Ecuador's New Immigration Law (2017)

The new 2017 Immigration Law of Ecuador, also called the “Human Mobility Act” (known in Spanish as “Ley de Movilidad Humana”), has now been officially implemented, and is currently in full force in virtually every respect.  This new Ecuador Immigration Law serves as the replacement of the previous Immigration Law in Ecuador, and was created and passed to decrease the number of categories and make immigration to Ecuador a more simplified process.  Whether that goal has been achieved or not,  it still remains to be seen, and surely there will be many different opinions on the subject as we move forward.

Ecuador Tourist Visas (Ecuador Visitor Visas):

Ecuador’s new immigration law permits two separate types of temporary visitors:

Tourists/Visitors* – Individuals who are intending to spend up to 90 days in Ecuador on a FREE Visitor Visa (also called an “Ecuador Tourist Visa T-3 Stamp”), plus individuals who are intending to spend in excess of 90 days in Ecuador (generally on a combination of a FREE Tourist Visa and a PAID Tourist Visa Extension that can be obtained while here on one’s first free 90 day stay in Ecuador)
Persons in Transit* – Individuals en route to their final intended destination (typically through an Ecuadorian Airport), that are simply passing through Ecuador, without the intention or act of staying/lodging in Ecuador
*Any person who visits Ecuador with the sole intent of carrying out tourism related activities is NOT permitted to be employed or work in Ecuador for any Ecuadorian company or organization. This rule does NOT apply to one’s ability to work remotely by computer or phone while here in Ecuador, carrying out the duties of their own job, business or organization that is officially domiciled outside of Ecuador.

As indicated above, a FREE Tourist Visa is valid for 90 days, and is generally provided automatically on arrival to Ecuador to persons from countries who do not need to present anything else other than their valid Passport from their country of origin. Some notable country exceptions to this FREE 90 day Tourist Visa currently include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Senegal and Cuba.  Also as stated earlier in this article, Tourists have the option to apply for an additional 90 day Tourist Visa Extension. In the case that a Tourist wants to remain in Ecuador for a more substantial duration of time, the Tourist may also apply for a special class of extension that will provide them with an additional 180 day period as a Tourist in Ecuador (it is important to note that such special class of extension can only be granted to a Tourist one time in every 5 year period, so simply put, this is NOT a way to stay in Ecuador year round).

“Ecuador Residency Visa” Types (for those wishing to reside in Ecuador)

Currently, two different types of Ecuador Residency Visa’s exist.

Temporary Residency Visas
Permanent Residency Visas
Temporary Residency Visas (valid for 2 years of Residency):

Any person who wishes to remain in Ecuador for a more substantial duration of time, needs to apply first for and receive a type of visa that allows them to be a Temporary Resident of Ecuador for up to two years, on what is aptly known as a “Temporary Residency Visa”.  A person on a Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa is permitted to leave Ecuador up to 90 days in their first year of Temporary Residency, and once again up to 90 days in their second year of Temporary Residency – failure to adhere to this 90 day requirement in each of one’s first two years of Temporary Residency (counted from the date that a person’s Temporary Residency Visa stamp is placed into their foreign issued Passport), will result in the cancellation of their Temporary Residency Visa by the Ecuadorian Government.

If during or following one’s Temporary Residency in Ecuador, the Temporary Resident desires to leave Ecuador for a protracted period of time (or leave Ecuador forever), they are free to depart if they have no need to ever return to Ecuador for any reason or purpose.  However, if in such case, a Temporary Resident does return to Ecuador after a protracted absence from the country (and in so doing had lost their Ecuadorian Temporary Residency Visa), then they will either need to re-enter Ecuador on a new Ecuadorian Tourist Visa and/or need to apply for a new Ecuador Temporary Residency Visa, depending on the circumstances and timing of their protracted departure from Ecuador to determine if, or what type, of new visa Ecuador may require.

Permanent Residency Visas (generally valid for a lifetime of Residency):

For any person whose intention  is to become a long-term Resident of Ecuador (i.e. for more than the two year period of Residency that is granted to any Temporary Resident of Ecuador), a type of visa known as a “Permanent Residency Visa” exists for that purpose.  A person on a Ecuador Permanent Resident Visa is permitted to leave Ecuador up to 180 days in their first year of Permanent Residency, and once again up to 180 days in their second year of Permanent Residency – failure to adhere to this 180 day requirement in either of one’s first two years  (counted from the date that a person’s Permanent Residency Visa stamp is placed into their foreign issued Passport), will result in the loss of one’s Permanent Residency Visa.

