While Ecuador might be famous for the Galapagos island, Cotopaxi volcano, and its beautiful beaches, it is also popular with many foreigners wanting to get an Ecuador residency.
Practically, most Ecuador visas apart from the ones for tourism and transit are resident visas. However, these visas can further be temporary or permanent visas. And Ecuador visa application process can differ a bit depending on whether you are applying in Ecuador or outside.
- As the name goes, a temporary resident visa for Ecuador allows a foreigner to reside in Ecuador temporarily.
- A temporary visa can be renewed or be converted to another type of temporary resident visa later.
- By having a permanent visa, a foreigner can stay indefinitely in Ecuador.
- To get a permanent visa, you must possess a temporary visa first, although some exceptions are there.
- It eventually allows you to get Ecuador citizenship.
Ecuador Resident Visa Requirements
- Your passport valid for at least two and a half years, since the visas are valid for the long-term.
- Color photograph in JPG format maximum of one MB, 5 x 5 cms (2 x 2 inches), updated, with a white background in case you are uploading it.
- Proof of legal stay where you are applying.
- Proof of sufficient funds, although this might not be necessary for every visa.
- Original certificate of criminal record, apostilled, translated to Spanish, and then notarized.
- Visa application form for Ecuador
- Additional requirements depending on the type of visa.
Ecuador Temporary Residency Visas
The most popular Ecuador temporary residency visas are
1. Retirement Visa : 9-I Visa for Ecuador
This is by far the most popular visa, used by expats wanting to retire in Ecuador. The cheap cost of living and relaxed lifestyle makes Ecuador a magnet for retirement.
So as long as you have a guaranteed lifetime income and can furnish the other required documents, you can easily get it. And getting a visa to retire in Ecuador is not that hard.
2. Ecuador Investor Visa: 9-II & 9-III
An investor visa allows a foreigner to get Ecuador residency by investing in an Ecuador company, bank, or real estate.
3. Student Visa for Ecuador or 12-V Visa
Ecuador 12-V visa is a student visa that allows one to study in Ecuador. Many foreigners come to Ecuador to study Spanish and indigenous languages.
4. Professional/9-V Visa
The 9-V visa for Ecuador gives a foreigner the freedom to do business or freelance or simply stay in Ecuador for the long-term without worrying about border runs or extensions.
This visa is popular with young professionals wanting to teach English in Ecuador, but you can be employed in any other kind of job as well.
5. Volunteer Visa for Ecuador
A foreigner wanting to volunteer in Ecuador can apply for a 12-VII visa. This visa will allow one to volunteer in an Ecuadorian NGO and non-profit or teach English. Note that, you can’t get paid while you are volunteering.
There are other visas which are issued for temporary residence.
- Work Visa
- Scientist/ Investigator/ Academic visa
- Athlete/Artist/Cultural Visa
- Religious or 9-IV Visa
- Episcopal Conference Visa
- Convention Visa
- Mercosur Visa
- Unasur Visa
- Commercial Activity Visa
Ecuador Permanent Residency Visas
After a foreigner has resided in Ecuador with a Temporary Residence Visa for a minimum of 21 months, he/she is eligible to apply for a permanent residence visa in the same category.
An exception is if you are married to or in a de facto union relation with an Ecuadorian citizen or permanent resident. Or have an immediate family member who fulfills the criteria. In this scenario, you can get an Ecuadorian permanent resident visa called an Amparo visa.
The visa fees will vary depending on whether you are applying for an amparo visa or converting a temporary residence visa to a permanent visa.
Can You Convert or Renew Ecuador Residency Visa?
A temporary resident visa can be renewed before it expires, although it you would still need to comply with the same documents that you had furnished when getting the visa.
You can convert one Ecuador temporary visa type to another while being in Ecuador, as long as you fulfill all the requirements of the new visa type. For example, if you are on a volunteer visa in Ecuador, you can convert it to a professional visa.
Where to Apply for Ecuador Residency Visas?
You can get Ecuador visa for residency in Ecuador or through an embassy of Ecuador in your country.
As a matter of fact, it is actually easier to apply for an Ecuador residency visa in an Ecuadorian consulate in your home country. Most of these residency visas require many documents that need to apostilled, translated and notarized- all of which can be done with a little less stress through an embassy.
That being said, many expats choose to do the whole process after going to Ecuador. As becoming a resident is an important decision, it is way better to get an understanding of the cost of living, cultural, and other aspects before applying a resident visa for Ecuador.