying your visa you are putting yourself at risk (you are effectively an illegal immigrant at that point). It may be a small risk, but I would not recommend this path and always suggest opting to get another 90 days via an extension.
Good evening. What happens if you overstayed the 180 days what’s the fine or penalty thank you. I don’t want to leave
Hey Francis, I assume you're currently on a tourist visa extension as you mention 180 days. The fines for overstaying have been updated as we've covered in the article. $200 fine or ban from entering for one year.
Hey Scott, thanks for commenting on my comment using a link to this page.
What I've seen here corresponds to the letter what I've seen other places.
I personal think the OP for that discussion isn't correct on his interpretation of the new visa laws.
You're most welcome Michelle. We're happy you're getting value from our content and appreciate your efforts in sharing it 🙂 The new laws aren't necessarily black and white, especially when it comes to each Migracion office implementing them. Our approach is to welcome all constructive feedback in the pursuit of providing the most accurate information possible.
I am not sure if you can help me on this. I received my permanent visa in 2012 and have an Ecuadorean cedula. When I left Ecuador in 2017, the rule was that you could be out of Ecuador for up to 5 years at a time but then had to return, if even for one day. I have been out of Ecuador since June, 2017 but was planning on returning within the next year so as to keep my permanent visa. This new rule, about permitting only 2 year absences, may affect me. Do you know if the rule on 2 year absences for permanent visa holders is retroactive or is it only applicable to people who apply for permanent visas after the effective date of this new law. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
Hey Michael, unfortunately these latest changes to the permanent residency visa are currently retroactive. It doesn't matter when your permanent residency was obtained. Obviously, this leaves people like you in a very awkward spot and there have been some talks of challenging the retroactivity of these news laws. I'm hoping we get clarity on this over the next 2-3 months, but I'm also not holding my breath. I'd suggest contacting an immigration lawyer or visa facilitator if you want more clarity given your individual circumstances or if you potentially want to challenge this new law.
Thanks Jason for you input. I'll wait a while and check again, as I have a year before I need to act.
Perfect. Good to let the dust settle a bit. Although, with the new President we're likely to see some more changes.
Hi Jason, a great site and so much valuable information for everyone, thank you for all your good work and advice.
I am a resident of Ecuador, but my girlfriend is Mexican and has almost finished her 3 months visa, we were going to get the extension but she only needs another 28 days before returning home, and we heard that there was a 30 day grace period that would technically allow her to stay and then leave before the 30 days were up and therefore not need an extension or pay overstay. Do you know if that is correct?
Thanks David. If your girlfriend doesn't get the extension, she will most likely receive a fine upon departure. If this fine isn't paid within the first 30 days of her overstay (ie you'll have 1-2 days max once she leaves to pay it at Migracion), then she'll receive the 1 year ban from entering Ecuador. If she's planning on coming back within the 1 year, then I'd definitely suggest getting the extension or paying the overstay fine. The extension is cheaper ($133 vs $200).
Thanks for the info. I live in Cuenca and just went to the Azogues office to inquire about applying for a Permanent Visa (I've had a Temporary Investor Visa for 1 year and 9 months). I was told I have to re-apply for the Temporary Visa and then apply for the Permanent after I've been in Ecuador 2 years in a row. Today is May 14, 2021. Any chance they will change these new rules.
Hey Thomas - I hear you. There's a lot of confusion on this and it still needs to be clarified by the Ministry. We are expecting an updated regulation to cover this point, but it's hard to say when exactly. I'm still hopeful it will happen sometime during May, but certainly no guarantees. The most likely outcome is that the new regulations won't be applied retroactively (ie will apply to new visas only), but we need to sit tight. Great that you got in early, as you still have a few months on your current visa for this to play out. Definitely have a backup plan though.
hi all, i am still in the investigation to clarify this new rules
Great. Please let us know if you uncover any new updates 🙂
Hi Jason I've already overstayed for 12 days and don't have a flight back home yet. can I pay the 200$ fine now and keep staying in Ecuador?
Hey Johnny, do you mean you've overstayed your original 90 days or you've overstayed your 90 day extension? If you've just overstayed your original 90 days, then you can get a 90 day visa extension. If you've overstayed your extension, I'm afraid you're out of luck and your current best shot at staying in the country is applying for temporary residency - but this requires significant time & cost to organize.
How easy is it to get Ecuadorian citizenship? I heard some people say you need to spend 3 years before you can apply for it, while others say you need to wait 5 years. How long do I need to wait to get citizenship?
Hey Adam, 5 years total is generally correct (2 years temporary residency + 3 years permanent residency). You can potentially skip ahead a little bit if you're marrying an Ecuadorian, but this is another topic. The Ecuadorian government is currently making it a little harder to obtain permanent residency, so if this trend continues, I'd be looking to obtain it sooner rather than later.
Thanks Jason. How much of this time do you need to stay in the country? Will traveling frequently negatively affect your chances of getting citizenship?
