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We Have Residency In Ecuador! (What You Should Know)

Posted in: Cuenca Ecuador, Living in Ecuador

We Finally Have Ecuador Residency: Congratulations to us!!!!

We wanted to get residency here in Ecuador, so we started the process last April. It took a long time to complete all the steps (11 months) but now we have it!

Don’t let the 11 month thing scare you. We were caught in the midst of some changing laws, and we changed our minds part way through. We had started the process wanting to establish a corporation but as we got deeper into the creation of it we realized that it was way too involved and decided to pull the plug. That cost us a lot of time and gave us a lot of headaches.

After we decided to shift gears we went with the investment option, and we now have residency based on that. We needed to travel back to Canada to get police reports, and we also had to travel out of the country again (Miami) in order to re-enter on a tourist visa because the visa we were on was running out. The tourist visa bought us the time we needed to finish the residency process.


Are You Thinking About Getting Residency in Ecuador?

If you want to get residency in Ecuador make sure you know what paperwork you need before you start the process. You can find out all the ins and outs of what is required by contacting the Ecuadorian consulate in your area before you come. You should also meet with lawyers on your initial visit here in Ecuador.

Things can get confusing and frustrating during the process for 3 main reasons.

1.     The Laws Sometimes Change. This leaves lawyers scrambling in order to help their clients in the most timely manner possible. They may tell you one thing about a certain requirement and while you are working on it, call and tell you something entirely different about that same requirement. This is not their fault, they can only work within the parameters of what the government requirements are, and these are subject to change. If you find this frustrating, don’t take it out on the lawyers, they don’t make the laws – they just try to help us work within them.

2.     The Language. Even when we Gringos think we understand everything, we often don’t. This is most often due to things getting lost in translation. This is not our fault or the fault of the Spanish speakers we are dealing with, it’s just a fact of life in a foreign country. Language is a tricky thing. What we have learned is to keep asking questions until we are completely clear on what the next steps are, and then we repeat back what we think we understand just to make sure we actually get it right. Check out: 11 Books & Courses We Used to Learn Spanish.

3.     Incorrect Information. You may receive incorrect information from other expats because the laws have changed since they got their residency and no longer hold true for your experience. That’s why we do not give out specific details about our residency process or requirements. Another reason may be because your expat friends are passing on information from people who may have misunderstood the process or given wrong information to their lawyers – which would have caused a problem in their process. This could lead to all kinds of problems, that’s why it’s always best to go directly to the source: Trustworthy Ecuadorian  lawyers. If you need help with the legal stuff you could contact the lawyers we used, our friends Nelson and Grace.


Remember this!

The most important thing we needed to remember was to be patient and stay calm. Getting upset with government officials would not have helped us get what we wanted, and it probably would have given us a bad reputation.The process could also have been slowed down so much that we would have been unable to complete it in the given time frame. We found it best to always assume that we had made a mistake or misunderstood something. Being apologetic usually caused the people trying to help us to feel sorry for us and made them want to help us more. In almost every case, we had made a mistake or misunderstood what we were supposed to do next. I think if we had approached the process with an “now, I’m going to set these people straight!” attitude, we would have received the same type of attitude in response. That would have just been an ugly mess waiting to happen. Avoiding a Gringo Superiority Complex.

The government, and their employees work differently here than in the States or Canada. Things take longer and are subject to change, but if you want something done that involves the government you have no choice but to work with it. Things will work out, but patience will be required.

It’s all worth it in the end! We feel like we can really make this our home now 🙂

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Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

121 comments… add one
  • frank Nov 17, 2019, 4:21 pm

    I NEED to find the OLD laws regarding time allowed out of the country during the first 3 years of residence . I am focused on 2014 through 2016.

  • Steve D May 18, 2014, 4:44 pm

    Re: “But because this town wasn’t the last place we lived before leaving Canada they couldn’t do it”

    I think that’s incorrect. When Ecuador says they want a criminal records check for any place you’ve lived in the last 5 years they mean countries, not cities within 1 (one) country if that’s the case. I’ll be doing a “Live Scan” (fingerprints) from California and that should be all I need although I’ve lived in Texas also (in the last 5 years). The Live Scan includes a FBI check (national).

    • Bryan Haines May 19, 2014, 6:52 am

      Don’t worry. It’s correct. 🙂

      The requirement was based on the local police department – it had nothing to do with the Ecuador government. The local police department (in Canada) told me that they couldn’t issue the report because their town wasn’t the last place we lived in before leaving the country. We did live in the town for a few years when we were first married but we moved to another town after our daughter was born and this town was covered by the RCMP (Canada’s national police). The RCMP had different rules again.

      It really depends on the rules of your home country and of the specific state or province. I know other Canadians who were able to order police reports while still in Ecuador.

  • Shahbaz May 5, 2014, 10:35 pm

    Hello Bryan,

    I understand the requirements for maintaining residency in Ecuador–no more that 90 days absence from the country the first two years and then no more than 18 months of consecutive or cumulative absence in any 5 year period–but I am not clear on when the residency starts. Is it on the date you get the visa stamp in your passport from the EC consulate in your home country, is it the date you entered the country, or is it the day you get registered and get your Cedula? Thanks for answer.

    • Bryan Haines May 7, 2014, 9:57 pm

      I really don’t know. We were in Ecuador when we got residency so it began on the day our passports were stamped and approved with the visa. But I don’t know the situation for people living outside of Ecuador when they are approved. You should confirm with your lawyer.

  • Simon Bédard Apr 19, 2014, 8:02 am

    So sad to hear you had to go back to Canada for your police papers… we didnt have to. The canadian embassy can help you with that but we did it with a private company. Cost us 100$ to have it sent to a friend and then 6$ to have it stamped at the ecuadorian consulate in Montreal.

    • Bryan Haines Apr 21, 2014, 6:57 pm

      It depends a lot on jurisdiction. I spoke with a town police department and they were willing to create the document as a favor – with a verbal request. But because this town wasn’t the last place we lived before leaving Canada they couldn’t do it. When I called the RCMP office of the town we lived in last – they refused to do anything without us standing in their office in person. Maybe it was overkill or maybe they followed their procedure – I’m not sure.

      Rules also change over time. When I spoke with the consulate three years ago, they couldn’t help. We could have applied to the RCMP office in Ottawa for the documents but they have a turnaround of a few months – with no guaranteed time-frame. I also called the Canadian Embassy in Quito and they said that they don’t get involved in police reports (at least at that time). Because our visa status was changing here we opted for the sure option.

