Retiring in Ecuador – Can You Get a Visa?

Retiring in Ecuador – Can You Get a Visa?


Ecuador is a colourful and exciting destination and consistently voted one of the best places for expats to retire. There are two main reasons why people move to or retire in Ecuador: low cost of living and better quality of life.

In Ecuador, your money will stretch much further – perhaps even allowing you to afford things that would be considered luxuries in the United States – and you can spend your days strolling cobblestone streets while admiring Spanish colonial churches and views of the Andes. If you are comfortable with the inconveniences, cultural differences and potential security concerns of living in a developing country, Ecuador might be an ideal retirement destination for you.

Visa Requirements

Obtaining residency can be a frustrating and bureaucratic process, a problem certainly not unique to Ecuador. You should research and prepare carefully before moving, then take the remaining steps immediately upon arriving in Ecuador to make sure you meet all the deadlines.

Upon arrival to Ecuador, most nationalities are given a 3-month tourist visa without any costs or procedures. You can further extend this with a 3-month Tourist visa extension. This visa is easily acquired by providing a document showing financial solvency, proving you have the means to stay for another 3 months, a passport which is valid for at least another 6 months, two forms (given to you in Ecuador or at consulates/embassies abroad), two passport photos, and a fee of $400 USD.

When it comes to staying permanently, there are several options which all can be seen here. However, the ones which are most relevant for future expats and retirees are Visa 9:I Foreign Pension, Visa 9:II Real Estate Investor and Visa 9:V Professional.

  • The Foreign Pension visa is the one most frequently opted for. Other than a one-time fee and the basic paperwork (criminal record, passport with at least 6 months validity, etc.), all you need is a proven $800 USD a month (+ another $ 100 USD per dependent).
  • The Real Estate visa is a straightforward one. If you invest at least $ 25,000 USD in real estate in Ecuador (+$ 500 USD per dependent), you become eligible for a visa. When a property is bought, you need to provide an original letter of tax, a few documents in relation to the purchase, as well as the mandatory passport with 6 months of validity and a police record.
  • The Professional Visa is given to those applicants who hold a university degree (minimum bachelor’s degree) recognized by Senescyt (the institution which is charged with approving your degree). The list of approved universities can be found here. Before taking your degree to Ecuador, however, you need to get it apostilled in the country of origin, often together with a notarization. When that has been done and it has been processed by Senescyt, you provide the degree together with a form acquired in Ecuador, a passport with validity lasting more than 6 months, as well as a police record.

As is apparent, becoming a permanent resident of Ecuador is not a difficult endeavour. Hence, aspiring expats will not find immigration to be an obstacle in their pursuit of a happy life abroad.


Would you like to visit the country before making the decision? Then, check out our retiring in Ecuador tour!

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