It was so difficult finding a list or requirements on obtaining a permanent VISA, and very discouraging, mostly because the law changes enough. One day, while at my wit’s end, I came across a blog where someone gave the phone number of Dr. Roberto Moreno, who helped us, and still helps us, with all problems relating to the VISA, the Cedula, your passport, your Citizenship, whatever you need. They are awesome, so friendly, so efficient, and get back to you in a timely manner. You can do it without a lawyer, much cheaper, but if you don’t speak the language well, they sure are a god-send. Here’s what they wrote us:
As of 8/8/14
Thank you for contacting us regarding a residency visa for Ecuador. We will be happy to assist
you with the process for obtaining a residency visa. This letter will briefly outline some of the
current requirements for various types of visas. We must caution that the regulations change
frequently and changes generally become effectively immediately which means that, even if
your visa is in process, the new requirements would apply and additional documentation may be
There are many types of visas and each one has its own specific requirements. The most common visas that people considering retiring in Ecuador are a visa based on pension from abroad of $800 or more monthly (9-I), a visa based on purchase of property valued at $25,000
dollars or more (9-II),or a visa based on a certificate of deposit of $25,000 held in an Ecuadorian bank (9-II) and finally a visa based on degree of higher education (9-V). There are also some more specialized types of visas (for example, visas based on an investment in an Ecuadorian company, student visas amongst others). If you would like information on any of the other types of visas, please contact us.
The general documents required to obtain any of the visas are the following. Except where
noted, these documents must be obtained by you in the United States and provided to our office.
– A certified copy of a Police Record (from the FBI or the State Police)
– 4 passport photos
– A letter to the Ministry (which we will draft and you will sign)
– 2 application forms (which we will fill out and you will sign)
– Color copies of your passport and the last entry stamp to Ecuador
– A passport valid for at least 6 month
– Any Ecuadorian visa valid for at least 30 days
– If married, a certified and apostilled copy of your marriage license
– If you are bringing any children with you, a certified and apostilled copy of their birth
Following is a list of the principal documents that are required for each type of visa. Except
where noted, these documents must be obtained by you in the United States and provided to our
If you are obtaining a visa based on a pension:
– A letter from the Social Security Administration or the company from whom you receive a pension indicating the amount of income you are receiving each month. You must have an $800 dollar minimum income in order to qualify for this visa (you must add $100 to your income per dependent)- A letter from the Ecuadorian consulate that states that you are receiving pension income
o This document must be apostilled (Please see the note below about apostilles.)
o This document must be apostilled.
o In order to obtain the document, you will need to present the letter from the Social
Security Administration or the company from whom you receive a pension, along with
o There is a fee of $40 to obtain this document
o The consulate will then issue you the official letter which we need to present to the
Ministry in Ecuador.
If you are obtaining a visa based on property, we will assist you in preparing these necessary
– A Final Deed of Purchase in your name
– Proof of payment of taxes on property
– Title search on property where it is verified that the property is worth $25,000 or more.
If you are opening a CD, we will assist you with this process:
– Have an Ecuadorian bank account which we will help you to set up
– Deposit $25,000 in a bank CD
– The CD must remain in custody of the Ecuadorian central bank
If you are obtaining visa based on a college degree (bachelor, masters or PhD)
– Have a degree of higher education (bachelor or higher) this document must me apostilled.
– The degree must be registered in the Ministry of Higher education database.
Each university is different and registration of degrees may require apostilled transcripts for certain universities. Our firm can give you a list of the university that require a transcript.
Another document which will be useful (although not strictly required) if you are living in Ecuador is the cedula, or Ecuadorian ID. Some additional documents are required to obtain thecedula:
– The cedula form (which we will fill out and you will sign)
– A notarized affidavit that contains specific information (we will draft you will sign and we will notarize)
The requirement for a document to be “apostilled” is likely a new concept for most people. An apostille is simply a certification, typically from the Secretary of State in the state in which the document was originally issued, that the document has been properly issued and satisfies the legal requirements (for example, an authorized notary certification) for the state. If you need assistance in determining where and how to obtain an apostille for any of your documents, please contact us and we will be happy to help. If you were born in Canada or in a country that does not do apostilles then al documents must be legalized and certified by the Ecuadorian consulate closest to you.
Once we have all the documents we will have them translated, get them legalized here. We will also obtain a migratory record from the immigration department which shows your movement in and out of the country. Once we have all of the required documents, one of our staff will go with you to the Ministry where we will present the documents. They will take your photo at the Ministry and then give us an ID number which we will use to track the progress of your visa.
The Ministry’s general processing time for visas is one to three months. Once the visa has been approved, they will request your passport so they can stamp the visa (this generally takes 1week). After the passport and the visa have been returned, we can apply for the cedula.
Please let me know if you need anything else. My contact information is below and I check email regularly, I am also copying Dr. Moreno to this email, so feel free to contact him as well.
Moreno di Donato Legal Team
I hope this helps! SOOOO many times I wished there was ONE place where I could go for all of this information! I’ll try to make this a one stop shop for all the tips on moving to Ecuador! For more travel tips and recipes, check out my other posts and above all Romaine Calm!