Law & Legal & Attorney Immigration Law

Ecuador Residency/Visa Requirements

Benefits of Residency

Imagine not having to worry about over staying your visa. As a tourist, you may only stay in Ecuador for 6 months out of the year. You must then leave or face fines and deportation for upwards of a year. With residency, you enjoy the benefits of duty free imports and you do not need to worry about how much time you have spent here. Best of all, you get to experience the culture of a great South American country with a low cost of living.

General Requirements

This information is accurate as of 08/14/11. Before arriving in Ecuador, you should verify with us that requirements for residency have not changed. The requirements for residency are known to change frequently.

The general requirements for residency include:

A police report on police letterhead for anyone age 18 or older. You must obtain the police report from your state police where you have lived for the last 5 years. No fingerprints are required. As of July 2011, police reports are once again required.

If married, a copy of your marriage certificate.

If filing for residency with any children under the age of 18, you must get a letter of good conduct from the child's school. A birth certificate must also be provided for any child under the age of 18. If both parents are not present in Ecuador, you must obtain a letter of permission from the other parent stating that the child may apply for residency.

All documents must be notarized and be official copies from the proper agencies. You must bring all documents to your closest Ecuadorian consulate in order to get the documents legalized OR obtain an apostille seal from the Secretary of State where the document was issued. In the case of social security or pension letters, the consulate will apply legalization and issue a CERTIFICATION LETTER.

All documents in English must be translated into Spanish. Any bi-lingual notary can perform this task. The notary will apply their notary seal. Your closest consulate will then legalize the translations. You can also get translations done once you arrive in Ecuador.

You must arrive in Ecuador on a 12-IX visa. This visa comes in 3 and 6 month versions. You obtain this visa from your closest Ecuadorian consulate. The current cost is $230. Many of the requirements for the 12-IX are the same for residency. Once the consulate issues you the 12-IX, they will return your original documents back to you so you can then use them for residency. Some consulates have been known to issue the 12-IX while the client waits. If you cannot personally go to the consulate, it may be possible to exchange documents with them through courier or the mail. You should call your closest consulate to verify their requirements for the 12-IX and ask how they can best help you. In general, the 12-IX visa is good for up to one year after being issued. The first date you enter Ecuador will begin your 3 or 6 months. You may come and go as much as you want (the visa should be stamped "multiples"). Note: Sometimes, the consulates will make the 12-IX only valid for the dates of your travel based on your airline ticket.

For the first two years after receiving residency, you must live in Ecuador 9 months out of the year. After two years, you must be in Ecuador every 18 months.

9-I Resident Pensioner

Persons with a pension from a stable source or those with retirement Social Security can qualify for this type of residency. Pensions and Social Security need to be "until death" type benefits. A minimum of $800 plus $100 for each dependant must be received each month. Annuity recipients, trustees who live off cash deposited in the Central Bank of Ecuador, or persons living on income from a trust also qualify. Trustees or persons living off a trust must have at least the equivalent of 5 years times the monthly minimum in their deposit account.

9-II Real Estate & Securities & Fiduciary Investor

This residency is for persons purchasing real estate such as land or a house OR investing in an Ecuadorian bank CD. Also, persons investing in securities or fiduciary documents qualify for this type of residency. A minimum investment of $25,000 is required plus an additional $500 for each dependant filing for residency.

For those purchasing land, it's important that the real property value of the land appears on the escritura (deed). It's common practice here in Ecuador for those selling land to ask for a reduced amount to be listed as the value of the land. This is done in order to save the seller taxes. This situation presents a problem for the buyer of the land when they go to apply for residency if the minimum investment requirement has not been met.

If this has happened to you, you should seek our legal assistance in order to satisfy the requirements of residency.

9-III Business, Agriculture, Cattle, Export Trade

This type of residency is for those persons engaged in investments in industries, agriculture, cattle raising or the export trade. A minimum capital investment of $30,000 is required.

9-IV Agent, Proxy, Legal & Religious Reps, Press

This residency is intended for agents, proxies, legal & religious representatives or press correspondents. An agent holds unlimited power of attorney for an Ecuadorian company which employees at least 80% Ecuadorians locally. This visa can also be issued to technicians or technical experts working under permanent contracts with no specific term of validity.

9-V Professional

This residency is for those persons holding professional degrees from foreign universities. The person applying for this type of residency must already have a job in Ecuador and must provide proper documentation from the employer. Additional requirements may apply.

9-VI Economic Dependence

This residency is granted to family members of persons holding residency in Ecuador. For example, if the head of the household is granted residency in one of the other classes of residency, the wife, children and other family members would likely be granted this type of residency. As the name of the type of residency implies, those persons receiving this type of residency are dependant on the primary visa holder. Those persons married to an Ecuadorian would also receive this type of residency. 

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