Ecuador resident Visa and Banking

Hello I am Gregory,
I am beginning my journey of finding place to live once I retire. I currently live in Toronto, Ontario and wanting to live in a vibrant community beyond the Canada borders. Not sure if Ecuador is the right place but thought I would reach out now and find out what's going in the country and get some varying opinions from those of you who have either been living there. Any information or  contact I would appreciated

Hi pol_can and welcome to https://www.expat.com. :)

I'd invite you to go through the topics created by our members on the Everyday life in Ecuador forum for more information regarding your queries. Do not hesitate to participate and request the opinions of our members if you have more questions.

Best of luck.

Regards,

Sarvesh
https://www.expat.com team

Thanks for the quick reply. I review some of the information, but I am also looking for some assistance to start the resident visa process or even open bank account, as I am not familiar with the process and hand at the beginning will be helpfull

Hi pol_can,

While waiting for our members to come up with solutions to  your questions,I'd request you to have a look at the Living in Ecuador guide to find out all you need to know to relocate and live in Ecuador.

Regards,

Sarvesh
https://www.expat.com team

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Thanks James. How trusty the group or personals are? What documents you need to prepare for the resident visa, besides Passport and RCMP?

This information will be helpful

Thanks in advance?

They have been really helpful with me, I contacted them while I was in USA. They guided me to get the necessary paperwork and once I arrived here they worked on my visa process.
They guided me through the process easily. I'm sure the requirements vary depending on the visa you will apply for, but you should contact them for more information. I wouldn't like to give you wrong information.

On the Ecuador gov web sites, they provide lists of required documents.
The process is straightforward and you do not need anybody to help you, the exception being   with spanish and in some offices, there are bi-lingual workers to help.

AMDG :

On the Ecuador gov web sites, they provide lists of required documents.
The process is straightforward and you do not need anybody to help you, the exception being with spanish and in some offices, there are bi-lingual workers to help.

The concept that you can do it yourself and get bi-lingual help from Ministry employees .. is probably good advice for savvy Expats in Cuenca.  The metro-Cuenca office has developed a long-time reputation for hiring helpful bi-linguals who assist Expats in getting a visa on their own.

The other offices don't have that reputation.  90 percent of Expats who don't seek the residency visa through the Cuenca-area office are setting themselves up for trouble if they try to do the process on their own without a visa facilitator or immigration attorney:

1.  The language barrier can be a problem in other offices which don't service a relatively Gringo-rich population such as Cuenca's.

2.  The language-barrier situation is amplified by problems that frequently crop up.  In Quito several years ago, my visa application was submitted late due to a clerical error at the State Department in Washington, D.C.  My talented attorney knew how to obtain the rarely-sought 45-day tourist extension that gave us time to get the error corrected. As a result, I had the peace of mind to submit the visa application timely without my having to leave Ecuador in the meantime due to my expiring tourist stamp.

3.  Newly arriving Expats have 100 things on their minds, one of which often is improving Spanish-language skills which are typically wanting at the outset.  Putting the burden of the visa process on your back when you can afford to hire a visa facilitator or immigration attorney is counterproductive, in my opinion, at a challenging time when one's energies are better spent on other things.  These often may include finding a permanent home, furnishing the home, meeting new friends, taking Spanish classes and having time to relax without shouldering the visa burden absent a professional partner.  Pitfalls include frustration, confusion, fear and even depression.

4.  Ecuador's immigration law was re-done several months ago and the bureaucrats will be sorting out interpretations and issuing revised rules under a newly-elected administration for months to come.  If there was ever a time to have a visa professional on your side, it is this year.

cccmedia

At least in Guayaquil, it was only spanish, hence the need for spanish help if needed....
Doing it yourself is an option for those interested........the bonus is you will learn more about how things work here......

COuld you send me the link, with such inform.

Thanks

AMDG :

The process is straightforward and you do not need anybody to help you, the exception being with Spanish....

The home page of the requested website of the Cancillería or Ministry is www.cancilleria.gob.ec

However, if AMDG's comment about this being straightforward made you think there are easy-to-follow instructions at this government website, you may be disappointed.