That being said, after one’s first two years have been completed on their Permanent Residency Visa, a Permanent Resident is permitted to leave Ecuador for up to 5 years and not face any monetary penalty, nor any loss of their Permanent Residency Visa.  Plus, any person who has been a Resident of Ecuador for at least 5 years is permitted to vote in any Ecuadorian election and/or run for public office in Ecuador.  A Permanent Resident is additionally permitted to apply for Ecuadorian Citizenship and get an Ecuador Passport, once they have been a Permanent Resident of Ecuador for at least three years ( to see other requirements and restrictions regarding Ecuadorian Naturalization, feel free to read my other article on GringoTree, titled, “ECUADORIAN CITIZENSHIP: HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW”),

Any SINGLE qualification that is met by a person from the following list of eligible classes under Ecuador’s new Immigration Law, allows a person to apply for a Permanent Residency Visa in Ecuador:

Any person who has legally been on a “Temporary Residency Visa” for at least 21 months (subject to the above indicated maximum exit requirements of 90 days per year)
Any person who is, or becomes married to, an Ecuadorian citizen (assuming of course that the marriage wasn’t arranged or fraudulent)
Any person who is directly related by blood to an Ecuadorian citizen or any other person who presently maintains Permanent Residency status in Ecuador (as evidenced by an authentic birth certificate showing the direct blood relation)
Any person who is a minor dependent (under the age of 18) or who is a disabled dependent of any other person who presently maintains Permanent Residency status in Ecuador (as evidenced by authentic dependency/disability documents and/or birth certificate too if applicable)
Ecuador Health Insurance Requirement

(ONLY for “long term” Tourists, Temporary Residents & Permanent Residents):

A Tourist who spends no more than 90 days in Ecuador during any given year, does NOT need to show proof of health insurance or travel insurance here in Ecuador.  However, any person who wishes to acquire a Tourist Visa Extension (which would entitle that person to remain in Ecuador past 90 days in any given year), must obtain and provide proof of having a health insurance policy (or a travel health insurance policy) in Ecuador that will cover them for the entire duration of their stay in the country.  As well, any person desiring to be or become a Resident in Ecuador (Temporary Resident and/or Permanent Resident), will also need to provide proof of having a health insurance policy in Ecuador.  Most private health insurance plans in Ecuador currently range in cost from around $60-200 per month for an individual, depending on one’s age and/or health condition.  The Ecuadorian Government’s Health Insurance system, (IESS), is at times restrictive for foreigners to be able to afford or utilize (not being Ecuadorian Citizens themselves), and so in my experience, a high quality private insurance policy issued here in Ecuador is less expensive and easier for Expats to access and benefit from.

All in all, still being a fairly new law at hand – in and of Ecuador new visa laws, Ecuador visa requirements and Ecuador visa types, the Human Mobility Act of Ecuador remains subject to new interpretation/reinterpretation by the Ecuadorian Government, and so it is best to check back regularly as to the applicability and/or enforce-ability of its provisions.  As always, make sure to consider your options, and to consult with competent legal counsel, prior to making an actionable decision for the benefit of yourself and your family.


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Prior to posting, it would have perhaps served your purpose better to review all the previous posts on this topic by your peers in the field.

The changes were announced at the end of 2016 and went into effect in February 2017 over five months ago.

Just an observation but choosing instead to post the substantially same information and at this late date rather than, say, address an important point such as the fact that Temporary Resident Visa holders will not carry cedula -- a matter of some concern --  tends to raise concerns about, as an example, research and preparation on more serious and personal matters than mere social media posts.

Thank you, Sara Chaca, for providing the government's newly-published list of visa requirements .. in English.

Under the new system, can Expats who obtained permanent visas before 2015 and who travel outside Ecuador .. retain visa rights by simply visiting Ecuador once every five years?  Previously, the maximum time out of country was a total of 18 months in five years, as I understand it.


