If you come to Ecuador as a tourist and wish to stay up to one year, you can obtain a Tourist Extension Visa and a Special Tourism Visa.
If you wish to live in Ecuador for longer than one year, there are 16 resident Visa categories altogether, most of which require that you first apply for a 2-year Temporary Visa. After 21 months of being a Temporary Resident, you can begin the application for Permanent Residency. Note, not all Temporary Visas lead to Permanent Visas.
Once the Temporary Visa is granted, you must show that you have Health Insurance, either through the social security system in Ecuador (IESS), or private health insurance. Gringo Visas can help you navigate health insurance options.
During the time of your 2-year Temporary Residency, you can leave the country for a maximum of 90 days each year, starting from the date on your Visa. Going over 1 day may cause you to be fined or lose your visa status. Read more…
When applying for Permanent Residency, depending on how long you left the country during the first 21 months, you might have to provide new legalized criminal records from both your home country and Ecuador translated into Spanish and legalized.
The 3 most popular Resident Visas for Expats are – Retired, Professional and Investor. To qualify for a Retired Visa you need proof of a retirement plan or pension fund like Social Security that guarantees your pension income of at least $800 per month. If you are applying for a Professional Visa, you need to show proof of income of at least $400 per month, or $9000 in savings.
Buying a Home in Ecuador
It is very important to obtain legal counsel before committing to anything or signing any legal documents. In Ecuador, agreements bind both parties. Therefore, it is very important that the purchase and sale contract is specific and detailed including timing and form of payment, details of the finish construction, and penalties in case either of the parties do not comply with the agreement.
The attorney will ensure the title is free and clear and that the sellers are legitimately working according to Ecuadorian standards. It is important that the attorney is with you throughout the process to ensure that your investment is handled properly.
Francisco Astudillo is an Ecuadorian attorney with more than 10 years of experience working with expats on a variety of legal matters. He is happy to answer any questions you have.