    • Cole Apr 27, 2016, 2:07 pm

      Hello Simon, How you did it, please would you let me know the name of the company who helped you to obtain everything done, it seems kinda difficult to get it, but actually I’m married with an Ecuadorian girl and i need to make all my documents done, for try to aply for my residency, i don’t kow if you can help me with some place that i would go here in ecuador for get all my police documents done
      please i would apreciate a lot your help

  • nasir Jan 21, 2014, 4:02 pm

    Dear Sir, I want to know that if someone comes with the one month tourist visa is it possible to extend his visa while remaining there because for applying residence and getting Cedula it will take time? Furthermore, tell me that Spanish langauge is easy to learn? and If I don’t know spanish then can I get job to survive there?
    Thanks and please reply on my email.

  • Wally Mountz Nov 20, 2013, 3:34 pm

    I haven’t seen this subject broached. My wife and I were married in Texas and are now permanent residents in Cuenca. Is there any reason to have our marriage registered/legalized in Ecuador?

    • Bryan Haines Nov 26, 2013, 7:37 am

      Not that I know of. The federal government obviously accepted your papers from when you got residency. There could be issues like inheritance, I suppose. I haven’t heard of any benefit/reason to register marriages here.

      If you hear something, can you share it here?

      • Wally Dec 4, 2013, 6:47 pm

        Thanks Bryan (see my reply below).

    • Jakob Nov 26, 2013, 8:33 am

      Hi Wally… This is a non issue. If you were married according to the law somewhere then it is valid no matter where you go. My wife and I have lived in 3 different countries and we have been legally married in all 3 of them without any extra paper work. As Brian said, usually when you file for residency you establish your marital status at the time of application with the country you are trying to move to. They will then treat you as a married couple for all legal matters. I think for married people it would be interesting to know Ecuadorian family law since any family matters are settled according to the law of your country of residence which is a bit different in Ecuador vs US or Canada. You could, of course, always move back to your home country if any legal challenge arose and change the legal setting back to home.

      • Wally Dec 4, 2013, 6:51 pm

        Thank you Jakob. I recently had to go to a local attorney on a censo problem so I asked him this question. He explained that by having the marriage legalized in Ecuador, it will save you from obtaining a apostilled marriage license from the states whenever you need it. Well, the next time I’ll need it will probably be when my new passport expires in 10 years so I’m not worried about it.

  • Sandy Nov 7, 2013, 1:10 pm

    Brian and Dena, Hoping to you shed some light on this whole visa thing. I am unable to figure out what type of visa I should get. I work from home for a small US company and have the option of working anywhere in the world provided I have internet. So I would not be looking for a job and have enough income to support the family. We are not ready to make a commitment to a purchase of real estate until we have decided that Ecuador is right for us. Neither my husband or I are near retirement age. Can you point us in the right direction? Doesn’t seem like any of the visa’s relate to my situation.

    • Bryan Haines Nov 7, 2013, 1:30 pm

      I understand your dilemma. There are six types of residency in Ecuador. You don’t have to buy real estate – you can invest money for a minimum of one year. After a year you can withdraw it and leave the country or reinvest and stay.

  • Josh Nov 7, 2013, 12:14 pm

    What type of police check did you need from Canada in order to get residency?

    I tried with my local police check and it wasn’t enough, do you know what type I need or what kinda stamps I need on it?

    Hope you can help as i’m very frustrated and just want to be able to see my wife again.

    • Bryan Haines Nov 7, 2013, 12:22 pm

      You should confirm with a lawyer. We got our report from the RCMP in the last town we lived in before moving. I think it then needs to be legalized at one of Ecuadors embassies / consulates in Canada.


  • Geoffrey Levens Jun 30, 2013, 3:21 pm

    I have run into several expats via forums who insist that one can obtain Ecuador residence visa from a consulate in the U.S. while still there, prior to coming to Ecuador. Do you know if this is true? Bunk?

    Thank you

  • maria Jun 22, 2013, 4:28 pm

    Bryan do I have to travel to Quito to register with Direccion de Estranjeros? Is there in office in Cuenca of so could you provide the address? I know you are suppose to register within 30 days of our arrival. Again thank you !

    • Bryan Haines Jun 27, 2013, 7:13 am

      I don’t know. I guess it depends on your specifics. There is an office in Cuenca: It is just a block or two up from the intersection of Gran Columbia and Las Americas on Avenida Ordóñez Lasso. It is a large white building on the right.

      Dirección: Avenida Ordóñez Lasso y Guayacán. Edif. Astudillo, planta baja
      Teléfonos: (07) 285 0085 / (07) 285 0086

    • Jakob Jun 27, 2013, 7:19 am

      All I know is that the many Colombian citizens who work in Manabi always go to Quito for residency papers even though it is a 12 hour bus ride vs 3.5 hours to Guayaquil, so they must do so for a reason.

  • maria Jun 22, 2013, 3:40 pm

    Can you clarify something for me? Do you have to own property to have “residency” in Ecuador? I do not plan to buy I just want to rent. Thank you Bryan

    • Bryan Haines Jun 22, 2013, 4:52 pm

      No, you don’t have to buy property. There are six different resident visas in Ecuador.

      • maria Jun 22, 2013, 7:12 pm

        yup got that part…some expats were saying that you have to own a house to get your residency faster??? lol thank you…I will not be a wealthy expat just little me and my husband going for an adventure….

        • Jakob Jun 25, 2013, 8:04 am

          Owning a house is ONE way. Another popular and much easier way were fixed term deposits (deposito a plazo fijo) in the required amount ($25k) which I read somewhere in El Universo would not be accepted anymore for residency by the Ecuadorian government. The government’s concern was that many foreigners deposit the money at a Cooperativa as banks do not give you the option until you actually HAVE residency, which is not considered very safe as there is no insurance for the funds and still little regulation around Cooperativas. The law is certainly not static, so best to get the most recent update from a professional.

          • Lee Jun 25, 2013, 11:08 am

            It depends on the bank. Bank of Pichincha opened a savings account for me without residency or cedula…just with my passport and an introduction letter from my attorney. With that, I was able to buy the 25K CD. When I did that last year, the CD had to be from a insured bank or insured coop.

          • Jakob Jun 25, 2013, 11:21 am

            Right. Nothing is written in stone in Ecuador. The correct statement would be that legally banks are not supposed to open accounts for non-residents. Of course, it still happens if you find the right people to help you.

  • Ellie Wallis Jun 19, 2013, 11:35 am

    After just receiving our residency visa & cedula we can only comment that the above advice is so right on. We often think we understand the process when we don’t, we often misunderstand a translation and assume something incorrectly…… as well as becoming impatient. We came bringing a large container with our belongings and there were changes in laws, delays in customs as well as the truck carrying our container was to large to pass through the community gate to the house. We had to have a smaller truck to off load from the container and then take to our house. We feel very strongly that in the the end the expert help of Nelson & Grace made our experience of the unpredictable up and downs of the process well worth it in the end. We also shamelessly recommend them (without any financial benefit to ourselves) because they have been excellent.