That is a very difficult question to answer right now. Why? Because some Migracion offices are interpreting a recent law change to mean that you are ineligible for permanent residency if you spend just one day outside of Ecuador whilst on your temporary residency. We're waiting on this interpretation to be confirmed or overturned - hoping we get this confirmation soon (ie within 30 days). I suggest checking back in then (or sign up for our newsletter as we include these types of updates there too).
Thanks for the great detail! I just got back from the Ministerio in Azogues where I was trying to renew my cedula. Here's what the woman there said:
1) you can't apply for a cedula renewal if there is less than 6 months on your current visa.
2) you can't apply for a permanent visa if you left Ecuador at any time during your temporary visa, even if, as in my case, you started your temporary residency in October of 2019
Thanks for your input Sally! Yes, many expats are currently waiting with bated breath for clarification on whether they will grant permanent residency to those that have left Ecuador during their temporary residency. We're waiting on updated regulations to clarify this point.
Interesting discussion. I arrived in Ecuador on October 11th 2020, and renewed my tourist visa while waiting for retirement temporary residency papers to arrive. Apostille for FBI took 5 months from December to May. Had appointment for Special Tourist in Manta changed to Business. Still waiting for that. Made appointment in Guayaquil for residency Visa on July 20th, and plan to go to Migracion to pay the overstay fine on the day before to regularize status. Not sure how things will pan out, or whether I will have to leave country and re-enter, as this could invalidate the apostilled background checks which are dated since my arrival in Ecuador.
Yeah, I hear you Jonathan. It can be very confusing. Hope your appointment goes smoothly on the 20th July. Let us know how you get on. Also, don't hold your breath for the Business visa - as far as I know, these are not being processed yet
Sure, I will let you know. The business Visa application now seems redundant as I have received the apostilled documents from FBI and Social Security for the temporary residency. I have no desire to leave Ecuador and no plans to do so, but really don't want to have to take the documents that I have now obtained to submit to the consulate in Bogota when I can submit them in Guayaquil.
I also have a medical condition for which it was recommended by my Ecuadorian vascular surgeon to not fly at the time of the expiration of my second 90 days, as there could be potentially fatal consequences, but whether the doctor's letters can have any effect on the Visa process, I don't know, but I imagine that presenting them would not do any harm, and might possibly help.
Well, I had been told by a immigration attorney firm that advertises widely online that it can assist people to get visas in Ecuador that I would not be able to apply for the temporary residency retirement Visa, but would have to pay an overstay fine of $400 and leave the country and apply overseas from a consulate.
However I went to see migracion to plead my case, and in fact I did not have to pay a fine, and only had to pay $5.50 for a letter of certification of migratory movement. So now I am good to go to my appointment in Guayaquil next week to get my temporary residency Visa which I made through one of the Visa offices in the building next to the gold building in Guayaquil, who charged me $200 for translating and certifying a couple of documents.
I have only two words for the relatively high priced immigration attorneys, and the second word is "you".
Fortunately I dodged paying these people $1,500 or more for their dubious services, but others should be warned.
Hey Jonathan, great that you managed to solve your own visa issue! I understand your frustration though. I don't know your full circumstances, but I can say that many visa issues in Ecuador are not black and white. Different migration offices can interpret the regulations differently, which can lead to a lot of confusion. Is your appointment in Guayaquil for a temporary residency retirement visa? How long did you overstay? Feel free to keep us updated on how your appointment goes next week 🙂
Thanks, Jason. Everything you say is true!
Executive summary--I went to the visa appointment in Guayaquil yesterday and the result was not too bad. I didn't get the visa, but they told me to go to Migracion and pay an overstay fine, then make another appointment.
Full story--The lady I saw at Window 15 spoke English, sort of, but we had our discussions in Spanish as I prefer to speak my bad Spanish rather than try to understand their bad English.
After the appointment I went to Migracion and they told me to pay $200, and then to Banco de Pacifico and paid $200 plus 59 centavos, then back to Migracion and got a stamped paper to add to my file to say that I had paid the multa of $200.
I then went back to the visa agency (Nivelservi, building next door to Ministerio Exterior "gold" building) that had got my docs translated and notarized ($180) and put together my visa manila file ($20), and asked them to make another appointment for me. They were unable to do so, because I already had an appointment that same day! But said they would do it on the next day, but actually when I got home I was able to do it online myself and have an appointment for August 18th--the fine is good for 30 days, so within the time. It takes almost 30 days to get an appointment in Guayaquil.
So bottom line: Not necessary to pay $400 multa and leave the country.It should be plain sailing now as the docs have all been checked.
Background information--Just for background and in answer to your questions. I entered Ecuador on October 11th, a few days after they abolished quarantine for entry. I obtained a 90-day extension on Jan 10th which expired April 7th. After than time I tried to apply for Special visa or Business visa to bridge the gap while I was waiting for FBI apostille. (This is how I came into contact with the 'rogue' visa assistance agency that advertises in English.)
I had applied by mail for an FBI apostille in July 2020, but had received no response by December, so I sent in a further request that was mailed in the US on December 21st. I received the apostille in late May, then it took a couple of weeks more to have it couriered to me. I made my appointment for the temporary residency visa (retired) on June 20th and received an appointment for July 20th.
