Ecuador

Investor temporary resident visa for Ecuador

Johan Klok | Last update: June 25, 2021

Introduction

With the investor temporary resident visa (official name: visa de residencia temporal inversionista) you can stay in Ecuador for two years.

Main requirement

The main requirement for the investor visa is that you have an investment in Ecuador of at least $40,000 during the duration of this visa.

Various types of investments qualify as an investment for the investor visa.

Certificate of Deposit in Ecuador

An investment of at least $40,000 in a Certificate of Deposit (CD) with a minimum term of 730 days (two years) with a financial institution in Ecuador qualifies as an investment for the investor visa.

You can take out the interest each month or decide to let the interest compound until the end of the CD duration.

Ecuadorian CDs have high interest rates. JEP, one of South America’s largest credit unions, offers 8.5%, and the Cooperativa Policía Nacional offers even 10%.

The state of Ecuador guarantees a refund of $32,000 for CDs with the largest credit unions. The guarantee is per person per credit union or bank.

Most CD contracts renew by default. Some financial institutions require that you personally cancel the contract in a certain timeframe (one week for example) at their office to prevent automatic renewal.

It’s challenging to get back money from a CD before the end of the term. Some financial institutions offer personal loans with the CD as collateral as a solution.

Real estate in Ecuador

An investment of at least $40,000 in real estate in Ecuador also qualifies for an investor visa. The tax value of the property cannot be less than $40,000, and the property has to be registered at the local registry of properties.

Tax value

The property that you buy needs to have a tax value of at least $40,000. It’s very well possible that the actual price for purchasing a property is higher than its tax value. Make sure that the registered tax value is at least $40,000 before you close on a property.

Company shares or bonds

An investment of at least $40,000 in company shares or bonds of an Ecuadorian company also qualifies as an investment for the investor visa.

Other investment types

Certain investments based on contracts with the Ecuadorian government also qualify as an investment for the investor visa.

You may also qualify for an investor visa if you are a representative in Ecuador for an Ecuadorian or foreign company. This company needs to have a mínimum social capital of $ 40,000.

Money outflow tax (or money exit tax)

Ecuador has a money outflow tax of 5%. This means that if you bring money outside of Ecuador, you have to pay a 5% tax on the value you want to bring abroad. The current president wants to phase out the money outflow tax by lowering the tax rate by 1.25%-point per year. The tax should be abolished in four years. However, it is uncertain whether the Ecuadorian parliament will support his plan.

Spouses and children

A spouse and children can apply for a dependent visa based on the visa of the main visa holder. For each spouse and children visa, the investment has to be $500 larger.

Required documents for the main visa holder

  1. Visa application form: you have to fill out a visa application form. You can find this form here: Formulario para Solicitud de Visas y Transferencias.
  2. Passport: original, a color copy of the page with your personal data, and a color copy of the page with your last entry stamp. Your passport must be valid for at least six months upon application.
  3. Visa-free extension: if you have an extension of your visa-free stay, you must bring the pdf that has been sent to your e-mail address.
  4. Passport photos: two color passport photos.
  5. Proof of investment
  6. Income statements: copies or prints of bank statements that show that you have received an income of at least $400 during the last six months.
  7. Criminal background check: from your home country or the country where you have lived during the last five years. Background checks cannot be older than 180 days from the date of issue. If you are younger than 18 years, you don't need to show a criminal background check.
    If the criminal background check was not issued in Ecuador, it has to be apostilled or legalized. If not in the Spanish language, it needs a notarized translation.
    United States: two background checks are required. 1: FBI (federal) criminal background check, apostilled by the US Department of State in Washington DC. 2: State criminal background check, apostille by the State of Department in the corresponding state.
  8. Proof of health insurance: only if you apply for a renewal of your visa. It has to be a health certificate from an approved health insurance company from Ecuador or a document that shows your affiliation with IESS.

Required documents for dependent visa holders

  1. Visa application form: you have to fill out a visa application form. You can find this form here: Formulario para Solicitud de Visas y Transferencias.
  2. Passport: original, a color copy of the page with your personal data, and a color copy of the page with your last entry stamp. Your passport must be valid for at least six months upon application.
  3. Visa-free extension: if you have an extension of your visa-free stay, you must bring the pdf that has been sent to your e-mail address.
  4. Passport photos: two color passport photos.
  5. Criminal background check: from your home country or the country where you have lived during the last five years. Background checks cannot be older than 180 days from the date of issue. If you are younger than 18 years, you don't need to show a criminal background check.
    If the criminal background check was not issued in Ecuador, it has to be apostilled or legalized. If not in the Spanish language, it needs a notarized translation.
    United States: two background checks are required. 1: FBI (federal) criminal background check, apostilled by the US Department of State in Washington DC. 2: State criminal background check, apostille by the State of Department in the corresponding state.
  6. Marriage certificate: only for the spouse of the main visa holder. If from abroad: apostilled or legalized. If not in the Spanish language: notarized translation.
  7. Birth certificate: only for each child of the main visa holder. If from abroad: apostilled or legalized. If not in the Spanish language: notarized translation.

Optional documents

Procedure

You can apply for the investor visa at an office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ecuador or at an Ecuadorian consulate.

If you have received your visa from a consulate, you must register your visa at an office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within 30 days of your arrival.

If you apply for your visa at an office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ecuador, you can be asked to pay the fees at a nearby branch of BanEcuador.

Costs

Application fee: $50 (non-refundable)
($25 if you are 65+; free if you have a disability equal to or more than 30%)

Main visa fee: $400 (only if the visa is approved)
($200 if you are 65+ or if you receive a dependent visa; free if you have a disability equal to or more than 30%)

Dependent visa fee: $200 (only if the visa is approved)
($100 if you are 65+; free if you have a disability equal to or more than 30%)

What's next

Cédula

After having received your visa, you can apply for a cédula (Ecuadorian identity card). Applying for a cédula is not obligatory.

Being outside of the country

There is no time limit on how long you can be outside of Ecuador. You can enter and leave Ecuador as many times as you want.

Visa expiration

Before the expiration of your investor visa, you have to leave the country. The regular visa-free rules apply when you return to Ecuador after the expiration of your visa.
If you don't want to leave the country or if you're going to stay longer in Ecuador than the visa-free period, you have various options:
Visa renewal: you can apply for a renewal of your investor visa before the expiration of your visa. With a visa renewal, you can stay in Ecuador for another two years.
Another temporary visa type: you can also apply for a temporary resident visa of another type. You have to do this before the expiration of your visa if you don't want to leave the country.
Permanent resident visa: if you have stayed in Ecuador for 21 continuous months on this temporary resident visa, you can apply for a permanent resident visa. You have to do this before the expiration of your visa.

Official source

Concesión de visa de residencia temporal inversionista