  • j.cotter Apr 2, 2013, 10:30 pm

    The advice articles on getting residency in Ecuador say “you can’t arrive on a tourist visa and convert to residency without having to return to your home country
    first.” But, the LA consulate office told me by applying from the states it would take a year to get approved, better to go in person (on a tourist visa)and apply down
    there!! I emailed them asking if I could do that without having to make a return trip, but they don’t seem to want to reply to me. Any ideas?

    • Bryan Haines Apr 10, 2013, 3:00 pm

      From our experience, many of the consulates don’t actually know the rules – or they are quoting outdated ones. Before we moved, we got different answers from the different consulates in Canada.

      The best advice is to speak with someone who has just done it – or to speak with immigration lawyers who know the current rules.

      • Jakob Apr 10, 2013, 9:25 pm

        … or to go to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores ) site and read it directly from the source, now available in English. A quick look at the application form (still in Spanish) reveals:
        “El solicitante debe presentarse en la Direccion General de Extranjeria dentro de 30 dias siguientes a su arribo al Ecuador”… easy and fast… so, you have 30 days after you arrive as a tourist to show up at the “Foreign Office” of the “Ministry of the Exterior” and petition for immigrant status. Don’t forget to read the required document list before you leave and have everything with you including notarized translations or you MIGHT find you have to go back for a piece of paper.

        • Jason Apr 21, 2013, 2:59 pm


          I want to be able to start my own business in Cuenca. I understand the Corporation Visa is now much more expense, does anyone know the actual costs to start you own business in Ecuador that will also allow you to stay there indefinitely while you run your business?

          I am open to anyway that I can accomplish legally being able to run my business and live there, but would like to find the least expenses and fewest hoops (haha – I know that is asking for lots!)

          Thank you in advance – there is lots of info out there that is outdated and not for 2013 laws.

          Bryan – it looked liked you were going down this road but then realized it was too much of a nightmare? Your personal insight would be great – and with the investment option you choose does that mean you invested in your own business or some others business that allows you to run a business there? Thanks!


          • Bryan Haines Apr 23, 2013, 10:53 am

            The corporation visa is a good option – if you are actually planning on running a company. We were, but were overwhelmed by the number of laws and volume of paperwork. We hired an accountant to help, but this just added more cost and hassle. We ended up keeping our business in Canada and running it remotely.

            The reason for the amount of rule changes is because a few lawyers (and expats) were abusing this visa and setting up ghost corporations with no intention of ever doing business with them. Some lawyers are still promoting this – but it is illegal. I’ve heard that the government has taken action against some of these people – charging them with fraud.

          • Jason Apr 23, 2013, 11:31 am


            Yes, I would actually want to run the business in Cuenca – and be totally legit doing everything correctly. Do you know what the new cost is for the corporation visa since the law change? Are there any websites that show a breakdown of how this visa works that is actually updated to today’s law?

            Are you able to do work inside Ecuador with such a visa set up? My understanding is if you are on a tourist visa you are not legally allowed to work and make income while inside Ecuador? I just want to figure out the most efficient and cost effective way to do this without coming back and forth over and over again.

            I will probably come down on a 90 day (12X) visa – which my understanding is the 90 days is while you are actually on Ecuadorian soil, and is valid for 12 months from the start time…so I was thinking come down and visit Cuenca and get everything set up (housing, etc)…then come back to the USA and get my 180 day (12IX), and start the paperwork rolling on the corporate visa…also I just recently heard US citizens are going to be required to get an FBI background check instead of a state/local police check?

            Bryan, is there anyway to connect with you via Skype messaging, phone or ? You can email me: …if there is a way to communicate that way…

            What is so frustrating, is 50%+ of what you read online about Ecuador is incorrect and even the powers that be within the country give different answers on different days…you really don’t know the answer until you are standing there in front of an official and find out on the spot…then you could be good to go or be looking at a another appointment or even a plane ride back home for some piece of paperwork that person thinks you might need…

            Thank you Bryan for you service and in helping people to find a way to Ecuador. 🙂


            • Bryan Haines Apr 23, 2013, 3:37 pm

              I understand your frustration with the misinformation online. While we try to stay away from publishing requirements, some readers post them. The problem is that the requirements change from month to month.

              There are some ambitious expats who will tell you to save your money (and, in some cases, hire them instead) and not use a lawyer. While it might be okay for a simple residency, I wouldn’t touch a foreign corporate structure without the help of someone who knows it. We use Grace and Nelson here in Cuenca. We shamelessly recommend them (without any financial benefit to ourselves) because they have been excellent.

              I recommend that you speak with a good lawyer here in Ecuador. They will give you the current rules and help you get everything setup.

          • Jakob Apr 23, 2013, 4:41 pm

            “Are you able to do work inside Ecuador with such a visa set up? My understanding is if you are on a tourist visa you are not legally allowed to work and make income while inside Ecuador?”

            The problem is not working in Ecuador on a 90-day visa, the problem is working in Ecuador on a 90-day visa and getting paid from Ecuadorian sources. As long as you derive no income from Ecuadorian sources (in other words you get paid abroad and you provide no services to Ecuadorian entities) there are no implications from doing your work in Ecuador on a tourist visa as long as you only do it up to 183 days in any rolling 12 month period (at which point you become a tax resident of Ecuador). This information is what I got from our HR and Payroll department and they hired external consultants to research this as it applies to my situation.

  • Walter Rys Apr 1, 2013, 5:50 pm

    I live in Canada and retiring in a year. What documents do I need to get my residency visa in Ecuador. What can I do here (Canada) to make it easier once I get there? Would it be easier to translate into spanish here?

    • Bryan Haines Apr 1, 2013, 8:31 pm

      Almost everyone gets them translated here. I think you’ll need to have them notarized here either way.