Commentary--The process is certainly confusing, and you will get different responses from different Migracion offices, or even different employees, if, for example, one employee has gone for lunch!
However in my opinion, other than paying to get documents translated and notarized in Ecuador, I do not see any purpose in paying big bucks to the visa facilitators who advertise in English, as they will not necessarily have your best interest at heart. Of course, this will depend on your budget, and if $1500 is small change to you, then you might as well use the service. However they cannot do the most difficult part for you, which is obtaining an FBI background check with apostille, because during the pandemic express service for apostilles is not available and the processing time is several months. (This could change at any time as normal apostille service in Washington DC will presumably be resumed sooner or later.)
Around the Ministerio del Exterior office in Guayaquil there are several visa agents that do document preparation for relatively modest fees. As soon as you get out of your taxi, several people will approach you! The only catch is that they may not speak English, so you might need to take an interpreter with you if your Spanish is not up to it.
When you actually go for your appointment your paperwork will stand or fall on its own merits and there is no advantage in having someone from the visa agency go with you.
Hey Jonathan, thanks for providing the detailed write-up of your experience. Great that you got yourself another appointment. Hopefully you'll get your residency next month. I agree, you can definitely do the visa process yourself. For me, the question comes down to how you value your time in trying to figure the process out. It's easy to mess it up and then you have to get documents re-apostilled etc. Did you try to contact other visa facilitators? It sounds like you may have only enquired with the most expensive one only. Perhaps it's possible that the value exchange may have been there with a more economical facilitator. I know it certainly was for me as I spent a lot of time running around to various migracion offices and had a hard time getting progress without assistance.
My ecuadorian wife, who I married about 4 years ago in Cuenca, wants to get divorced asap. We separated recently because there wasn't harmony in our relationship and we agreed to stay married so that I could apply for citizenship once I had an apostilled FBI check. I am in US right now getting those documents in order to apply for citizenship upon return but she wants to get divorced now because she is tired of waiting for me to have what I need to apply for citizenship. It took me months to get here and it will still be a couple of months until I am ready to return. I currently have a visa de amparo but I am concerned that if she were to get divorced while I am not there that my visa would be terminated. Is that true? Would I lose my cedula and my ability to apply for citizenship? In that case can I still return to ecuador on some other type of visa? Thank you.
Thanks for your question Brendan. I've responsed via email.
Jason, you've provided a wealth of visa info. Thank you.
1. Has there been an official "blessing" of the newly proposed guidelines of February 3, 2021?
2. If so, and they are in place, my question to you is this:
I obtained my temporary visa in October 2020. I was out of Ecuador January 26-February 16, 2021. Because I was out of the country at the time the new guidelines were announced, does that mean I am not eligible to apply for a permanent residency visa when the time comes? Does it mean I'll have to go through the apostille process again and apply for another temporary visa? Thanks
Con gusto Sallie. There has been no confirmation yet on the most important question you're asking - "Can I obtain permanent residency if I've spent time outside of Ecuador during my temporary residency?". This question has led to lots of confusion, including different migracion offices applying different interpretations. You can currently obtain permanent residency even if you've left Ecuador during your temporary residency - so long as you apply at a migracion office that favors this interpretation. Difficult to say which offices will be doing so when you're eligible to apply for permanent residency as it's a little while away. What is clear is that if you've spent more than 3 months outside Ecuador during your temporary residency, you will need to obtain another background check (incl apostilles etc) - I know you've only spent a few weeks outside of Ecuador so far, mainly mentioning it in case do more travel. Feel free to reach out a little closer to when you're eligible for permanent residency (ie Dec 2021 / Jan 2022) if you'd like a more recent update or assistance obtaining your visa.
Hello! I have a permanent visa for more than 2 years and now im going to live in the Netherlands. With the new rule, if i come back in less than 2 years and spend a couple of days, i could still preserve my visa?
Hi Fran - yes, that will work 🙂
1) And if by some reason I do not manage to come back within 2 years, what would be the fine? Or do I automatically lose my permanent residence visa?
2) Would you recommend I close my bank account (produbanco) and cancel my Rise? Or could I keep those (they are very cheap to mantain per month but im not sure if it is wise to leave them open if I will be living in the Netherlands)
1) We confirmed with the Director of Migracion that the current interpretation is that if you do stay outside of Ecuador for more than 180 days during your 1st 2 years of permanent residency, then you can pay a $200 fine and still keep your permanent residency.
2) 2) I'd keep them open if you can do what you need to do online. If there's a chance you need to go into Prodobanco/RSI in-person whilst you're outside of Ecuador, then you'll need to provide Power of Attorney to someone you trust. We can arrange this for you if needed.
Im a Nigerian living in Nigeria , pls tell me the process to apply for a Temporary residence visa from my country
Hi Everestus, citizens of Nigeria require a visa to enter Ecuador. So, you'll need to obtain this at the closest Ecuadorian consulate to you. You can then enter Ecuador and apply for your temporary residency visa here.
Hey, Jason, I just wanted to give you an update on the matters I discussed above.
