One big reason to move to Ecuador is the ease with which you can become a LEGAL resident.
Trust me, it stinks to have to make border runs every month or two like expats in Thailand, or overstay your visa illegally.
This year, in 2012, I’ve started helping new expats in Ecuador get residency visas or tourist visa extensions while they stay in my B&B in Guayaquil.
And through this work, I’ve witnessed a few changes to the requirements over the course of 2012.
Here they are as I write this on November 23, 2012…
1. A few months ago they abolished the rule that you had to submit your application for residency visas or extensions with at least 30 days remaining before your current visa expires. Now, as long as you get it in while still on a valid visa in Ecuador you’re OK.
2. Around August they started requiring foreigners bring a birth certificate (apostilled or certified in an Ecuadorian embassy abroad) from their home country in order to get the “cedula” or your official Ecuadorian ID card.
3. Over the course of the last year Ecuador has opened immigration offices in both Manta and Cuenca where you can apply for residency visas but in Manta you still cant attain your Ecuadorian “Cedula”.
4. Last week while helping someone get their cedula, I learned of a brand new rule on the books (directly from the Cedula Officials) that foreigners getting first time cedulas need to get proof of their civil state, meaning if they are single, they need to go to their Secretary of State and get a document verifying they are in fact “single” in their home country, or bring an apostilled or Ecuadorian-Embassy-Certified marriage certificate. Before, if you were single just doing a quick sworn statement in a local notary would do. As of now, they still might accept the sworn statement because new laws usually take a while to begin to get enforced.
What hasn’t changed?
Thankfully, for several years now the main qualifications needed for a residency visa have not changed… as of yet. You still qualify for residency in Ecuador if you have a pension over $800 a month (or $900/mon if you’d like to bring a spouse), or an investment in the country legally valued over $25,000.
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