  • Dennis Parsons Jan 2, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Hi this is Dennis Parsons and I am a rookie at the Ecuador thing and really have just started exploring the possibilities of a change. I love this site and all that it offers. My wife and 7 year old step-daughter are not totaly new to the concept of tropical living as my wife and and I lived in cuba for 5 years or so. She and my step-daghter both were cuban citizens and are presently carrying Cuban passports but are permanent residents of Canada. I am a Canadian citizen. My question for anyone out there is this. Is it possible for someone carrying a cuban passport to get a visa for entering Ecuador or should they wait until they get their Canadian citizenship and Canadian passport (approx. another 16 months) before exploring this possible change of residence. We understand the nuances of visiting first and all that stuff but not all countries are accepting of Cuban passports for various reasons. My wife presently works at the marriott hotel here in Toronto Canada and we would explore the possibility of a transfer???? or some other job opportunity in Ecuador. As I say this is the first volley of what I am sure would be a long process but we are interested in any info anyone could offer. Many thanks, Dennis and Grisel

    • Jakob Jan 4, 2013, 11:22 pm

      Dennis… I would wait until your wife is a Canadian citizen. There are various reasons. Cubans did not need a visa until very recently to enter Ecuador, but check with your local Ecuadorian consulate as that can change any minute. I know there has been a discussion about changing visa requirements for Cubans as many have arrived and stayed.

      The real reason why it’s better to wait for Canadian passport is travel options. You won’t find a direct flight to Ecuador from Canada. Most go through the USA. Air Canada can also take you through Bogota, Colombia, but you probably will pay considerably more and the flight is full frequently, so that you might not get the dates you want. Save yourself the trouble of having to take an impossible route for a lot of money just to avoid the USA and save a few thousand dollars in the process.

      I had the same problem, but my wife is Ecuadorian, so I applied for a tourist visa to the US for her and she got refused. Two weeks later I applied for a work visa for her based on my US work visa and she got approved… US immigration… no common sense 😉 Now the only thing she uses her work visa for is to travel to Ecuador from Buffalo, Detroit or NYC (the viable options if you live in Ontario). We usually save a few hundred bucks a pop compared to Toronto.

      I do not think you should try applying for a US visa with a Cuban passport, you would certainly be refused. Once you were refused a visa or denied entry to the US it is on your record and you will always be scrutinized on future travels through the US, even though you have a valid travel document. Save yourself that experience as well.

      • Madai Sep 19, 2015, 5:04 am

        His wife will NOT be denied, she can have automatic residency in the USA. Cubans are considered political refugees, in no way will she be denied (look up the “Pies secs, pies mojados”). This law may change soon depending on the current mood towards Cuba, but it is still a communist country as of now. If for some reason her entry is denied by flight all she has to do is drive to the US and go ask for residency. I have also heard that the Ecuadorian government is a bit “tired” of the large amounts of Cubans that have migrated and have made laws specifically for them. My opinion is that as of 2015 she should not ask for residency in Ecuador with her Cuban passport, which might of been ok a few years ago. Call an attorney, laws change very frequently!!!

        • Jakob Sep 23, 2015, 11:50 am

          I heard about that law. However, it applies to refugees. If you are a resident in Canada with a Cuban passport and want to go as a tourist to the US a different set of laws applies. I have a Cuban friend in Ontario who was refused entry at the US border, because her papers were not in order. Now it’s on her record. With a Canadian passport travel is a non-issue. I am not a lawyer, but I have done my share of traveling on various kinds of visa and I know I am treated differently depending on the purpose of my travel. My wife was almost refused entry to the US once, because we said we were going on vacation, but she had a work visa. The immigration officer said the purpose of our trip had to be business and we could not use the work visa to go in for leisure. I had to talk to the supervisor to explain to him that it does not make sense to allow people to go in to work in your country, but not allow to spend their money there to have fun. This is just one example of how depending on the status you ask for you are treated differently. However, my experience is not a professional opinion, so if in doubt I would recommend to get that.

  • JOHN WRIDER Sep 17, 2012, 9:28 am

    Just one question, my fiance is a citizen of Ecuador and we will marry when I am able to leave the USA. If I come there as a 90 day visitor; can apply for permanent residency after we are married?

    • Bryan Haines Sep 17, 2012, 10:25 am

      This is a good question for a lawyer – but from what I understand you can begin the process while here on a temporary visa. Just be sure to have all of your documents with you and in order.

    • Jakob Sep 17, 2012, 6:44 pm

      Yes, you can. Best if you marry in Ecuador before an Ecuadorian judge, they won’t kick you out if you’re part of the family + you save tens of thousands of dollars. I married in Ecuador while on a 90 day visitor visa.

      • jonas Jan 16, 2013, 9:50 pm

        i am planning to get married while on a 90 day tourist visa from usa. did you need any special documents or other visa before getting married to an ecuadorian citizen. thanks in advance

        • Jakob Jan 16, 2013, 11:35 pm

          No other visa… but documents, yes… that was a headache. Go to the Registro Civil, the judge will tell you what documents they want. You can ask at your local consulate as well, but the Registro Civil is the final instance and sometimes the requirements shift while you are trying to comply. I needed a few months to have everything in order.

          First of all all foreign (non-Ecuadorian documents) had to be translated to Spanish and legalized at either the Ecuadorian consulate in the foreign country or that country’s representation in Ecuador. In my case several countries as my country of birth did not equal my country of citizenship and that did not equal my country of residence. I basically took a world trip to get all the documents.

          I needed:
          – Birth certificate
          – Police record (Record policial)from each country I had lived in within the last few years prior to the marriage (I don’t remember how many)
          – Certificado de solteria (a document certifying that you are not married) from the country you reside in. Usually, you get this at the place where marriages are registered, wherever that may be in your country.
          – Passport
          – We needed to provide 5 witnesses and each needed their ID or passport
          – A funny requirement was that two people had to certify under oath that my wife was single and had never been married before. You’d think that would figure from their own records, but I think it was an extra requirement for marriages with foreigners to prevent fraud (she could have gotten married abroad). The document created from the oath had to be notarized.

          They actually also ask what your profession is and write it into the Act of Marriage document. So if you are a circus clown everybody will know at your wedding as the judge solemnly announces it during the ceremony. If you are a secret service agent, don’t blow your cover 😉

          That was in 2004 and things change constantly in Ecuador. The Registro Civil in Guayaquil back then was very different from the one now and was all paper based and frankly a chaos where the price of services fluctuated every day depending on who you talked to (I never found out what the official price table was). Things have improved a lot, so I expect your process to be a lot smoother. If you want to get the exact up to date requirements to get married in Ecuador as a foreigner the Registro Civil is where you have to ask.

