Ecuador Residency and Work Permit

This article discusses residency visa options, Ecuadorian citizenship, and the steps involved. It covers temporary and permanent residency, required documents, and procedures.

Residence Permit text and flag of Ecuador

It highlights five main residency routes, including Ecuador investment visas, with details on visa fees. These paths include company and property investment visas, each with specific requirements. The article also addresses the process for Ecuadorian citizenship applications.

Geographical Location and Name Origins

Situated in the northwest of South America, Ecuador is a compact equatorial nation. The name "Ecuador" stems from its location right on the equator, and it shares borders with Colombia to the north, Peru to the south, and enjoys a western coastline along the Pacific Ocean.

Geographical Location and Name Origins

  • Inclusion of the Galápagos Islands

Ecuador's territory extends to encompass the renowned Galápagos Islands, made famous by the pioneering naturalist, Charles Darwin. Positioned in the Pacific Ocean, these islands are located at a distance of approximately 560 miles, or just over 900 kilometres, west of mainland Ecuador.

  • The Galápagos National Park and Abundant Wildlife

The Galápagos National Park, found on these captivating islands, is home to a diverse and abundant array of wildlife. This includes the iconic giant tortoises, making it one of Ecuador's most popular and globally recognized tourist attractions.

Economy in Ecuador

Ecuador's economy is diversified, relying on oil exports, agriculture (bananas, shrimp, and flowers), and tourism. Challenges include income inequality and susceptibility to global oil price fluctuations.

Economy in Ecuador

  • Language and Currency in Ecuador

Like most countries in Latin America, Ecuador's official national language is Spanish. However, it may come as a surprise that the country employs the United States Dollar as its official currency. This unconventional monetary arrangement has an interesting backstory.

  • Adoption of the US Dollar

Ecuador faced an economic crisis in the past, prompting its citizens to shift from their unstable national currency to the more stable US Dollar. Rather than reintroducing their former currency, the government made the significant decision to embrace the US Dollar as the official currency of Ecuador.

  • Economic Stability and Foreign Investment

This strategic move contributed to stabilising the nation's economy and enhancing its attractiveness to foreign investors. Using the US Dollar as the currency of choice streamlined financial transactions, offering familiarity and predictability to both residents and investors.

  • Cost of Living and Expat Attraction

One of the advantages for individuals in Ecuador is the use of a widely recognized currency, the US Dollar, for all transactions. However, what truly sets Ecuador apart is its notably lower cost of living compared to the United States. Consequently, Ecuador has seen a rising influx of expatriates who appreciate this affordability. Moreover, the warm tropical climate and the amicable nature of the locals add to its appeal. 

Investing and Living in Ecuador

It's essential to note that obtaining an investor's visa in Ecuador comes at a considerably lower cost compared to many other countries. However, this distinction arises from the fact that Ecuador is not a tax haven and isn't typically associated with attracting high-net-worth individuals or luxury lifestyles. 

Ecuador does not resemble financial hubs like the Cayman Islands, Dubai, or Malta. You won't find significant tax advantages or towering skyscrapers, and acquiring citizenship won't grant you a top-tier passport. Instead, Ecuador should be considered an affordable option for a second residence, characterised by minimal physical presence requirements. Notably, it is gaining popularity among expatriates from Europe and North America.

  • Economic Advantages

One clear advantage is the relatively low investment costs required to obtain residency in Ecuador, typically in the five-figure range. Additionally, Ecuador allows residents to leave the country for up to 90 days, providing considerable flexibility. The use of the US Dollar for transactions is also a significant benefit, and there are numerous property investment opportunities if you're open to exploration.

Ecuador provides a residence by investment option that can lead to citizenship after four years. This, in turn, can provide a passport allowing visa-free travel in Latin America, the Caribbean, and key Asian countries. If you have existing ties to the continent, be they familial or business connections, this option holds particular appeal.

  • Versatile Residency

Becoming a resident in Ecuador is especially well-suited for those seeking a base of operations in South America while retaining the freedom to move around. The 90-day limit for staying outside the country makes it equally convenient for investors and young digital nomads looking to explore and savour an authentic Latin American experience.

Quality of Life in Ecuador

Ecuador stands out as one of the safest places to live in Latin America. The country beckons with the promise of tropical adventures, invigorating mountain air, and welcoming Pacific coastlines, making it a favoured destination for people of all ages, from the young to the elderly.

Quality of Life in Ecuador

  • Affordable Living and Retirement

The low cost of living in Ecuador makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a comfortable retirement or simply desiring a change of pace in life. Furthermore, Ecuador serves as an excellent second residence for those looking to escape cold winter months and enjoy a more temperate climate.

