By Marcos Chiluisa
Ecuador has a lot to offer as being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for the past decade. Over the years, Ecuador’s government has gone to great lengths and considered many avenues to facilitate its various visa processes to help ensure that all tourists have an easy time obtaining any form of visa - especially a tourist visa.
In a nutshell, a tourist visa grants any visitor, from their initial date of entry, an accumulation of 90 days to visit Ecuador. Those 90 days do not have to be used consecutively - you have one year from your initial date of entry to use them, and when you reach your one year anniversary, from your date of entry, those 90 days reset. One common misconception is that the 90 days reset whenever you re-enter the country - this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Think of your 90 days as your bank of ‘vacation days’ from your employer - you don’t have to use them all up right away, but you only have one year from the date you got ‘hired’ (in this case, your initial date of entry) to use them all up.
But what can you do if you want to stay more than 90 days in one year? Luckily, Ecuador also offers extensions for tourist visas. To get an extension, the fee is equivalent to a third of Ecuador’s Monthly Minimum Wage - which is, as of 2022, $425 USD. With an extension, you will be granted another 90 days to reside in Ecuador as a tourist but unlike your first 90 days, this extension is for consecutive use only and expires exactly 90 days after being first granted. You must apply for your tourist visa extension within 30 days of its expiration date, as well as understand that if your initial date of entry anniversary is coming up soon, the extension will only cover the days you will need to meet your anniversary date, which will then reset your tourist visa.
Tourist visas and extensions are pretty simple to follow, but if you happen to lose track of your days while visiting Ecuador, there are certain fines and consequences you need to be aware of. If you happen to overstay past your granted 90 days from your tourist visa, or your extension, you will be subject to a fine equivalent to half of Ecuador’s monthly minimum wage and will have to leave the country. If you want to return to Ecuador before your initial date of entry anniversary resets your tourist visa, you will need to pay the fine and apply for a consulate visa through your country’s Ecuadorian embassy or consulate. If you’re not keen on paying that fine, then you can wait one year from the fine’s issuance to have it cleared and then you can re-enter the country. The worst case scenario would be if you never applied for a tourist visa extension past the 30 day grace period granted to you after your tourist visa expires. In this scenario, you would not only receive a fine equivalent to half of Ecuador’s monthly minimum wage, but you will also receive a Notice of Voluntary Exit. If you receive this notice, you will unfortunately no longer be able to apply for an extension or any kind of visa to extend your stay.
Ecuador does its best to be an attractive and welcoming destination for all kinds of tourists and even offers extensions if they would like to extend their visit. To ensure you have a hassle free experience while getting to know our country, we always recommend consulting legal professionals experienced with immigration to avoid any headaches in the future.