Ecuador Retirement Visa Requirements

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By Expat Law Group

June 14, 2024

Ecuador is a wonderful country, full of natural beauties just a few kilometers away from each other. Its unparalleled beauty not only makes it attractive but also gives you the quality of life that you can have,  knowing that we are talking about a South American country.

Ecuador is a dollarized country, which makes tourism and the desire to make this country a new home feasible and very simple. Thousands of expats choose Cuenca as their destination city and according to the Retirement Index (RI), Ecuador is one of the first countries with the best criteria for choosing to retire. 

The Expat population chooses the main ones in the Sierra area such as Cuenca, Quito, Vilcabamba, and in the Coastal areas: Manta and Santa Elena. The issue of security has been paid close attention to by the new Government of Daniel Noboa and without a doubt we have to be careful but it is still considered a lot by many retirees who decided to live in this beautiful country.

 Suppose you belong to the group of people who want to retire in Ecuador. In that case, you have a perfect option to apply for your temporary residence with your retirement and it will also be very easy to access a Permanent residence visa if you meet the requirements. 

 All people who can apply for a Retiree Visa can obtain income from social security or any other type of pension, as long as it meets the economic requirements, which demonstrate that you can live in Ecuador. 

There are a large number of visas available so if you do not fit the requirements of a Retirement or do not have one, you can consult which one to apply for based on an evaluation of your particular case.

Obtaining a visa in Ecuador can be a complicated process, but it is worth it for anyone looking for an ideal place to retire, even more so knowing that there is a good health system and bilingual doctors trained to provide excellent care.

In this article, I will provide a comprehensive guide on how to obtain an Ecuadorian Retirement Residency Visa, including the necessary documents, application process, and requirements to proceed to Permanent Residency.

Ecuador Retirement Visa Summary

  • Period: 2 years initially, indefinite upon renewal
  • Entries allowed: Multiple
  • Time outside Ecuador: No limitations, except if intending to apply for permanent residency. If so, allowed max 90 days outside Ecuador during the entire 2 year duration. 
  • Fees:
    • $50 Application Fee
    • $270 When Approved (-%50 if 65+ y.o)
    • $15 Cedula
    • $5 Certificate of Migratory Movement
    • $300+ Police record & proof of income letter apostilled
    • $700+ Facilitator OR translation & notarization fees (varies but budget $150)

Who is eligible for a Retirement Visa?

To qualify, you must meet certain requirements set by the Ecuadorian government. These requirements include:

  • Age: There are no age requirements, but those over 65 are eligble for the tercera edad benefits.
  • Income:  You must have a steady and reliable source of income, such as a pension or Social Security. You must also be able to demonstrate that you have the financial means to support yourself while living in Ecuador. This can be done with bank statements. The current monthly income requirement is $1380 with an additional $250 / month per dependent if you're bringing any family members with you.
  • Health Insurance: You're required to have health insurance during your stay in Ecuador. This needs to be from an approved local provider.

It is important to make sure that you meet these requirements before applying. Your application may be denied if you do not meet all the requirements, be aware of your income.

How long does a Jubilado Visa last? 

The first step is to obtain a temporary residence visa. This lasts for 2 years and you can renew it as many times as you want. 

How to Apply for an Ecuador Pensioner Visa?

The application steps can seem a little overwhelming with all the apostilling, translation, and notarization. Given the complexity of the process, many expats choose to hire a specialist visa attorney to help them apply. 

Gathering the Necessary Documents

Before you can apply, you will need to gather several documents to submit with your application. These documents include:

  • Valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity
  • Police background report  from your country of origin
  • Birth certificate and marriage certificate (if also applying for dependents)
  • Proof of income, such as a pension statement or Social Security award letter
  • Banking Report: It must need to show all your income each month.
  • Two passport-sized photographs

It is important to make sure that all of your documents are in order before you apply. If any of your documents are missing or incomplete, your application may be delayed or denied.

Background Checks (ie Police Clearances)

Background checks are an important part of the process for obtaining a retirement visa in Ecuador. If you don't have a clean criminal record, we suggest talking through your circumstances with an experienced Attorney. You may find that you're still eligible to obtain a visa for Ecuador.

You'll have a better chance of still being successful if the offense was minor and was committed many years ago (ie 5+ years). 

