Written By: Attorney Sara Chaca
July 1st, 2019
Well folks, here we are with news of yet another change to Ecuador’s Immigration Law for visa purposes, though this is one that should generally be considered a very positive change, at least for those wishing to spend more time in Ecuador but whom are not able or wanting to be relegated to the usual exit/stay requirements for a new resident of Ecuador.
That is to say, now for those who apply for an Investor Visa in any applicable financial instrument in Ecuador, that being most typically right around $40,000 (as of this writing) in either an Ecuadorian Bank Certificate of Deposit OR in any type Ecuadorian Real Estate Property (investments in Ecuador based business/companies are also permitted under certain circumstances), the Investor can come and go to and from Ecuador as often as they desire (i.e. the Investor and their familial Dependents can stay in, leave from and/or return to Ecuador however frequently or infrequently that they wish), and thus NOT be subject to the otherwise standard rule(s) for new residents of not leaving Ecuador for more than 90 days in either of their first two years of Temporary Residency and/or not more than 180 days in either of their first two years of Permanent Residency thereafter. As an applicable aside for those interested in the Real Estate form of Investor Visa, so as to buy property in Ecuador in association with securing your residency in Ecuador, see as follows for two separate (though highly related) articles which I wrote and published on “CuencaHighLife” covering all aspects of purchasing Real Estate in Ecuador: https://cuencahighlife.com/buying-property-in-ecuador-heres-what-you-need-to-know/ AND https://cuencahighlife.com/power-of-attorney-documents-in-ecuador-best-reasons-uses-of-them-plus-how-how-not-to-do-so/.
And so now, to that point as per how this new benefit of the Investor Visa is stated above, the only possible rub is that in order for the Investor to be and continue to be free as a bird in coming to and leaving from Ecuador on their own desired schedule or time frame, they must remain a Temporary Resident and renew it every 2 years, and thus NOT convert to Permanent Residency, as if they ever do elect to convert to Permanent Residency, then they will at that future time lose their ability to be free from the secondary requirement of not leaving Ecuador for more than 180 days in either of their first two years of Permanent Residency (though in such case the Investor will still have avoided the first requirement of not leaving Ecuador for more than 90 days in either of their first two years of Temporary Residency). Therefore, per however long an Investor and/or their familial Dependents is/are content and needing or wanting to only call Ecuador their home for just days, weeks or months at a time (but not permanently so), they can at this time continue to renew their Investor class of Temporary Residency Visa as many times as they wish, and of course if they ever decide to formally say goodbye to Ecuador, the Investor can do so by simply canceling or not renewing their Ecuadorian Bank Certificate of Deposit or just selling their Real Estate Property (if applicable), so as to take back their invested funds (quite possibly with either a minimal or zero “Exit Tax” as the case may be for whenever the Investor wishes to in effect cash in their chips). It should be further noted as well that an Investor can’t apply for Ecuadorian Citizenship (which itself enables receipt of an Ecuadorian Passport) until or unless they have officially been a Permanent Resident of Ecuador for at least 3 years and not left Ecuador for more than 180 days during each of their first 3 years of Permanent Residency, and so that should also be taken into account by the Investor before acting to apply for an Investor Visa, in case their end goal is to receive Ecuadorian Citizenship holding an Ecuadorian Passport as quickly as possible.
The Investor Visa changes referenced above are an exciting new development for tourists and preexisting residents alike, as it provides many foreigners with a brand new way to accomplish their goal(s) of sometimes being in Ecuador and sometimes being elsewhere (on no particular schedule or requirement to that extent), plus all the while still receiving the benefit of Ecuadorian banks’/cooperatives’ higher interest rates and/or the potential for property value appreciation in Ecuador. Be sure to stay tuned as per any new developments as well as uses of the Investor Visa for those whom will reap the most advantage and welfare from selecting it as their qualification for becoming a resident of Ecuador.
Sara Chaca (Attorney – Abogada) is a seasoned Ecuadorian Lawyer, who principally serves Expats in making their moves to Ecuador, as well as for any legal issues that arise or become actionable for her Expat clients to undertake in their new lives here in her beautiful country. Sara resides in Cuenca with her family, which consists of her American husband and 2 daughters (as well as her parents and siblings), and when not working, she enjoys spending time with her family in Cuenca’s majestic Cajas Mountains and local parks & fairs of Cuenca, plus visiting the coast as well as the many gem towns of Ecuador. Sara’s personal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and her personal cell phone number is 099.296.2065. Sara has a less than 24 hour first response policy, in that if you email or call her, she WILL return your first email or first phone call in less than 24 hours (more typically closer to 24 minutes). Most importantly, all first time consultations with Expats for any type Visa or Legal matter(s) are always FREE OF CHARGE.