Ecuador Visas and Residency Process

Ecuador Residence and Visa:

Obtaining your residency in Ecuador requires you to research and verify the accuracy of all information; also it might require some patience. The information below may be current at the present time but is always subject to change. For more up to date information you would need to contact your local representative of Ecuador Ministry of Foreign Affairs at your local Consulate of Ecuador.

It will be safe to hire a local Attorney if you do not speak Spanish; they will help you understand all the legalities required through the process while overseas or in Ecuador.

You would normally arrive on a Tourist Visa and get a T-3 stamp placed in your passport. This allows you up to 90 days in the country. If you are planning on staying longer than 90 days then seek advice from your local Ecuadorian Consulate. There you can apply for a 12-IX visa, or you could also apply for this visa while you are in Ecuador. Just don’t leave it until too late as these things take time in Ecuador, better get to it in the first 30 days after arriving in Ecuador.

You actually need the 12-IX Visa before you can apply for residency in Ecuador. It is a requirement that needs to be filed along with your residency papers. A resident visa allows you permanent residence and you can still travel outside of Ecuador. One really important issue is that you cannot leave the country for more than 90 days per year in the first two years of your residency; and after that you can only leave for 18 consecutive months while you have the Ecuadorian residency, by then you better apply for the Ecuadorian Citizenship.

There are several different visas that you can obtain and the one of the most used by retirees is the 9-I Pensioner Visa. For more details check the following link to Ecuador Foreign Ministry Office – Pensioner Visa Requirements

If you are considering investing at least $25,000 for one person then you can obtain a 9-II Investor of Real Estate Visa. Now this can be monies put into a CD or property.

Helpful links:

Embassies and Consulates of Ecuador in USA

Embassies and Consulates in CAN

Pensioner or Retirement Visa Requirements

The pensioner visa will entitle you too many of the retirement benefits in Ecuador except the right to vote.

For a 9-I Pensioner Visa, you will need to receive from a stable pension or trust fund a minimum income of $800 US. You will need to add $100 US for each dependent that you bring with you.

Senior Citizens Discounts and Benefits in Ecuador:

Ecuador still remains to be one of the best places in the world for retirees. It is one of the few countries in the world that allows you to enter with an automatic 90 day tourist visa, and it has great benefits for senior citizens.
The pensioner visa will entitle you too many of the retirement benefits in Ecuador except the right to vote.

For a 9-I Pensioner Visa, you will need to receive from a stable pension or trust fund a minimum income of $800 UD. You will need to add $100 UD for each dependent that you bring with you.

Under the 2008 Constitution, senior citizens receive prioritized attention, both in the public and private sectors, especially within the fields of social and economic inclusion. In accordance with Ecuadorian laws, senior citizens are those who are 65 years-old and over. (See Article 36 of the Constitution)

The Ecuadorian government guarantees to senior citizens the following rights:

  • Access to free health care and medication.50% discounts in public and private transportation services.
  • Discounts for special events such as galleries, theater plays and other related arts.
  • Tax exemptions.
  • Exempt from notaries and registration fees, in accordance with the law. (See Article 37 of the Constitution)
  • 50% off electric and water bills.
  • 50% off round trip international flights from Ecuador

Would these benefits/discounts be afforded to everyone, including American Citizenss whether resident or not?
The 2008 Constitution provides no distinction between foreigners and nationals regarding civil rights. However, according to “Ley del Anciano” (Law pertaining Senior Citizens), “the beneficiaries of this Act are those individuals who are 65 years-old or over, whether nationals or foreigners, who are legally established in the country (those who have Ecuadorian residency).”

If there are discounts/benefits, is there some sort of senior citizen’s card that is issued? If so, by whom?
According to the law pertaining Senior Citizens, Ecuadorian senior citizens are only required to present their National I.D. at the entity that provides the discount or benefit (such as a hospital, theater, when getting on a bus). In the case of foreigners, the rule is basically the same- required to present a form of I.D. (such as a passport, Ecuadorian National I.D., Ecuadorian Census card, etc.).

Who is the entity that is in charge of these benefits?
No particular entity, however a branch of government that is dedicated to raise awareness about senior citizens’ rights, among others, is the Ministerio de Inclusión Social y Económica.


