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Complete guide to obtaining an Ecuador retirement visa, the required documents, the application steps, and best places for retirees

From sunny weather to beautiful beaches, Ecuador will be perfect for a quiet retirement. The South American country is considered a paradise for nature lovers. The great living conditions, climate, and high-quality healthcare make Ecuador the top destination for retirees.   

Foreigners who want to spend the rest of their life in the territory of Ecuador must apply for a retirement visa. Ecuador offers you the opportunity to retire in the country through the ‘Jubilado Visa’ (Retirement Visa).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility is responsible for issuing retirement visas for foreign pensioners.

Who Can Apply for an Ecuador Jubilado Visa?

To qualify for an Ecuador retirement visa, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must be at least 65 years old.
  • You must have a monthly income of at least $800.
  • You must have a clean criminal record.
  • You must not be considered a threat to the Ecuadorian State.
  • You must be able to support yourself financially.

How to Apply for a Retirement Visa in Ecuador?

You can apply for an Ecuador Retirement visa in one of the following ways:

  • In Ecuador
  • At a consular office abroad.
  • Semi-virtual (Consular Office abroad)

Applying from within Ecuador

You can enter Ecuador with only a valid passport and apply for a Jubilado (Retirement) Visa after entering the country. However, there are a few things you need to get done before traveling to Ecuador.

  • Ensure you get the required documents apostilled in your home country and translated by a certified translator before arriving in Ecuador.
  • On the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, check for available dates to set an appointment for one of the offices in Ecuador. 

Applying for an Ecuador Retirement Visa Abroad

If you are applying for a retirement visa from abroad, you have to submit your application to the nearest Ecuadorian Consulate in your place of residence. There are two ways you can apply for a retirement visa abroad: 

  • You can apply for a visa in person. Contact the nearest consular office and submit the required documents. After submitting your documents, you must proceed to pay the application fee. Once your visa has been approved, pay the visa fee and provide your personal email to verify that you have received the issued visa.
  • You can apply for a visa online and attend the interview in person. Register on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility and submit the documents in PDF format. Pay the application fee and wait for the consulate to authorize your payment. Then, you must choose an available date for an interview and attend the interview in person at the nearest embassy. 

After Arriving in Ecuador

After arriving in Ecuador, visit one of the Zonal Coordination on the date of the appointment, or request a service by sending an email to the corresponding zonal offices and attaching the requirements. There are ten offices in Ecuador where you can apply for a retirement visa. You can find information about zonal coordination in Ecuador on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility website.

Then, you will receive an email with instructions. Read and follow the instructions on the email to correctly complete your application.

Requirements for an Ecuador Retirement Visa

The following documents are required when applying for an Ecuador retirement visa:

  • Application form. A fully completed and signed application form must be submitted.
  • Certificate of migratory movement (applicable only within the country).
  • Regular immigration status (applicable only within the country).
  • Original passport and copies of all passport pages.
  • A certificate of your criminal records from your country of origin or the places you have lived for the last five years. The certificate must be translated, apostilled, or legalized.
  • Proof of lawful means. Submit evidence that you have legally gained the subsistence of you and your dependent family members, in accordance with the Ecuador Protocol to Accredit Lawful Livelihoods.
  • Payment of the visa fee.
  • Official documents issued by the institution that pays or grants retirement, pension, or income. The documents must be legalized or apostilled.

NOTE: Documents submitted in a language other than Spanish must be translated into Spanish and must have the translator’s signature before being notarized. All documents issued abroad should be legalized or apostilled.

How Much Does an Ecuador Retirement Visa Cost?

When applying for an Ecuador Retirement visa, you will be required to pay a fee of $50 for your visa application and another fee of $400 for visa approval. Keep in mind that these values do not include VAT.

Duration of an Ecuador Retirement Visa

The residence permit you receive for retirement in Ecuador is only valid for two years. After two years of holding a temporary residence permit for retirees, you can switch to permanent residence, therefore, become a permanent resident of Ecuador.

Can I Bring my Dependents to Ecuador With a Retirement Visa?

Yes, you are allowed to bring your dependents with you as long as you meet the criteria for a retirement visa. However, in order to do that, you will need to present an extra monthly income of $100 per family member. The category of dependents that can join you includes:

  • Your spouse to whom you are legally married to.
  • Your unmarried child if they are under the age of 21.

Can US Citizens Retire in Ecuador?

Yes, US citizens can retire in Ecuador. They must meet the conditions for a retirement visa and then choose the visa option that suits you best. The best option for foreign retirees is the temporary residence visa for retirees.

The Ecuadorian State will authorize a temporary residence for retired US citizens who want to settle in the country and whose source of income is the retirement pension from private or public institutions abroad.

Pros and Cons of Retiring in Ecuador

Ecuador might seem like the perfect destination for your retirement, however, one must consider the benefits and disadvantages of moving to Ecuador before reaching a decision.

Here are some of the pros and cons of retiring in Ecuador:

PROSCONS
Healthcare insurance and coverageUnderdeveloped infrastructure (outside of major cities)
Nice weather most of the yearOccasional electricity shortages
Low cost of livingAn enormous number of stray dogs
Discounts in transportation, utility bills, and taxes for people over the age of 65High risk of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis
You will need to take Spanish classes 

Health Insurance for Retirees in Ecuador

Ecuador offers high-quality and low-cost healthcare to its residents. However, the hospitals are found in big cities of the country since healthcare in urbanized areas is more modernized than in rural areas.

Expats who want to retire in Ecuador have the opportunity to choose between public healthcare and private healthcare. 

The public healthcare system of Ecuador allows patients to be treated daily as outpatients in public hospitals without an appointment. 

The public healthcare system includes:

  • Oncology hospitals
  • Children’s hospitals
  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Gynecologic hospitals
  • Geriatric hospitals
  • Optthamology hospitals, etc.

Although there is not a big difference between private and public healthcare costs, expats tend to choose private healthcare because it offers more benefits

Where to Retire in Ecuador?

Where you decide to retire depends mostly on your lifestyle and your budget. Here are some of the most popular places for retirees in Ecuador:

Cuenca

Cuenca is one of the most popular destinations for retirees in Ecuador. Retirees are attracted by the friendliness of the locals, culture, beautiful mountain scenery, and pleasant climate that dominates throughout the year.

The beautiful city offers many things to do, so you will not get bored while enjoying your retirement.

Quito

If history is something you are interested in, then Quito must be your retirement destination. Known as the largest historical center in South America, the city offers you a scenery view amongst the clouds, surrounded by mountains and volcanoes.

Loja

Loja is one of the oldest cities in Ecuador, famous for its traditional colonial architecture and elegant streets.  There are many activities you can do to stay active such as climbing the city gate, visiting the botanical gardens, visiting museums, or spending the day in parks.

Vilcabamba

The perfect place to sit and relax while enjoying the beautiful landscapes that surround Vilcabamba. The city is ideal for retirees who love nature and outdoor activities and do not want to spend a lot of money.

Thanks to the spring-like weather, you will have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Salinas

Salinas is another great destination for retirees in Ecuador. The living costs are very affordable to live well on your Social Security. The city is famous for its beautiful beaches, diverse landscapes, and friendly locals. You can explore the sandy beaches of the Santa Elena Province and enjoy the comfortable weather is comfortable.

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