The site used to have an English-language option, at least for the welcome page, but I don't see that option now.

cccmedia

The important part is the spanish language......but this is also an opportunity to learn......
Being able to speak at least some spanish here opens up so many opportunities....it is a process, little by little you learn......it just takes time, practice and patience.

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Do NOT bring certified checks, they take 30 days to clear. Best to have your bank wire money. However, you cannot open a bank account without the cedula and they just changed the rules for getting one. Immigration told my facilitator that you cannot get the permanent vise/cedula for 21 months now. This is due to the new law. You can open an account at JEP which is not a real bank but again the 30 day wait. It also appears that the IESS is going to go up drastically in the next 2 months to 17% of your social security. I got here March 4 so I am very involved in all of this. I just got quotes from private health ins companies here and they ranged from $99,50-$190.00 per month.

Shar Sand :

It also appears that the IESS is going to go up drastically in the next 2 months to 17% of your social security.

This doesn't make any kind of sense to me, because the system would be extremely complicated, and would vary for so many people from all walks of life. For example what about people not collecting social security yet?

Can you elaborate?

Don't know about younger folks not on SS yet but got the info from a very good source.

1) I believe we are not going to experience changes in social security administration rules.
2) you can open a bank account in some banks with no Ecuador cedula. You may need proper references
3) yes! A foreign check can take long time to clear. American checks one month. European checks even more
4) with the new law you first are a temporary resident. After around 2 years you can apply for the permanent status. Previous criteria on obtaining residence maintains.  You can obtaIn a resident visa through investment, buying land, your foreign university title, your pensionist condition, business, etc.

vsimple :
Shar Sand :

It also appears that the IESS is going to go up drastically in the next 2 months to 17% of your social security.

This doesn't make any kind of sense to me, because the system would be extremely complicated, and would vary for so many people from all walks of life. For example what about people not collecting social security yet?

Can you elaborate?

Here is where I saw someone speculating on that:

http://www.gringopost.com/2017/04/iess- … e-for.html

What reference you are referring?

Looks like the new rules is nothing more than for the government of Ecuador collect more money for temporary and permanent visa. Nicaragua could be next cheap attraction to settle

pol_can :

Looks like the new rules is nothing more than for the government of Ecuador collect more money for temporary and permanent visa. Nicaragua could be the next cheap attraction to settle.

Nicaragua?  Why?

There is not adequate policing outside the major cities for the State Department to allow its personnel to go there.   Source:  U.S. State Department travel website

Average high temperatures in every month of the year in the capital, Managua, are 88-93 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning it gets into the mid-90's frequently in many months.

Medellín, Salento, and Quindío -- all in Colombia -- are safer and likelier choices for Expat masses going forward, especially now that FARC ex-rebels have agreed to allow a peaceful transition to occur. 

Also, the Colombian peso is trading at about 2,900 to the U.S. dollar, giving dollarized Expats big bang for their bucks.

cccmedia

You maybe right Colombia could be another choice

Two days ago I talked to a Member of the Council in the Social Security Administration in Ecuador. I asked him about rumors to raise the percentage. He said that they have not taken such decision

WHat are the best interest right now and what bank? Are those interested are taxed in Ecuador

I love Vilcabamba. Vibrant expat community. Weather great. 600-800 part or full time expats including a sizable Canadian number. Town is 6000 approx.
if you like city life Cuenca. Also, cotacachi / Otavalo. Skype. Dicksondangers.

DicksonDangers :

I love Vilcabamba. Vibrant expat community. Weather great. 600-800 part or full time expats including a sizable Canadian number. Town is 6000 approx.
if you like city life Cuenca. Also... Otavalo.

Vilcabamba can be a great choice because of great weather, elevation lower than Quito and Cuenca .. and the highest percentage of Expats of any place in Ecuador.