Feel free to contact me for more references about Living in Ecuador:




About Lina Landivar

Ecuador News & Travel, Inside scope, property listings, key ready packs, plus free services, proven honest local references, and how to avoid getting “overcharge” while in Ecuador.

Posted on August 7, 2014, in Ecuador your new spot to live or retire, HOME and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Lina, you might get a kick outta this. Incidentally, we still do not have our VISA’s. Well, here we go again. Back to Ecuador but this time it’s really serious. To make things easier, we decided to break up the responsibilities. Carol would handle the travel/ accommodations and I would handle getting all the paperwork to obtain our VISA’s. There are several different types of VISA’s and without going into more boring detail, we decided that a “Pensioner’s” VISA was most appropriate for us. Eventually I want to go for duel citizenship but for now, this will serve our purposes. This trip we had every intention of purchasing property on the Pacific in Playas and Salinas, Ecuador, a condo in Salinas as that’s where the tourists from Ecuador go making rentals easier and Playas for a residence, a more quite city with a new mall and new hospital, both of which turned out to be fantastic. For the “Pensioners” VISA…you must show permanent income of at least $800.00 per month, plus $100.00 per dependent. All documents must be notarized and apostilled and translated into Spanish. What the hell is “apostilled”? It’s another way for the various governments to get more money out of you; it’s like getting your documents certified by the state originating each document that they are originals. Seeing as Carol was born in Michigan, she had to get her birth certificate apostilled by the state of Michigan. I being born in Pennsylvania had to have mine done there. All the other documents: background investigations for both, marriage certificates for both and my Social Security monthly benefit had to be done in Florida. Each document had to be individually done and an individual check for each, usually $10.00 to $15.00 each. For the birth certificates we called each state’s Department of Records to find out what had to be done: letter of request stating what country you are applying for, a check and a self addressed envelope. Just to be safe and keeping timing to a minimum, everything was sent out and back via USPS Priority Mail. The same was required for the Background Investigations (BI), the marriage licenses and the SSA report. Each of these took a week to two weeks to come back. The SSA report didn’t come and it didn’t come. I was getting nervous so I did a Internet search for the nearest office. Fortunately, I found their office in a neighboring town and surprisingly enough, after only a 15 minute wait, it was in and out like a virgin on his honeymoon. “This is great,” he foolishly thought to himself. “Piece of cake.” Once I had received all my documents, I went to the bank, got them notarized, took them to the Post Office on Monday and fired them off again via Priority mail, saying a prayer that I had done everything correctly. So far, so good. That Thursday afternoon. I went to the mail box and my Priority Envelope to The Florida Dept of State had been RETURNED TO ME!!!!! WTF!!!!! I panicked. We were leaving in nine days and two of those were over the weekend. What to do? Holy crap! I jumped into the car and drove like a mad man to the United Parcel Service office in town. “I need you to send this P-1 over night for delivery before 10:30 tomorrow morning!” “I can’t” “Why not” “We can’t deliver to a postal mail box”. Ahhhhhhh. The original address label, was to a post office box “SON-OF-A-BITCH!!!!”. I knew that but had spaced it out under all the pressure. Back into the car, raced back home to find the paperwork, get the street address for the Apostilles Department, Panic was setting in. Where the hell is that paperwork? My binder!. I had put together a binder with all the information on Ecuador. Where is it, ruffling through the pages, where is it, where is it…AW HAW! EUREKA!!!! Back into the car, screeching down the streets and then….”AW SHIT!” Damned if school hadn’t just let out. Mumbling to myself through the 20 MPH zone, hell I could walk faster than that. It seemed at that time to be 20 miles long. “I’m back. I wonder why they sent it all back to me.” With a smile, the little girl behind the counter informed me that, “They forget to put a stamp on it.” “SON-OF-A-BITCH!” “ARE YOU SHITTING ME?” I hurriedly paid the girl, $30.00, grabbed the Priority envelope, ran to the car and headed to the Post Office talking to myself all the way. I ran into the office and stood there in line, shuffling my feet like everyone probably thought I had to pee. “Why did this come back?” She looked very puzzled for about