A Canadian Family Traveling & Living Abroad (in Ecuador)


4 Benefits of Ecuador’s Residency Visa (Video)

ecuador-visas-benefitsWith six types of residency visas in Ecuador, there are no shortages of options. You can get a visa based on investment, your degree or your pension, among other options.

But what are the benefits of getting a permanent visa in Ecuador?

Benefits of Ecuador’s Residency Visa

  1. Extend your stay indefinitely
  2. Have all the rights of a citizen
  3. Processes (like opening a bank account) become much easier
  4. Tax exceptions for residents who are 65 years old, or older

In this new video with Grace Velastegui, an attorney in Cuenca, learn about the benefits of becoming a resident of Ecuador.

Why Get a Residency Visa in Ecuador? 

{complete transcript below the video}

Benefits of Ecuador’s Residency Visa Video Transcript

The reasons why they should become a resident is first of all: to extend their stay and have all the rights of a citizen, because that is what residency provides.

All the processes (tramites) will become easier.

They will be able to open accounts, because non-residents are not able to open an account with a bank in Ecuador. And so, once they have their cedula they will be able to come into a bank (and of course, provide their paperwork) and be able to open an account, even a checking account.

We’ve been able to help our clients open accounts without being residents, but that has been the exception. We do that for people who are in the process of being residents.

As so, when you are a resident, you also have tax exception – especially for people over sixty five. And so people can recoup their payment of the 12% sales tax that they pay when they purchase anything in the store. They can go to the Ecuadorian IRS (SRI) and recover those payments. You can also bring in duty free household goods.

So these are some of the primary reasons why people decide to become residents of Ecuador versus just getting a tourist visa which will just extend their stay for no longer than 180 days.

In other words, the non-permanent visas allow a tourist to come into the country for usually no longer than 180 days. Unless they apply for a workers visa which will allow them to stay in the country for the period of the contract. They will have to provide all the proofs of employment and the good standing of the company that is hiring them in order to get that kind of residency. The same for students visas. Those are only good for the duration of the classes that the student is taking.

Questions? If you have specific questions, please comment below or contact Grace Velastegui directly.

An article by

Bryan is a journalist, photographer, expat and dad. He writes for Gringos Abroad (Ecuador travel and living) and Blogger Abroad (run an online business abroad). He also enjoys living in Southern Ecuador (South America) with his wife and daughter. Connect with Bryan on LinkedIn.

More about: Living in Ecuador

{ 37 comments… add one }

  • Mahdi Tavakoli April 14, 2014, 8:22 am

    Dear Sir,

    My name is Mahdi and i am married, I am holding Iranian passport and live in United Arab Emirates for past 15 Years.
    How I can get residency and later Citizenship of Ecuadors in Next one year.
    My budget is almost 200,000 US$.
    Thanks
    Mahdi

    Reply
  • Steve October 1, 2013, 5:44 pm

    If I become a resident in Ecuador, will this effect my US citizenship and my Social Security retirement payments?

    Reply
  • Jeremy October 1, 2013, 4:04 pm

    Hi Brian,
    We met in September in Guayaquil. We are currently living in Loja. You introduced us to your friends Sam and Nate. I was wondering were I can find out how far in advance we need to apply for our Non-immigrant visa, and if we can apply in Cuenca. The government website I keep getting sent to has a bad link. We are currently on our 90 days with our passport, and want to apply for a 12-IV. Pretty sure we can do it in Cuenca. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  • Patricia Emmett September 2, 2013, 1:09 pm

    I have been searching and cannot find this info on your websites? Facebook included? Here is my question, my rooms are booked and paid for to stay in Ecuador during the months of November and December. I have emailed the attorneys you have requested this information also. But I need to book my flight and I want to know if I decide to stay longer and use up my 90 days stay. How long do we need to leave the country before we can then return for another 90 days? I am hoping to spend time with your recommended dentist for some extensive work and might need extra time so I am confused about having to leave. I could leave and head to a closer country and wait out the time to return if needed but cannot find out the wait time posted anywhere? Thank you again for all the assistance!