Well, I paid the $200 fine and made a new appointment at the Ministry of the Exterior for yesterday, and everything seemed to go fine. They took my photo and accepted $25 for the visa application fee, and did not tell me to leave the country, and told me to come back in two weeks.
The only slight issue was that the immigration officer (is that what she was?) processing my file did not like the hyphen in my surname! However since that is in my passport, it is non-negotiable.
My understanding is that the visa is not now issued as a stamp in the passport, but is electronically assigned to a passport number, so anyway they did not keep my passport.
So I will be back there in 2 weeks and should receive the temporary residency visa (retirement).
Nothing about the process has been particularly difficult so far, with the exception of obtaining the signed and apostilled documents from the US, which is by far the hardest part of the process.
I had sent in an FBI background check for apostille in July, and had heard nothing back by December, so I resubmitted and got the apostilled document back in late May. In mid May I had submitted a THIRD FBI background check (as a backup) and last week they sent back my check and said that I had enclosed no document to apostille! (Evidently they had lost it again!!!!)
I had also received 3 signed letters from managers of Social Security offices in the US, but none of them could be apostilled because the signers did not print their names under their illegibly signatures, even when they had been specifically asked to do so!!! Social security offices in the US are STILL closed to pedestrian traffic due to Covid-19, and their employees are working from home.
In Guayaquil at the Ministry of the Exterior in the main hall on the ground floor is a single hall where you can take out an Ecuador passport, get Ecuador documents apostilled, apply for a cedula, and apply for visas. If only the US had something similar in each state!
Thanks for the update Jonathan. Glad you were (finally) able to get your FBI checks and complete the application process. Yes, the visa is a digital visa. Just remember to print it off and keep with your passport if you travel etc. I've been let back into Ecuador without a copy on me, but it did take a little convincing. Please let us know how long the application takes for you to get approved - this is helpful for others also obtaining their visas in Guayaquil.
Hi, Jason. Well, today, a week after my last appointment, I received an email saying that my visa has been APPROVED and that I should show up in the morning of September 16th to pay the additional $200 (half price for old folks) and then return the next day for the visa. So that is a month in total after my last visit to submit the docs and pay the application fee, and almost 9 months from the time I mailed my second FBI background check to Washington, DC.for the federal apostille. What made me particularly happy was that I had been told a few weeks ago, as I related higher up this thread, by the attorney for a well-known highly-advertised visa service that I would need to pay a $400 overstay fine, leave the country, and apply from overseas, but that I was able to complete the process myself, pay a $200 overstay fine, and not leave the country (which would have invalidated the background checks that took so long to obtain.)
However, I understand that the time for USA federal apostilles is now down to 5-6 weeks, (according to their Web site), although the fee has been massively increased to $20 per document effective July 2021, even if the document is rejected for apostille. Perhaps they are using the extra money to hire extra help or pay overtime. In any case it is likely that it would now to possible to obtain all the necessary documents to submit an application for a temporary residency visa in less than 180 days.
Awesome that your visa was approved Jonathan. Congratulations. Great you were able to DIY your application too and save some money. I understand your frustration with not getting the original answers you wanted. For this reason, it can be very useful to obtain a second opinion on these visa matters as there are multiple different pathways and interpretations.
Thanks for sharing your full experience. I hope other readers can get some value from it too.
Yes, indeed, thank you Jason.
Getting the visa in Guayaquil in the age of Covid-19 is certainly a tiresome process. Although I am scheduled to make the $200 payment on September 16th, the instructions in the email say that I will then receive my visa notification in email, and then must return on a Friday between 8:30 am and 11:30 am to get the paper certificate.
That makes a total of 4 visits to the office on this time schedule:
1. Visit to apply, told to pay fine, then make new appointment.
2. Second appointment, earliest possible, 4 weeks later. Application accepted.
3. Third appointment, an additional 4 weeks later to pay for visa.This time and date given to me by e-mail in acceptance letter.
4. Final appointment to get paper visa on a Friday, actual date uncertain, but probably 8 days after appointment #3.
I prefer to stay overnight in GQ rather than make a 2-hour bus journey twice the same day, but it is doubtful whether the intervention of an attorney would have saved this process of multiple visits to Guayaquil with spacing depending on the appointment system.
Based on that experience I would say that it is probably better to apply somewhere like Cuenca if you are living there, so that the travel is not an inconvenience.
One additional point that might be of interest. When I booked my appointment #2 online on the website, it seemed that the process could not be completed without uploading some kind of document, so I just uploaded a random Social Security earnings letter, and was then able to book the appointment!
This is where you book yourself a turn.
Awesome feedback Jonathan. Thanks for sharing. Now you're at the end of the process and you've done it yourself, I'd be interested to know if given the time over, you'd still DIY or pay $1K for a facilitator/lawyer etc? Assuming with a facilitator you'd only need to visit the migration office once to pickup the cedula.
Awesome feedback Jonathan. Thanks for sharing. Now you're at the end of the process and you've done it yourself, I'd be interested to know if given the time over, you'd still DIY or pay $1K for a facilitator/lawyer etc? Assuming with a facilitator you'd only need to visit the migration office once to pickup the cedula.
