Ecuador is the northwest part of South America fronting to the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most environmentally diverse countries in the world and is the home to abundant scenic landscapes. The geography of this beautiful country ranges from the sea level at the Pacific Ocean and climbs to an elevation of over 20,000 feet in the Andes.
The blissful paradise of Ecuador is known to boast some of the tallest mountains in South America This country borders Colombia to the north and Peru to the south. Ecuador is lined up with historical buildings, pristine islands, 2 world heritage sites, 11 national parks, active volcanoes, and tons of adventurous activities to entertain the visitors.
This South American nation has three inhabitable regions, namely Costa (Coastal Region), Sierra (Highland Region), and Oriente (Eastern Region), each of which has some distinct differences.
Since this country is located on the northwestern end of the South American subcontinent, it might seem like a tropical paradise. Ecuador is also home to the world-famous Galapagos Islands.
You will be glad to know that Ecuador has a relatively less crime rate than many other countries in Latin America. Moreover, this nation offers a higher standard of living than most Central American and Andean nations which is why Ecuador has recently shown up on many people’s radar.
Interested in moving to Ecuador from USA? Well, immigrating abroad is not as simple as it sounds. Expats should be aware of every single thing about the country to make the relocation simple and hassle-free.
Here is our comprehensive guide which contains all the info you need to get started. It gives you a better idea of what to expect while moving to this diverse Latin American nation.
Let the tour begins!!
Types of Visas
|Type of Visa||Description|
|Retirement Visa||Also known as a Pensioner Visa, this is by far the most common type of residency that expats apply for when moving to Ecuador. It is a temporary residence visa that allows immigrants to settle down in this country.|
|Residency Visa||There are two types of Residency Visas – Temporary and Permanent. The temporary visa allows an immigrant to reside in Ecuador for a minimum of 21 months after which he or she can apply for the Permanent Residency Visa.|
|Work Visa||Also known as a 12-V1 visa, a work visa applies to foreigners who are visiting to Ecuador for business or other professional purposes.|
Requirements for Visa
You need to submit several documents while applying for an Ecuador visa to support your application. Some of them include:
- A valid passport
- A complete and signed Ecuador visa application
- A passport-size picture in which your entire face is visible and is clicked with a white background
- Proof of your financial means to fund your stay in Ecuador
- Proof of health insurance
- Certificate of criminal record
- A round-trip ticket, if applying for the tourist visa
- A work contract with a public or private company, if applied for the work visa
Ecuador Visa for US Citizens
No visa is required for Americans moving to Ecuador for as long as 90 days. A valid US passport is enough to enter this South American country as a tourist and to enjoy a stay of up to 3 months.
However, a US citizen needs to apply for a temporary residency visa or extended tourist visa from one of the embassies or consulates in the US if he wants to stay more than 90 days in Ecuador.
Do you need a Visa to travel to the US from Ecuador?
Yes. Ecuadorians can either apply for B1 or B2 visa to visit the USA. B1 visa allows Ecuador citizens to conduct a temporary business in the country while a US B2 visa is ideal for tourist purposes.
How do I get a Visa to Ecuador?
To get an Ecuadorian visa:
- Find the nearest Ecuador embassy or consulate.
- Make an appointment with them to learn about the documents.
- Complete the application form, collect and submit the required documents and visa fee.
- No visa is required if you are moving to Ecuador from USA for up to 90 days.
How much is Ecuador Visa Fee?
An Ecuador visa fee depends on the type of visa you are applying to.
- Tourist Visa: $60
- Retirement Visa: $450
- Student Visa: $130
- Professional Visa: $450
- Academic Visa $450
- Religious Visa: $250
How to get Ecuadorian citizenship?
You’ll be glad to know that the Ecuador naturalization by residency process is one of the fastest in the world. You can easily apply for permanent citizenship in this Latin American nation if you satisfy one of these below-mentioned conditions.
- Either you have lived in Ecuador as a legal resident for a maximum of three years
- You have been married to an Ecuadorian for three years.
A child who is born to one or two Ecuadorian parents or adopted by Ecuadorian citizens can apply for dual citizenship.
Other than the above-mentioned conditions, Americans moving to Ecuador will have to meet the following requirements as well.
- Knowledge of patriotic symbols of Ecuador
- Be an adult/ consent of minor’s parents or legal guardians
- Attend the interview, explaining the reasons to acquire Ecuadorian nationality
The documents needed to apply for Ecuadorian citizenship are:
- A copy of identity document or a valid passport, duly legalized
- Birth certificate or supplementary test duly legalized and translated into Spanish
- Police clearance certificate
- Two passport-sized photos
- Affidavit for support of dependants
- Certified copy of the marriage certificate, if applicable
- Receipt of payment of fees
- Proof of income
How to Apply?
The application process is straightforward.
- Apply for Ecuadorian citizenship with a valid application form.
- Attend and pass the multiple-choice questions test and an oral test with a ministry agent. Both these tests will be held in the Spanish language.
- You will get an Ecuadorian visa once your application is approved. The whole process may take up to 6 to 12 months.