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines September 3, 2013, 1:27 pm

      I understand that the tourist visa is for 90 days every year. Once you use them up you have to leave until the next year – unless you apply for another type of visa. There are other longer term visas available.

      Reply
  • doug yarris July 4, 2013, 4:39 pm

    I will be moving to ecuador, should I get the residency visa before coming out?

    Reply
  • Philip Perez June 24, 2013, 3:27 am

    Would appreciate some information if someone has any on Primary and High schools that teach in English in Manta?
    Thank you,
    Phil.

    Reply
  • Paul Kreminski June 22, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Hi Bryan,
    I spent the month of Sept 2012 in Cuenca and will be returning this Sept. There is an American from California in Cuenca who started a flyfishing club and who takes people up to Cajas National park for trout fishing. His first name is James. I lost his contact info and would like to fish with him who I visit in September> By chance would you have his contact info ?

    Thanks

    Reply
  • Burt June 20, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Thanks for following up.

    Did you also happen to ask about any out-of-country restrictions on a permanent visa after the second year? (There is a thread on the Yahoo Ecuador-expats group that states 18 month max away for any 5 year period, but I’ve never heard that anywhere else.)

    Reply
  • Burt June 19, 2013, 12:19 pm

    Good to know about the shorter time frame.

    I based my statement on needing to know Spanish on , where they list the requirements of citizenship (the only concise list I could find, though it is not an official Ecuadorian page). Their #3 bullet is “3. Speak and write in spanish.”

    I know there are such requirements for English for the US Citizenship, so figured it was a reasonable requirement. Just wondered “how good.”

    My history with learning languages is Stuff of Legend — all in the negative sense. I’m gonna try, but at 63 with campfire stories full of prior failures, I am not expecting to hold social conversations in Spanish any time soon… :)

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines June 19, 2013, 12:29 pm

      It makes sense – it would be a little weird for an Ecuadorian citizen not to speak Spanish.

      The post you linked to is five years old, so that explains the inaccuracy on time-frame. Within the last year I saw a list at a government office and there was no requirement of language. This isn’t to say there isn’t one, but it wasn’t on this list. Something for a new post…

      And don’t worry about the language, it will come. Just put yourself out there and use it. Everyone makes lots of mistakes. A program like Speak from Day 1 might be helpful for you. It helps have the right mindset as you learn a new language.

      Reply
  • andre hugo June 19, 2013, 12:16 pm

    I am thrilled to read the comment that someone is actually getting about $ 100 per month back. I’ve been missing this for the past couple year.

    As someone once said of Gringos Abroad, it is the best site for practical information. Thanks

    Reply
  • michael June 19, 2013, 10:14 am

    What are the possibilities of someone on a student visa to getting a resident permit?

    Reply
  • JanisP June 19, 2013, 9:39 am

    I would like to find a website that states all the rules for a Household Shipment. I don’t want a container, I’d just like to get a large 50# box of stuff! Do I need to go through a 3rd party to clear Customs?? I can’t find this information anywhere on line. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Burt June 19, 2013, 11:17 am

      50 pounds is the airline limit for suitcases. Just fly in with your box as one of your suitcases, and walk on out the airport. No muss, no fuss, and customs rarely bothers you unless you are unlucky enough to look shady… :)

      Quite a few expats come in with a few suitcases (each limited to 50 pounds) as their sole import, and I have not heard of any having any problems at all. American Airlines has a 7 bag limit per passenger (at $100 per bag), so you can get quite a lot in that way.

      Reply
      • JanisP June 19, 2013, 4:32 pm

        But that will require me flying back to the US first to get the stuff! That’s a little cost-prohibitive!!

        Reply
        • Burt June 19, 2013, 8:43 pm

          Do you have any friends coming in from the states? Have them bring it.

          Otherwise, just use DHL/FedEx/UPS. I got quotes on a 50# package from California to Cuenca a few months ago when I was deciding how to get my stuff there. They each want right around $300 for the box.

          That seems way too high for my use (since I was in the States at the time and could use the extra suitcase approach). If you are already in Ecuador and do not plan on returning to the States anytime soon, that may be the cheaper way for you though.

