Ecuador is one of the most straight forward residency programs in South America.
In Ecuador, you can get an Investor Visa by placing a bank deposit of $42,500 in an Ecuadorian bank. In return, you will receive a 2 year Temporary Residency Visa.
Bank deposit-based residency programs are best suited for someone that does not have passive income from a consistent source (i.e. pension or rental income) but they have cash they can deploy in return for a residency permit and a modest investment return.
Ecuador is one of the only countries in South America where it is possible to get residency with a bank deposit. You will get a temporary resident visa to start, from which you can move on to a permanent resident visa.
The Ecuador visa process is relatively fast, easy and affordable.
As of 2022, you will need to place $42,500 USD in an Ecuadorian bank or CO-OP. This is equivalent to 100 times the monthly minimum wage. The $42,500 figure is subject to change based on fluctuations in the minimum wage in Ecuador. In reality it is a certificate of deposit with a term of 730 days or more, but for simplicity we often refer to it as a bank deposit. You can wire funds directly to an Ecuadorian bank from a US bank.
The investment will accrue interest and you are free to withdraw the interest during your residency, as long as you maintain the principal. As of this writing, the interest rate on a 2 year CD in Ecuador is roughly 8.0% annually. That’s around $280 per month in interest on your $42,500 CD. Check the paperwork when signing your CD agreement because by default the paperwork may prevent withdrawal of the earned interest until the CD end date. Be specific with them and come to an agreement about withdrawing the interest every month, quarter, or year. Bank deposits are only insured up to $32,000 (depending) so that means around $10,000 of your investment will not be insured. You can liquidate your investment when you obtain permanent residency.
Physical Presence Requirements for Applying for Permanent Residency
You will first be issued a temporary residence visa. Under this visa you can work towards Permanent residency in Ecuador. The temporary visa is valid for two years.
To apply for a Permanent Resident Visa, the person holding a Temporary Resident Visa shall not have left Ecuador for longer than 90 days in total during the Temporary Resident Visa period of 21 months. If the Temporary Resident Visa holder has exceeded 90 days out of Ecuador during the 21 months, the person will NOT be eligible to apply for permanent residency. But will be able to renew their Temporary Visa multiple times for all types of Visas.
You can apply for Permanent Residency after 21 months. They will forgive one violation of this rule, provided you pay a fine of three times Ecuador’s minimum wage (around $1,200). When you apply for Permanent Resident Visa travel outside of Ecuador will be restricted to 180 days each year in the third and fourth years. After that you can leave the country up to two years at a time as a permanent resident.
If you cannot meet the physical presence requirements for permanent residency, you can renew your temporary resident status. You will need to maintain the bank deposit balance for a successful visa renewal. Your visa can be renewed multiple times as a temporary visa. There are no travel restrictions with a Temporary Resident Visa and no time limit for traveling in and out of Ecuador.
Path to Ecuador Citizenship
Ecuador has one of the world’s quickest citizenship programs. You can be naturalized after just three years of permanent residency. This timeline can be reduced to just two years if you marry an Ecuadorian citizen. Ecuador recognizes dual citizenship. You must not have been absent from Ecuador for more than 180 days per year for each of your first three years of permanent residency. This restriction does not apply if you are qualifying by marrying an Ecuadorian citizen.
In other words, Investors can’t apply for Ecuadorian Citizenship until or unless they have officially been a Permanent Resident of Ecuador for at least 3 years and not left Ecuador for more than 180 days during each of their first 3 years of Permanent Residency. Book a call with us for the most up to date information.
Benefits of Ecuador Residency
With any 2 year Temporary Visa you can apply for your Cedula (Ecuadorian ID). The Cedula allows you to work legally in Ecuador, open a business, bank accounts, and sign up for government health insurance, private health insurance, etc.
Applying for Ecuador Investor Visa from Abroad
You can apply any city in Ecuador or your local embassy. Before you apply, you will need to obtain the necessary documents and apostilles. We can help you apply in Canada, Europe and the United States. We recommend applying from home and saving yourself a trip to Ecuador. This way you are assured that you get the visa before even visiting the country.
Once your application is approved, you will be notified by email. You can pick up your visa at the nearest Ecuadorian Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Note – there are conflicting sources as to whether applications must be done from Ecuador or can be done abroad. Book a call with us for the most up to date information.
Required Documents to Apply for Ecuador Investor Visa
Note that requirements will vary depending on your home country and where you are applying.
The basic documents needed are:
- Valid original passport with at least 6 month til expiration.
- Federal background check from home country (FBI, RCMP, etc). Note that this document will have 180 days of validity from issuance.
- Apostilles/authentication for all original documents
- Spanish translations for all documents
- Health insurance (The new law requires ALL visa applicants to present proof of Ecuadorian health insurance or coverage in Ecuador when the Visa application is submitted. Previously, it was a requirement to obtain a Cedula ID.)
- Movimiento Migratorio (a record of your movements in and out of Ecuador)
- Marriage License & Birth Certificates for dependents. You’ll need a marriage license for a spouse or birth certificates for children.
Note: Original birth certificate is not explicitly mentioned as a requirement for the primary applicant.
Residency Application Processing Time
Once you have submitted your application, processing your visa will take 30-45 days to have your visa approved and issued. After your visa is issued from abroad, there is no time limit to enter the country.