Otavalo is a different story.  Yes, it has a popular market, although 98 percent of the stuff is available in Quito as well.  I found Otavalo to be a dusty town.  I doubt that more than a few Expats live there.  The local priest discriminated against me.  He was going to allow me to meditate in his church on a quiet weekday afternoon when nobody else was around.  Then he asked me if I was Catholic.  When I told him I had been raised Jewish, he flatly refused my request to meditate in his empty chapel. 

cccmedia

cccmedia :

When I told him I had been raised Jewish, he flatly refused my request to meditate in his empty chapel. 
cccmedia

Not at all the treatment any versions of any Spanish bibles Protestant or Catholic advocate towards extranjeros and ajenos...and I would hope this priest is not representative of his Church, in fact I would say he is not.  And not to mention, the Bible itself was mostly (all?) written by Jews...and Jesus was a Jew...

As a child in Quito I attended the Catholic school Cardinal Spellman run by Franciscans.  Although I was raised a Protestant they welcomed me with open arms.  Of course they also made me memorize the mass and various other incantations in Spanish!

Just to point out, I have been warmly welcomed at the Iglesias in Anconcito, in Libertad, Santa Elena and here in Montañita.

I am a Jew.

I do enter the Iglesias when friends are celebrating life events.
And my dear friend and fellow Anglophile in Anconcito was Padre Colin from Scotland.

So it is more likely the specific church in question. Of course it is not unheard to be asked not to pray or "meditate" in a house of worship not of your faith. While in my tradition we do in fact allow others to worship in a Reform or Conservative synagogue, an Orthodox synagogue may not be as welcoming.

One last point, I live diagonally across from Iglesia San Isidro Labrador and so I hear mass on Sunday. The Offering portion uses the same song here as they did in Anconcito and never fails to make me smile. They sing "Aveinu Shalom Alecheim" in Spanish. A Jewish, Hebrew, folksong -- may we all live together in peace, Amen.

So from Montañita, which is also home to one of the three synagogue s in Ecuador, Peace Be With You.

Susan

Hello Gregory,
I have one suggestion that Im certain may other expats have given you. VISIT HERE BEFORE YOU MAKEANY DECISONS that beibg said several times also!   Ihave lived in Salinas for   over 1 year after traveling much of the world  investigating potential places and cultures to retire to. There is no substitiution for due dilligence  (do your own homework). You and only you will know what interests you and how flexible you will be about resettling in another country with a different language, culture & customs. As for resident visas, unelss U have a ton o fpatience and fortutude  dont try to navigate the system on your own! Its not worth the hassle and pittfalls u may run into on your own and also the language barrier in most  visa application offices DONT EXPECT EVERYONE TO SPEAK ENGLISH!!. Pay A Profesional its well worth the fees they charge you may be able to have the process completed for you while U are in Canada and  pick up your visa at a canadian Ecuador councils office in your province or close by , avoiding the additional cost of purchasing a round trip ticket when U enter Ecuador to retire here. Yes,  Ecuador requires everyone to have a ticket out of the country when you enter ( check out the requirenents) ! Come on down & discover  for yourself if its for you.   Good luck Ciao  Jim

Thanks for the info. How is yours spanish?

When I moved to Ecuador a year and a half ago, I previously got all my documentation vetted by the Ecuadorian Consulate in Ottawa.  On recommendation via Expat.com I had secured a trilingual lawyer firm in Loja and paid them a lot of money.  I already spoke Spanish well enough to get by.  However, I found it a  comfort to know that I was being taken care of in terms of my residency visa.    I moved to Ecuador having never visited there previously.  An addendum - the lawyers did almost nothing for me except to vet the documents and say, yes, all is correct.  They bought me a bus ticket for Machala and told me where to go to apply for residency visa.  I did it alone.  In retrospect, it might have been worth it for the comfort  value alone, because I did not know what to except at all from the bureaucracy.  However, I later felt that it had been too much money to have paid, as I could communicate adequately   .  So it appears to be a tossup  Either you pay your money and feel secure, or do not pay and feel less secure.
I have never used those lawyers again and use a Spanish speaking lawyer, he does not speak English, he is a good guy.
HelenP

I would never open a financial bank account here that is not with a legitimate bank. It's bad enough laws can change here tomorrow without notice and gringo bank accounts can be frozen.  I do have a bank account here, & only keep minimal amounts of money in it,


