Ecuador Work Visa for Temporary Residency

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By Expat Law Group

June 18, 2024

Ecuador offers a wide variety of residency visas. Many countries have easy access to numerous temporary residency visa options. Whilst there are many popular visa options, this article focuses only on the work visa for Ecuador.

Ecuador’s work visa is a fundamental tool for those foreigners who wish to reside and work. With various categories and requirements, this visa allows applicants to access job opportunities and contribute to the economic and social development of Ecuador. In this article we will explore the different aspects of the work visa for obtaining temporary residency in Ecuador. We cover how to apply, benefits and important considerations for those interested in obtaining one of these visas.

We’re also providing a case study of a recent work visa applicant. Asa (a Chinese citizen) obtained his temporary residency work visa with us, and he’s kindly shared his experience and opinions throughout this process.

Meet Asa - A Recent Work Visa Success Story

Asa is a Chinese national who arrived in Ecuador during 2022. Asa’s original plan was to visit Chile, but he was unable to obtain a visa due to not having the required paperwork. So, he decided to explore his visa options in nearby countries. He chose Ecuador as he could enter without any problems as a tourist in that moment, now Chinese citizens need to get a tourist visa before arriving in Ecuador, on June 18th 2024 the government showed up with new information, China-Ecuador agreement was temporarily suspended.

Asa tells us that the main reason for choosing to live in Ecuador was the variety of landscapes and the possibility of living in a place where he can also enjoy his downtime. According to his experience in China, life is exclusively for work and there is very little time to rest. Finding peace is almost impossible in the midst of such a fast-paced world. 

He traveled through the main cities of Ecuador and visited the coast, but he fell in love with Cuenca. The security, architecture, friendliness and the cleanliness of its streets led him to decide to live here, and of course, he wanted to stay legally. So he decided to look for a suitable long-term visa option. 

Asa studied at a University in China and graduated as a teacher, so he knew he had the possibility of applying for a professional visa since it was the best known visa option. However, he also found some basic information about the work visa on the internet and decided to research this visa, including the prices and documents that needed to be brought from China.

Ecuador Work Visa Overview


  • $50 Application fee (non refundable)
  • $270 Visa fee if your visa is approved - this amount must be paid only when you are informed that you can obtain the visa
  • $10 Cedula Order
  • $5 Cedula Cost
  • $500 - $600 Facilitator or attorney to help you through the process - fees vary according to the provider

There are 3 important parts to obtaining a work visa for Ecuador, which is why we have divided the article into these 3 components.

Part 1: Requirements from your country of origin

  • Certificate of not having a criminal record in your country of origin. Apostilled or Legalized and translated. 
  • Passport (Valid for 6+ months)
  • Passport-size photo
  • Demonstrate an income of at least $460 per month (current basic salary in Ecuador)

Asa began the process of obtaining his documents from Ecuador. Being a tourist, the collection of documentation took him approximately 3 months. However, he did not remember that the tourist visa could expire in 90 days and he had to request help from us to understand the process and the next steps for the visa. He could find the basic requirements on the internet, but he found that a lot of the finer details that applied to his specific circumstances were hard to come by without assistance from professionals. 

The other documents had to be obtained in Ecuador. Asa was in contact with a company with which he could work and they were willing to assist with the visa entire process and wait for his visa to be accepted so that he could begin to work.

Part 2: Requirements From Your Employer

Your company must provide the following documents so you can apply for the work visa.

1. Possess Legal Registration

The employer must be legally registered as a business or company with competent entities - every employer is aware of their legal status.

2. Certificate of not having debts in the Internal Revenue Service (SRI)

The company must be completely legal and solvent. This can be viewed publicly thanks to the unique taxpayer registration “RUC” - the number of that document will allow you to review important information. The certificate of not having debt is obtained by the employer from the SRI.

3. Certificate of not having debts in the Social Security Institute (IESS)

This certificate must also be completely up to date, it is obtained digitally.

4. Certificate of not having debts in the Super Intendency of Companies.

The office of the Superintendency of Companies of the city where your contracting company is located must request that the document proving that you do not have debts be delivered physically or digitally.

5. Employment Contract

The company must make a contract, which specifies your activity, duration of the contract, salary, and schedule

6. Certificate of Contract Registration in the Ministry

The company must register this contract with the Ministry of Labor and will be able to obtain the certificate that you need to present on the visa.

Part 3: Company Requirements to Hire You

The company will need these basic details from you before they can consider hiring you. 

1. Your valid passport

2. Proof of legal status

You can be in Ecuador as a Tourist or you can have another current temporary residence visa that is about to expire.

What is the process of getting a job in Ecuador?

For Asa, it was a complicated experience because he did not speak Spanish so it took him approximately 40 days and several personal visits to secure an appropriate opportunity. He highlights that he was always treated kindly and that many good opportunities had to be eliminated because the business owners believed that the process of obtaining a visa was going to be too complicated.

He started to worry and decided to look for a professional to help him with all the necessary information so the company could proceed to hire him with the confidence that his visa would be issued. 

Asa also mentioned that he was worried because he did not know if he could get a job as a tourist, and many companies had the same doubt. The answer to his question was a resounding YES, you can apply for a job, obtain all the documents and with that apply for your work visa. What you cannot do is start working as a Tourist. 

Asa's experience was complicated at the beginning because collecting all the correct documents can be complicated and delayed - especially if he made a mistake. Once he started working with us, he became less stressed as he had the assurance he needed. 

Process of Applying for a Work Visa

1.     Collect all documents

Reviewing the entire list in advance will allow you to start on the successful path to obtaining a work visa.

2.     Translate and Notarize documents

Any document issued in another country must be apostilled or legalized and translated into Spanish. In Ecuador, all translations must be notarized.

3.     Request an Appointment for Your Visa Application

The appointment is obtained on the Ministry's web portal and availability usually opens at the beginning of each month.

4.     Deliver all documents at the appointment

On the day of the appointment, you must bring the entire list of documents mentioned above and present your physical passport.

5.     Pay all amounts set by the Ministry.

Once they have reviewed your application, you will be able to pay the assigned amount. Only people who have had their application accepted will be able to pay.

6.     Receive your visa

You will receive the visa electronically, via your email.

7.     Go to the Civil Registry office to obtain your ID

With the visa it is possible to obtain the ID, the first time you only have to go with the documents required for this.

Benefits of working in Ecuador?

In general, obtaining a work visa is an excellent option, you just have to be very well informed, otherwise, there is a high chance that you’ll have a complicated experience like Asa had before he reached out to us for assistance. 

Asa tells us that in all the time he has been in the country he has been able to get to know different cultures, interesting people, and a new perspective of enjoying South America. He also appreciates the positive aspects of being able to live in a dollarized country and in a city like Cuenca where security and tranquility are easy to find.

Regarding the health system, he told us that it is quite acceptable and he has been able to access medical services from the Ecuadorian Social Security system (IESS).

As a Chinese citizen living in Ecuador, he is very satisfied with his work visa. His ability to work has allowed him to start a stable life in the country and provides him with the possibility of applying for permanent residency in the future. Asa is looking forward to this. But, he can also renew his work visa if he prefers this path too. 

If you are interested in applying for this type of visa, we do recommend seeking professional help so that you can be guided through the process and thus ensure that your application will be a success.

At Expat Law Group we will be willing to help you take that big step to start your new life in Ecuador.

Schedule your commitment-free consultation today

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