Bringing your kids to Ecuador?

Please please investigate the visa requirements BEFORE your excitement carries you away. And as an American you need to consider how you will handle your money/pensions/banking/financial transactions in order to survive. It is not as simple as you might imagine.

It is very nice that you are so excited and like horses and carts and gardens, but practical survival comes first. And generally that is money, how to keep and transfer and acquire it, and the legal right to reside somewhere.

These are the two big hurdles. These are the things on which you should focus your attention.

I appreciate your advice. It has been noted. I am not ignoring that  aspect of my plan.
Financial advice is not what i am looking for from this blog/post. I am more interested in getting information about what our every day living would be like. If that isn't something you want to share (schools, carseats/transportation, gardening, etc), no worries.

A car would be useful but not required to get around here in metro Quito.  There are many buses between Quito and the 'burbs if you choose your suburban location with mass transit in mind. 

Many drivers in the Ecuadorian cities tend to be aggressive.  But having lived and driven in major U.S. cities including New York and Washington, D.C., I personally wouldn't shy away from driving in Ecuador. 

If you think you may want to drive a car in Ecuador, get your state's driver license certificate apostilled beforehand, to save delays and extra notarization/overseas mailing. 

If a carseat is required in any community, such will be available in the local stores.

cccmedia in Quito

fascinar :

is there a certain age you have to be for the retirement visa or can you just show that you have the correct amount of monthly income?....We are in our late 30s, so really far away from America's retirement age.... 
How easy/difficult would it be to get a visa to work part time (database management &/or massage therapy) and would there be fairly easy opportunities to work at a touristy place (hotel spa, etc) as a masseuse?

There is no age limitation for obtaining a pension residency-visa.  The requirement is a minimum dependable income of $800 per month for the primary visa applicant, plus $100 per month for each dependent.

A residency visa is also obtainable by depositing $25,000 in a bank CD, $500 more for each dependent.

Based on what we know at the moment, no one on this forum can reliably tell you that it would be easy for a North American Expat to find work in Ecuador.  There has been no indication of your fluency in the Spanish language.  The national hiring policy favors Ecuadorians over foreigners.  Even if you work at a tourist-oriented employer, you would probably need language skills to communicate with co-workers, guests and your immediate supervisor.

The professional-class residency visa is for Expats who want to work in Ecuador and who have degrees from universities on the approved list.  (Type "university list" into the box at the top of this page and then click on the search icon to the right of the box.)  This visa also requires the visa applicant to pass a Spanish-language test in their specialty if Ecuador offers such a test.  For example, a 'bar exam' for attorneys.

A non-immigrant work visa is available for an Expat who can present the Foreign Ministry with an official job-offer to work in Ecuador.  Your new employer would assist you with this, including how to bring your dependents into Ecuador.

cccmedia in Quito

gardener1 :

Please please investigate the visa requirements BEFORE your excitement carries you away.

There is another route that can get you about nine months in Ecuador without so many requirements as the full-on residency visa presents.

In this scenario, you start by receiving the T-3 tourist stamp that is  customarily granted to all U.S. and Canadian citizens arriving at the Quito or Guayaquil airports.  It's good for 90 days, and there's no fee or fancy application needed.

You then obtain in Ecuador a 180-day extension visa, which has  customarily been granted to foreign applicants.  This is a non-immigrant visa that does not require an investment or proof-of-work status.

After your 270 days are up, you must leave Ecuador and remain away until the first anniversary of your original T-3 stamp having been granted.  Then you may repeat the 90/180 day scenario if desired, or seek permanent visas.

cccmedia in Quito

Thank you for this post! I was pleased to see both my University and my spouse's on this list. My degree is in Spanish, but I don't use it for my current profession and haven't for years. Needless to say, I am pretty rusty on my speaking skills. I feel like  I could pick it back up pretty quickly though. Work would be optional and isn't a make or break for us.

Thank you for your concern Gardner1. We will decide where to visit first, take a couple of weeks and look around and then decide if this is the place we want move to.  We seem to have very different personalities - I appreciate your caution; but honestly, personally, I like to jump in with both feet.  Different things work for different people. And Ecuador isn't the only location on the list - just the top, first, location.

Also, I thank everyone for all the information. I know my questions have jumped all over the place.

These days government requirements dictate who will jump where and who will not.

Enjoy your trip.


We are in Quito / Cumbaya and considering homeschooling starting 9th grade

Would like to meet other families

Please send us a private message

About your questions. For a young kid I don't think is a big difference with the US regarding security or abductions.
There is no targeting on foreigners related to this issues. Guayaquil and Quito are dangerous cities.

Education is very different between the cities and the countryside or small towns in the coast. Better schools and more options in the big cities.


vinny66 :

Guayaquil and Quito are dangerous cities.

