Skip to the main content.
Different Visas You Can Get In Ecuador

4 min read

Different Visas You Can Get In Ecuador

Located on the equator (hence the name), Ecuador is a country with a lot to offer. Rich in natural beauty, with a diverse landscape of active volcanos, mountain peaks reaching over 6,000 meters, tropical rain forests, and beaches. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Ecuador is a popular tourist destination.

In recent years, many North American and European expats have decided to call Ecuador home. We can attribute this to several factors, such as economic stability thanks to dollarization, a low cost of living, and the ease of obtaining a visa. In fact, Ecuador is regarded as one of the easier countries to get a visa due to the low minimum income and investment requirements. 

While you will have to wait five years before applying for citizenship (three if married to an Ecuadorian citizen), it opens the door to living in any member of the Andean Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru). 

 

Map of Ecuador

Map of Ecuador

TYPES OF TEMPORARY RESIDENCE VISAS

The main temporary visas categories are:

  • Pensioner
  • Rentista/Digital Nomad
  • Investor
  • Professional

General requirements for all visas:

  • A passport-size photo
  • Signed application form
  • Criminal background check from your home country (must be apostilled or legalized)
  • Proof of health insurance (can be a foreign plan as long as it provides coverage in Ecuador)
  • Proof of income (varies depending on the visa)
  • Pay a non-refundable application fee of $50USD and $400USD if it is approved.

 

PENSIONER

As the name implies, the pensioner visa is geared toward retirees that receive a guaranteed monthly income of at least $1275 USD/month and an additional $250 USD/month for any dependents. While this usually refers to pensions or Social Security, it can include other sources such as dividends, interest payments, or income earned from a rental property. 

As with all temporary visas, it is valid for two years and can be renewed indefinitely. However, if you have not been out of the country for more than 90 days during the first 21 months, you can apply for permanent residency.

 

DIGITAL NOMAD

Ecuador added a new visa category in March 2022 to attract remote workers. While the income requirements are the same as the pensioner visa, you must provide proof of employment and a monthly salary. If you own a business, you must provide paperwork stating where the business is domiciled and registered. In both cases, all documents must be apostilled (or legalized).

It should be pointed out this is a new visa. Therefore the requirements may change.

 

American Dollar, Ecuador currency

American Dollar, Ecuador currency

INVESTOR

The investor visa is an excellent choice for anyone that wants to invest in Ecuador. Unlike other countries in the region, this can be fulfilled by having a monthly income of at least $425 USD/month (plus $250 USD/month for any dependents) and by investing $42,500 USD in one of the following: a two-year Certificate of Deposit (CD), purchasing property, or investing in an Ecuadorian company. 

Here’s a small summary of possible costs (these can vary based on several conditions and are in USD):

  • $50 application fee
  • $400 for the visa
  • $150 translation services
  • $50 notary services
  • $100 background checks, apostilles, & postage
  • $80 bank transfer fees (average)
  • $5 movimientos migratorios document
  • $10 random photocopies, folders, bank fees, & postage
  • $42,500 minimum investment

Many opt for the first option due to the many cooperatives' 8% to 9% interest rates. Another benefit of the investor visa (unlike other categories) is no residency requirements unless you plan on becoming a permanent resident. 

However, there are a few things worth mentioning. First, your visa is tied to whatever option you choose, and you cannot “mix and match” investments to reach the $42,500 USD limit. Secondly, if you decide to park money in a CD, it should be noted that deposits are only insured for up to $32,000 USD. Should the institution become insolvent (unlikely, but possible), you would be out $10,500 USD. 

Lastly, Ecuador has an exit tax (Impuesto a la Salida de Divisas) of 5%. However, as of January 2022, it is gradually being phased out at a rate of .25% every three months. 

 

PROFESSIONAL

You can qualify for a professional visa if you have a four-year (or higher) degree from an accredited university and a monthly income of at least $425 USD/month. However, as with the investor visa, some caveats apply. Most notably, online degrees are generally not accepted, and you may be required to obtain a letter from your university attesting to this. In addition, a few extra steps are involved, such as having your degree apostilled (or legalized), and the documents may need to be translated into Spanish. Lastly, you will have to register it with the Ministry of Higher Education (SENESCYT), which can take up to a month.