          • maria May 28, 2013, 1:28 pm

            do you think you can help me with this….In am leaving to EC in sept and want to take EVERYHING I need to become a resident….from my understanding all you need is birth cert, police record, passaport? Is that correct. I am trying to get my background check here in the states and they said once I electronically do this they give a form with some numbers on it…I do not understand how that works? thank you for your help, Maria Aurelia

          • maria May 28, 2013, 1:38 pm

            do you think you can help me with this….In am leaving to EC in sept and want to take EVERYHING I need to become a resident….from my understanding all you need is birth cert, police record, passaport? Is that correct. I am trying to get my background check here in the states and they said once I give my finger prints electronically sent to the FBI ..the say said they will give me a form with numbers on it …I do not understand how that work and how the office in Ecuador suppose to get this information if they are not releasing the infor to me? thank you for your help, Maria Aurelia p.s. I am getting frustrated…lol

  • Mecoh Bain Sep 16, 2012, 8:59 pm

    I am a Canadian student there on an exchange, studying in Guayaquil. I wanted to get some information from you about Cuenca the city, what to do what you enjoy most etc. Also, I wanted to get some info on how to go about getting residency later on.. did you use lawyers?

  • Rick Wells Sep 8, 2012, 9:33 pm

    What should we expect to pay an attorney for the fees and paperwork to get a residency visa? Can you recommend a good attorney or law firm in Salinas? Thank you…

    • Bryan Haines Sep 9, 2012, 9:16 pm

      I really don’t know the going rate – I’ve heard around $800-1000 per couple. In our opinion, it is money well spent.

  • Malcolm Reding Aug 1, 2012, 8:01 am

    There seems to be a lot of confusion about the word APOSTILLE If you Google the word and click on the Wikipedia link, you will find out more than you probably want or need to know. Please do NOT confuse it with the word APOSTLE. APOSTILLE is not a religeous term. You do NOT need to Apostille any documents for a VISA, only for residency. The documents that will need to be Apostilled include in some but not all cases:
    Birth Certificates
    Divorce papers, if your name was changed
    Income verification
    Criminal background check
    Name change document.
    The ONLY place you can get documents Apostilled is with the Secretary of State in the state where they originated. In other words, you CANNOT get a Montana birth certificate apostilled in California, only in Montana. You also need to know that just because a document is NOTARIZED does not mean Apostille is not required. Anyone with a 4th grade education in the US can be a Notary Public and their seal only means that they are certifying that you are who you represent yourself to be. That is not the same as a Secretary of State certifying the legality of a public document.
    Only countries that ratified the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, can apostille documents. The Wikipedia link list the countries that ratified the Hague Convention. Sorry Canadians, your country did not participate.

  • Malcolm Reding Aug 1, 2012, 7:09 am

    A criminal background check is not required for a 12-IX visa. Only when you apply for residency does it matter and traffic violations are not considered a criminal act. Besides, you are asking about business visas which are different than the 12-IX tourist visa.

  • Rasa Jul 31, 2012, 10:35 am

    Maybe you are able to help me…

    My partner wants to apply for a 12-IX Visa to go to Ecuador for 6 months and do a little work in a friend’s hostel.
    The visa process looks simple but she has one traffic conviction on her police clearance record.
    Do you know anything about whether traffic convictions effect business visas?

    Thanks 🙂

  • s sayad May 1, 2012, 8:09 am

    please tell me full information residency in ecoudor. i am bangladeshi citizen . thank you s sayad

  • Mitri Janho Apr 29, 2012, 5:11 am

    Hi Bryan,
    Love your blogs, so informative and helpful.
    I am now in Ecuador heading for Cuenca within 2 weeks. I will be applying for a residency visa. Although I have done my homework, one thing remains unclear. The way Revenue Canada defines Canadian Resident for Income tax purpose is confusing : Other than living outside the country for more than 183 days, not having a canadian drivers license, a home, medicare or minor children, they say one must not have Canadian ”ties”. I do have friends in Canada, real estate, Canadian bank accounts and Canadian credit cards. It seems to me that no matter how un-canadian resident I become, they always have a way to ”nail” me 🙂 . Can you or anyone else clarify this to me from real experience? Greatly appreciated.

    • Bryan Haines May 3, 2012, 8:19 am

      Thanks Mitri. You’ll have to fill out the NR73 form (Determination of Residency Status – Leaving Canada). It is from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and it will give them the info they need to determine your status. After you submit it, they will send you a determination of your status. In Canada there are three (at least) different forms of residency. We were “actual residents” in Ecuador while being “deemed residents” in Canada. Now, we are “legal residents” in Ecuador and there is a possibility that we will continue as “deemed residents” in Canada because of our business activity. We are resubmitting our NR73 forms next week for a new determination of our status. They are helpful if you call them – but only a determination in writing means anything.

      Hope this helps.


    • Barry Neville Jul 14, 2012, 1:22 am


      I left Canada about 8 or 9 years ago to live in the USA. I had to fill a online goverment form stating that I was no longer a Candian resident. This was followed up by a phone interview and I was granted non residency. I believe that I had to file a tax return for 2 years after but not liable for Canadian taxes. I still had property, credit cards and a bank which they questioned. I was going through a divorce and they took that as reasonable.

      I have have had no issues at all. However they did go back several years and I had a couple fights with Revenue Canada which I ended up winning all of them and actually got more money back which covered the accountant’s fees

      In the end it is best to make sure that you have no mail (including magazine subscriptions) coming to a Canadian address, No club memberships which they also consider ties to Canada .All my Canadian RRSPs, bank statements and credit card are all are in my USA address.

      I did sell my house last year and they withheld 25% of my share and I filled another tax return this year in an attemp to get most of it back. I still have not got my return back.

      I am now looking to move to Ecudor and feeling my way arond the internetfor advise.

      Hope this helps you


  • shah alam sayad Apr 19, 2012, 1:48 am

    i looking ecoudor citizenship. now i am lioving in bangladesh . thank you

  • Todd Koenig Apr 9, 2012, 7:53 am

    Hi There!

    This is my second time looking at your blog as we are at the beginning stages of planning our move to Cuenca. So far I’ve enjoyed all of the great info! My question has likely been answered here on a different page and, if so, I’d love you to link to it in your reply!

    re: the Investment Visa, what is the minimum amount of time your money must be tied up in a CD, etc… and still qualify for the visa? Is a CD the best option? We’re debating on whether to go that route or try and buy a house within a few months of arriving.



    • Todd Koenig Apr 9, 2012, 9:25 am

      Found it! Info (from your friends at the law office) current as of last April, anyway. Look forward to reading more~ 😉

  • cilia Engelhardt Mar 24, 2012, 8:37 am

    Congratulations Dena and Bryan. I have been reading your articles for a long time. I myself will love to visit Ecuador and hopefully get a permanent visa for my retirement. It is a country that appeals to me. Keep the good work.

  • Michelle Mar 23, 2012, 10:35 am

    Hi Bryan and Dena,
    Super information! You two are beacons. And congrats too!
    Can you tell us whether we can get the residency requirement of the medical non-communicable disease test panel done in Cuenca? It’s a whopping price tag here in California. Any advice on that?
    Thanks for your wonderful blog.

