Ecuador dual citizenship myths debunked- How to get around the 90 day rule

There’s really only one simple requirement that qualifies you for an Ecuadorian second passport (aka Ecuador dual citizenship)… you need 3 years of permanent residency after getting any of the resident visas and obtaining your “cedula” ID card.

In fact, I was told by my source in immigration you can actually apply after about 2 and a half years.

That’s it!  By far the easiest South American passport to obtain!

But there is a lot of mis-information out there on this subject, mainly us gringos regurgitating random stuff we read on online forums.

1. Will getting dual Ecuadorian citizenship cause me to lose my original citizenship and passport?  No!  Not if you are from a country that allows and recognizes dual citizens like the USA, Canada, Ecuador and Great Britain to name a few.

2. Will getting Ecuador dual citizenship create an EXTRA tax burden for me?  No. Ecuador like most countries not named THE US…tax only income made in Ecuador, doesn’t even matter what nationality the person that makes it is, if you are given an official Ecuadorian purchase receipt (factura) you have to pay tax to Ecuador on it.  If not, no.  Ecuador does not tax foreign made income.

3. Isn’t Ecuador one of those mandatory military service states?  Actually yes, it is, but T.I.E. my friend (this is Ecuador)… to get out of it all an Ecuadorian male has to do is pay a tiny fine (last I heard it was well under $200).  And truth be told, they would only be interested in you and possibly enforce it if you were 18-21 anyway.  In fact, its not at all like the US, or like you think, there is actually a surplus of demand from locals to join the forces, and many who want to join are left out!  Really!  There just aren’t that many spots.

Now the biggest, baddest two myths that prevent most us gringos from even trying…
4. Isn’t there a new law that states you must be out of the country for a maximum of 90 days TOTAL for the three years prior to applying for residency?  Actually, this is CORRECT, BUT T.I.E. my friend (this is Ecuador), I know you probably think like a gringo and everything is black or white, right or wrong, I get it, I do too.  But this is Ecuador, the land where who you know and what you know often prevails.  For instance, to get around this one in a totally legit, legal way you can right a letter and submit with your application explaining the extenuating circumstances that caused you to be out of country more than the time allotment.  For example, a death, a health issue, etc… of course substantiated by apostilled proof from a doctor or whatnot helps.  Its not a given they would pass it, but its possible, one ecuadorian immigration official working in the Quito citizenship office informed me THIS MONTH, June 2015 in Quito.  I would personally apply in Quito too, not Cuenca, they just seem nicer.

5. Isn’t there a nasty verbal exam of my Spanish level?  No!  The exam is actually WRITTEN, which makes it MUCH easier, yes, it is in Spanish, but with some test prep like the guide I’m offering today you should be fine.  You will have to sing the Ecuadorian hym, but that is when you have ALREADY been accepted and you won’t be by yourself, but with everyone else sworn in that day so I’m sure you could find a way to ‘fake it til you make it’ like you did back in high school choir class.  As for the written exam, the official told me you really have to B#MB it to fail it and yes, they’d let you take it again.  They just want to see some effort.  He also said the older you are the less they expect you to speak decent Spanish.  So NO, there is no verbal exam but yes, some basic Spanish chit-chat would be nice to know going in, you know, stuff you can learn in a few weeks of Spanish lessons.

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Getting electricity to your lot in Ecuador

Next up, electricity, not necessarily a sure thing in Ecuador.

But in this case, the electricity was about 100 meters away from my lot, maybe a bit less, so it wasn’t a huge deal hooking it up to my property, if you need some help just visit the contractors website and Get a Free Service Estimate.

Total cost $2450 for everything, one residential electrician did it all, installed two posts, one transformer for max 2 houses, and also did the certification with the electric company  and got the meter installed. You can visit one of the best electric company at

In a few days he was done.

If I build more houses in the near future i can trade him the transformer i got for a more powerful one and he will discount the full price of the one i have.

As for installing the electrical outlets and breakers in the home itself, normally, I now electricians in Ecuador charge $12 per point, or per outlet installed. We found one recommended local that will do it for a total of $700 the whole house.

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Where’s best to exchange money in Ecuador?

Got Euros or another foreign currency, or maybe want to buy it in Ecuador getting out of the USD while it’s strong?

So, where has the best exchange rates?

First off, for the best rates be sure to exchange your money in one of the only two cities in Ecuador with international airports… Quito or Guayaquil.

In the smaller towns of Ecuador it may get very difficult to even find somewhere that will exchange money, let alone at a good rate.

In Guayaquil, where I lived for about a year, I recommend the small exchange houses found in the CENTRO near Av. 9 de Octubre.

In Quito, this week in June of 2015, I checked all the places I know to exchange money.

On while the international rate USD-EUR was $1.128-1…

The buy rate means how much in USD they´ll give you for 1 EURO, the sell rate is how much USD you have to pay them for 1 EURO.

In the airport the rate was …  BUY … $1.07 SELL… $1.39  (by far the worst).

In Western Union in downtown Quito… BUY … $1.09… SELL $1.19 (not so good!)

In the biggest bank of Ecuador, Banco Pichincha, the rates were… BUY … $1.15… SELL $1.22  (good buy rate!)