Alsobut when I moved here, for me and my husband to get our cedulas, we had to do the investment CD's.  Our preconstruction condo was not completed, and so w/o the escritura, we didn't qualify for our cedulas.  I wish I had known about the "professional" cedula at that time.  So our attorney had us fly in for 2 weeks to complete the whole process ahead of our permanent trip.  Of course, I had to mule a bunch of stuff for him from the US, & when we got here he had nothing prepared or ready and it was a wasted and expensive trip.  We signed power of attorney papers for him to open our bank accounts and to have everything ready 3 weeks later, cause we also had our container coming at that time.  I would estimate that 3 months after we permanently moved here that he finally told us he was listed as a beneficiary on our investment CD's if either one of us died.  Watch everything, make sure you understand everything and hire court translators if necesary.  It's worth the money to ensure you are not screwed in the end.  But prepare yourself mentally for it anyway, because if you live here long enough, you will be multiple times.  I just laugh about it these days.

Also we have a PayPal account with an international PayPal credit/debit card that we mostly use now.  We also have our monthly internet bill paid by it on a recurring fee so if we ever need to do a chargeback, we are protected.  Just make sure you take every precaution to protect yourself!!

Thanks for the information. This is my major concern local lawyer will try screw you up. You pay them many for good service and you still have to do all the work yourself. One person told me that pay the fees and he still have to go to the immigration office, prepare all the papers and notarized in your home country, Apostille Or Authentication the documents and pay all the fees

YES I totally agree with you USE A PROFESSIONAL ! Language barrier can be frustrating and very troubling if you do not speak fluent spanish.  If you use a professional you do not have to be here during the process you can be out of the country and they will process all the paperwork for you and then when you arrive everythihg is complete. Some people think they are saving money but how much is yur sanity worth if you run into difficulty (which most of the time is the case doing it on your own)!

I was told you have to be in Ecuador when apply and during the process and you can't leave Ecuador

No i gave my atty power of atorney she did everything which is why i say use a pofessional & and ask questions before you pay their fee.

The problems with lawyer that they tell you all what you want to hear. Then after you pay them the process start getting roadblocks and problems. I spoke with couple lawyers and everyone is telling different process. As I wrote before one told me I have to apply incide Ecuador. Then different kind of documentations is required. ONe told me that the DOB is not required, another told me that is reayared.

The problem that I don't trust lawyers. Lawyer when they get pay, they pretty much do not care any more about the client and the requirements change and this creates many frustrations, because when the is need for additional document and you in Ecuador is not easy the get those documents but you also have to those document notarized and apostolate.

pol_can :

Lawyers when they get pay, they pretty much do not care any more about the client and the requirements change and this creates many frustrations...

A client obviously has a choice of lawyers.  If a lawyer demands most or all of his fee upfront, find another one who is in less of a rush for payment.  Then he/she has the incentive to achieve the best result .. and you keep leverage.

cccmedia

Yes correct you have choices!  I was provided all the information needed for my residency visa application also her fees  govt, fees as well prior to hiring her.  We spoke on the fone and exchanged emails several times no money exchanged . I came to Cuenca had one meeting with her after reading several satisfied reviews, n she asked for half as a retainer. I went to a notary with her assistant,  all very professionally handled, signed the limited POA necessary for my application, she even told me that as a senior I get 50% off notary fees which was a savings. I was able to return to the states obtain all the background and forms filled out with  information & aposlty as required, emailed her copys of the docs to insure all were correct ( all were in order). I Fedexed the docs to her in Cuenca and waited the required time and everything went just as she said. Since there was a councils office in Los Angeles I picked up my visa there paid the govt.  fees. Yes,  upon arrival I did have to go to the required office to register the visa ( it took 3 days which she told me  prior no surprises, they require a waiting period to process it ). I had to do this on my own since I was not returning to Cuenca  Ibelieve that if I were going back to Cuenca she would have done that for me as well. In the meantime I was able to secure my cedula all in Quito.    That was it, in 3 days I had my permanent residency visa ! No hidden charges or delays all professionally handled.  Hope youhave a good experince if you decide to do the process on your own . Good Luck,  Jim

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