The Ecuador retirement visa or pensioner visa is by far the most common type of residency that expats apply for when moving to Ecuador.
It is a temporary residence visa that allows expats to settle in Ecuador for long-term and can be converted to a permanent residence visa as well.
Many expats from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and European countries have used this visa to retire in Ecuador.
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Activities Allowed for Holders of Ecuador Retirement Visa
As per the Ecuadorian constitution, residents have the same rights as Ecuadorian citizens. You can do almost everything that a citizen can do.
- freelance or be self-employed in Ecuador
- open a business
- teach English in Ecuador
- invest in a property and earn rent ……..and more
What are the Ecuador Retirement Visa Requirements?
1.A Monthly Stipend of at least $800
Retirement in Ecuador really just means you have a steady provable income. It really isn’t about actually being retired.
It must be a guaranteed income “for the remainder of your lifetime.” Examples are
- Social Security
- A recognized retirement income from the military, railroad, or anything else
Ecuador immigration recognizes it as a valid guarantee for life. If not, then you can either petition to have it recognized or try for another visa such as the Ecuador rentista visa or a professional visa for Ecuador.
The minimum monthly pension accepted for this visa is 800 USDs.
2. Background Check
The background check to verify that you have a clean criminal record is mandatory document. Although there have been instances in the past where expats have been able to get a retirement visa without a federal background check, you should not take chances with this.
Ecuador also asks for a criminal record for everywhere you lived in for 5 years or more. So if you lived in any country other than your home country, you need to provide the background check from there.
This document must be apostilled from where you got it, and then translated & notarized.
- FBI background check
- State police
UK citizens needing an Ecuador visa for retirement can request a UK criminal report online.
3. Health Insurance
Anyone applying for an Ecuador retirement visa has to have health insurance, at least during the period when the visa is being applied.
A letter for travel insurance that covers 90 days (what you can get upon entering) should be sufficient. There are many providers to get travel health insurance.
Getting a travel health insurance from Safety Wing, an international provider is a great idea, which also covers Covid-19. In case you will be working remotely, they also have remote health insurance.
How to Apply for Ecuador Pensioner Visa?
The steps to apply an Ecuador retirement visa can seem a little overwhelming with all the apostilling, translation and notarization. But if you follow all the steps, you can easily do it without involving an attorney.
1. Get the Required Documents Apostilled in Your Home Country
The following documents must be apostilled in the country where they were issued. The process to apostille these is different for every country.
- Social security letter of income or pension letter or the document that proves your guaranteed income for life.
- Background check from all the countries where you lived for more than 5 years.
2. Get a Certificate of Protocolization
A certificate of protocolization is a certificate issued by a consulate of Ecuador, certifying your guaranteed income. This consulate must be in the country from where your guaranteed income originates.
For example, if you have a social security income from the USA, you would need to get your income letter apostilled and then get it verified from a consulate of Ecuador in the United States.
This can be done by mail when you are in the United States or from Ecuador. If you are doing it by mail, you need to send the following documents to an Ecuador consulate in Washington DC or Houston or Miami or any other:
- the original social security letter of income or pensions benefit letter, that has been apostilled
- two notarized color copies of our passport
- a $40 dollar money order for payment
- a return envelope
- a cover letter
Make sure that the cover letter lists what you have enclosed, your phone number/email, and do ask for a Certificate of Protocolization in that letter.
3. Get the Documents Translated & Notarized
As Ecuador is a Spanish-speaking country, you need to get the following documents translated to Spanish and notarized.
- Social security income letter
- Background check
You can do it using an Ecuador consulate in your country. In the Ecuador consulate in USA, they translate and certify all required retirement visa documents.
4. File for the Ecuador Visa Application for Retirement
When all your documents are ready, you can file for the visa. Here is a step by step guide on how to submit an Ecuador visa application.
Once you file it doesn’t matter that your 90 days expired as long as you do not leave the country.
Ecuador Retirement Visa Fees
While the visa fees for the Ecuadorian retirement visa itself are $450 USDs, you also need to add in the expenditure for the notarizations, apostilles, translations, and notarizations of translations.
Your final cost will depend on how many documents you have and how many pages each one consists of. This is because translators charge by the page.
How Long Does it Take to Get Retirement Visa for Ecuador?
The time to process Ecuador retirement visa can take any time from 2 weeks to 3 months. This depends on the caseloads, whether or not you need to submit any extra documents and the Ecuadorian holidays.
How Long is Retirement Visa for Ecuador Issued?
The retirement visa is issued for two years.
Can I Get Permanent Residency for Ecuador with Retirement Visa?
You can convert your temporary retirement visa to a permanent residency visa if you have already had a two year temporary visa.
Can You Bring Dependants to Ecuador with Pensioner Visa?
Yes, as long as one of you fulfills the criteria for the Ecuador pensioner visa, the others can come as dependants. But for this, you need to show extra income, which would be $100 per dependant.
So for example, $800 for main applicant + $100 for dependent = $900 total. However, should you decide to get separate, independent visas, then you’ll need to show proof that you are both making at least $800 USDs each.
Is the Retirement Visa Electronic or a Sticker Visa?
All the new Ecuadorian visas are electronic, and no longer go in your passport. This is in effect since 2019. You can print out a copy and keep it with your passport- as simple as that.