We are Canadian.  Do we wait until we are in Ecuador then look for an immigration lawyer to help us become permanent residents?  Do we first go there on a visitors visa?  How long would the process take?  Any ideas about the average immigration lawyer charges?\
Thanks so much for any response.

As a Canadian then living in Ottawa, I used the Ecuadorian Consulate-Embassy there for all documentation.  YOu could do the same from another location in Canada, e.g. Vancouver.  Things were very different in Vancouver for a friend of mine when she left , a year before me.  She did not need translations or something which I needed.  Ask first!  I needed all documents apostilled, or equivalent process, by the then DFAIT of Canada, for criminal background checks I went to Ont. Prov. Police office for the certification, for the Mounties I went to a recommended place which does the process for you, i.e. takes your fingerprints and sends them to the RCMP and gets them back, etc.   I went to the Consulate 9 times, this included verifying all documentation that was required.  I hired a certified translator to translate all the relevant documentation and paid her, she and I went to a Notary Public to certify that she was who she was and had done the translations.  A lot of processing, but it worked.  My Vancouver friend had it much easier, I have no idea why.  I did everything that as asked, exaclty as it was asked.  I got my M.A. certification and even Transcripts for the Professional Visa process and had them certified, apostilled or whatever process it was.  I think that Canada has no apostille process and therefore I had to use DFAIT certification for everything.  You might want to get your 5 year diriving record and drivers license done also. I also had my B.A. certified for good measure, just in case it was required.  When I got to Loja, in southern Ecuador, I used a lawyer previously recommended on this website I think, John Espinosa, who charged me US$900 for looking at the documents for 10 minutes and he said, this is fine.  An assistant, a very young lawyer, met me at the bus station and gave me my bus ticket, for which I had paid him, to go to Machala, along with the address of the place where I applied for a Residency Visa.  For this I paid the US$900.  I am not specifically saying that I could have done it myself or nothing, but maybe...  All the stuff in Ecuador  Embassy-Consulate was free, all the checking.  You need to make sure that you are confident in the process all the way, maybe you could use a Visa facilitator, they have them in Cuenca and elsewhere.
Good luck.

thanks so much

My wife and I moved to Salinas about 8 weeks ago and are loving it here. We just got our temporary retirement visas and are waiting our appointment to pick up our Cedulas in Guayaquil. We got all of our paper work done before we left the States. After reading a lot of what is on this website and another, we decided to hire an Ecuadorian attorney before moving here, we are using Sara Chaca in Cuenca. I think she charged about $1600 US for the 2 of us. She made it extremely easy for us, told us what documents were required and whom to request them from, address and phones included. This was involving 3 different States and different agencies with the Federal government for 2 items. We scanned them to her as we received them, she verified that they met the requirements, then she gave us the addresses to send them to be apostled. When received from them, scan to her again, if accurate (and they all were), hold them until we came to Ecuador and met with her office. A few weeks after we sent the documents to her we met at her office, and one of her staff to us to our interview for our visas, all very simple, no surprises. A couple of weeks later we sent her our passports, and a few days later we got emails saying our visas were approved and gave us the info for them. So, i am suggesting that we found using an attorney-especially that one, to be well worth our while. OH, my wife speaks very little Spanish and mine is still quite 'broken'!!
Hope this perspective helps you as much as all the info others provided on this site before i made my decision on how to proceed, good luck.

I have seen on an earlier forum like this, that some people use Visa Angel in Cuenca, which is a facilitator and not attorney, but cheaper and they said reliable.  Ask around some more.

thank you so much for the info, are you settling in Cuenca?  Have you travelled anywhere else, like Loja, Otovalo, Quito or Villcabamba?  We did a three week visit to those places, just loved it.

I live outside Vilca.

Hi There SheWota,

Happy New Year first of all.

Thought I could add some comments about residency in Ecuador.

I'm a Canadian as well and have been living in the U.S. for some 30+ years now. I just retired
and now considering moving to Ecuador. My wife and I have done some exploratory work on residency
and this is what I can share. I'll address your questions below:

(1) Do we wait until we are in Ecuador then look for an immigration lawyer to help us become permanent residents?

Recommended- The immigration attorneys (abogado in Spanish) are really good especially in the larger cities like Quenca and Quito. They do all the footwork and translation etc. As we well, they have all the internal local federalle,government contacts etc. and get through the system efficiently.  All you have to do is get your
background checks, state and federal (in Canada-provincial (OPP and federal RCMP). The abogado will tell you where you need to go in Canada to get these things and instruct accordingly. It is recommended that you introduce yourself to an immigration attorney during your exploratory visit.

(2) Do we first go there on a visitors visa?

Yes, when you first arrive in country, they will stamp your passport with a visitor's visa,called a T-3. The T-3 is good for 90 days and is no charge This visa can be extended up to an additional 90 days for a cost of $200 U.S. Your maximum stay in Ecuador is 180 days/year on a tourist visa. You could do that yearly if you like.

(3) How long would the process take?

For a residency visa, you have to start with a 2 year visa. If handled internally, it can take as little as a couple of weeks (paper work in order and a good attorney) and can be done in country if you are still there on a tourist visa, The residency visa can be extended to a permanent visa (like a Green Card in the U.S.) after the two (2) visa is about to run out.

(4) Any ideas about the average immigration lawyer charges?

A typical attorney fees (internal in Ecuador) should be about $1,700 per visa app. Of course, that is typical for U.S. residents. If may differ slightly for Canadians.

My wife and I are going down for an exploratory visit in May and are thinking about retiring on the coast (Salinas). Our immigration attorney is in Cuenca. We plan to meet with her when we down there
to get a jump start on the residency visa.

Hope this helps.

John W.

thanks for the info

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