    • Bryan Haines Mar 23, 2012, 1:11 pm

      Thanks so much Michelle!

      We heard that the test is a requirement, but we didn’t need to done for our application. I am sure you can get it done here, if you are living here when you apply. You should confirm with a lawyer, but you should be fine.


    • Malcolm Reding Mar 23, 2012, 3:14 pm

      Several expat residents have recommend you wait until you are in the country and go to local doctor for an examination and you will get exactly what you need in Spanish. It will cost you about $25 in Cuenca

  • Joe LeBlanc Mar 20, 2012, 10:03 pm

    The very first Ecuadorean term I learned was “Tiempo Ecuatoriano”

    One really needs to learn to have patience.

    My second day in Quito I was sent to a dance that was suppose to start at 9PM. As I was about to leave at 10:20 PM the crowd began to climb the Centro. Our first meal was served at 12:30 AM. I had to excuse myself about 4:30AM as I had to get back to the hotel to get a couple of winks before the bus would pick me up for my 2nd day at work!

    PATIENCE translated is “Tiempo Ecuatoriano”

  • Lynnda & David Mar 20, 2012, 8:48 pm

    Congratulations to you – what an inspiring journey ! David & I will be making our first trip to Ecuador later this year and are hopeful that it will be the place that we will one day call home. Thank you for spending so much time in sharing your experiences. The information has been entertaining & very helpful. Salud, Lynnda y David

  • Jim Mar 20, 2012, 12:51 pm

    Congrats Dena and Bryan….and your daughter. We’re getting very close to residency ourselves.

  • Amy Mar 19, 2012, 6:07 pm

    I have a question…what do you mean by getting a police report? Is this something we can do here in the states before we leave, and…what exactly is it?

    • Jakob Mar 19, 2012, 10:47 pm

      It is something that in Ecuador is called “Record Policial”. It states all your arrests/convictions etc, so in the best case it will have no entries (which means that you have never broken the law). In the US you can get one from your county police I believe. Usually, governments ask foreigners for one from each jurisdiction you have ever resided at for an extended period of time, so if you are a serial immigrant like I am that means communicating with authorities from several different countries. Some countries will let you request it per mail, some will require you to go to the country’s local consulate for that. You can get it directly in the US before leaving (yes, it’s less hassle), but sometimes they ask you for a police record that is not older than 6 months and then you end up getting a new one anyway, so the answer to whether you should get it before you leave is “it depends”.

      • Amy Mar 20, 2012, 10:08 am

        Thank you SO much for the explanation! I was embarrassed to ask such a “silly” question, but I’ve never had to do such a thing and wasn’t sure of what it meant, exactly.
        Well, my husband and I will have to look into it…we have both been a bit nomadic (within the US, that is), so I have a feeling we are in for an experience. Ah, well. 🙂
        Thank you again for the explanation!

      • Lenny Ledoux Jul 15, 2012, 5:58 pm

        I went to the local police department and had myself fingerprinted and then sent the $18 and application to the FBI for a background check. While the Ecuador website did not mention the Apostille requirement, it must have it. Consequently I had to send it back to the states in D.C. for Apostille, total travel time for that was less than two weeks. The birth certificate must also be Apostille. I was able to order one from Missouri over the phone and it was here in less than a week via UPS, total cost for it was $58, the FBI report being sent back to the states was about $100 so get it before you come down if you can.

    • Bryan Haines Mar 20, 2012, 6:53 am

      In our case, we had to go back to Canada to get them. While we could have requested them from here, the time frame was months, and we needed a letter from the Ecuadorian Police or our lawyer requesting it. Also, if we had lived in a municipal area in Canada with their own police force, it would have been different. I spoke with the nearest town with their own police force to where we lived before we moved (we lived there for a number of years) and they were willing to courier it to me, on my verbal request. But since that wasn’t the last place we lived before we moved to Ecuador they couldn’t. The National Police needed us in person. And they produced the documents very quickly for us.

  • Jakob Mar 19, 2012, 4:20 pm

    Dena… I hate to readjust your perception of reality, but these things do take longer in Canada than in Ecuador. To be able to get my wife into Canada as a resident the process took 12 months with the Canadian embassy in Bogota, Colombia (since the one in Quito did not process visas at that time). The Canadians made her file police certificates from Ecuador AND Germany (since she had lived there). I applied for Canadian citizenship in August 2010. I am still waiting to be processed. In July 2011 Citizenship and Immigration Canada said they needed another 18 months to process my case, that would put me into 2013. The backlog of residency applications for parents of residents and naturalized citizens of Canada is currently several years. For those who cannot have their parents travel as tourists due to visa restrictions it often means their parents dying in the process of waiting to be reunited with their children.

    Trust me, currently I would be happy if these things took in Canada nearly as little time as they do in Ecuador.

    Having said this, congratulations on your achievement. It will give you stability and a sense of belonging.


    • Dena Haines Mar 19, 2012, 5:49 pm

      Hi Jacob,

      Thank you for sharing this, sometimes a readjustment is needed.

      I have no experience with residency issues in Canada. I was born there, as were Bryan and Drew.

      The only experience I have dealing with the Canadian government was very straight forward with little paperwork and it was always dependable, in the sense that the rules never changed – I know sometimes they do.

      I am sorry if my comments in the post were misleading, I guess I should have been more clear about the fact that the experience I had was not dealing with residency issues.

      I never really thought about the differences involved in dealing with the Canadian government as a non-citizen, which is funny when you think about it 🙂 because I should have. That is where we are coming from trying to get things done here, as non-citizens I mean.

      I think what you said in your comment will help us and others as we think about these issues and work through things with the government here in Ecuador in the future.

      All the best with your process in Canada.

      Thanks again!

  • isabel Mar 19, 2012, 1:54 pm

    Hi, we really enjoy your site, its been very educational & insightful. We’re planning on moving to Ecuador. I am an Ecuadorian citizen and want to know how my husband can become a resident? Where does he start the process? We are in California.

    Please don’t stop, we have learned so much from your experience.

    • Bryan Haines Mar 19, 2012, 3:51 pm

      Thanks so much for your feedback. You should either speak with the Ecuadorian consulate in the US or with lawyers here in Ecuador. They can give you the current requirements.

      All the best on your plans…

    • Malcolm Reding Mar 20, 2012, 6:42 am

      I believe because you are already an Ecuadorian citizen you husband becomes one automatically, but check with an ecuadorian consulate.

  • Nolan Vockrodt Mar 19, 2012, 8:26 am

    Hello Bryan and Dena, I really enjoy reading all that you write about Cuenca.
    My question is this – You have lived in Cuenca for more than 2 years now and you are just getting your residency – so what kind of Visa allowed you to stay in the country that long?