Susan_in_Ecuador :

The changes were announced at the end of 2016 and went into effect in February 2017 over five months ago.

Sara Chaca, do you agree with the above timetable?

It is my understanding that the Ecuadorian legislature approved changes the law in December (2016) .. however, the Correa administration (which exited in May of 2017) did not actually publish the new regulations .. leaving it to the Moreno administration to publish same in June, a short time ago.


Sara Chaca,

In issuing the new rules, the government must have published new fee schedules.

Such numbers have been posted online in the discussions that Susan referenced above, although some of these numbers may be open to question since the rules had not yet been issued.

As you understand it, what are the new fees, including the fees for the dependents of primary visa holders?

For visa applicants whose visas are based on investments, what are the minimum investments in certificates of deposit or real estate to qualify for a visa?

Are temporary-visa applicants required to make investments in CD's or real estate if they do not qualify as pensioners, employed workers, dependents, etc.?

Under the old rules, non-working Expats reported being able to qualify for a professional visa by being graduates of a college or university on a list of Ecuadorian schools of higher education .. or gaining an exception for their school.  Does this class of "professional" visa still exist?


A well written and understandable original post (Attorney Sara), followed by some pertinent questions (CCCmedia), thanks to both.

So, as someone who is considering moving to Ecuador on a permanent basis, I would need to...

1) Enter on a free 90 day visa, which is extendable by a further 90 days - again free.
2) Apply for, and obtain a temporary residents visa which allows me to stay for a further 2 years - requirements and cost to be determined.
3) Towards the end of the above 2 years, apply for and obtain a permanent residents visa - again, requirements and costs to be determined.

Is that right?

If someone could post what the current requirements (Good criminal records check, investment in property, amount of money in the bank, that sort of thing) and costs are, it would be much appreciated.

CCC Media.... great questions and as par for the course no logical explanations.  Typical ecuador, leave everyone hanging and depending on where live and the payoffs the answers are always different.  Sometimes beneficial and sometimes a pain in the butt.

Hi Sara,

I heard that it was easier to apply for temporary residency visas before arriving in Ecuador. Is that true?


I have been living here for the past 3 years and still haven´t got my resident, although i am married to an Ecuadorian woman, i have no problems with my police record, but i get no proper answers why i can´t have it, i think they are braking the law against my spouse and me, but they get away with it, this is Ecuador!

Hi CD,

Yes, it can be easier, however, it takes 90-150 days of waiting in the US from the date that you obtain all of your required US documents and apostilles, so it is a trade off IF your plans might be to come to Ecuador earlier than that.  Otherwise though, it is a great option, officially known as a "Visa Via-Cable", where you apply for and receive your Temporary Residency Visa BEFORE moving to Ecuador.
Have a lovely start to your new week,

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I was under the impression as per last chat with an immigration officer in Rumichaca, in February; visitor's visas will automatically be granted for 180 days.
Has this changed.?

If I obtained permanent residency in 2013, do I have to have and maintain proof of health insurance?  Does anyone know?

There have been many posts on the insurance mandate on the various forums of Ecuador.
My understanding from them, and reading the regs, is that all residents and tourist visas (except for the initial 90 day) require health insurance.
Not sure how this will be enforced, except when people need to visit the office for something like a visa, or transfer you visa........

Attorney Chaca

My wife and I received our Permanent Visas in 2012.

Does it still expire after 10 years and need to be renewed?

Are we still allowed to be out of the country for 18 months in a 5 year  period or does the new 5 year period now apply to us?



Just an informational post, if the original poster of this thread does not respond I highly recommend the top rated visa facilitator in Ecuador, Prof. Dana Cameron.

She has assisted literally thousands of people from dozens of countries over more than a decade in every visa category. Her rates are economical and she will answer your basic questions.

I don't get any kickbacks from this recommendation I just hate to see good people taken in by the pricey come'ons of some visa gringo professional attorney type folks which I have seen using predator tactics on my fellow expats.

Dana Cameron's info is in the business section of
Ecuador Visa Associates - Dana Cameron

Thank you Susan


Thank you so much for the information and explanation.  It is much appreciated.  This might be an unnecessary question but after living here almost a year I have learned no question is too stupid. 

