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Naturalisation and citizenship in Ecuador

Hello everyone,

What are the requirements for acquiring citizenship in Ecuador? For example, length of residence, language requirements, employment etc..

What formalities are involved in the process?

What is the policy on dual-citizenship in Ecuador? Do you have to give up your former nationality?

What are the advantages and benefits of acquiring Ecuadorian citizenship, in your opinion?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Bhavna

To become a citizen of Ecuador, you must have a residence visa and have been continuously in Ecuador for the previous 3 years. In my view, there is NO advantage to becoming a citizen, you can vote and get all the benefits with the  residence visa.

You can keep your other nationality as Ecuador has a Dual Citizenship policy in place,

The main benefit of Ecuador citizenship is the ability to stay in the country as long as you want or, to travel and return as many times as you want. 

The process is somewhat challenging if you are already in the country.  Because you need to get paperwork from your home country:  Security check from country and local state, marriage license etc.  They all need to be apostled...which a stamp from the Federal or State governments.  It costs money too.  I am not sure what the fee is now but you can look online.

You cannot become a citizen without first living in the country for a few years.  You can get a tourist VISA a resident VISA and then apply for citizenship.  The paperwork above, is required for the Residency  VISA too. 

Lastly you need to show that you have a certain amount of income each month.  Or, you can purchase a 25K CD and have it sit in a bank in Ecuador.  Or, you can purchase property, I think.  You have to check that last one. 

I like Ecuador. I am not read to consider citizenship.  I will be here a total of 9 months.  The altitude in Cuenca seems to affect us and if we return we are not sure where we will live. 

But, we like the residents here.  The mountains are beautiful.  The city is old and charming too.

Rockysroad :

In my view, there is NO advantage to becoming a citizen, you can vote and get all the benefits with the  residence visa.

Wrong. Those who are on investors visas get control of their assets when they become citizens.  Also, although things are still unfolding, I am hoping being a citizen will shield me from the new requirements on temporary and permanent residents having health insurance.

erinlee :

Lastly you need to show that you have a certain amount of income each month.  Or, you can purchase a 25K CD and have it sit in a bank in Ecuador.  Or, you can purchase property, I think.  You have to check that last one.

While the real-estate investment visa has historically been possible, I think the CD-based investment has been a more viable route for visa applicants.  The exception is Expats who already own property in Ecuador before starting the visa process.

1.  Property purchase is subject to more delays in Ecuador than in North America.  Visa applicants can run out of time if they are counting on a purchase to close timely.

2.  Most Expats who come to Ecuador leave the country within several years.  Others move to a different community within Ecuador when they discover that the elevation of their first Ecuadorian home does not suit them or for other reasons.  Buying property at the outset puts these Expats in the position of having to sell a house they no longer can live in -- a process that can take years and can be difficult to complete since the Expat-owners will have left town.  An exit strategy of renting out the visa-related property and having a local property manager successfully keep it tenanted .. is a recipe for trouble.

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Note that the incoming Ecuadorian Administration will be issuing new regulations that may contain changes in the amounts that investor-visa applicants and their dependents must invest.  And that's just part of the story about the new visa-regs.

cccmedia, real-estate-investment visa holder in Ecuador
    since 2014 (property purchased in 2005)

We are in the process of looking into becoming citizens here.  We have lived here for 4 years.  Our initial investment was 2 $25k cd's since we were not legally married.  After 2 years, we bought a house in both our names with a purchase price much greater than the $50,000 investment and transferred the property purchase as the basis of our investment visa and cashed in our CD's. 

Since living here, we were married in Fiji, but for my own personal reasons don't want my marriage legal in the US, which is fine.  Our atty, here wanted $3,500 to register our marriage as a "legal" marriage in ecuador.  To me it was a waste of money and provided no benefit.  However in talking to our new atty in GYE, if we obtained citizenship and would be cheaper if we were legally married which would all be wrapped up in our citizenship ordeal.  The only thing was our marriage certificate must be apostastilled.  And for once in my life, luck would be on my side.  It took months for us to receive our Fijian legal marriage certificate and believe it or not it's already apostastilled. 

So I'm very interested in this process, potential costs vs benefits.  We are waiting to keep going based on the new law interpretations.  In the mean time, we are currently in the process of fixing the cracks on the outside of my house due to the major earthquake last year and then waterproofing the entire outside of my house.  Once that's complete, we are going to see if we can sell our house for the amount to recoup our investment, and of course, furnished with all US furniture and appliances.  If we get the minimum price we have agreed upon, with funds transferred out of the country, we will sell and leave.  If we do not, we will then look to move forward in getting citizenship so we can move more freely in and out of the country.  So I hope more people post their experiences and opinions in this thread!!

It used to be very easy for you to initially invest in a cd and then transfer that over to your cedula (resident visa), once you bought property.  Of course those laws change frequently and did once we were ready to do so.  It took a few bribes from our local attorney to get it done and it cost us an additional $1,500 to do so. But we wanted our actual money in our control and not in govt control, since we were buying property anyway.  The property purchase process was not completed before we moved and the building project was delayed over 2 years.  Actually a blessing from God, and worked out in our favor as we sold our pre construction condo for a small profit before the building was completed and a year before the earthquake.  Had we kept it, that same condo is now selling for $100k less than we paid preconstruction in 2010.  Make sure buying is really what you want to do first, because a $25k initial investment for residency is one of the cheapest for international countries. Just my opinion.  Not to mention just this week I met expats here in my area who have lived here 4 1/2 years and are trying to sell their house to go back to the US.

Personally buying property in Ecuador is kind risky, unless you planing to stay in Ecuador for ever, but then EarthQuake again can change that

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