The great thing about Ecuador is that it has one of the most lenient visa policies, which means citizens of most countries don’t need to apply for a visa prior to their entry into Ecuador.
However, there are still people who need to get a visa from an Ecuadorian mission before visiting Ecuador. And, even if you don’t need a visa to enter Ecuador as a tourist, you might need to extend it or convert it, should you want to stay there for more than 90 days.
This visa guide will cover Ecuador visa requirements, extension, overstay and everything else you need to know about Ecuador visas.
Who Needs a Visa for Ecuador
The short answer is that, most countries don’t need a visa for Ecuador. Here is a map to explain that.There are 23 countries that need an Ecuador visa.
If you are from one of the countries marked in grey in the map, you need to apply for an Ecuador tourist visa at an Ecuadorian mission, and you can enter Ecuador only if you get a visa. The countries that need a T-3 visa prior to their entry to Ecuador are:
You can check whether you need a visa for Ecuador on the website of Ecuador’s foreign ministry.
Who is Visa Free for Ecuador?
There are many nationalities who are visa exempt for Ecuador. This means that you simply showed up at the border or landed at the airport, and they stamped your passport with an entry date and the number of days.
You didn’t have to show any hotel reservations or anything else. It’s a tourist stamp or visa waiver issued at the border. This means
- You didn’t get a sticker visa on your passport.
- You just got an entry stamp on your passport. As simple as that.
- You get 90 days in a rolling 365 period.
What Does Ecuador Entry Stamp Look Like?
However, if you want to stay for longer than 90 days, then you can either extend your visa in Ecuador or get a visa from an Ecuadorian mission before coming to Ecuador.
Nationals of most countries including EU, USA, Australia, Canada would fall into this category.
Where Can You Apply for Ecuador Visa?
Ecuador has embassies all over the world. Depending on where you are, see if there is an Ecuadorian embassy. If there is no diplomatic representation of Ecuador in your country, check out the one that’s closest and see if they can process your visa application.
Once you are in Ecuador, you can extend or convert your existing visa as well as apply for a new visa in a zonal coordination office of Migraciones Ecuador.
Types of Ecuador Visas
There are 32 types of Ecuador visas which can be subdivided into 2 different categories: non-resident visas, temporary resident visas and permanent resident visas.
1. Tourist visa or 12-IX visa
A tourist visa or 12-X visa is for foreigners who want to visit Ecuador for tourism purpose, for up to 90 days in a year.
2.Special Tourist Visa
Nationals who are visa-exempt for Ecuador can apply for the 180-day Ecuador special tourist visa from an Embassy or Consulate of Ecuador abroad.
You can only receive the 180-day Ecuador tourist visa once every five years.
Temporary Resident Visas
The resident visas allow the holder to stay in Ecuador for 2 years, and get them renewed after that.
Read Valerie’s experience here on getting Ecuador residency visa for U.S. citizen in Quito.
1. Work Visa or 12-VI Visa for Ecuador
An Ecuadorian work visa allows the holder to legally work in Ecuador, if he/she is employed for an Ecuadorian employer.
2. Retirement/ Rentista visa : 9-I visa
A foreigner can retire in Ecuador as a pensioner, by proving a monthly income of at least $800. If accompanied by family, he/she needs to justify $100 more per dependent.
This income can be generated from investments in countries other than Ecuador or from social Security, a prior Public Employer, or past Private Employer.
Here is how to get an Ecuador retirement visa in detail.
3. Investor visa: 9-II & 9-III
A foreign citizen can get an Investor visa by investing a minimum of $40,000 in Ecuador in various sectors such as real estate, industrial, etc.
4. Scientist/ Investigator/ Academic visa
Foreigners dedicated to carrying out scientific, research or academic activities in Ecuador can get this visa.
5. Athlete/Artist/Cultural Visa
This visa is for foreigners involved in sports, academic purposes, science, technology, innovation, art. It allows them to stay in Ecuador for 180 days, and can be renewed multiple times.