That is an interesting question. Of course I had already spoken to a well-known English language visa agency who had said they could get the whole job done for $1500,and I was ready to pay them, then they backed out and said it could not be done!
However, having done it myself, I would not go back to using a visa facilitator except to prepare documents like notarized translations that I could not do myself.
When you come to live in a new country (I lived in England, Bermuda, USA, Dominican Republic, and now Ecuador), you want to learn about that country and its ways. Making trips to Guayaquil for visa appointments was therefore all part of the experience of getting to know Ecuador and in the process I met many interesting Ecuadorian people and persons from other countries who where on the same journey, and had a chance to hone my Spanish comprehension (or incomprehension). I also discovered many locations in Guyaquil, like the part of the market where there are about 50 pharmacies selling ridiculously cheap drugs, or the part where there are maybe 200 cell phone stores, and on every trip I made new discoveries.
Also out of the few dozen people getting their visa at the same time as me, I doubt whether any were paying anyone $1000 for help. I suspect that the English-speaking visa agencies are onto a good thing and that they are charging a lot more than the visa agencies that cater to locals.
I had previously obtained residency visas for the United States for other people, and had not even been aware of the existence of visa facilitators at that time, but got the job done. I even translated lengthy court custody documents from legal Spanish to legal English so as to get a little girl a passport, arranged DNA tests, and translated documents from Haitian Kreyol to English.
In the future, when I get my cedula, I do not intend to use facilitators except when there is something that cannot be done by a layman.
But it is all a question of taste, isn't it? Many years ago I worked for a season at a well-known tax income tax preparation agency in the US and quite poor people were happy to come in and pay a considerable percentage of their tax refunds away so as to have the convenience of getting the money the same day, instead of waiting a week to get it in their bank accounts.
Hi, can someone please help me!! The consulate near me is being incredibly vague and unhelpful... I'm applying for a rentista visa. My proof of monthly income is my contract- do I need this translated and the translation apostilled?? Or does an apostille on the english version suffice. ALSO, can anyone tell me about how long it typically takes to get the actual visa once submitting your documents?
I would like to know the actual regulation that under my Investor's Visa, says that there is no limit to the amount of time that I can be out of Ecuador. My lawyer does not know this and because I returned to the US to be with a friend with terminal cancer, after getting my visa in July of this year.
I'd suggest your lawyer starts here. But, taking a slight step backwards, I'd also suggest your lawyer not knowing the current immigration law is a pretty big red flag.
Hi Jason, thanks for all of the great feedback, but there is still one question that I cannot find an answer to anywhere and maybe would be helpful for others as well. I recently got my 90 day extension. Do you know if we are able to leave the country within these 90 days? I understand they are rolling days, but can we leave and reenter? My family is going on vacation to Aruba and I would be devastated if I joined and couldn't come back in because I have a puppy.
Also, my 90 days will be up November 14th and my new year begins November 24th. Do you have any idea if I overstayed the 10 days and paid the $200 fine, would I then be able to stay and begin my new year on the 24th?
Hi Ashley - yes, you can leave Ecuador during your 90 day extension (more info). Your 90 day allocation will not 'pause' when you leave though, so keep this in mind when counting how many days you'll have left when you re-enter. I also suggest confirming how many days you have left with immigration when you re-enter Ecuador.
You have 30 days to pay the fine without penalty. So, if you pay it 10 days after your 90 day extension expires, you should be fine to start your next year's allocation. I'd recommend confirming this personally with migration before acting on it t
Hi, Jason. I incurred a $200 overstay fine (unavoidable circumstances) when I left Ecuador in June 2021. A friend in Ecuador paid the fine and registered the payment at Migration (I have copies of the paperwork). I was told I can re-enter Ecuador in November 2021 since the fine has been settled. My question is this: Do I still get my 'free' 90 days when I return or do I have to get a visa here in Canada. I plan on staying for one year in total as I do volunteer work there. My plan is to get the 90 day extension after my 'free' 90 days and then the 6 month visa. Thank you very much for your time.
Hey Eric. I'm assuming you entered Ecuador November 2020. If so, then your new 90-day quota will commence in November 2021 because you paid the fine. If you didn't pay the fine, then you'd need to obtain a visa from Canada prior to re-entering. But, you paid it so you are eligible to return whenever your new 90-day quota commences.
Also Eric - the 6 month visa no longer exists. Time to re-evaluate those plans.
I have a friend ("Zulu") who has been a "Permanent
Resident" in this country for the past six years on an
Zulu wants to convert his "INVESTMENT Visa" to a
Zulu has been told that he will have to apply for a
TEMPORARY "PENSIONER Visa" first (and follow all the rules
for THAT visa) before he can apply for PERMANENT status!
It makes no sense that he should have to go through the
TEMPORARY process again, in essence, "starting all over!"
Zulu is ALREADY a PERMANENT resident (thus he has ALREADY
met the qualifications for Permanent Resisidency). He
simply wants to change the visa type from INVESTMENT to
PENSIONER by showing that he has a lifetime pension.