ten seconds and then I saw the blood drain slowly from her face. “Oh, my GOD. She forgot to put a stamp on it. She’s new.” “New” my ass! She just cost me 30 bucks. If I don’t get these papers back by Thursday, I’m F#^&%D!!!! You had better pray for me.” She reached over to the till and handed me $30.00, I snatched it from her hand, “Thanks”, and stomped out the door, still babbling away. That was on a Tuesday. I figured the Dept of State would get it Wed, apostille the documents Thurs, UPS would pick them up Fri and I would have them on Sat, four days before we were to leave. That Friday, my UPS envelope showed up one day earlier than I had expected. “Yes, Alice, There is a GOD.” I gave a huge sigh of relief, tore open the envelope and there they were, four apostilled but wait. What’s this letter? WTF? The Social Security Record had not been apostilled. Son-Of-A-Bitch! I must have read it over 14 times in disbelief. It was an original, it had been notarized, there was my $10 dollar check and cover letter requesting it for Ecuador. What the hell? I frantically looked for their phone number. My hand was shaking so bad I was afraid I would miss dial. One ring. Two rings. Three rings. Oh shit! It’s 4:07 on a Friday. I could only imagine that they probably close at 4:00 on Fridays. “Hello, Florida Department of State. How may I help you?” (Oh, thank you GOD!) I explained the situation and the lady very calmly and courteously transferred my call. The next sound I heard was another very pleasant and calm, “Hello, this is Yolanda. How may I help you?” How can these people be so damn calm when I’m about ready for my head to explode. Pass the duct tape. I related my confusion as to why the SSA report had failed to get apostilled. “Well, Mr. Watral, you failed to write a statement on the document saying that you certified that said document was an authentic original.” “SAY WHAT? It’s notarized.” “I know but you failed to write a statement…” I interrupted her, “Are you kidding me?” “I’m sorry, Mr. Watral but I don’t write the rules.” She was sooooo calm and soooooo pleasant that I felt like she was being condescending at that point. “If I add the statement, send it P-1 today, you will get it on Monday, can you apostille it and expedite it on Monday, send it out on Tuesday so I can get it on Wednesday in time for us to leave Thursday?” “Yes. sir. I will do that.” “Oh, Yolanda, I love you!” I must have thanked her five different times. I thanked GOD so many times I can’t remember how many. I said a prayer and left it in HIS and Yolanda’s hands. The day is now Wednesday. It’s been a l-o-n-g five days…and nights. Captain Morgan and I became real close buddies those nights, not that he wasn’t already. When I got back from working out, there was my return UPS envelope on the bench on our front step. “Oh, thank you, LORD. Oh thank you, Yolanda” I tore open the envelope, slowly pulled out the paper inside and, “Oh shit. What’s this cover letter? NOT AGAIN!!!!” “Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, blah, blah, blah, As requested in a letter dated May 5, 2014, we have certified the following: Notarized document…21 copy…Apostille..Cheriese Soto.” “EUREKA!” WE GOT IT! Oh, baby!!!!!! We’re ready to rock ‘n roll. We leave tomorrow. Who said it couldn’t be done?

    • OMG! I can only say, thanks God you got through it… I did go through crazy paper work at the Ecuadorian Consulate in Ottawa to get my family school records and documents ready to come to Ecuador, that is why I completely understand your stress and unbelievable stories, at the end, the best reward is when you are sitting here, right by the ocean, and enjoying a relaxing inexpensive life.

      Now, I went through an unexpected experience once in Ecuador, which may happen to some of you, so just have a lot of patience. Even though I was careful and double check all paper work and apostilled before coming to Ecuador, I was missing one CAN school record for my son’s file, they never mentioned that extra doc at the Consulate of Ecuador in Ottawa, but the Ministry of Education of Ecuador did requested.

      Here is what good friends are for; I ask a friend of mine to help me out with this, I request the doc online from the CAN office, send it directly to my friends address, and ask her to get it translated into Spanish and have it certified and apostilled by the Ecuadorian Consulate. It took a bit of time, but we got it here in Ecuador.

      We should be aware that in Ecuador all paper work and official requests go through constant changes since it is a country that is emerging as a new economy; you should double check for updates and other peoples experience.

      It is great to have a chance to learn something new everyday, Ecuador provides you with a new learning experience.

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