6. Religious or 9-IV Visa
Foreigners who want to carry religious activities or religious volunteering that are not linked to the Convention of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, can get a religious visa.
7. Episcopal Conference Visa
Foreigners wanting to carry out duties on behalf of the Ecuadorian Religious Episcopal Conference can get this visa.
8. Volunteer/12-VII visa
Foreign nationals who want to volunteer in Ecuador through a registered NGO other registered organizations can get this visa.
9. Student visa or 12-V visa
Foreigners who want to pursue their studies in the undergraduate or graduate level can get a student visa from an Ecuadorian diplomatic mission or zonal coordination office.
10. Professional/9-V Visa
A foreigner wanting to perform professional, technical, technological or artisan activities in Ecuador can apply for this visa. The best thing about an Ecuador professional visa is that it gives you the freedom of being a digital nomad without worrying about jobs.
11. Convention Visa
Foreign nationals working for international organizations affiliated with Ecuador can get this visa to perform their official duties.
12. Mercosur Visa
Foreign nationals belonging to Mercosur countries, can live, do business, and work in Ecuador legally. Diplomatic missions of Ecuador or Zonal Coordination offices in Ecuador can issue this.
13. Unasur Visa
Foreign nationals belonging to South America, can live, do business, and work in Ecuador legally. Diplomatic missions of Ecuador or Zonal Coordination offices in Ecuador can issue this.
14. Commercial Activity Visa
Foreigners arriving in special, commercial, or industrial vessels that enter the country to carry out activities on such vessels. This type of visa has no time limits abroad and will allow its holder multiple admissions to the country.
Permanent Resident Visas
Permanent resident visas authorize a foreigner to stay indefinitely in Ecuador. The main requirement for this is to reside in Ecuador with a Temporary Residence Visa for a minimum of 21 months.
Permanent residents can be out of the country for a period of no more than 180 days in each year during the first 2 years; after these first 2 years they can be absent up to 5 years.
Eventually permanent residents can become citizens.
Amparo/Family Visa : 9-VI Visa
Amparo visa is a family visa that allows foreigner who are married to an Ecuadorian Citizen or Ecuadorian Permanent Resident to live in Ecuador.
Foreigners whose other immediate family member (i.e. parent or child) is already an Ecuadorian Citizen or Ecuadorian Permanent Resident, can get this too.
Once the temporary residency is obtained, you can enroll in the social security system or other private health insurance.
Temporary residents can be out of the country for a maximum of 90 days each year.
Jump to the complete guide on Ecuador Amparo Visa.
Ecuador Visa Requirements: Documents Checklist
Tourist Visa for Ecuador
- Roundtrip flight tickets
- Hotel reservations for your stay
- Certificate of Financial Responsibility to prove that the applicant has the sufficient funds for expenses while in Ecuador
- Bank statements that show that you are making more than 600$ per month
- Travel insurance
Tourists entering Ecuador must have proof of insurance that will cover them during their stay in the case of a medical emergency. The law says this can be insurance from private or public companies. Travel insurance is commonly purchased for this purpose.
- 2 x 2 Color Passport-size pictures in white background, without any headgear
- Police clearance certificate
- A signed cover letter from the Applicant stating the reasons of travel, as well as mentioning whether you are self-employed or have a job.
- Birth certificate.
- If travelling unaccompanied: Letter of consent from the parent/s or legal guardian/s.
- Letter of Invitation to attend an event or seminar, conference etc.
Ecuador Retirement Visa
- Proof of “Guaranteed Pension” for life that is issued or provided by either Social Security, a prior public/private Employer.
- Proof of income receiving from abroad through investments.
Ecuador Work Visa
- Employment contract with the public/ private company.
- Registration certificate from Ecuadorian ministry.
- Proof that the employer has no outstanding obligations with SRI ( Servicio de Rentas Internas del Ecuador) and IESS (Instituto Ecuatoriano de Seguridad Social).