  • Investment Opportunities and Low Entry Barriers

If your primary aim is to invest in South America, Ecuador offers few obstacles to entry and is relatively low-risk. Alongside this, the use of US Dollars and the overall cost of living make it highly likely to discover attractive investment opportunities.

  • Diverse Residency Options

Ecuador provides a range of residency options tailored to diverse groups, including young digital nomads and retirees. Additionally, it offers three distinct residency by investment options, each potentially leading to citizenship for those who desire it.

Obtaining a Residency Visa in Ecuador

The initial step toward achieving residency and ultimately citizenship in Ecuador is obtaining a residency visa. There are two categories of residency visas: temporary and permanent.

  • Temporary Residency Visa

Temporary residency visas are valid for a period of two years, allowing holders to leave Ecuador for up to 90 days per year.

  • Path to Permanent Residency

Following a three-year period, you can apply for permanent residency. During this period, you would typically hold your second temporary residency visa before the renewal process for the third time.

  • Consistency in Physical Requirements

The physical requirements for both permanent and temporary residents remain the same, permitting individuals to leave the country for a maximum of 90 days.

  • Tax Residency Consideration

Like the majority of countries, spending 183 days or more in Ecuador qualifies you as a tax resident in the country.

  • Documentation and Criminal Background Checks

To obtain a residency visa in Ecuador, it is essential to provide the required documentation and clear criminal background checks for yourself and any additional applicants. Further details on this process can be found in the "How To Apply" section below.

Multiple Paths to Residency in Ecuador

Ecuador offers a range of pathways to residency, catering to workers, retirees, family members, and more. Your choice of visa largely depends on your specific goals and circumstances.

  • Customised Solutions

Our services are tailored to your unique objectives. By understanding your goals, we can provide assistance based on your individual details. Whether it's tax reduction, creating a global Plan B, or diversifying and safeguarding your wealth, we have solutions to match your needs.

  • Recommended Methods

For the purpose of this discussion, we will focus on the specific methods that we recommend to our clients. These methods include:

  1. Residency with a Rentista Visa
  2. Residency through Retirement
  3. Residency through Bank Deposit
  4. Residency through Real Estate
  5. Ecuador Investment Visa

Each of these options varies in complexity and offers distinct advantages. Ecuador provides a diverse array of residency choices, ensuring that you can select the one that aligns best with your requirements.

When it comes to making decisions in life, it's valuable to explore the available options thoroughly. However, if your primary interest lies in an investor's visa, you may choose to scroll down to the section on residency through company investment for more details.

Obtaining Residency in Ecuador with a Rentista Visa

The Rentista Visa is a residency visa that allows foreigners to live in Ecuador indefinitely, provided that they maintain a fixed monthly income. This visa is ideal for retirees, investors, and digital nomads who want to enjoy Ecuador's low cost of living and beautiful scenery.


  • Valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining from the date of entry into Ecuador
  • Proof of income equal to three times the Ecuadorian basic minimum wage 
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Medical certificate
  • Bank statements demonstrating your income
  • Certificate of Financial Responsibility

Application process

The Rentista Visa can be applied for at an embassy or consulate in your home country. The application process is relatively straightforward and typically takes a few weeks to process.

Additional points:

  • The Rentista Visa is valid for two years and can be renewed indefinitely.
  • After two years of living in Ecuador on a Rentista Visa, you can apply for permanent residency.
  • You are not permitted to work in Ecuador on a Rentista Visa. However, you can volunteer or start your own business

Rentista Visa Tailored for Remote Workers

The Ecuador Rentista Visa is a residency visa that allows foreigners to live in Ecuador indefinitely, provided that they maintain a fixed monthly income. This visa is ideal for retirees, investors, and digital nomads who want to enjoy Ecuador's low cost of living and beautiful scenery.

Benefits for remote workers:

  • Flexibility: Digital nomads can take breaks and explore Ecuador without jeopardising their residency if they temporarily cease working.
  • Low cost of living: Ecuador has a low cost of living, making it a great place to live on a budget.
  • Beautiful and diverse landscape: Ecuador has a beautiful and diverse landscape, with everything from beaches and mountains to rainforests and colonial cities.
  • Friendly and welcoming culture: Ecuador is a friendly and welcoming country with a rich culture.
  • Politically stable and strong economy: Ecuador is politically stable and has a strong economy.

Requirements for remote workers:

  • Valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining from the date of entry into Ecuador
  • Proof of income equal to three times the Ecuadorian basic minimum wage 
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Medical certificate
  • Bank statements demonstrating your income
  • Certificate of Financial Responsibility
  • Evidence that your income is derived from work conducted outside of Ecuador.
  • Proof that your type of work is legitimate and you are working within the legal framework.