In addition to requiring a check from your home country, Ecuador also requires one from any other country you have lived in for five or more years. This document must be apostilled from where you got it and then translated and notarized before being submitted with your application. Taking these steps ahead of time can help ensure that your application is processed quickly and efficiently.

US Citizens

US Citizens are required to have two police certificates. One from the FBI & the other from your state police authority. 

Apostille Documents in Your Home Country

For the documents listed below, they must be apostilled in the country of origin. The procedure to get them apostilled differs by country.

  • Proof of income:  A document that proves your steady income for life, such as a social security letter or pension letter.
  • Background checks: Obtain from all places where you have lived for more than five years. Note that these will expire after 6 months, so make sure you pay attention to your timings and submit your application before these documents expire. 

Translation and Notarization of Documents

As Ecuador is a Spanish-speaking country, you must get your proof of income letter & background check(s) translated and notarized.

If applying at a consulate outside of Ecuador, they may be able to help you with the translation and notarization. If you need to pay for these services, you'll find it much cheaper to have these completed in Ecuador.

Health Insurance

Health Insurance is required during your residency period and you won't be able to apply without providing proof of health insurance. Your travel insurance generally won't suffice as the insurance needs to be provided from an approved list of local health insurance companies. 

We are happy to provide you with a recommendation for a quality insurance broker if you need one - just let us know.

Submitting Your Visa Application

Once you have gathered all of the necessary documents, you can begin the process of applying. You can apply at the Ecuadorian consulate in your home country or at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ecuador. You will need to fill out an application form and submit all of the required documents.

It is recommended that you work with an experienced immigration lawyer or facilitator to help you navigate the application process. A visa specialist can help you ensure that your application is complete and accurate, which can increase your chances of success.

Waiting for a Decision

Once you have submitted your application, you will need to wait for a decision from the embassy or consulate. The processing time can vary, but it typically takes 3-4 weeks to receive a decision. You will be notified by the embassy or consulate if your application has been approved or denied.

If your application is denied, you may be able to appeal the decision or reapply at a later date. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you navigate the appeal process and advise you on your options.


If your application is approved, you will need to pay a fee and obtain your visa. It will be issued electronically and sent to you via email. You'll need to print it out and keep it with your passport when you enter the country. We suggest making multiple copies just in case one is lost or stolen.

Getting a Cedula

A cedula is a national identity card. Similar to a driver's license, but you're well advised to remember your cedula number as many shops & government agencies will ask for your cedula number.

Once you have your residency, you're eligible to obtain an 'Orden de Cedulacion' which you can use to get your cedula. This will involve at least one trip (possibly two) to an appropriate Registro Civil to complete the process.

Permission to Work

You have permission to work in Ecuador with a Retirement Visa. Some expats do like to keep busy by working for others or opening their own businesses. 


Pensioner Visas are initially valid for 2 years and can be renewed indefinitely. For this reason, some people prefer to continue to renew their temporary residency rather than apply for permanent residency. The renewal process is similar, but a little easier than the original application process. 

Applying for a Permanent Residency Visa

After you've had a temporary residency for 21 months, you can apply to become a permanent resident. Just be sure you haven't left Ecuador for more than 90 days total during this period or you will not be eligible.

Perhaps the strongest reason to apply for permanent residency is certainty. You see, the Ecuadorian government changes immigration regulations all the time and they appear to be getting stricter on who can apply. There is always the chance they will change how many times you can renew the temporary residency or just make the renewal process more difficult. 

So, if you genuinely want to stay in Ecuador for a period longer than 2 years, we do generally recommend applying for permanent status when you are eligible to do so. 


 Obtaining an Ecuadorian Retirement Residency Visa can be a complex process, but it is well worth it for those seeking a new and exciting retirement destination. With its beautiful natural surroundings, rich cultural traditions, and affordable cost of living, Ecuador is an excellent choice for many retirees. By following the steps outlined in this article and working with an experienced immigration lawyer, you can successfully obtain a Pensioner Visa and enjoy all that Ecuador has to offer.

Ready to start your retirement in Ecuador? Our team of specialists can help you with every step of the process for a very reasonable fee. Contact us here with your questions and we'll get back to you within 24 hours (normally a lot sooner).

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