Hello, my name is Joseph Guznay and I am an experienced visa professional. If you are considering retiring in Ecuador, I am here to help you understand the process for obtaining an Ecuadorian Retirement Residency Visa, also known as a Pensioner, Jubilado, or Pensionado Visa.
Ecuador is a stunning country located in South America that is known for its breathtaking natural landscapes, rich cultural traditions, and affordable cost of living. With its beautiful beaches, Andean mountains, and Amazon rainforest, Ecuador offers something for everyone.
For those looking to retire in Ecuador, there are many reasons to consider this destination. The cost of living in Ecuador is significantly lower than in many other countries, which can make it an affordable place to retire. Additionally, Ecuador has a high-quality healthcare system, with both public and private options available. You can also find numerous expat communities throughout the country, most notably in Cuenca, Quito & Manta.
If you are interested in retiring in Ecuador, you will need to obtain a Pensioner Visa. A Pensioner Visa is a type of residency visa that allows individuals who hold a steady and reliable source of income, such as a pension or Social Security, to live and work in Ecuador. Other popular visa types include the Professional, Investor, Rentista, Digital Nomad & Amparo Visas.
Obtaining one can be a complex process, but it is well worth it for those seeking a new and exciting destination for retirement.
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.
To qualify, you must meet certain requirements set by the Ecuadorian government. These requirements include:
It is important to make sure that you meet these requirements before applying. Your application may be denied if you do not meet the age or income requirements.
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.
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.
Before you can apply, you will need to gather several documents to submit with your application. These documents include:
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 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 are required to have two police certificates. One from the FBI & the other from your state police authority.
For the documents listed below, they must be apostilled in the country of origin. The procedure to get them apostilled differs by country.
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 is required during your residency period and you won't be able to receive your cedula 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.
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 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.
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 several weeks to 3-4 months 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.
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.
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.
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).