So taking into account the new law of February 2021, the
Must Zulu "start all over again" as a TEMPORARY
resident and then apply to make it PERMANENT later?
Or, is it possible to convert using a more simple process?
PLEASE be sure of your answer before responding! We don't
want to get halfway through some "shortcut process" and
then find out later that it can't be done that way!
It is possible to change permanent residency categories. This would need to be done prior to disposing of the investment asset. If you don't change categories prior, then Zulu will need to start over.
I'd suggest a facilitator or lawyer for this one as it may not be straightforward. Sing out if you want a recommendation.
do you need an appointment to obtain your cedula in guayaquil?
For the first 2 years of permanent residency, visa holder is allowed 180 days each year out of the country, is that right?
So if during the first year, the visa holder has been out of the country for only a couple of weeks, and has now completed six months of the second year of permanent residency, can that person now leave Ecuador for 2 years without any fear of the visa being cancelled or any fine upon one's return..?
Or is it that the visa holder needs to complete 2 complete years of permanent residency in Ecuador and then become eligible for the 2 years continuous stay out of Ecuador?
Hi Jason,thanks for your all wonderful tips
For overstaying if anyone be overstayed for 80 days still need to pay $200 ? That means is not matter how many days are we overstayed ?
My brother & I are currently in the process of completing our paperwork to apply for temporary visa. Still need to get translations and apply at embassy in Miami. There are several websites out there with conflicting info but am finding yours most helpful. I remember reading on 1 website that my visa would be reduced cost ($250)as I am 72yrs old but my brothers would be $400.00. Do you know if this is correct?
#2.? If we apply for visa in US can we fly into Ecuador and wait on approval there?
I believe the cost would be $225, because as a "third age" person, as they say in Ecuador, you would pay half price, hence the application fee is $25 instead of $50, and the visa fee is $200. That is what I paid recently in Guayaquil.
The question about applying in the US, then traveling to Ecuador while waiting is an interesting one.
Previously I would have said no, because they would need to physically stamp the visa in your passport, but now they are issuing 'electronic' visas and they e-mail you a copy of the visa along with a verification code, so you can print out the visa, and since you could print out your visa while in Ecuador, I would think that it would be possible. However that is just a thought and I would not take my opinion as gospel.
Have there been more changes to the temporary residency visa? Rumor has it you cannot leave at all during the 2 year duration or your visa will be void.
Nothing confirmed, no. Not leaving Ecuador at all during temporary residency? That would be quite extreme and strongly doubt that would happen. This rumor most likely started out of confusion over whether you can leave Ecuador and still obtain your permanent residency after the temporary (the answer to this is that you CAN leave Ecuador and STILL be eligible for permanent residency - so long as you apply at the right migracion offices).
How do we find out what office this would be? We just received our Temporary Visa and now want to follow the new law to apply for Permanent Visa. Understanding that we cannot leave for ANY reason for 21 months, it would be nice to know if we can for an emergency.
Hi Karen - I've sent you an email.
I just obtained my electronic temporary residency visa (retirement)today.
In the text printed underneath the visa, it clearly states that you can only spend up to 90 days in each chronological year starting from the date of the issuance of the visa, which in my case is September 16th, 2021.
(Usted podrá ausentarse y regresar al del país por un período máximo de 90 días por cada año cronológico...)
It also states that the visa can only be renewed one time (sujeta a renovación por una sola vez.)
It also says that to obtain a cedula you must EITHER affiliate with the Social Security System OR have private health insurance.(Usted deberá afiliarse al sistema nacional de seguridad social o demostrar que tiene un seguro de salud privado con cobertura en Ecuador a fin de
obtener la cédula de identidad.)
These points seem interesting as they run counter to what has been published here, but of course there is no guarantee at all that what is printed in the text below my visa is correct. (Ecuadorian civil servants tend to cut and paste text which may or may not be obsolete.)
However, for what it is worth, I have checked both languages carefully and it does say the same thing in both English and Spanish.
Congratulations on the baby!Hope everyone is doing well.
Hi there, I'd appreciate if you could answer 3 questions?
1) we had our temporary visa last November 17th 2020 the new visa rules came out in February 2021, do they apply to us too or is there some kind of Grand father law for those who received their temporary residency prior to the change?
2) We should be able to proceed with our permanent residency visa August 17th 2022, however my wife had to leave Ecuador for 18 days to attend a family gathering, is it gonna impact our application time wise? Are we gonna have to wait an extra 18 days before proceeding with the application?
3) the last question is related to people we know. They arrived here in Ecuador September 13th 2020 under a tourist visa, extended it another 90 days meaning their tourist visa + extension expired last March 13th 2021, so they've been staying in the country illegally. Are they facing the old rule or the new rule penalties knowing that they arrived in Ecuador close to five months prior to the February 2021 changes?
Thank you for your time.
mazel tov on your new baby
we are a family living in new york city. looking to move down to ecuador next summer 2022. was wondering if we can do the entire temporary resident visa process from nyc. would be applying for the new rentista visa. we have the time and would love to hit the ground running so to speak. thanks in advance.