- Résumé (CV) of the applicant, proving professional experience.
- Copies of academic degrees
Ecuador Professional Visa
- Transcripts from a university authorized by SENESCYT Ecuador, the degree approving institution.
- Bank statements for the last 6 months.
- Proof of recurring income of $400.
Ecuador Visa Fees
The visa fees for Ecuador frequently change. It’s best to contact the Ecuadorian consulate in your country to double-check the fees before applying for a visa. Here are the latest fees.
|Episcopal Conference visa||Free|
|Scientist/ Investigator/ Academic visa||$450|
|Commercial Activity visa||$450|
Can You Leave Ecuador When Your Visa is Under Process?
If you leave Ecuador while your visa is being processed, you would have to submit a new migration certificate and start the process again. Basically, you will lose your application status and have to start over.
However, if you have a valid visa already and can come back before that visa runs out, then you will be fine.
How Long Can You Stay in Ecuador as a Tourist
As per Ecuador visa requirements, the longest you can stay in Ecuador is 180 days in a Calendar year. It’s the same for people entering on a tourist visa and for people who are visa exempt.
It can be a continuous stay or various visits during the period of one calendar year. You can make multiple entries, as long as you are only in the country for 90 days total. Entry and exit days count as full days.
However you must know that you will only get 90 days visa-free in a Calendar year. The 90 days are divisible. For example: 40 days stay in Ecuador, travel to Peru, and then reenter Ecuador for another 50 days possible.
You will get 90 more days visa-free after 9 months of the day your first 90 days are consumed.
That being said, If you want more than 90 days after entering Ecuador, you need to extend your stay in Ecuador.
Ecuador Tourist Visa Extension
If you want to stay in Ecuador for longer than 90 days, you can extend your stay in a Migraciones office of Ecuador, in a city that has a regional city center. You can extend your visa for 90 days more.
It’s called the ‘Visitante Temporal’ or VT visa. You may obtain this once ever in a calendar year, after you consume the 90 days.
If you still want to stay as a tourist after these two 90-day periods and not yet apply for a resident visa, you may apply and pay for the ‘Visa Especial de Turismo’ which will allow you to stay in Ecuador for another 180 days.
This 180-day visa can only be obtained after you have received the T-3 stamp and have applied, paid for and received the VT stamp.
Ecuador Tourist Visa Conversion
Although, not every country allows you to convert your tourist visa while you are inside the country, Ecuador does. Should you find a job or become a volunteer or study in Ecuador, you can convert your tourist visa to an appropriate visa by submitting the required documents and paying the fees.
Ecuador Visa Overstay Fines
When it comes to overstay, Ecuador doesn’t cut you slack. To decide your penalties, they use two methods.
1. Minimum Overstay
If you have overstayed, you could go to a migraciones office within the first 30 days of your overstay and ask them for an extension.
It’s very much possible that you will receive an extension as mentioned above, and wouldn’t get a ban or fine when you leave. So effectively, you are given a full 30 days grace period to go get an extension on a 90-day initial stay.
2. Maximum Overstay
If you overstay beyond 120 days, there is no grace period. You need to pay the fine (that’s 2 X the basic wage= $788 ), and get the paid extension and go to exit before 180 days.An overstay beyond 180 days, is going to cost you a $788 fine and a two year ban.
And then you need to apply for a consulate visa outside of Ecuador if you want to return.
All these things might vary a little depending on the immigration officer’s mood. Be polite, apologetic and patient. But the bottomline is that the overstay depends on how long you have overstayed.
And if you want to return any time within those 2 years, you will have to go to a consulate outside of Ecuador to get a special consulate visa or special tourist visa that will still require the $788 fine be paid and $450 or more for this special visa.
Note:- If the basic wage goes up, your fine goes up as well.
All that being said, I would never recommend anyone to overstay. It’s always a slippery slope. You never know how and when it can come and bite you.