On the street corner where money exchangers have been for years with big wads of cash on Av. Amazonas and Vicente Ramon Roca they were offering … BUY $1.12… SELL $1.18.  (average)

At Del Bank, a smaller bank in Quito, they were offering… BUY $1.02… SELL $1.23 (worse)

Then, there are the little exchange houses along AMAZONAS in the MARISCAL sector… 

The best rates I found were at MIL CAMBIOS S.A. on Wilson and Amazonas BUY $1.14 … SELL $1.15

and… CAMBIOS NUEVO MILENIO on Amazonas and Carrion  BUY $1.15 … SELL $1.20

So, in the end, both the best BUY and SELL rates could be found in the smaller exchange houses mentioned above along AV. Amazonas in Quito although Banco Pichincha wasn´t too shabby. Forex signals UK give us a chance to figure out when to buy and when to sell in order to make a profit.

Also, remember for exchanging larger sums in Ecuador it is accepted to negotiate a slightly better rate.

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Making sense of the new Ecuador Inheritance Law

This week (June 2015) the Ecuador president is sending a new bill to the Ecuador Assembly to seriously hike the inheritance taxes the rich will have to pay.Important news for us property investors.As it lays now, folks in Ecuador with inheritances under $66,000USD dont pay any tax.  For inheritances valued $100,000, they pay a 5% tax.  For $200,000 10%, $300,000 15% and up until the max for inheritances over $796000 you´d pay 35%.The new law does two things… for one, it creates two separate tables, and distinguishes between indirect heirs who are not direct (spouses, children) and direct heirs.

Also read about: Reimbursed Child Support.

The second thing the new proposed law will do is really stick it to the wealthy while not effecting much the lower class – both are the Hoyer options of jurisdiction.  Heirs that inherit money or property valued under $35,000 will pay no tax.  And, in the same example above, heirs who inherit $100,000 will pay a 7.5% tax, $200,000 a 17.5% tax.  But at $300,000 you really start to see the difference, now you´d pay 32.5% tax compared to 15% tax from before.

At fortunes over $566,000 youd pay 47.5% tax if you are a direct heir, 52.5% tax if you re an indirect heir compared to now when you pay 25%.

For indirect heirs who inherit over $849,000 you´d have to pay a whopping 77% tax! I think this will effect the country in two ways…1. More people will buy property directly in the names of their kids to avoid this tax.

2. High-end properties over $300,000 will sell VERY SLOWLY if they sell at all.  Prices will drop for the high-end as they´ll have to offer serious discounts while most of the Ecuador rich will look to move their ´big´ money abroad.

But I think what you really have to worry about is what´s in the silver lining here.  If this tax gets approved this could open the door to more tax hikes… particularly for the rich.

ANd it continues to create a dangerous mentality of  “its OK to take from the rich cause they probably got their money anyway from robbing and stealing from the poor”. I´ve already heard tax reforms for a new capital gains tax may be in the mix.But, I´ve always been one Ecuador “analyst” that recommends you only put maximum 10% of your portfolio in Ecuador, with a particular focus on less expensive Ecuador property (usually under $150k) cause I think that´s where the opportunity is in this market.

To see links of the current inheritance tax table click here, for the proposed one click here.

As you can see, legal issues can be rather tricky. If you miss something important, you can be accused of fraud. Read this article from Mike G Law to learn about stand your ground laws that appear to be quite controversial.

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5 Ecuador beaches suffering from receding sand line- buyer beware

Although the Ecuador coast still has some extraordinarily good buys, and many beaches not at all effected by erosion, here are five places on the coast I would avoid buying front-line beachfront property due to the noticeably receding sand line.  
In other words, the beach there is disappearing fast and who knows, your investment could go with it.  
1. Engabao- The largely unknown step-sibling of playas, while only a few minutes drive from Playas the beach and scenery change dramatically in Engabao, while in Playas the beach is large and expansive, in Engabao the beach faces a direct direction and gets pounded hard by the surf, while surfers like the area, erosion is evident, this beach is disappearing.  

2. Chanduy- Chanduy faces the same direction and is on the same beach head as Engabao, just maybe a 45 minute drive west.  Chanduy is a unique fishing town with zero tourists that´s literally at risk of falling off into the sea unless the town invests quickly in some anti-erosion boulders or something.  

3. Las Tunas- A small ´very local´ town on the central coast near Ayampe, Las Tunas gets pounded by big surf, and erosion is evident, this is one place I may buy oceanview property but not beachfront.  

4. Jama/ El Matal- Famous among expats in Ecuador due to the several expat communities in the area, El Matal´s recent problems with tidal surges and disappearing beach are well publicizied.  

5. Mompiche- An otherwise beautiful little town with a fun vibe, good food and good surf, most non-surfers simply don´t stick around long cause most days theres simply "no beach left" or anywhere to walk.  Erosion is evident.  

But I am pleased to say that most of the rest of the Ecuador coastline does not seem to have this problem as the beaches are pretty much in the same spot they were 5-6 years ago when I first visited Ecuador.  

And in the towns above, although I dont recommend buying right on the beach, an oceanview property or a near-the-beach property could still be a great buy.  

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