Ecuador's Approach to Digital Nomad Visas

Ecuador does not have a specific digital nomad visa, and it is not necessary. This is because, while some Latin American countries have introduced digital nomad visas, the professional visa in the form of the remote worker Rentista visa in Ecuador effectively covers the same ground. It allows remote workers to legally establish residence in Ecuador while earning income from overseas. In essence, it functions as a digital nomad visa in all but name.

Freelancer guy working on the street, sitting on a mountain, enjoying the beautiful scenery

Retirement Residency in Ecuador

Ecuador beckons retirees with its compelling advantages, including affordable living costs, stunning beaches, picturesque landscapes, a temperate climate, warm-hearted locals, and a relaxed way of life. This combination of factors has attracted a growing number of expatriates to retire in this welcoming nation.

  • Jubilado Visa - Retirement Visa

For retirees, the Jubilado visa, also known as the retirement visa, offers a practical pathway to residency. Notably, the requirements for this visa closely mirror those of the rentiers' visa.

To qualify, you must demonstrate that you have a regular monthly income from a recognized and verifiable fund or pension scheme, providing you with a guaranteed lifetime income.

Bank Deposit Residency Visa

The Ecuador Bank Deposit Residency Visa is a program that allows foreigners to obtain residency in Ecuador by depositing a specified amount of money in the Central Bank of Ecuador for a duration of four years. 


  • Valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining from the date of entry into Ecuador
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Medical certificate
  • Bank statements demonstrating that you have the funds to make the deposit
  • Certificate of Financial Responsibility
  • Proof of the deposit into the Central Bank of Ecuador

Application process

The Bank Deposit Residency Visa can be applied for at an Ecuadorian embassy or consulate in your home country. The application process is relatively straightforward and typically takes a few weeks to process.


  • No financial investment: The Bank Deposit Residency Visa does not require you to invest any money in Ecuador. You simply need to deposit a certain amount of money in the Central Bank of Ecuador for four years.
  • Path to citizenship: After four years on a Bank Deposit Residency Visa, you are eligible to apply for Ecuadorian citizenship.


  • Four-year commitment: You must maintain the deposit in the Central Bank of Ecuador for four years. If you withdraw any of the money before the four-year period is over, you will lose your residency status.
  • Limited interest: The interest rate on the deposit is relatively modest.

Real Estate Investment Visa

The real estate investor's visa stands as a popular investment visa option, primarily due to its remarkable flexibility in terms of investment choices.

Similarly to the bank deposit visa, there is a minimum investment requirement. However, in contrast to the bank deposit option, this money is not tied up in a bank account for four years. Instead, it can be invested in various types of property, provided the property is officially registered in the property registry.

Eligible investments encompass a range of real estate, including houses, apartments, condos, offices, and even land if that is your preference.

This proposition holds strong appeal for many because Ecuador offers affordable property and generally has a lower cost of living. Additionally, the country's use of the US dollar as its official currency provides a more familiar price point for investors.

You can draw a clear comparison between property purchase prices in Ecuador and similar properties in the United States, offering a helpful frame of reference.

Ecuador Investment Visa

Ecuador offers an affordable investor visa program with a required minimum investment, making it a cost-effective option compared to other countries. The program allows flexibility in investing in existing local companies or establishing new ones. 

The process involves an investment contract, and once approved, you can open a bank account, offering a straightforward path to permanent residency and even Ecuadorian citizenship, distinguishing it from more stringent and complex visa programs in other nations.

Application Process for an Ecuador Residency Visa

When applying for a residency visa in Ecuador, there are specific documents you'll need to gather:

  • Valid Passport and Copies: You must provide your valid passport along with photocopies.
  • Police Record Report: You'll need a police record report to demonstrate a clean criminal background. This can be obtained from your home country or the country where you've lived for the past five years.
  • Birth Certificate: Your birth certificate is a required document.
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable): If you are married and wish to include your spouse in the application, a marriage certificate is necessary.
  • Medical Certificate: Proof of private health insurance or a medical certificate is required.
  • Proof of Income: You must demonstrate your income to show that you won't be a financial burden on the state. The specific income requirements vary depending on the type of residency visa you are applying for.

Since Ecuador is a Spanish-speaking country, any official documents not already in Spanish must be translated by a recognized translation agency. These translated documents must then be notarized before a public notary.