    • Bryan Haines Mar 19, 2012, 8:43 am

      We were on a temporary, non-resident visa. Three different ones… The permanent residency is so much more stable. We can just relax now and settle in.

      Thanks for your feedback.

      • Lee Patrick Apr 18, 2012, 3:46 pm

        Might I ask how long it took you to get your investor’s visa…?

        • Bryan Haines Apr 18, 2012, 6:15 pm

          As we noted in the post, the whole process took 11 months. For just the investor visa part (once we had our documents) took from around September to March (around 6 months). Hope this helps.

      • Daphne Mar 7, 2014, 11:33 pm

        Hi Bryan,

        Do you mind me asking what type of temporary visas you were able to obtain that allowed your family to stay in the country for 2 years without having to leave. That would be an ideal situation for us as we would like to have more than 3 months to visit the country and travel around within Equador before applying for resident visas.

        Thank you and all the other responders for all the great information.

        • Bryan Haines Mar 12, 2014, 12:54 pm

          There are a number of temporary visas that will take you past the typical 90 day tourist T3 passport stamp. There is a video the explains some about temporary visas. There are educational, teaching, business, sports and volunteer options. Some people just get a 6 month tourist visa and this must be approved before arriving in Ecuador.

        • Geoffrey Levens Mar 12, 2014, 1:20 pm

          I am single so costs may not compare at all, but I also wanted to spend extended time here so I just went ahead and got residence visa right off. Have now been in Ecuador about 6 months and the longer I am here, the happier I am with having done that. Enough dealing w/ bureaucracy for me, at least for a long time!

  • John Mar 19, 2012, 7:02 am

    Congrats to you Bryan,Dena and drew.It’d been ahard uphill battle but it has worked out and i and am happy for you, Hope the mikes work for you bryan
    Love BJ

    • Bryan Haines Mar 19, 2012, 8:41 am

      Thanks John – really appreciate it! Can’t wait to see what we can do with the mikes…


  • Andre Hugo Mar 19, 2012, 2:27 am

    After you get your Visa and Censo, then you go for the Cedula. Over the past year, the Immigration office suffered a corruption scandal and the Director was put in jail, the lawyers in the office transferred, and the office moved. They have also been trying to improve the use of computers internally and between the government and the public. It is only after you get through this, Visa & Censo, challenge that the Cedula process starts. I found the Registro, for the Cedula more efficient. No matter what stage of things you are at, have multiple copies of all documents at all times because it seems like every official you meet wants a copy (ies). While I now speak Spanish, I always took a local friend with me because there was always some complexity that frustrated and boggled the mind.

    • Andre Hugo Mar 19, 2012, 2:33 am

      I should add that, being 65 years old, a resident with a Cedula, transportation, airfare and buses, and some other things are half price of less. As a resident, with Cedula, everyone pays resident prices for such things as entering the Park on the Galapolis. When I fly deep into the Amazon Jungle next week I will pay about 60 % of normal. A travel agent told me that my trip to Canada later in the year will also be 50 – 60 % of standard adult rates. I hope that it works out to be true.

      • Jakob Mar 20, 2012, 2:24 pm

        While it is true that as a resident you will pay local prices to national tourist destinations that are regulated by the government I can say that my Ecuadorian family members have been paying full price to Canada or any flight abroad for that instance. If you have some secret code to get that discount we would be very interested. However, it is hard for me to believe that the Ecuadorian government would actually subsidize Air Canada in such a way.

        • Malcolm Reding Mar 20, 2012, 2:52 pm

          There is no secret code needed. If you are at least 65 years old, and a resident of Ecuador, the law requires airlines to give you a 50% discount on fares that originate in Ecuador. Sometimes you have to ask, and you have to deduct the tax and the fuel surcharge to get the fare. You also qualify for the same discount on property taxes utilities etc, but don’t expect taxi drivers to comply give you that discount.

  • Jeffrey Stern Mar 18, 2012, 9:17 pm

    Been through it myself, as well as opening a business. Like the article says, acceptance of arbitrary and unpredictable changes/events/rules is just a fact of life here!

    • Bryan Haines Mar 18, 2012, 9:26 pm

      Thanks Jeff! Not bad or worse – just different.

      How are things, by the way?


  • Amy Mar 18, 2012, 8:34 pm

    Congratations to you and your family! My husband and I will be arriving in Ecuador in less than two weeks as a pre-move scouting excursion. When we do move, we should be able to apply for residency as retirees. HOPEFULLY, things will go smoothly, but realistically, I know that there will be hiccups in the process. Very good suggestions on handling the hiccups…thank you. And again, CONGRATULATIONS!!

    • Dena Haines Mar 18, 2012, 9:17 pm

      Hi Amy,

      You must be excited, only a couple of weeks to go!

      It is good to expect hiccups, that way you will not be too shocked when they happen. One that we came across was that the country ran out of the forms needed to get the censo cards. They had been out for 6 weeks, but our lawyer was able to find some for us – such a pleasant surprise! I think there is still a shortage. I hope they will be fully stocked by the time you need them.

      Thanks for commenting, and all the best with your move.

    • Doug Apr 29, 2012, 11:31 pm

      Hi Amy, My wife and I are planning a pre-residency trip within the next 10 months. We have been having difficulty finding reasonable airline rates and flight lengths from the Norwest U.S. Any sugestions would be appreciated. Thanks

      • Amy Apr 30, 2012, 7:11 am

        Hi Doug,
        I don’t know how much I could help…my husband and I flew out of Miami…cheap and short. The one suggestion I have is to sign up for the special rate notifications that the airlines offer. You might be able to find a good deal that way.
        Perhaps some other reader from the northwest might have a better suggestion.
        Best wishes to you and your wife!

        • Doug Apr 30, 2012, 8:30 pm

          Thanks Amy, I appreciate the advice. We are very much looking forward to our new adventure.

      • Jakob Apr 30, 2012, 7:54 am

        If you cannot find a cheap direct flight which is difficult to do, I would focus on getting to Miami as cheaply as possible. On average, Miami is the cheapest and best connected hub to Latin America. Flight rates to Ecuador have been on the rise I travel from Canada up to 4 times a year and I am feeling the difference.

        • Doug Apr 30, 2012, 8:28 pm

          Thank you Jakob, that sounds like a good odea.

  • Paul Fine Mar 18, 2012, 8:12 pm

    I agree with the 30 days if all your paper work is in order. I did the homework, crossed the t’s dotted the i’s and had my resident visa, cedular and censo in four weeks. Nothing much has changed, they are enforcing some of the regulations that have always been on the books like the police report, I brought mine even though it was not necessary at the time. The volume of applicants may be greater now so it may take a little longer. I could write a book about the people that do not read the fine print and rely on word of mouth.


