Ecuador's Immigration Amnesty: What You Need to Know

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By Wolfram Palacio

April 5, 2023

Ecuador has recently granted immigration amnesty to foreigners who are in the country with an irregular migratory situation. Through Executive Decree No. 698, President Guillermo Lasso has provided amnesty for those who have entered Ecuador through official migratory control points but are not in a legal position to stay in the country. This visa was previously only available to migrants from Venezuela, but this decree opens it up to more nationalities.

This article provides an overview of the amnesty and explain the process of obtaining a Temporary Residency Visa of Exception (VIRTE).

Who is Eligible for the Immigration Amnesty?

To be eligible for the amnesty, foreigners must:

  1. Have regularly entered the Ecuadorian territory through official immigration checkpoints before September 16, 2022.
  2. Registered their migratory stay, according to the schedule established by the Ministry of the Interior in Ministerial Agreement No. 007 of August 17, 2022.
  3. Must not be considered a threat or risk to public security and the structure of the Ecuadorian State.

The extraordinary migratory regularization process will be executed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility.

How to Apply for the Amnesty

Foreigners who meet the requirements for the amnesty can apply for a Temporary Residency Visa of Exception (VIRTE). The VIRTE visa will allow foreigners to remain in the country legally for a period of two years.

We still need to wait for the authorities to publish the law and regulations for obtaining the VIRTE visa. They have 3 months to do so from the date of the decree signed on 22 March 2023.

But, in the meantime, you can get started on the regularization process here.

Interested parties should stay informed about the process, and Expat Law Group is available to provide assistance in obtaining the VIRTE visa.

Benefits of the Immigration Amnesty

The immigration amnesty provides many benefits to foreigners who are in an irregular migratory situation. First, it allows them to regularize their migratory status and remain in the country legally. Second, it provides them with access to the same rights and duties as Ecuadorians. The amnesty promotes human rights by allowing foreigners to have legal status and access to basic services such as education, healthcare, and employment.

VIRTE Visa Details

The VIRTE visa provides an opportunity for foreigners to remain in the country legally and become a permanent resident if they wish to do so as VIRTE visa holders can apply for permanent residency after 21 months have passed. They can also apply for different types of residency visas if they choose.

Constitutional Basis for the Immigration Amnesty

Article 9 of the Constitution of the Republic determines that foreigners who are in Ecuadorian territory shall have the same rights and duties as Ecuadorians. Article 261 of the Constitution provides that the central government shall have exclusive powers over the registration of persons, nationalization of foreigners, and immigration control. The amnesty is in line with the constitutional provisions that promote human rights and provide the government with the necessary powers to control immigration.

Contact Expat Law Group for Assistance

If you are interested in applying for the VIRTE visa, you can contact Expat Law Group for assistance. Our law firm has extensive experience in helping foreigners with their immigration needs, and we can guide you through the process of obtaining the VIRTE visa for a reasonable fee.

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