How to stay longer than 3 months in Ecuador

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3 months. Non-extendable.

That’s how much time you get when you enter Ecuador as a tourist these days. You can enter by just showing your passport upon arrival, no prior visas needed.

A few short years ago, at the end of the 3 months you could go to the immigration office, pay a few bucks, and get a 3 month extension. Now, you can’t.

Plus, I heard rumors that we can no longer exit Ecuador and re-enter to get a fresh 3 months.

So how can you stay in Ecuador longer than 3 months without having to apply for a permanent residency visa?

As my initial entry stamp expired this past week, I opted for the 12-IX “Acto de Comercio Visa” (Act of Commerce Visa). It’s the easiest option I found without having to leave the country.

Here’s what you need to do to get it (follow these instructions exactly or you’ll be making several trips, like I did):

1. Write brief letter in Spanish made out to the regional coordinator of immigration affairs, in Guayaquil right now it’s Ab. Eliana Larrea Marriot stating WHY you want to extend your stay in the country. Your reason can be simply “tourism”.

2. Fill out visa application form and include two passport-sized photos. Download here.

3. Make NOTARIZED copies of your exit air ticket, your passport photo page with at least 6 months of validity, and a bank statement proving you have sufficient funds to stay in the country ($1000 USD should do). Translate the bank statement to Spanish with translator, you can find many outside the Ministry of Foreign Relations (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) offices.

4. Take documents in manila folder to the nearest “Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores” and there you will pay the visa fee, $230.

The extension is good for 3 more months. No lawyer needed. I recommend applying 2 weeks before your visa stamp expires, just to be safe.

Also, if you’d like more tips regarding visas in Ecuador you can ask questions on the Q&A forum, or if you stay in my new B&B next to the airport in Guayaquil I can give you personalized pointers through the process, free…

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