Visas in Ecuador


It’s decided. Ecuador appeals to you and go there you must. Alas, it’s not as simple as packing up and moving there. Along with the low cost of living, the marvelous weather and the warm, welcoming people, they have visa policies there, too. Allow us to help you understand those better.

Ecuador in 90 days

First visiting a country before you move to work or retire is always a wise idea if you can afford it.

Ecuador’s visa policy, one of the world’s most lenient, makes it easy to visit the country as a tourist. It’s actually faster to list the countries whose citizens require a visa for entering Ecuador on a tourist basis than to list the countries whose citizens don’t: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China - Chinese nationals holding ordinary passports with a 'For Public Affairs' endorsement, Hong Kong

Special Administrative Region passports or Macao Special Administrative Region passports may enter Ecuador without a visa for up to 90 days - Somalia.

While they don’t require a visa, Cuban citizens must first receive an invitation letter, legalized by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before entering Ecuador through international airports or frontier admission points.

If you’re from anywhere but the aforementioned, you’re all good to stay in Ecuador as a tourist for a maximum of 90 consecutive or non-consecutive days in a chronological year, without visa. You will receive a tourist stamp signifying this inside your passport: the T-3 stamp.

The T-3 stamp still means you must meet some conditions:

  • Your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond your travel dates.
  • You must have a return ticket, proving the duration of your stay.
  • Have proof of financial means to support yourself during your stay in Ecuador at the ready, as Immigration authorities may request it.

Even with everything in order visa-wise, entry in Ecuador is not guaranteed. At the port of entry, an Ecuadorian inspector will determine whether you are eligible to enter or not.

If after visiting you decide you are ready to be in Ecuador on a more permanent basis than as a tourist, you will need to apply for a visa.

Ecuador beyond 90 days

Once in Ecuador with the T3 stamp, only citizens of the Andean community may obtain an extension of the stamp. Citizens of the European Union, the United States or Canada may apply for a 12-IX tourist visa valid for 6 months without leaving Ecuador. They would need to file their request 30 days before expiry of the T-3 stamp. Fines for overstaying can amount to as much as $2,000.

Citizens of all other countries are not eligible to apply for extensions of the T-3 stamp or for the 12-IX tourist visa from within Ecuador and will need to return abroad to apply for a visa.

They would thus be better advised to request a 12-IX tourist visa at their country of origin’s Ecuadorian Embassy before leaving for Ecuador. This will entitle them to a 6 months stay in the country right off the bat. In any case, prior to applying for an immigrant visa in Ecuador, a foreigner needs to hold the 12-IX tourist visa.

To reside or not to reside in Ecuador?

Visas fall in one of two categories: non-immigrant (non-resident) and immigrant (resident).

The Ministry of External Relationships, Trade and Integration’s website extensively lists all visas and details conditions for application, including fees.

In the non-immigrant category, most would-be expats are concerned by the 12-VI work visa, the application form for which is downloadable here. The person coming to work in Ecuador with this visa may be accompanied by their closest family members within the second degree of consanguinity and first degree of affinity.

However, note that only an immigrant visa will allow you to import your belongings from abroad duty-free. With an immigrant visa, you will also be delivered an Ecuadorian National Identity card, a cedula. The cedula facilitates a host of formalities such as opening bank accounts or signing up for the internet.
Most would-be residents apply for the following visas from the immigrant category:
1. Pensioner Visa 9-I
2. Investor Visa 9-II
3. Industrial Investor Visa 9-III
4. Agent Visa 9-IV
5. Professional Visa 9-V
6. Dependent Visa 9-VI

You may download the application form for immigrant visas here.

Immigrant visas must be applied for in Ecuador itself. An Ecuadorian consulate will not accept immigrant visa applications. However, a Power of Attorney (a lawyer) in Ecuador may file the visa application in your stead. Attorney fees range anywhere from $900 to $2,000. If the visa application were accepted, it would then be granted to you in the nearest Ecuadorian consulate in your home country, incurring additional fees ($200). Once in Ecuador, you would have to register the visa at the Dirección General de Extranjería in Quito (Av 6 de Diciembre, between Colón and La Niña) within 30 days of your arrival.

Once granted an immigrant visa, be careful not to be out of Ecuador for more than 90 days per year during the first two years of your residency, or for more than 18 consecutive months after your second year of residency.

Visa holders who have applied for resident status must get an exit permit from the immigration authorities in Quito before they leave the country, a salida (exit) form from the Jefatura Provincial de Migración, usable for multiple exits and re-entries.

 Good to know:

All public documents that you present in Ecuador must be legalized with an Apostille.

All documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by a notarized translation into Spanish. The translation must be realized by a professional third party and legalized with an Apostille too. In the event that you are unable to get the translations done in your country of origin, documents can be translated and notarized in Ecuador.

You must get a criminal background check from every place you have lived in the last five years. It’s a good idea to wait until about a month before your departure for Ecuador to obtain this – presumably, the short lapse of time should reassure Ecuadorian authorities you haven’t had the leisure to rob a bank or two in the interval.

Another potentially useful tidbit: in Ecuador, you only qualify for the status of ‘single’ if you have never been married. Any other circumstances mean you will not be regarded as single. You may also be required to produce divorce papers, death certificates etc.

How long: hasta la visa?

You’ve filled out and apostilled everything and applied for your visa like a pro. Now when can you expect your actual visa?
Non-immigrant visas typically take much less time to be delivered, the 12-IX tourist visa being the fastest one. They can be delivered in as little as two weeks.

As for immigrant visas... Well, it seems to be anyone’s guess, what with Ecuador’s perpetually changing laws. One thing you want to pack inside your suitcase is patience, but the reward is usually well worth the wait to become a resident of Ecuador.

 Useful links:

List of visas for Ecuador
Consulate General of Ecuador in Washington D.C.
A list of Ecuadorian embassies abroad

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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Member since 01 June 2008
Small earth, Mauritius
2 years ago

Please tell me if there is any official website stating that the visa on arrival is for consecutive or non consecutive 90 days in an year

3 years ago

I've probably missed something while reading this through. Could someone help me as to which visa would be best suited for myself married to an Ecuador national with children eligable for Ecuador nationality although currently living in the UK.

3 years ago

how i can bring 25,000 $ to ecuador ? which method is save and working ?


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