Guayaquil is dangerous, yes.

Quito, however, is basically dangerous in the way that any city in the world of its approximate size -- two million -- has dangers.

In a 10.5 month period earlier this decade, Guayaquil was experiencing 50 reported express-kidnappings a month.  That’s the category that includes taxi-gangs where the driver picks up a passenger and takes him and the other pandilleros around to ATM’s to pull out money up to the victim's daily withdrawal maximum.  Then, after midnight when the new day technically begins, they visit the ATM’s again and try to double the take.

Quito has not had anything approximating that level of crime.  The police in the capital have been pro-active in disrupting prospective e-k gangs.


vinny66 :

Guayaquil and Quito are dangerous cities.


“Dangerous” is quite a negative label for a city. I don’t get that vibe living in Quito. I know crime exists and there are some areas where crime is more prevalent, but current statistics definitely dispel Quito as a dangerous city. Personally, I’m comfortable walking around central Quito, or from just south of parque el Ejido to parque bicentenario in the north. As a family we take our precautions, especially with our teens, such as no gadgets outside, and communication is via simple Movistar/Claro issued bargain brand non-smartphones. They also have a limited area (park) they could ride their bikes and have to be home by sunset. Without bikes they have until 8:00 pm and only in our neighborhood. This is with them going to specific places like the mall or cinema. Despite these precautions, Quito is not a dangerous city for us.

Current Statistics (Crime Index Rate)

Can we set up a new topic about having young children in Ecuador? We are planning to move in 2017. We have 3yo and 6mo right now. It would be great to be able to contact and share info with parents in Ecuador.

I know this is an old thread, but still I want to reply. We are planning as well to move 2017 with Kids to Ecuador. We are thinking about the city of Ambato. Our Kids are 1yr, 9yr, 11yr, 11yr, 14yr.
It would be great to connect with expats in this city and in Ecuador in general. Like pin2xbo, I would like to ask if we can open an new thread about living with kids in Ecuador.

Stevo_th :

I know this is an old thread, but still I want to reply. We are planning as well to move 2017 with Kids to Ecuador. We are thinking about the city of Ambato. Our Kids are 1yr, 9yr, 11yr, 11yr, 14yr.
It would be great to connect with expats in this city and in Ecuador in general. Like pin2xbo, I would like to ask if we can open an new thread about living with kids in Ecuador.

Start a new thread, this forum advocates that, as specific questions have greater focus.

Just_a_mirage :

I moved here 7 years ago with my children who were then 9, 10, and 15.  I just have to reply to the person who said there are not as many kidnappings here as in the US.  Extremely not true.  Kidnappings particularly in Guayaquil (where I live) and Quito are increasing heavily.  The common MO is with taxis, including yellow cabs.  This is happening with gringos and Ecuadorians.  You must be very careful about taxis. They will typically drive you around from ATM to ATM for hours until you withdraw your limit.  Sometimes they will hold you until after midnight so that you can withdraw more.  Women are sometimes sexually assaulted.
As far as schooling goes. I put my daughters in school for a couple years to help them learn Spanish.  I now homeschool.  There are several English language textbook stores here in Guayaquil with many choices for all subjects and all levels from pre-school to university.
I am a high school teacher here, and school quality varies.  I would avoid public schools as the quality is generally not good.  I have found that schools here that are good are actually ore advanced than in the states.  Students at the high school where I teach now are required to take very advanced levels of math and sciences.  In the states my children were not required to take physics, advanced chemistry, etc.  I teach in a bilingual school.  The problem with some of these schools is that the students must take entrance exams before being admitted.  My kids had difficulties with this, being older because they could not pass the Spanish grammar exams.  I believe they could now, but they are doing well in home school, so I dont think I will put them in school at this point.
The other good thing that I have seen here in high school, at least where I teach, is that the students are very close.  I have never seen any bullying.  I asked some of my students recently if they have ever seen it at school and they said no.  There are no drug problems that have been reported at my school.  Parents are notified if homework isnt turned in or the student gets a bad grade on the test.  Parents are kept in the loop and much more involved in their childrens educations.
Im happy to answer any questions anyone might have about schools here, or life with kids in Ecuador.  I am sure that my daughters who are 15 and 16 now would also be happy to correspond with any kids who are coming here to let them know about life here as well

Good afternoon,  I have read that you are a teacher in Ecuador and I am interested in knowing if you have any information on other coastal schools further up the coast in the Salinas and north area or if you know where I could find this information.  Hopefully you are still active on this forum.

Thanks,  Chris

Hi.. I am currently in Ecuador teaching in public school. Planning to stay longer and bring my 12 year old girl here who is currently in India. Want to know if there are 100% English schools here as it would be difficult for her otherwise.
Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

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