I received my redential VISA  Indifinida and cedula in November 2016.  Does this law have any impact on that VISA or the number of years I must not leave the country for more than 90 days.

Thanks again.

Yes. Residents have 90 days from a decree number 111 made on August 3rd (I believe) to present proof of health coverage to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (provision 5 of the newly instated regulations). What the penalty is for not doing so, is not currently clear, but could go so far as to cancel your visa, I suppose.

My source? an article from a company that assists foreigners with all things related to government and residency.

Thanks PEI Red.  It would be nice to get a second verification on this.  I read the new law a couple weeks ago and did not catch this requirement.  I'm not sure how VISA holders would be aware of this requirement.  I sure wouldn't have unless I read your message. 

Anyone else interpret the law this way? ... Sara?


Considering almost 1 month has passed since the aforementioned deadline was mentioned for expats to get health insurance. I would like to reassure expats who are apprehensive about private insurance that the price of coverage is not only reasonable but exactly what locals pay.

Uhm, I don't think the dealine has past.  What I have read is that Residential VISA holders have 90 days to provide proof of insurance from the effective date of law, which was August 3, 2017.  That would mean the dealine would be November 3, 2017.  Am I missing something? 
After an expenisve oversight of not providing proof of my Residential VISA for the import of my US possessions (No one told me) i think it is very important to provide correct and exact information.

JadeRiver :

Uhm, I don't think the dealine has past.  What I have read is that Residential VISA holders have 90 days to provide proof of insurance from the effective date of law, which was August 3, 2017.  That would mean the dealine would be November 3, 2017.  Am I missing something? 
After an expenisve oversight of not providing proof of my Residential VISA for the import of my US possessions (No one told me) i think it is very important to provide correct and exact information.

No the deadline did not pass. It was never stated that it did. What was stated at the time was that 1 month has passed since the deadline was mentioned. So from this point there's about 6 weeks left. Hope this clears any confusion.

And for people waiting the sooner the better because certain medical coverage don't go into effect immediately. Double check that with your insurance provider.

We have been waiting for clarification on the new laws pertaining to health insurance. One recent rumor was that if you had IESS insurance before February, you would keep your old premium. Is that true? - it is not in the original documents.

Secondly, we expect the government to identify what kind of private health insurance is required. For example, in Spain, they require Zero Deductible health insurance coverage. We can get $20,000 deductible coverage right now but, my guess is, that would defeat the government's intent - hence I expect that coverage to eventually be ruled out.

As usual, the government has put 'the cart before the horse' with their legislation. Expect guidelines and adjustments to come out soon - then we we all be crammed up in line at the final hour to get registered at the government offices.

I'm a permanent resident from the US on a 9I visa with almost 4 years in Ecuador. Can anyone tell me what the requirements are to get a new cédula after marrying an Ecuadorian citizen? Apparently she can get her's at the Registro Civil in Cuenca immediately after our wedding, but I was told I have to go to Azogues. Nobody in the Cuenca Registro Civil could tell me what I would need (in terms of paperwork) when I go to Azogues, or what that process might look like. Help!

I have seen a list in Spanish of all the items that can and can't be brought in duty free after one gets their temporary resident's visa.  Is there a list in English as well?  And do these requirements apply to what we can take off the plane through customs when we first arrive as tourists, or does airport customs have a different set of rules?

Gringoj157 - This is not related to the very important topic on this blog.  You may get a better response if you start a new more appropriate topic title.

Joeyroo - this also is not related to the topic of this blog.  I am hoping this listing stays focused on the medical insurance topic.  This is very important to those of us with residential VISAs.

Joeyroo - look here for a list, which I found by doing a search of the forum:

Foreigners can only get a replacement Cedula in the city where they got their original: Quito, Cuenca (actually Azogues) or Guayaquil.

It is a matter of a few steps, and takes a few weeks.  First an appointment (in Azagues for you) and then you return for the cedula.  You will have to bring proof of the marriage to show why you are requesting the new cedula and of course there is a fee (I think $15)

Hi all,

Now that new law is passed, what is the exact new requirement for naturalization - getting citizenship.

It states that 3years residence is required to apply. It doesnt state temporary resident or permanent etc. So i believe the new law didnt change the naturalization requirement.

Am i correct.
Thank you.

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