How to Obtain Residency in Ecuador

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 Why seek to obtain residency in Ecuador?

  • An absolutely gorgeous country with mountains, beaches, national parks and great weather.
  • Geographic location – same timezone as North America. It’s fantastic for remote workers.
  • With proper structuring, it is possible to pay very little in taxes in Ecuador as there aren’t any CFC rules
  • Many international schools.
  • Affordable healthcare.
  • Good infrastructure.
  • Relative political neutrality in an increasingly bifurcated world

A great thing about residency in Ecuador is that you can sponsor dependents of one generation above and one generation below – both your dependent parents and children.

In essence, both sets of grandparents, your spouse, and children can all qualify.

My lawyer Andrea will be happy to assist you to obtain residency in Ecuador

my lawyer andrea

Andrea is managing partner at her own law firm which has branches in Cuenca and Quito, though her team can help with legal matters anywhere in Ecuador. She’s been practising law for 15 years, speaks English fluently, and has many foreign clients.

You can get in touch with her using the contact form at the bottom of this page.

What are the Residency options in Ecuador?

  1. Residency through the Investor Visa
  2. Pensioner visa
  3. Rentista Visa
  4. Professional visa
  5. Marriage & Family reunification
  6. How to get in if you don’t meet the requirements?
  7. The requirements to keep your residency active

1. Residency by Investment in Ecuador

Ecuador offers an interesting residency option for anyone willing to invest $45,000 into the local economy.

You have two options to obtain this type of residency in Ecuador:

1. Invest $45,000 in Ecuadorian real estate.

2. Invest $45,000 in a term deposit in an Ecuadorian bank.

You’ll need the following documentation to obtain your residency in Ecuador: 

  • Proof of investment according to Immigration’s specifications
  • Criminal Background Check
  • Birth Certificate in some cases
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable);
  • Application Form and Cover Letter (to be done by Andrea)
  • Fingerprints

2. How to obtain the Rentista and Pensioner Visa in Ecuador

To obtain a Pensioner visa, you must prove a minimum of $1300 of fixed monthly income. This must come from social security, a private pension fund, or a life insurance product. Thet will NOT accept dividends, royalties or rental income. In essence, they want to see an annuity.

To obtain a Rentista / Passive income visa, you must demonstrate at least $1300 of monthly passive investment income such as dividends, rental income. $1300 must be deposited on a monthly basis to an Ecuadorian bank account.

You’ll need the following documentation to obtain your pensioner of passive income / rentista residency in Ecuador: 

  • Birth certificate (in some cases)
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Police background check
  • Application form (done by Andrea)
  • Proof of pension (for pensioner visa)
  • Proof of passive investment income (for rentista visa)
  • Fingerprints

3. What are the requirements to obtain the professional residency in Ecuador

This residency option in Ecuador is barely ever mentioned online. But essentially, all you need to show is that you graduated from university.

Additionally, you need to show either $10,000 on a bank account for the past 6 months, or even just a credit card statement showing that you have a credit limit of at least $1,500.

 As with all over residencies, and family reunification residencies as well, Andrea charges a flat $1000 per applicant + government and translation fees.

4. What if I don’t meet the requirements for residency in Ecuador?

Even if you do not meet the requirements set by the government, as long as you are a Westerner, there is usually a way in. Andrea has taken many cases in which applicants earned less than the $1300 per month for example.

It’s more work for Andrea, and she charges more based on the expected level of difficulty, but it’s possible.

5. What are the requirements to keep the residency active?

When you receive your residency card, it is a temporary card which is valid for two years. There aren’t any minimum physical presence requirements so you don’t have to spend a minimum amount of time per year in Ecuador in order not to lose your residency. You just need to come back to renew it.

However, if your plan is to obtain permanent residency, you cannot be out of Ecuador for more than 90 days in total for the first two years.

Permanent Residency is the gold standard of residencies. This is great and what you should be aiming for.

For the first two years of permanent residency, you should spend at least 6 months per year in Ecuador.

From year three of permanent residency, you are now free to spend only one day every two years in Ecuador.

After three years of valid permanent residency, you can apply for citizenship.

Don’t be fooled by dishonest lawyers

Some people will try to convince you that you need a lawyer to apply for residency in Ecuador.

You don’t.

You can do it by yourself, and save a few hundred dollars in the process. The immigration department has all the information on their website.

That said, the process typically takes a year. If you make a single mistake, then you are back to zero and have to pay the government fees all over again. A good lawyer will save you a lot of time, stress, and potentially even money by helping you avoid making mistakes.

