I know the feeling.
That feeling you get when you look around a country and think “man, I love it here.” …
…And then for immigration reasons, or due to a lack of legal residency, you got to go.
It’s happened to me, but I hope it doesn’t happen to you.
One big plus of moving to Ecuador is the ease with which you can get legal residency. A pension of at least $800 a month or an investment of $25k or more will qualify you!
In Panama, for instance, the minimum investment to get a resident visa is several times larger.
But it’s not a “breeze” by any means, there’s a lot of mis-information out there… learn from my mistakes and follow these 8 “don’t dos”to save yourself hundreds, even thousands of dollars when applying for your Ecuador residency:
8. Don’t have others apostille your documents in your home country. Before coming to Ecuador you’ll need a few documents apostilled by your local Secretary of State. Others like your document translator will probably offer to apostille your documents, but for around 5 times what you’d pay if you just did it yourself.
7. Don’t do official translations in the US. Wait for Ecuador to translate official documents, there are translators outside the immigration offices in Quito and Guayaquil that will do the official translating for a small fraction of what you’d pay per page in the US. Just don’t give them your documents and leave, see the job through!
6. Don’t try to notarize your passport in the US. Wait for Ecuador to try to notarize copies of documents like your passport, in Ecuador it will cost $1 per notarized copy, if done in the US you’d have to mail it to DC (because local notaries can’t notarize a national document) and pay $50 or more. Talk about a pain in the a$$.
5. Upon arrival don’t wait to submit your residency application. You must submit your resident visa application at least 30 days before your actual visa expires or you will have to leave country and come back before applying.
4. Don’t apply for an investor’s visa if a pensioner’s visa is an option for you, because with an investor’s visa you are tied to that property, if you sell your investment you will lose your residency visa and have to apply for a new one.
3. Don’t apply from outside of Ecuador. Just don’t. Trying to get people in Ecuador to move if you aren’t breathing down their neck is like trying to train a cat, it just ain’t gonna happen! Get the few docs you need from your home country, then come here and finish the process and you can get it done in a month.
2. Don’t apply for Pensioner visas in Cuenca just yet, because the immigration office in Cuenca is so new it’s not correctly attached to the nationwide records system so come time to get your “cedula”(your Ecuadorian ID card) you may have trouble in Guayaquil or Quito (as of now, July 2012, you can’t get cedulas in Cuenca).
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