Residency Options in Ecuador
Jun 24, 2013
Whether you already live in Ecuador or are still in the consideration/planning phase, taking into account whether or not to become an ‘official resident’ is no doubt one aspect weighing on your mind.
First of all, what exactly are the benefits of an Ecuador Residency Visa?
You can stay in the country indefinitely (no required departure every 90 days)
You have the same rights as a citizen
Everyday procedures, such as opening a bank account, are much easier to navigate
When you turn 65 (or if you already are), there are stellar tax exemptions (go HERE to read more about this)
You’re able to import household goods duty-free within 90 days of obtaining your Visa
Obtaining a Visa certainly has its benefits... but it’s a big step, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly or with a blasé attitude. One of the most important (maybe the most) things you can do to ensure a fairly seamless application is to hire a local, Ecuadorian lawyer.
When you first arrive to Ecuador, you will receive a stamp in your passport called a T-3 tourist stamp. This enables you to stay in the country for 90 days. If you’ve done your due diligence, homework and are absolutely sure you’re staying in Ecuador, your next step is to visit the consulate in your native country and apply for a 12-IX Visa. This will allow you to remain in Ecuador for 180 days. This is also necessary to apply for your permanent residency.
Due in part to Ecuador’s growing popularity with foreigners, the government has recently made huge advances in simplifying the Visa application process. Prior to late 2012, applying for a Visa could be a very arduous task… now, there are (bilingual) offices in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca, and the entire process is much more streamlined.
Most Common Ecuador Visa Options
If you know that permanent residency is in your future, preparing the appropriate paperwork in your native country is a necessity. Regardless of which Visa you’re applying for you will need a police report, a marriage license, if applicable, and birth certificate(s).
Pensioner’s Visa: To apply for a Pensioner Visa, you have to prove that you are receiving a consistent income from a reliable source such as Social Security, a corporate pension or CPP. Ecuador’s current (for the past 10 years) minimum monthly requirement is $800, plus an additional $100 for each dependent.
Investor Visa: The Investor Visa applies to anyone investing in either property, a CD (certificate of deposit) or government bonds.In any of these cases, your investment needs to be worth at lease $25,000, plus an additional $500 for each dependent. If you choose the route of Investor Visa because you’ve purchased property, you need to prove it with a title of ownership and a certificate that is clear of any liens.
As little as a year and a half ago, the process to apply for a Visa in Ecuador could take as long as a year (!!), but with the government’s new measures in place, a Visa application can now be processed in four to eight weeks. The cost is also very affable… the application itself only costs $30 and the fee for each person is $320. Keeping in mind that this doesn’t include any additional lawyer fees…
If you’re already living in Ecuador and know that it’s the final stop for you, then applying for residency is most certainly the next step (if you haven’t already taken it!). And, despite the government’s efforts to continue making the application process simple, it’s important to remember where you are and what you’re doing… in a foreign country, applying for residency. Maintaining your patience and keeping your cool during this process will get you much further then getting upset and irritated with the government officials; as the saying goes… ‘You catch more flies with honey then with vinegar’.
Have you been thinking of living or even visiting Ecuador? By participating in one of our Discovery Weekends you’ll have an opportunity to experience this stunning country for yourself. Our Developer partner will show you available properties (turn-key homes within walking distance to the beach for under $100,000!!) and the beauty of living in small-town coastal Ecuador.