Contact Andrea - Immigration Lawyer in Ecuador

Transcript of “How to Obtain Residency in Ecuador”

LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone. Ladislas Maurice from So today, I’m with my attorney, here in Ecuador, Andrea. And we’ll be discussing on how to obtain residency here in Ecuador. Andrea, how are you?


Residency by Investment and Real Estate in Ecuador

LADISLAS MAURICE: So we’ll, first, start with how to get temporary residency in Ecuador. There are many ways, it’s really interesting. Then we’ll discuss how to obtain permanent residency in Ecuador. And then, finally, citizenship, along with all the timelines, the time you need to spend on the ground, etc., the documents. So we’ll really go into detail here. So we were discussing, a bit earlier, Andrea, and there are four main ways that people, typically, use to obtain residency here in Ecuador, apart from the usual marriage and family. First one is investment, then there’s rentista, then there’s pensionado, retired people, and then the professional residency.

ANDREA: I will say, first, that we have so many different options right now that, I think, we will always find the perfect one for you. So we have what most people is more familiar with, we have the investor visa, which requires an investment in Ecuador of at least 45,000. This investment can be in real estate, on CDs, or in shares in a company, but you need to prove that investment is done here in Ecuador.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And then also in terms of the term deposits, the interest rates are quite high. You can find interest rates, 5%, 6% in banks. So it’s not like you’re just depositing money and not getting your interest. And whilst your money is deposited, you can actually take out the interest. So it pays you.

ANDREA: Yeah. And we have, also, we’re allowed to put the money not just on bank accounts, but on co-ops that pay a little bit more interest as well. So it’s always good to do a little bit of research, which institution will provide you the service that you feel more comfortable with.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so that’s the investor visa, so $45,000 in a bank or in real estate. Then what about the rentista visa?

Rentista visa in Ecuador

ANDREA: Rentista, it’s the visa that you have to prove that you are receiving a monthly income, or quarterly it can be. The important thing of this type of visa is to prove that you are receiving money from your country or from a foreign country of at least $1,350.

Pensionado or Retirement Visa in Ecuador

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. And what about the pensionado visa, the retired people visa?

ANDREA: The retirement, you need to provide a proof that you are receiving a pension from an institution. It can be the government, or it can be a private institution, but we need to provide a proof that you are receiving a retirement income of at least $1,350. If you have a little bit less than that or less than that, we can always help obtaining the visa. So don’t feel frustrated if that’s not enough money that you’re receiving. You have an option.

Documents required to apply for Residency in Ecuador

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so, officially, and then when you look online, you’ll see $1,350, $1,350. But as Andrea says, if you have less, it is still possible to get it. You just need good legal representation to make the case to the government officials that you are solvent and that you will not be a burden on the state. So easy is $1,350, no questions asked. If you have less, it’s still possible. It just requires a bit more legal work in convincing, but it’s very doable. So before we move on to the next one, the professional residency, what typically are the documents that are required to obtain the residency? Because investment, you, obviously, need to show either the title deed, pensionado, you need to get the documents from abroad. Same thing, rentista, all been apostille certified.

ANDREA: For all these visa, besides the proof of what the source of the visa will be, we need a national police report, and if you are in a country that handles reports by state or province, also we will need a province police report. All the documents that you bring to Ecuador in order to be used, they must come apostille if your country belongs to the Hague Convention. If not, then we have to legalize it through the Ecuadorian consulate. This is a very important thing to keep in mind. Not everybody advise on this, but for us it’s really important. When you get a document apostille, the way that you receive it, that’s the way that you want to bring it. Do not remove the staple, do not undo the tie that they do. The way you get it, the way you bring it, please.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. And then birth certificates as well?

ANDREA: Birth certificates, if you need to prove the relationship for a dependent, being your children, or being your parents, or siblings.

Which Relatives can join in on an Ecuadorian Residency?

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, because on these visas, you can bring, typically, so your spouse, your children, and your own parents, correct?

ANDREA: All temporary residencies, you can have a dependent.


ANDREA: Which is a family relative, or a spouse.


ANDREA: Or multiple.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so this is really cool. So just, you get residency here in Ecuador, your kids, your spouse, and then the parents on both sides?

