With the investor temporary resident visa (official name: visa de residencia temporal inversionista) you can stay in Ecuador for two years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%)
After having received your visa, you can apply for a cédula (Ecuadorian identity card). Applying for a cédula is not obligatory.
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.
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.