New Ecuador Visa Changes and 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.

If you would like to discuss your visa options with Maite, please submit our Visa Agent referral form and we’ll send an immediate email introduction.

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4 replies
  1. Samir Ali
    Samir Ali says:

    Dear sir
    I have been in Ecuador for more than 4 years and the last 2 years with residents visa,
    I need to apply for nationality for me and my wife and 2 sons
    Please let me know what i should do,
    Thank you for your help
    Best regards

    • Live Abroad Now
      Live Abroad Now says:

      You’ll need to working with a visa agent like Maite’s company. They can help with citizenship as well.

  2. Karen Bennett
    Karen Bennett says:

    I have been following you for a while now and enjoy your content. We moved to San Vicente in May 2021. We received our INVESTOR TEMPORARY VISA on Sept. 9, 2021. We now would like to apply for PERMANENT RESIDENCY in order to then apply for CITIZENSHIP. Our Attorney here in Ecuador is telling us the we cannot leave now for 21 straight months before applying for the PERMANENT RESIDENCY. Then we can leave for 6 months a year for the next 3 years. After that, apply for CITIZENSHIP. This is different information than other people are telling us. We are wondering if it the CITIZENSHIP part that changes the rules. Any thoughts?

    • Live Abroad Now
      Live Abroad Now says:

      Hola Karen! I’m pretty sure I responded to you on Facebook already, but wanted to document it here, too. You can apply for permanent residency 21 months after your temporary residency visa is issued. Not before then. You must have 5 years of residency before you can apply for citizenship. There are no travel restrictions during the 2-year temporary investor visa period (as of Oct 2021). You can be outside Ecuador as much as you want for the first 2 years.


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