El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Changes to the Ecuadorian Residency Visa Requirements

One big reason to move to Ecuador is the ease with which you can become a LEGAL resident.

Trust me, it stinks to have to make border runs every month or two like expats in Thailand, or overstay your visa illegally.

This year, in 2012, I've started helping new expats in Ecuador get residency visas or tourist visa extensions while they stay in my B&B in Guayaquil.

And through this work, I've witnessed a few changes to the requirements over the course of 2012.

Here they are as I write this on November 23, 2012...

1. A few months ago they abolished the rule that you had to submit your application for residency visas or extensions with at least 30 days remaining before your current visa expires. Now, as long as you get it in while still on a valid visa in Ecuador you're OK.

2. Around August they started requiring foreigners bring a birth certificate (apostilled or certified in an Ecuadorian embassy abroad) from their home country in order to get the "cedula" or your official Ecuadorian ID card.

3. Over the course of the last year Ecuador has opened immigration offices in both Manta and Cuenca where you can apply for residency visas but you still need to come to the main offices in Guayaquil or Quito after the fact to attain your Ecuadorian "Cedula".

4. Last week while helping someone get their cedula, I learned of a brand new rule on the books (directly from the Cedula Officials) that foreigners getting first time cedulas need to get proof of their civil state, meaning if they are single, they need to go to their consulate and get a document verifying they are in fact "single" in their home country, or bring an apostilled or Ecuadorian-Embassy-Certified marriage certificate. Before, if you were single just doing a quick sworn statement in a local notary would do. As of now, they still might accept the sworn statement because new laws usually take a while to begin to get enforced.

What hasn't changed?

Thankfully, for several years now the main qualifications needed for a residency visa have not changed... as of yet. You still qualify for residency in Ecuador if you have a pension over $800 a month (or $900/mon if you'd like to bring a spouse), or an investment in the country legally valued over $25,000.

Dom Buonamici
Murali B&B Airport Guayaquil


  1. My wife and I are amicably separated (no lawyers or government involvement except a statement to the government (Australian) so that we can both get the single rate pension rather than the married rate) . We have been so for a number of years.
    How do I stand re-marital status please? My wife and I now both regard ourselves as single.
    Advice appreciated.


  2. Double check what I am writing here, but I don't think it matters whether you are married or not. The pensioner visa is $800 for the pensioner, and $100 extra for each dependant on that same visa. Unlike many countries, as far as I know Ecuador does not make restrictions on who your dependents are, which makes it attractive to families that may not always fit a cookie cutter formula of Mom and Dad and a couple of minor youngsters. As I read it anyway (caveat: I am not an attorney), if your household is a pair of adults, an adult child over 25 and perhaps your mother-in-law you can still arrange to go as a pensioner ($800/month) and 3 dependents ($100/month each). Somebody correct me if I am wrong.