While there are a few extra hoops to jump through, if you meet the requirements mentioned above, a professional visa is an excellent way to obtain residency in Ecuador. In addition, you can legally work in the country, although you should keep in mind that wages are considerably lower than what you expect in North America or Western Europe.

 

Old town of Quito, Ecuador

Old town of Quito, Ecuador

BECOMING A PERMANENT RESIDENT AND THE PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

Unless you are married to an Ecuadorian citizen, temporary residency is the first step. If you have not been out of the country for more than 90 days during the first 21 months, you are eligible to become a permanent resident. Aside from being a step closer to citizenship, it does not expire. Likewise, the fee is the same, so unless you plan on frequently travelling, becoming a permanent resident is a better option.

After being a permanent resident for at least three years, and if you have not been out of the country for more than 180 days per year during that time, you can apply for Ecuadorian citizenship. In practice, this is about five years after becoming a temporary resident (three if married to an Ecuadorian citizen).

Overall, the process of becoming a citizen is not complicated. Still, you will need to obtain a few documents from your home country, such as a criminal background check, marriage certificate (if applicable), and a birth certificate; all documents must be apostilled or legalized. In addition, you will need to demonstrate a means of supporting yourself, such as a salary or other income of at least $425 USD/month plus $250 USD for any dependents, investments of at least $42,500 USD, or owning property in the same amount.

If your paperwork is approved, the final step is an interview where you will be required to demonstrate a conversational level of Spanish and pass a multiple-choice test covering Ecuadorian history, culture, geography, and political topics.

 

Ecuador passport

Your New Ecuadorian passport

 

TAXES

  • 12% VAT
  • Exit tax of 5%, which is currently being phased out over the next four years
  • Foreign-sourced income is not taxed. Income from activities in Ecuador is taxed at a progressive rate of between 5% to 37%


CONCLUSION

The relatively low costs of acquiring Ecuadorian residency are attractive for expats who wish to get more for their dollars. For the nature lover, there are many tourist spots such as mountains, volcanos, beaches, and tropical forests. Investors don’t need to make heavy investments and have large sums of money taken in taxation, and any foreign income will not be taxed.

Their visas will accommodate all types of stays you wish. Be it a temporary tourist visa, if you want to work and live there as a digital nomad, or even if you decide to live there and become a permanent resident or get your citizenship. A place that is “arms wide open” to expats and people wanting a change in their lives.

 


WORK WITH ME

I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of your home country (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.

 

BEST OF THE EXPAT WORLD

If you want the best intel from the expat world, including profitable offshore opportunities, little-known tax-saving strategies, and hard-won insights on immigration, passports, and Plan-B residencies, all delivered to your inbox every single week, then join our daily correspondence, EMS Pulse. Currently enjoyed by over 37,000 expats and expat-hopefuls worldwide. Fill in the form below to join our newsletter free:

 

Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

Recent Posts

Breaking News: Canada Tax Authorities Pay Homage To Satan With 66.6 Tax

Breaking News: Canada Tax Authorities Pay Homage To Satan With 66.6 Tax

Trudeau has done it again. Under the guise of “tax the rich” and “pay your fair share,” the Canadian government has passed 2024’s budget, which is...

Continue Reading
Colombia’s Open Doors: Exploring Real Estate Opportunities For Expats

Colombia’s Open Doors: Exploring Real Estate Opportunities For Expats

Colombia has a vibrant culture. Cities like Bogotá, Medellín and Cali each offer distinct narratives of history, innovation, and rebirth, inviting...

Continue Reading
Explore Paraguay: The Best Hotspots For Expats

Explore Paraguay: The Best Hotspots For Expats

Paraguay is an incredible country in South America that has become one of my top countries for investment purposes, with numerous real estate plays...

Continue Reading