ANDREA: Parents on both sides and children.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And children. So the whole family can come through. Now, the minimum increases from $1,350, it goes up. It’s a bit of a, there’s no exact number in terms of how much you need to prove. But it really depends, you know, if you’re showing up with a family of seven people, and you show $1,350, that’s not going to be okay. You’re going to have to show more. And that’s when you want to discuss with Andrea in detail, say, “Hey, I want to bring all these people. How much, approximately, would be all right?” Cool. So what about the professional residency? Because typically, that’s one that when you google online, etc., “residency in Ecuador”, no one really mentions this one, but it’s actually quite cool. Can you elaborate on this one?

How to Obtain the Professional Residency in Ecuador

ANDREA: It’s a professional visa, which means you have to have a university degree. For this visa, you need to have your diploma, the transcripts, and we need a certification of which university. If the university that you attend, it’s one on our system, it’s an easy process. If not, we can always make sure that the university appears on our system, and you can have a professional visa.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And then with the professional visa, you also need to show that you have approximately $10,000 in a bank account for six months?

ANDREA: With all the visas, you need to provide a proof that you have enough income to survive in Ecuador.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. So just the university degree is not enough, you need to show that you have some sort of money. Roughly, if you can show you have 10K on a bank account for the last six months, you’re fine. You’re even saying if you show that you have a credit card statement or something–

ANDREA: That you have enough to survive in Ecuador. When you have a credit card that have a limit of at least $1,500, that’s good enough as well.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so very easy. And we were discussing this with Andrea, there’s, you know, what people say and then what actually happens. And then each office, depending on the different cities, sometimes, have different requirements, some are more lenient, some are more strict. So that’s why it’s important to get a good lawyer that can help you with this from A to Z. Andrea has offices in two cities here in Ecuador, but you can help people with pretty much in the whole country.

ANDREA: In the whole country, yes.

How to obtain Permanent Residency in Ecuador

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah. So this is good. Okay, so professional visa. So this essentially gets you, if you go for one of these four, you get temporary residency, which is initially valid for two years, correct?


LADISLAS MAURICE: Now, let’s say, I get temporary residency, and my goal is to upgrade myself from temporary residency to permanent residency.

ANDREA: That’s very important to keep in mind. One of the changes that we have in our law was that temporary residencies allow you now, all of them, to be in and out of the country as you please. But if you are planning to apply for permanent, we do have a restriction. You shouldn’t be out of the country more than 90 days per year the first two years. With that, you qualify to apply for permanent residency. If you’re not compromised to have all the time inside of Ecuador, you can always renew your temporary.

Physical Presence Requirements for Permanent Residency in Ecuador

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. So two years of nine months per year in Ecuador gets you permanent residency. If you don’t do this, not a big deal, you just get another temporary residency when you renew. Cool. So, let’s say, I do this. I spend nine months, nine months, you help me apply for permanent residency, I obtain my permanent residency. Now am I just free to go like a bird, or?

ANDREA: No, no, no, there is restrictions as well on the permanent residency. You shouldn’t be out of the country more than six months per year the first two years. After the third year of permanent residency, you can be out of the country up to two years, come back, and then, again, you can be out of the country up to two years.

How to obtain Citizenship in Ecuador

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so first two years of PR, six months a year, then it becomes an interesting PR, where you can be in and out of the country just one-day check-in, kind of like Panama, one-day check-in every two years. And then citizenship is after?

ANDREA: Three years of permanent residency, you qualify to apply.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And the third year of permanent residency, do I need to spend six months as well for citizenship?

ANDREA: What they tell you is that you have to have complied with three years of permanent residency in Ecuador.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so I could do six months, six months, and then just one day, I’m good?


How to obtain Permanent Residency immediately in Ecuador

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Okay. So, Ecuador offers an easy path to citizenship if you’re willing to spend time on the ground. Essentially, that’s the whole conclusion. Same thing with permanent residency. And there’s a bit of a shortcut in terms of obtaining permanent residency immediately?

ANDREA: You qualify for direct permanent residency if who is requesting your residency is a permanent resident or an Ecuadorian.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so, let’s say, you fall in love here, you get married. Boom, PR. And if you fall in love with a foreigner who has PR here, boom, PR, or if you make a child here, because the child is Ecuadorian from day one, boom, PR. Correct?

ANDREA: Correct.

LADISLAS MAURICE: All right. Fantastic.

ANDREA: My recommendation, come visit the country, enjoy the nice weather, enjoy the nice and delicious food, and have fun.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, fantastic. So if you want to get in touch with Andrea, with regards to obtaining residency here in Ecuador, there’s a link below with more information on her services and her fees. Andrea, thank you very much, really appreciate it.

ANDREA: Thank you.



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