    • Dena Haines Mar 18, 2012, 9:08 pm

      Hi Paul,
      It’s good to hear that everything went smoothly for you.

    • Bryan Haines Mar 18, 2012, 9:24 pm

      Hi Paul – you must have done yours a couple months ago? Right now, there are no censo forms in the country. They ran out around mid January. The lack of censo forms has held up hundreds of immigrants from getting their cedulas. A few weeks ago our lawyer called and said that there were 20 censo forms that arrived from Azogues (a small town north of Cuenca). The police from Azogues were helping at the immigration office in Cuenca and we, along with 17 others, got our censo cards.

      There is a way around the censo – cedula process. Apparently the Registro Civil will accept a letter from the immigration police, noting that you are approved and that they are out of forms. This was a second option that our lawyer had for us – but we didn’t need it.

      Agreed about the lack of research and the reliance on word of mouth and (even worse) the online forums. Nothing beats information from the source, or at least from an immigration lawyer.

      Thanks for your comment!

    • mike lentin Mar 19, 2012, 1:55 pm

      Hi Paul…I was most interested to read your comment about getting your residency visa in 30 days.
      can you elucidate what you did…apart from crossing the t’s & dotting the i’s….to be able to get it this quickly.

      We were hoping to send our household goods from Canada by mid-June, but with so many folks saying it can take 120 days or more, we may have to store things here & not ship until we have the resident visas.

      Any words of wisdom would be most appreciated.


  • Kay McCormack Mar 18, 2012, 7:26 pm

    Congratulations! We identify with the glitches, and I agree 100% with Dena’s words of wisdom. I, unfortunately, forgot the grace and patience mindset when we were sitting in the chairs and a moment away from receiving our cedulas last month, only to discover that one of the necessary papers had “expired” while we waited for unavailable censos. I like to think I would’ve handled the situation better had I not just come from the States and was working on only two hours of sleep. No excuse…I had to offer an apology to our attorney, as I was visibly upset.
    Most of us need more Grace and Patience in our lives, anyway. This process is used to work that into many of our lives, if we allow it. :o)

    • Dena Haines Mar 18, 2012, 7:56 pm

      Hi Kay,

      I know what you mean, we have learned more patience during the process too.

      We had our share of meltdowns, just not in public 😉

      Thanks for commenting.

  • mike lentin Mar 18, 2012, 6:47 pm

    Congrats to you all….you have the exact right attitude & did us Canucks proud by not loosing your cool .
    My wife & I are just starting the resident visa process.
    We have communicated with an Ecuadorian Consul General here in Canada who has undertaken all the document verification & translation at his end, including the Criminal Records reports.

    He says that PROVIDED ALL THE NECESSARY PAPERWORK IS IN ORDER it should take no longer than 30 days to get the Resident Visas.
    On the other hand, our lawyer in Cuenca says the fastest he can get them is 120 days.

    From your experience, what do you think is a reasonable time period ???



    • Bryan Haines Mar 18, 2012, 6:52 pm

      Hi Mike – the law says the application should be approved within 30 days. The reality is different. The offices appear to be working diligently. The Registro Civil in Quito – where the cedulas are issued – handled more than 1000 people in the day we went. 1000! From what I understand from our lawyers is that 60-90 days for the whole process should be standard.

      • mike lentin Mar 18, 2012, 7:04 pm

        Thanks Brian….believe me, I would be very happy with 60 to 90 days, that would be awwesome !!!


      • Malcolm Reding Mar 20, 2012, 6:46 am

        Two points:
        1.In Ecuador, the worst thing you can do is to get a lawyer involved. The government officials hate lawyers, if you need someone to translate for you, those individuals are readily available.
        2. In Ecuador as in all Latin countries, things move at a slower pace than in North America. Mañana is the watchword and it doesn’t mean tomorrow, it means NOT today.

        • Bryan Haines Mar 20, 2012, 7:06 am

          Thanks Malcom – some good points.

          We’ve been in a number of meetings with government officials and our lawyer and we had good success. In fact, I’m convinced that he got things done for us that we couldn’t have done on our own (even though we speak Spanish). I think an arrogant lawyer will make things worse. Our lawyer is to-the-point and polite about it. From our experience, I think its more a question of the lawyers way of handling things more than the fact they are a lawyer.

          Agreed about time frame, but it isn’t a bad thing. We just need to understand the process when we begin it. The comments by Jakob (see above) puts the process in Ecuador in perspective. Similar processes in Canada could take years…

        • Jakob Mar 20, 2012, 2:55 pm

          Well… the thing is you never know what “manana” really means. Sometimes it actually means “tomorrow”. I have also been presented with a staggered price model at government agencies at times, $5 if you want it done by next week, $10 if you want it done by tomorrow, $15 if you want it today (hint: pay the $15, it’s worth it).

          While it is true that you have to watch your back, since some people/institutions might be predatory towards you and more so than might be the case in your home country, this is also exactly the reason why you absolutely NEED a local support network in Ecuador of local, savvy individuals who support you and watch out for you. Ecuadorians rely heavily on their social ties to stay afloat in all situations of life and are in general more social than the individualistic gringos. This is by the way one of the main reasons why I do not feel at home anymore in the very culture I grew up with. It is relatively easy in Ecuador to be surrounded by loving and caring individuals, this in the face of a generally lower level of personal safety. These extremes can occur very close to each other. So, instead of not getting a lawyer I would spend some time finding the right lawyer. Sometimes, as I have painfully found out, the right lawyer is the one who is better connected with the people in power. However, I would put integrity on top of the list. How do you find the honest lawyers? This is a chicken and egg problem. Usually, local people will know and tell you about it. However, to establish your support network among locals you will have to start by trusting someone without really knowing.

  • Karen Mar 18, 2012, 5:55 pm

    That’s Great! we are hoping that they get things more in order before we start the process.. Is it true they are firing everyone that works in that department? Hope to start the process by the end of the year…with a lot of luck….

    • Dena Haines Mar 18, 2012, 6:27 pm

      Hi Karen,
      We heard that they let a few people go.

      Our impression is that the majority of people are honest, but that the system is so heavy on paperwork it slows things down sometimes. We know people that have gotten their residency without a hitch.

      We’re just happy that we have it! And we think the process went well – all things considered.
      Thanks for your comment.

  • Kim Tremblay Mar 18, 2012, 5:46 pm

    Congrats!!! Anything worth it takes a while. You’ve competled one of my dream. Enjoy, you deserve it.

    Take care!!!

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