After going through the long process of obtaining a temporary residency visa, many expats look forward to obtaining a permanent residency visa after their two years of residence.
The main reason for this is that every temporary visa is dependent on the type of visa one obtains. Investors might want to withdraw their money from the bank, or sell the house they bought because it is no longer the place where they want to be. An employee might not be satisfied with their job anymore, or someone´s pension is unstable; the reasons are infinite. Losing or changing these things, also means losing one’s temporary residency visa. A permanent residency visa allows you to stop thinking about these things, as long as you have a monthly income.
Another important reason why many people prefer to be a permanent resident is the ability to forget about the visa’s expiration date. Every time you renew a temporary visa you must present justifications all over again.
But, there is something you have to know before deciding what your next step will be.
The Human Mobility law that went into effect on February 5th, 2021, modified the main requirement to obtain a permanent residency visa based on one’s duration of residence.
According to Article 40 of the Human Mobility Law:
"1. Fulfill at least twenty-one continuous months of permanence in Ecuador as a resident, and submit the corresponding application prior to the expiration of the residence held, in agreement with what is established in the regulations of this law."
If you are a temporary resident, this is one of the requirements that will determine your eligibility to become a permanent resident.
You must reside in Ecuador for 21 uninterrupted months, unlike the old law that stated a person could not leave the country for more than 90 days per year of residency.
Currently this requirement is more strict, because a temporary resident whose interest in the long run is to become a permanent resident of Ecuador cannot leave the country after the third month of temporary residence.
This requirement does not only affect expats who apply after February 5th, 2021, it also affects those who obtained the temporary visa before the effective date of the new law. If by any chance you have exceeded the time outside of the country, the only option would be to start from scratch by renewing your current temporary visa, and staying in Ecuador for 21 uninterrupted months.
Author: Marcos Chiluisa, Esq.