How to get permanent residency in Ecuador

A map of the country where you can get permanent residency in Ecuador in under two years.
A map of Ecuador with its main cities

Ecuador is on the global radar as one of the steadiest-growing economies in Latin America. The nation is home to a government open to increasing foreign investment. The country is therefore incentivizing investors and workers with a permanent residency in Ecuador they can obtain in just under two years.

Ecuador has seen telling growth since the turn of the century, and witnessed a gross domestic product (GDP) of $107.4 billion in 2019 (all figures in USD), making it Latin America’s seventh-largest economy. That same year, the country saw gross national income (GNI) reach $6,090 — an impressive figure that places Ecuador as an upper-middle-income country according to international standards. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows have been variable over recent years, nevertheless, they have followed a generally upward trend, meaning that the $948.6 million of FDI registered in 2019 was the third-highest amount seen in over half a century.

Ecuador is a strong economic performer in Latin America, demonstrating consistent economic growth. The government’s pro-business attitude and investment into commercial and public infrastructure in recent years have boosted business and investor confidence. Careful attention has been paid to projects strengthening the country’s airport and port infrastructure, road networks, and fiber-optic coverage. Ecuador’s hands-on approach to economic growth, along with its US dollar currency, facilitates a welcome environment for foreign investors looking to set up shop. The World Economic Forum ranks Ecuador as one of the fastest developing Latin American countries in recent years, according to its global competitiveness studies.

Ecuador’s main export products include merely agricultural products, including bananas, fruits and nuts, plants and trees, and wood. However, the country is also a notable oil producer, with production steadily growing in recent years, never dropping below 500,000 barrels per day since 2014. The country’s principal trade partners include Chile, China, Panama, Peru, and the United States. 

Read on to learn how foreign investors and workers can gain permanent residency in Ecuador relevant to their business objectives. Or go ahead and contact us now to discuss your business options.

Doing Business in Ecuador
Doing Business in Ecuador

Types of Residency visas in Ecuador

There are various types of residency available to people moving to Ecuador. In order to obtain permanent residency, you must reside in Ecuador on a temporary visa for a minimum of 21 months.

The types of residency visas available in Ecuador are shown below.

Residency visaSuitable for
Worker (trabajador)A person authorized to do a paid activity under an employee-employer relationship in the public service, private industry or self-employed.
Independent incomes/revenue (rentista)A person with legal income generated from investments in countries other than Ecuador.
PensionerRetirees who can demonstrate a steady income from a reliable source such as Social Security or a corporate pension. The minimum monthly income required is $800.
Investor (inversionista)A person who has assets and economic resources to undertake commercial activities – investing on a Certificate of Deposit to the value of 100 minimum wages or a Real Estate property valued at/over 100 minimum wages.
Scientist, Researcher or AcademicA person who is specialized in scientific activities, researcher or academics, hired by public or private entities, or for a person who is part of the Ecuadorian education system to work on their specialty. The permit to stay will be renewed according to the duration of the program.
Athlete, artist, cultural agentA person who is hired by a natural person or an entity to undertake athletic, artistic or cultural activities.
Religious or religious volunteerA person who undertakes religion-related activities.
Volunteer (voluntario)A person who, by their own means or with the support of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), in an altruistic and voluntary capacity, provides services to the community in accordance with the Human Mobility Law.
Student (estudiante)A person who attends primary, secondary, or tertiary and postgraduate education, as a regular student in a private or public educational facility recognized by the Ecuadorian government; a person undertaking an internship program. This visa can be renewed according to the duration of the study program.
Professional, technician, technologist or master craftsmanA person developing a profession or a technical activity, technological or handcrafted activities, in accordance with relevant law. This is for professionals with a 4-year degree from a recognized college or university (if your university is not recognized, you will need to submit a notarized, apostilled copy of your transcript(s) to the Ecuadorian government).
International convention (convenio)A person who enters Ecuador under an International convention to which Ecuador has subscribed and recognizes.
Dependent (amparo)A person dependent under the visa of a person holding migratory status: sons, daughters, spouse or common-law partner, legally recognized by one of the recognized migratory categories.
International ProtectionA person recognized by the Ecuadorian government as holding refugee status, asylum or stateless, and cannot fulfill any of the requirements of the above-mentioned categories.

Am I eligible for permanent residency?

Permanent Residency Visas allow a foreign citizen to remain in Ecuador for an indefinite period of time. To obtain permanent residence status, applicants must:

  • have lived in Ecuador for at least 21 months under a temporary visa;
  • have married or formed a legally recognized civil union with an Ecuadorian citizen;
  • be a minor or disabled person dependent on an Ecuadorian citizen, or person with permanent residency status;
  • be related to an Ecuadorian citizen or permanent resident of Ecuador.

