Ecuador - Regulations for entry and stay

The Migration Act regulates the organization and coordination of services related to the entry and exit of nationals or foreigners of the country. This is done by review and qualification of documents, and monitoring compliance with the legal provisions regarding the stay and activity of foreigners residing in Ecuadorian territory. In turn, the Immigration Act regulates the status of foreigners that reside in Ecuador, and assigns modalities and conditions to immigration statuses.

Application of Migration and Immigration laws correspond to the Executive Branch through the Ministry of the Interior and its General Office of Immigration. Management and granting of visas to non-immigrants is a power of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Precepts related to migratory control contained in special laws or international covenants in force for Ecuador are applied in specific cases to which they pertain.

According to the Migration Act, access to Ecuadorian territory is denied to those that have been deported from another country for non-political reasons, those without required documentation, those less than 18 years old and travel unaccompanied or without an authorization to travel alone, those who  attempt to enter fraudulently, those who have cooperated with  a foreigner to help?? Him/her enter the country illegally,  to those that suffer serious, chronic, and contagious illnesses or , are drug addicts, or to those that promote or exploit prostitution, or perform actions that threaten national security.

The Immigration Act in its Article 8 establishes the categories of immigrant and non-immigrant; indicating that an immigrant is considered to be all foreigner that enters Ecuador legally and conditionally, with the purpose to settle and perform activities authorized according to the category.


Foreigners admitted under the category of immigrants are those that move permanently to the country to live from their savings, income sources, or any income transferred to Ecuador; those that invest their capital in real estate, certificates, titles or State bonds, or national credit institutions; or in any branch of industry, agriculture, livestock, or export trade; also those that move to assume management, technical, or specialization functions of companies, exercise a profession, or are the spouse or relative within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity with an Ecuadorian citizen, or a foreign citizen with an immigrant visa other than this category.


Is considered under the category of non-immigrant all foreigners that enter Ecuador legally and conditionally, without desire of settlement, according to the following categories:

  • Diplomatic or consular officers, qualified international officers belonging to international organizations to which Ecuador is a member, and the representatives of special missions accredited by the Ecuadorian government, and their immediate family members.
  • Foreign High level authorities and important figures protected by diplomatic passports, and their immediate family members.
  • Private and domestic employees of persons mentioned in previous numerals, and their immediate family members.
  • Displaces Persons as a result of wars or political persecutions in their country of origin, to protect their life or freedom, and their immediate family members.
  • Students that wish to initiate, complete, or perfect their education in official or private institutions with governmental recognition, and their immediate family members.
  • High technical-level professionals or specialized workers summoned by companies, institutions, or persons established in the country, to perform temporary jobs in their specialty or industrial training purposes, and their immediate family members.
  • Missionaries, volunteers, or members of a religious order belonging to organizations or orders recognized in their country of origin and in Ecuador, dedicated to their assistance, educational, or ministry endeavors, and their immediate family members.
  • Persons assisted by national organizations legally constituted to develop cultural exchange programs, and their immediate family members.
  • Temporary visitors with licit purposes, such as tourism, sports, health, study, science, arts, or to perform trade actions that do not imply simultaneous import of goods. This category may also protect foreigners in the event that categories described in this article do not apply to them; with a prior favorable decision by the Consulting Council on Migratory Policy; when their presence in the country is duly justified; and in conformity with what has been established in the pertinent regulation.
  • Passengers in transit that disembark towards direct transit areas on the occasion of technical stopovers of maritime vessels or aircraft to continue their travel on the same vessel or another provided by the same company; visitors during a period not greater than three months per year; persons domiciled in foreign towns adjacent to Ecuadorian borders and require daily transit to national bordering towns; and temporary visitors with licit purposes, such as business, investment, company, commercial, industrial or professional activities that require multiple entries to Ecuadorian territory.


For enforcement of the migration service, the Police General Command Center (Comandancia General de la Policia) has among its fundamental duties and powers: a) organization and coordination of central and provincial services of migration in Ecuador; b) establishment and modification of migratory forms for performance of the service’s activities; c) prevention and control of clandestine migration; d) national registry of migratory movement, statistical calculation of entries and exits, and categorization of national and immigrant or non-immigrant foreign persons, granting certifications of this data on numbered security papers, and the registration or census, registry, and control of immigrants and non-immigrants, with exception of passers-by and diplomats.

Registration of foreigners

All foreigner subject to Ecuador’s territorial jurisdiction, older than eighteen years of age admitted  under the immigrant or non-immigrant category –with the exception of non-immigrants in the category of passengers in transit– must register within thirty days of his/her arrival in Ecuador’s territory. in the Registry of Foreigners of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,