Bank Deposit Visa Requirements in Ecuador

To apply for a bank deposit visa in Ecuador, you will need several documents, in addition to those mentioned earlier (a copy of your passport, clean background checks, and birth and marriage certificates):

  • Visa Application Form

You'll need to complete a visa application form. This can often be facilitated by an immigration lawyer. However, if you opt for one of our plans, our team will guide you through the process, handling each step for you. This will save you the hassle of navigating various government offices and procedures in a foreign country.

  • Certificate from Ecuadorian Migration Police

You will require a certificate from the Migration Police. You can obtain this document yourself in person, or if you prefer, we can assist you in obtaining it on your behalf.

  • Personal Bank Account

You must open a personal account with an Ecuadorian bank to make the actual deposit. If you become our client, we can provide guidance on the most efficient way to accomplish this and recommend the best banks to choose. Partnering with specialised lawyers in Ecuador who have established relationships with these banks can expedite the account-opening process.

  • Title, Policy, or Certificate of Deposit

To apply for permanent residency through the deposit option, you'll need to present a title, policy, or certificate of deposit with a minimum term of 730 days. This document must be issued by a credit institution recognized by the Ecuadorian Superintendence of Banks.

Real Estate Visa Requirements in Ecuador

Once again, you'll need to obtain your certificate of migratory movement from the Migration Police and provide documentation related to your regular immigration status. Typically, these requirements are applicable when you are in the country. However, if you choose to work with us, we can manage these steps on your behalf, making the process smoother and more efficient.

Ecuador Real Estate

The real estate visa also mandates a deed of purchase, where the sale is registered with the property registry. The value of the property should be at least 80 times the basic unified salary, equivalent to the minimum wage.

Ecuador Residence by Investment Visa Requirements

When applying for an Ecuador investment visa, you'll need to assemble the same fundamental documents as previously mentioned, including your passport, background checks, and more. Additionally, ensure that you have these documents notarized and translated, as needed.

You will also be required to provide a deed of purchase for the acquisition of shares in a legitimate Ecuadorian company duly registered with the Superintendence of Company, Securities, and Insurance.

Furthermore, you must furnish a minute, certificate, or deed as proof that the capital invested in the business is genuinely your own and that it has been channelled through an approved credit institution.

Obtaining Ecuadorian Citizenship

To become an Ecuadorian citizen, you must first acquire permanent residency, which involves living in the country legally for a minimum of four years. During this time, you are allowed to leave Ecuador for up to 90 days per year.

The process of obtaining Ecuadorian citizenship unfolds in the following steps:

  • Apply for Temporary Residency: Initially, you should apply for temporary residency, which is valid for two years.
  • Apply for Permanent Residency: After three years, specifically on your second temporary residency visa, you can apply for permanent residency.
  • Apply for Citizenship: Following four years of legal residence in Ecuador, you are eligible to apply for Ecuadorian citizenship.

Upon gaining Ecuadorian citizenship, you can also acquire a new passport. Possessing an Ecuadorian passport opens up opportunities for visa-free travel to various countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, as well as Asian nations like China, South Korea, and Singapore.


What are the residency requirements in Ecuador?

The specific requirements for residency in Ecuador depend on the type of visa you are applying for. Common requirements include a valid passport, a clean criminal record, and proof of income or investment. The minimum income or investment amount varies based on the visa category.

How can I obtain a residency visa in Ecuador?

To obtain a residency visa in Ecuador, you typically need to choose a visa category that suits your situation (e.g., investor visa, retirement visa) and meet the specific requirements for that category. This often includes demonstrating financial stability, providing background checks, and completing the necessary paperwork.

What are the different types of residency visas available in Ecuador?

Ecuador offers various types of residency visas, including investor visas, retirement visas, work visas, and family reunification visas. Each visa category has specific requirements and purposes, such as conducting business, retiring, or working in Ecuador.

Can I work in Ecuador as a resident?

Yes, as a resident in Ecuador, you can work legally. However, the type of work you can engage in may depend on the specific visa you hold. For example, a retirement visa may not allow you to work, while a work visa enables you to be employed or run a business.

What is the process for obtaining Ecuadorian citizenship?

To become an Ecuadorian citizen, you typically need to first obtain permanent residency, which involves living in the country legally for at least four years. After that, you can apply for citizenship. Ecuadorian citizenship provides benefits like an Ecuadorian passport and visa-free travel to various countries.

Are there special visas for remote workers or digital nomads in Ecuador?

Can I include family members in my residency application?

Applying for an Ecuador Visa

  • Step 1: Complete the online visa application form with your personal details and passport information.
  • Step 2: Make a secure online payment using your credit card or preferred payment method.
  • Step 3: Check your email for the confirmation of payment and receipt of your Ecuador visa, which will be sent electronically.
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