Application process and requirements: working/investing in Ecuador

Requirements differ for each of the types of resident visa, additional to requirements for obtaining a temporary visa. In this article, we focus on basic requirements for four visas relevant to foreign investors looking to live and work in Ecuador. These are the worker, independent incomes, investor, and professional technician or craftsman visas.

Complete and send a residency application form found on the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana website. Make sure to submit your application with the required documentation below.

Costs associated with these applications are USD$400 for the visa and USD$50 for application processing. This fee is reduced for applicant over 65 years of age, and waived for those with a recognized major disability.

Basic application requirements (all visas)

All visa applications must be submitted with the following:

  • Proof of request for Temporary Residence
  • Completed Visa application form (see above for link)
  • Present passport with a minimum validity of 6 months (original and copy of the photo page, biographical data and immigration stamp of entry into the country).
  • Original certificate of valid criminal record check, translated and apostilled or legalized. Document required only for persons aged 18 and above.
  • Ecuadorian criminal record issued by the Ministry of the Interior. Document required only in cases of renewal of a temporary residence visa for citizens aged 18 and above.
  • Migratory movement issued by the Ministry of the Interior, with a minimum validity of thirty days from the date of issue.
  • Accredited legal means of living that allow the subsistence of the applicant and his/her dependent family group.

Worker residency visa additional requirements

To apply for the Worker residency visa, you’ll also need the following:

  • work contract issued by a recognized public or private entity
    • In the case of a private entity contract: a Ministry-issued Registration Certificate of the contract
  • Employers from the public sector: Certificate of not maintaining outstanding obligations with Internal Revenue Services (Servicios de Rentas Internas) and Ecuador Institute of Social Security (Instituto Ecuatoriano de Seguridad Social)
  • Employers from the private sector: Certificate of not maintaining outstanding obligations with Internal Revenue Services (Servicios de Rentas Internas), Ecuador Institute of Social Security (Instituto Ecuatoriano de Seguridad Social), and the Superintendence of Companies
  • proof of public or private health insurance coverage for the intended period of stay.

Independent Incomes residency visa additional requirements (sub)

To apply for the Independent Incomes residency visa, you’ll also need to present official documents that prove the perception of legal income from abroad duly legalized or apostilled.

Investor residency visa additional requirements

To apply for the Investor residency visa, you’ll also need the following:

  • Title, policy or certificate of deposit with a minimum term of 730 days, issued by a credit institution recognized by the Superintendence of Banks or Superintendence of Popular and Solidarity Economy, for a minimum amount of 70 basic salaries of the worker in general; or,
  • Sale Deed of a property located in national territory, for which the owner of the property is registered in the Property Registry, valued at a minimum of 80 basic salaries; or,
  • Purchase of shares or participation in an Ecuadorian company, for a minimum amount of 70 basic salaries, duly registered in the Superintendence of Companies, Securities and Insurance; or,
  • Certificate or Deed duly legalized demonstrating the capital invested in a business, valued at a minimum of 70 basic salaries of the worker in general
  • proof of public or private health insurance coverage for the intended period of stay.

Professional, technician, technologist or master craftsman residency visa requirements 

To apply for the Investor residency visa, you’ll also need the following:

  • proof of professional title as technician or technologist, issued and legalized or apostilled by the competent authority of the country of origin, which once the visa is granted, must be registered with the competent Ecuadorian authority within a period not exceeding three months.
  • Foreigners with an artisan qualification must submit to the Human Mobility authority, within a period not exceeding three months, registration of their activity with the competent entity in Ecuador and its validation before the National Board of Artisan Defense.
    • Once the foreigner submits this requirement, the Authority that issued the visa will send the corresponding identification card order to the Civil Registry Authority
  • proof of public or private health insurance coverage for the intended period of stay.

Maintaining Permanent Residency status

Once you have obtained permanent residency, you can leave the country for up to 180 days during the first two years. After this time, you can leave the country for up to five years and maintain permanent residency. Be aware that failure to comply with these rules results in a heavy fine.

Biz Latin Hub can help you to get permanent residency in Ecuador

Ecuador is growing in popularity as an attractive country to do business in Latin America. As the government’s support for foreign investment increases, so do opportunities for foreign companies looking to expand into Ecuador. Therefore, you should definitely think about getting permanent residency in Ecuador.

Navigating the right residency visa for yourself and your dependents can be difficult when setting up a business in Ecuador. Biz Latin Hub provides a range of tailored business solutions to foreign investors looking to work in Latin America, including visa processing. Reach out to us now to let us help with your visa application process.

Our services offered at Biz Latin Hub
Our services offered at Biz Latin Hub

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.

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Tags: Ecuador | Investment | Residency | visa

Categories: Ecuador | LATAM

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