Thanks Alex - we're very happy (but tired lol). Yes, you can apply for your temporary residency visa at an Ecuadorian consulate closest to you. Just know that many of these consulates are currently understaffed, so waiting and response times can be significant. Many find the process easier to complete from Ecuador for this reason. Feel free to sing out if you need help with your rentista application.
We just received our Temporary Investor Visas on Sept. 9, 2021. We own a house on the beach in San Vicente. It is our understanding that to now go forward and apply for Permanent Residency, we cannot leave the country for 21 months. Following those 21 months, we can apply for the Permanent Residency Visa. Then, we are allowed to leave the country for up to 6 months per year. After 3 years of this, we can apply for dual citizenship. Please confirm that this is correct. Also, are there any emergency reasons allowed to leave at all during that 21 month period that you are aware of?
Hey Karen - your question isn't easy to answer as different migracion offices are applying different rules. Depending on where you apply for permanent residency, you may or may not be able to leave the country during your temporary residency. Feel free to contact us if you have more questions on this.
How do you find out which offices are more friendly about emergency leaves during those 21 months? We certainly do not want to mess this up and have to start over.
Hi Jason, I recently got a temporary residence (professional) visa and it clearly states on the visa that only 90 days out of the country are allowed per year. I have also checked this with the immigration offices in the south of Quito, where an official told me in person that this rule has not changed, and that a maximum of 90 days still applies.
However, I've seen on other websites as well as here that there is now unlimited time out of the country, which is obviously one of the appealing factors of the visa. Could you provide any clarification on this?
Also, as Jonathan commented above, it states that the visa can only be renewed once, which again is contrary to the updated information here and elsewhere.
Hi Tom - I understand your confusion. The problem is they haven't changed those details at the bottom of the visa. We've confirmed this several times with different levels of immigration too. Our stance is that there are no travel restrictions on a temporary professional residency visa. Other people may very well give you a different opinion - but we're comfortable with our interpretation.
One final comment on the visa/cedula process.
I received my electronic visa along with an email that said I should report back to the Ministerio in Guayaquil on a Friday between 1pm and 2 pm within 15 days of receiving the visa, to have the visa authenticated.
However when I showed up there last week, they knew nothing about this. I was a bit baffled and looked online for information on how to get the Orden de Cedula (and what an Orden de Cedula is) and found lots of contradictory information, like did you need a notarized statement saying that you are single? (Answer:NO). What health insurance was acceptable? How much would it cost?(Answer: $45.) How long would it take? (Answer: SAME DAY.)
I was really stuck on the whole process, so went back to the visa agency near to the Ministerio that got my docs translated before.
They filled out my paperwork and set me up with a medical policy with a company called Transmedical and it was $45 for 3 months. The catch is that the coverage is only for $2,000, but apparently this is a policy designed especially for poor foreigners that meets the requirements for issuing a cedula!
I was able to do the whole process within three and a half hours from starting the paperwork, receiving the Orden de Cédula at the Ministerio and then driving across town by taxi to actually obtain the physical cedula at the Registro Civil. At first they said they could not issue the cedula the same day because of (something), but after I spoke to a supervisor they changed their mind in view of my advanced age, and the fact that they thought I looked like a priest, and were very nice and helpful. Super people!
The Visa agency also charged $15 for preparing the paperwork. So the total cost was $45 for the health insurance for 90 days, $15 for the paperwork, $5 fee at the Ministerio, and then another $5 at the Registro Civil, so $70 in all.
The only thing is that I don't like the picture on my cedula too much. Can they not use filters to make people look younger?
Hello! Thank you so much for your helpful information. So just to clarify you overstayed because you were waiting for documents, but you could still get your two year visa in country?
I have a similar situation. I was very sick with covid and had a document delay so now have overstayed. All visa firms are telling me my only option is to leave (which isnt really feasible right now) and apply at a consulate. I do not know whether to risk it and go ahead with the visa application or not. Any advice would be appreciated, or any recommendations for lawyers who could help me.
Hi, I just got my visa and am trying to get my Cedula and the requirements are very confusing. I registered for an appointment to get "an order for a cedula" and the date is almost 3 months from the date of my visa. This seems very long and I am not sure if I might be able to do this sooner - do you have any suggestions? My understanding is I need this "order for a cedula" to take to the Civil Registry to get my cedula. Besides a certificate of health insurance they are also requesting my birth certificate - apostilled/translated/certified - did they require this for your cedula? Thanks!
Applied for temporary investment visa after condo purchase in Same .. after long process I am awaiting its receipt in the next weeks. I’m aware that when I receive it ,I will be able to leave Ecuador for only 3 months in the next 2 years if I want a simpler reapplication for renewal of temporary visa AND I would have to find the “ correct “ city and and office to apply for permanent residency since I will leave AT ALL during that period of 2 years . Question….any idea about the “ likely “ cities or office that might be more lenient ? What’s your feeling ….
Thanks for this great guide. I just want to bring to your attention a possible large issue with the tourist visa info.
