New Ecuador Visa Changes & What They Mean for Expats (2021)

We featured Maité Duran from Gringo Visas in a recent video discussing the various Ecuador Residency Visa options available to expats.

While the visa types and most of the major details remain unchanged, Ecuador has revised several of the laws to make it EVEN EASIER for expats to move to Ecuador.

Maité and her team put together the following information to help explain the changes to Ecuador’s immigration laws.

Temporary Residency Visa Changes

The temporary residency visa is still valid for two years; however, it can now be renewed multiples times for all types of Visas: Retirement, Investment, Professional, Volunteer, Student, and visas for Dependents. Previously, it could only be renewed once.

Additionally, all temporary resident visa types no longer have travel restrictions. Previously, only the Investment visa had no travel restrictions while all other visa types were limited to 90 days outside of Ecuador per year.

Permanent Residency Visa Travel Restriction Changes

Permanent resident visas still have the same 180-day travel restrictions per year for the first two years of permanent residency (years 3 and 4 of living in Ecuador following the 2 year temporary residency).

After two years of being a permanent resident visa holder, you can leave the country for up to 2 years. If you are out of the country for more than 2 years, your visa will be cancelled.

The previous law stated that you could be out of Ecuador for up to 5 years as long as you return even for one day within the five-year period. That law no longer exists.

Ecuador Dependent Visa Changes

Dependent visas will NO LONGER be cancelled if the main visa holder dies, divorces, or applies for citizenship, or for any other reason not related to the dependent.

Previously, if the primary visa holder was no longer in the picture for any reason, the dependent visa holder either had to leave the country or apply for their own temporary visa and start the process over.

Can You Get a Visa with Felony or Misdemeanor Convictions?

If your background check has felony or misdemeanor convictions, you may still be eligible for a resident visa in Ecuador.

If your conviction was for murder, homicide, rape, kidnapping or similar violent crime that required more than 5 years imprisonment, your visa application will be denied.

If your conviction was a misdemeanor, or it was a non-violent felony that required you to serve less than 5 years in prison, your visa application may be approved following an interview with a visa officer at the ministry office.

The interview will be in Spanish, and the visa officer has complete discretion to deny your application. You can appeal the decision, but successful appeals are uncommon.

Unfortunately, the only way to know if your visa will be approved is to go through the entire visa application process, which means you will also need to pay all the associated fees.

Ecuador Tourist Visa Overstay Fines

If you enter Ecuador with a 90-day tourist visa and exceed the time limit without requesting an extension, or if you request an extension and exceed the 180 day limit, you will not be allowed to reenter the country for a period of 1 year starting from the date of departure from Ecuador unless you pay a fine of $400, or obtain a temporary resident visa at an Ecuadorian Consulate. The fine will be voided 12 months after leaving Ecuador.

Additional regulations about this law are still pending. Maité at Gringo Visas will keep us posted when these new regulations are released. In the meantime, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be working to initiate this new law, and some Ministries may implement this law immediately.

For more detailed information and specific questions, we recommend contacting GringoVisas.com directly.


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News & Current Events from Ecuador

Ecuador Costs of Moving and Living

Every Friday, we send an email with current expat-relevant news from Ecuador (in English). It contains the latest information about covid, travel restrictions & guidelines, government actions, volcanoes, flooding, crime, and more. Basically, anything significant from the prior week that affects expats. We don't share this information ANYWHERE ELSE!

In addition, you'll also gain immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Moving & Living Calculator. And it now contains a Low Budget Cost of Living option.

Get Even More Guidance!

You're not alone! We have a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and provide support to help take the mystery out of your move.

Plus, you'll gain immediate access to dozens of patron-only videos and posts, and your support helps us continue sharing this magical country with you.

BREAKING NEWS: Ecuador Revises Covid Travel Guidelines

Yesterday, Juan Zapata, president of the National COE, revised the COVID travel guidelines relating to vaccines and testing for travelers who enter Ecuador.

Effective March 22, 2021, a negative PCR test will no longer be the only option for entering Ecuador as a foreign traveler. You will ALSO be allowed to enter Ecuador by presenting a vaccine card or certificate showing that you have received both doses of an approved vaccine.

The currently approved vaccines in Ecuador are: Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac, Covax and AstraZeneca. These are the only vaccines currently available in Ecuador. We expect the government to clarify which vaccines will be approved for travel in the coming weeks or months.

Additionally, negative antigen tests will also be accepted, as well as negative PCR tests. However, both tests must now be less than 72 hours old upon arrival in Ecuador. Prior to March 22, only negative PCR tests were accepted and they needed to be less than 10 days old.

According to Ricardo Zambrano from the Ministry of Tourism, the objective of these changes is so Ecuador can reactivate the tourism sector for worldwide vaccinated travelers.

You can watch the full interview with Juan Zapata in Spanish here: Ecuador announces changes for the entry of passengers with a vaccination card against covid-19.

COVID Information for Ecuador

Here's a handy list of resources for COVID-related travel guidelines and status updates:

How to easily translate Spanish websites to English...


Follow Us on Social Media

News & Current Events from Ecuador

Ecuador Costs of Moving and Living

Every Friday, we send an email with current expat-relevant news from Ecuador (in English). It contains the latest information about covid, travel restrictions & guidelines, government actions, volcanoes, flooding, crime, and more. Basically, anything significant from the prior week that affects expats. We don't share this information ANYWHERE ELSE!

In addition, you'll also gain immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Moving & Living Calculator. And it now contains a Low Budget Cost of Living option.

Get Even More Guidance!

You're not alone! We have a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and provide support to help take the mystery out of your move.

Plus, you'll gain immediate access to dozens of patron-only videos and posts, and your support helps us continue sharing this magical country with you.