          Reply
    • Burt June 19, 2013, 11:59 am

      Apparently there was a “Presidential Decree No. 888″ issued in January 2012 that specifies exactly what can be imported. I have not been able to find that document via Google though.

      Bryan — do you happen to have a link to it, or further details here? I _think_ I know what I can bring (we are back in the states selling our home this week, and will ship our stuff down in Sept), but would like confirmation, so I don’t get into trouble.

      Reply
  • andre hugo June 18, 2013, 6:59 pm

    Thanks for this. I could have been getting the 12% rebate for the past 2 years. One person who I spoke to acknowledged the deduction and another said that she thought that it was done away with a couple years ago. The total that I spend here is very significant. Fortunately, my lady is meticulous in keeping the books, so I expect to benefit significantly.

    Reply
    • Burt June 19, 2013, 11:20 am

      We are not yet 65, so don’t get the refund. We have a 65+ friend that always gets the receipts from restaurants when we are out together, so she can get the refund. She says she gets around $100/mo back. If I remember correctly, there is a limit of something like $150/mo. Perhaps Bryan can confirm that limit?

      Reply
      • Bryan Haines June 19, 2013, 11:23 am

        I haven’t heard of a limit. I’ll look into it.

        Bryan

        Reply
  • Jo June 18, 2013, 11:53 am

    Hi there. Has the opening of accounts changed? I opened an account before I was a resident, just with a passport. Now I am a resident, I just changed from the passport to the cedula.

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines June 18, 2013, 12:02 pm

      Good question. We also opened accounts 3 years ago with just a passport. It wasn’t that straightforward – we had to have a friend with an account write a letter to the bank. It was a character reference. I’ve since heard of expats being refused accounts without a cedula.

      Reply
      • Jo June 18, 2013, 12:09 pm

        You´re right about the character reference, I remember that now. It may be certain banks that refuse. Oh well, that´s Ecuador for you.

        Reply
  • Steve Watkins June 18, 2013, 11:42 am

    It is also worth noting (and it may be a down side to some) that residency requires you to be in Ecuador for 9 of 12 months during the first two years.

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines June 18, 2013, 12:00 pm

      That’s true. There are also a set of legal and tax concerns that open up when becoming a resident of another country.

      Reply
      • Burt June 19, 2013, 11:23 am

        I knew about the “no more than 3 months away” for the first two years. Recently though, I also heard about a rule of “no more than 18 months away during the following 5 years.”

        Is that true? Do we need to become a full citizen to avoid limits on travel? (Our plans are to spend about 3 months per year abroad in exploring other countries throughout the world — instead of the 3 weeks per year we were limited to when working)

        Reply
        • Bryan Haines June 19, 2013, 11:26 am

          No, I’ve never heard of that. After 2 years as a resident you can apply for citizenship.

          Bryan

          Reply
          • Burt June 19, 2013, 12:06 pm

            2 years? I thought that was the time delay if marrying an Ecuadorian citizen, and that it was 3 years for everyone else?

            Also, I only have “survival Spanish” now. I intend to take Spanish lessons a couple hours per day for a couple days per week indefinitely. Just how good does your Spanish need to be in order to obtain citizenship?

          • Bryan Haines June 19, 2013, 12:10 pm

            The law changed a year ago. There was an article in the paper that said the president adjusted the time frame.

            I haven’t read about a language requirement – but surely after 2 years here you won’t have a problem. :)

          • Bryan Haines June 20, 2013, 11:20 am

            I just heard from our immigration lawyers and you’re right (I’m wrong). Nelson just checked at the immigration office this morning and here is what he found out:

            The two years applies only to foreigners married to Ecuadorians. In general terms, you must have a minimum of three years residency to become a citizen.

            So, it looks like a 3 year wait for new residency to become citizens.

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About Bryan & Dena Haines

We are a Canadian family of 3 living in Ecuador since 2009. If this is your first visit, start here. We blog about life and travel in Ecuador. Interested to work with us? Read more about Bryan & Dena

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