According to Guayaquil immigration SENESCYT office today, overstay (90 or 180 days with extension) means a $200 fine PLUS (AND) one year ban from the date you leave Ecuador. This ban can probably be cancelled if you apply for an Investor visa, which can be done from an Ecuadorian embassy outside the country. I am not sure if other visa types would cancel the ban. I checked this with a gentlemen at the counter there who spoke good English, and in Spanish with my partner.
Clearly, this is far more serious as it appears you cannot simply pay the fine to avoid the ban. I will try to confirm this with the office in Quito or Cuenca in next few days but they seemed quite sure it'd be same!
Does anyone have up to date information to the contrary please? Has anyone tried overstaying? Also if anyone has email addresses for the immigration offices please as they don't seem to answer their phones at all.
Jason, we love the value you are providing here. Thanks so much.
We have an interesting situation at the moment. Me, my Ecuadorean wife, and our baby son flew into GYE yesterday and were not yet into my new 90-day tourist stamp window. After the immigration officer at the airport made several calls to her supervisor, she requested copies of our marriage certificate and baby's birth certificate and let us in. She recommended that we visit an immigration office ASAP to regularize our status.
Our baby can get an Ecuadorean passport without too much trouble (we started that process last time we were here) but my situation is more uncertain.
We hope to be here less than six months while we await my wife's U.S. Green Card visa interview at the consulate in Guayaquil. But it could take longer than that. If the Commerce Visa is an option that might be best for now but after many searches online I can find little information. Then there's the Amparo visa, but the U.S. criminal record checks with apostilles seem to take some time.
How would you advise we move forward?
Hey Andrew - thanks for the kind words. If I understand correctly, you entered Ecuador without any days left on your initial 90 day allowance? If so, you had a very gracious immigration officer. I'd suggest getting a 90 day tourist visa extension right away so you are legal. Then, sort out your Amparo visa (by marriage). Yes, you'll need background checks (apostilled) which will take time - so suggest getting on those asap. The 'commerce visa' is not available. Feel free to ping me if you need more info.
Hello, very appreciative of your informative post, thank you. For several unavoidable circumstances (including a bout of covid) I overstayed my visa and have missed the 30-day grace period by a month. I am debating what to do. I have the documents for the professional visa...Im wondering whether to go ahead and apply, then pay the overstay fine just before the appointment?
I know you cannot give a straight answer. I am worried that they will tell me I have to leave Ecuador and apply abroad, but it is very hard to get back to my home country right now (UK/ finances). I have tried contacting several lawyers, but all give me different answers (including incorrect overstay fine costs) or are very slow to respond. Any help would be appreciated.
Hi Emma - yes, this is a tough one. One option is to leave the country and apply for your professional visa at a consulate abroad (given your overstay). I don't want to get your hopes up by suggesting other options. However, if you haven't contacted this facilitator, then I suggest sending a message to get their opinion.
You know what would be super-useful… is if you collated all the comments which are for similar issues, and compiled them into separate blog posts. For example, everything which has to deal with the overstay fine: 90-day & extension limits, payments (inside or outside Ecuador), how to pay when outside… and include people's experiences (with the date, to see how relevant it may or may not be). Or everything dealing with applying for a visa outside of Ecuador. Or even putting Jonathan Monck-Mason's comments into a single blog post… that guy has so much valuable info from his one experience, but it's scattered throughout the comments.
Thanks Jacob, it's a good idea! I will pass your suggestion to Jason and see what he can do. At the moment he is working very hard on a side project we have that is also very interesting and useful for ex-pats. 🙂 If you want to have a sneak peek here you have the link.
I read (somewhere) that you had to be 65 or older to apply for a Retirement Visa. But, I haven't seen that, since as all other websites seem to omit it(?). If so, my wife is eligible, but I am not. How would it work for me?
Hi Irvin, no, you don't need to be 65 to apply for a Retirement Visa. All you need is to prove you have a monthly pension. Feel free to use our Visa Calculator to check what is the best option for you.
I got a professional visa in 2020. It's not in my passport; it's digital. I got it because I didn't want to overstay during Covid and I thought I might stay in the country. But I left about six months ago and now live in another country. I was about to buy a ticket to visit during the holidays, but it occurred to me I might have visa issues. Would I end up paying a $1,200 fine if I'm just going back to visit? Thanks a lot for your advice.
Hi. I spent exactly 90 days in Ecuador earlier this year (April to June). I left for Colombia and returned to Ecuador at the end of September. They let me in again after only 3 months. Do you get another 90 days if you leave the country? I thought it was 90 days per year or 180 with an extension.
Hey Edward - no, you don't get an additional 90 days when you leave the country. You can apply for a 90 day tourist visa extension (once only per year) - which is what most do if they want more than their original 90 days here.
To get a Visa are you required to have the covid vaccines? Because that would be a deal breaker. What if you are already in the country?
Good question Mari. Officially no, it's not a requirement. But, they have introduced some requirements to show proof of vaccine before entering any government buildings. These rules will change all the time though so it's hard to say what they'll be like when/if you apply for a visa. Ecuador has a high vax rate, so it's not really an issue for most people.