While Ecuador is a popular destination for tourism, it also is great place to stay and do a remote job or be employed in Ecuador. The professional visa for Ecuador (9-V) allows a foreigner to do that.
If you do not have a Pension sufficient for a Pensioner Visa for Ecuador and/or sufficient funds to invest in an Investor Visa, but have a degree from a foreign university or college, this visa will allow you to be in Ecuador for long.
If you want to be a digital nomad in Ecuador, this is by far the best visa. While many foreigners use this visa to teach English in Ecuador, you can get any other jobs or run your own business freely. Want to run your Etsy store or sell stuff on Shopify, go ahead.
This article is written for someone who would want to get a professional visa while being in Ecuador. But it is also possible to get one from a consulate of Ecuador in your home country although you might need the help of an attorney/facilitator to help with the paperwork(translation/notarization) to be done in Ecuador.
What are the Eligibility Criteria to Qualify for the Professional Visa?
The Ecuador freelance visa criteria is not as strict as other countries that have similar program.
Here are the criteria that you must meet to be able to get the freelance visa:
- You must have a university degree (or higher) that can be revalidated in Ecuador.
Really, that is the only thing you need to have to be eligible for this Ecuador visa type.
Activities Allowed for Holders of Professional Visa for Ecuador
Holder of an Ecuadorian visa for freelancers can
- Teach English in Ecuador, either giving private classes or in a school or university
- Have a remote job
- Open a business in Ecuador
- Sell whatever online
- Be employed in Ecuador legally
Steps to Apply for an Ecuador Visa to Freelance
Applying the Ecuador visa for professionals involves all these steps.
1. Get the Background Check from Your Home Country
A requirement for Ecuador visa for professionals is that you must have a clean criminal record or background check.
And, this is something you must do before coming to Ecuador, as this document mist be from your home country. And this document must be apostilled in your home country.
And after you come to Ecuador, you need to get these translated and notarized.
2. Get your Transcripts Verified in Ecuador
Any foreigner wanting to get a professional visa must be a university graduate and would need to register the educational qualification in SENESCYT ( Secretaría de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación).
You need to get your original transcripts ( certificates, mark sheets) apostilled in your home country. To apostille the transcripts as a US citizen, you can send the original copies to the Secretary of State in the state that diploma was issued in.
In case you have a master’s or any other higher degrees, you need to get them apostilled as well. If your degrees are not in Spanish or English, then you need it to be translated and notarized as well.
Most degrees from the US, Canada, European countries and Australia/New Zealand are usually on the approved list for SENESCYT.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to validate your degree in Senescyt, Ecuador.
Once SENESCYT has received your documents and you have a receipt from them, you can take that receipt to apply for the visa.
3. Apply for the Ecuador Criminal Record Check
The Ecuador criminal record is needed only if you were in Ecuador prior to applying the visa. It is issued by the Ecuadorian ministry of the Interior through the website.
4. Receive the Migratory Movement Certificate in Ecuador
A migratory movement certificate or certificado de movimientos migratorios can be obtained once you are in Ecuador. You can get it from a migraciones office of Ecuador easily by paying $5.
5. Have Health Insurance
In order to be in Ecuador, you must have either private or public health insurance. There are many options to get health insurance. You can get the health insurance through
- from a provider in Ecuador
- by getting nomad insurance from a reliable insurance provider like Safety Wing.
In case you will be working remotely, they also have remote health insurance.
6. Have Money
Since the professional visa for Ecuador allows you to be there without having a job, you must be able to prove your financial stability for this. You can show the bank statements for the last three months and credit card statements as well.
You can also show $400 monthly recurring income. The common sources of income can be
- your job
- rental income
If you don’t have any recurring income, a good bet would be at least $1500 USDs in your account for the last 3 months.
7. Get an Appointment for Ecuador Visa Application
It is possible to submit the Ecuador visa application online and upload the documents. However, the portal is flaky sometimes. If it doesn’t work or you are stuck, simply get an appointment and submit the documents in person.
You can get the appointment for Ecuador professional visa application on the website of Ecuador’s external ministry.
Once you get the appointment, you need to go to the required immigration office with the receipt from SENESCYT and all other documents mentioned above. You need to fill in the Ecuador visa application form and provide the documents.
There might be an interview but they don’t ask too many questions usually.
8. Pay the Visa fees and Get the Visa
Once everything is in order, you would need to pay for the visa. Here are the Ecuador visa fees for the professional visa.
How Long is the Professional Visa Processing Time?
Bureaucracy in Ecuador can sometimes be a little too much to take, but the process is pretty straightforward.
Getting your education validated in Ecuador can take any time from 15 days to a couple of months. If your university is recognized in Ecuador, you can expect a faster turnaround time. But if it is not, then you might need to provide extra documents and things will surely take time.
Once your transcripts are validated or you get a receipt from SENESCYT, getting the professional visa for Ecuador visa would not take more than 15 days.
Professional Visa Extension
The professional visa is valid for 2 years. Before it expires, you can extend this Ecuador visa for two years.
Can Professional Visa Holders Bring Dependents to Ecuador?
Yes you can bring your dependants to Ecuador on a professional visa. You can submit their applications along with yours and pay the visa fees.
Can I Get Ecuador Residency with Professional Visa?
Yes, you certainly can get an Ecuador residency with a professional visa. It is a temporary resident visa, and you can apply for a permanent resident visa after two years of living in Ecuador.