How do I become a citizen of Ecuador?
To become a citizen of Ecuador, you must have either married to an Ecuadorian resident or have lived in this country for at least 3 years.
How long does a US citizen stay in Ecuador?
US citizens can stay in Ecuador for up to 90 days without a visa. However, they need a temporary residency visa for an extended stay.
Jobs market Ecuador
Americans moving to Ecuador must know the fact that this South American nation has a well-trained network of professionals which feeds into the strong job market. Crude oil accounts for almost half of Ecuador’s economy.
Another large chunk of the economy comes from agriculture. A huge number of Ecuadorians are involved in this industry and most of them are working on the labor-intensive side.
The current unemployment rate in Ecuador is just 7%, way less than the global average. The economy of this country is the 8th largest in Latin America and the average employment rate is around 49.96% from 2007 until 2021.
Jobs in Ecuador For English Speakers
Teaching English is the easiest job option if you are moving to Ecuador from USA. One can easily make a living earning between $400 to $1500 monthly by teaching English. One can also find a job in freelance writing work and can earn enough money to survive in this country.
Can foreigners work in Ecuador?
Yes, foreigners can get work in this Latin American nation but keep in mind that Ecuador is not the easiest country for an expat to find a job. Foreigners are first required to secure a non-immigrant work visa to work here. Also, preference is always given to the locals while allocating the job and expats need to have some special skills to get a priority over the local people.
There are several industries where immigrants can try out for a job such as oil and agriculture, teaching, tourism, chemical industry, etc.
What jobs are in demand in Ecuador?
In addition to crude oil and agriculture, other jobs that are in great demand in Ecuador are teaching ESL, online research and writing, freelance work in writing, computer tech software, data mining, etc. The tourism industry is also popular in Ecuador and yields its fair share of job opportunities for both expats and local people.
What is the most common job in Ecuador?
Crude oil and agriculture are the two most dominant sectors in Ecuador where expats can easily find the job. Other sectors include electronics, chemicals, construction, and machinery.
What is a good salary in Ecuador?
A professional working in Ecuador can earn an average salary of about 26,800 USD annually. The high-income one can get in this country is about 9870 USD monthly while the low-income earners receive about 300 USD per month.
Healthcare in Ecuador
One of the major perks of moving to Ecuador from USA is the high-quality and low-cost healthcare system. This country has a comprehensive national health system that offers free medical care to all residents regardless of income.
According to Bloomberg, Ecuador is having the 20th most efficient healthcare system among advanced economics while the US is ranked at 46th position in the list.
Although Ecuador is a developing country, one still finds a first-rate healthcare system at a budget-friendly price.
How does it work?
Healthcare in Ecuador is divided into two sectors – public and private. The former one is adequate for healthy individuals who don’t require enough medical attention. You may visit a public hospital without any appointment be assured of a consultation.
However, those with higher medical needs should opt for private healthcare in Ecuador to offset the potential exorbitant medical costs. The private health system is not free but it is cheap and affordable, especially for ex-pats from western countries.
Private hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and have employed English-speaking professionals to facilitate the ex-pats.
Health Insurance in Ecuador & its Types?
Ecuador has passed new laws for making certain types of health insurance compulsory for Ecuadorians under 65 years of age. Ecuador health care facts claim that health insurance always remains a bargain in this South American country.
One has to pay a monthly premium of just $70 to enjoy the excellent healthcare facility in Ecuador. The policies cited by Salud SA (Latin America’s largest health insurance company) cover 60% of the medication cost, 80% of the doctor visit, and 100% of hospitalizations.
Americans moving to Ecuador can enroll in IESS to access free public healthcare in Ecuador. The cost of enrollment is about 17.6% of your income.
Does Ecuador have Universal Healthcare?
Yes, Ecuador has a universal healthcare system that is funded by the government and provides free medical care facilities to all residents irrespective of their income.
How much does Ecuador healthcare cost?
Healthcare in Ecuador is one of the cheapest in the world. A person living in Ecuador has to pay a monthly premium of as little as $70. A woman between the age of 50 to 60 years will have to pay $72 and the dependent child between 2 to 17 years of age will have to pay $15 per month.
Education System in Ecuador
The South American country of Ecuador has a strong education system. Primary education in this country is available for free and is compulsory for six years commencing at the age of six with the first grade and ends at the age of 12 with the sixth grade.
The network of public education in Ecuador is vastly expanded to promote the literacy rate. It is home to several world-famous universities that are offering top-grade education at an affordable price.
The education system in this country is divided into three sections – polytechnic schools, public universities, and private universities. The public universities are tuition-free since 2008 and therefore, around 80& of Ecuadorians get enrolled in them.
Education in Ecuador Vs the USA
It is important to know about the difference between the education system between Ecuador and the USA if you are planning to move to Ecuador as an American. Let’s compare the education system of both countries here.
|Compulsory education duration||15||12|
|Literacy Rate (Total Population)||92.5%||99%|
|Literacy Rate (Female)||91%||99%|
|Pupil-Teacher Ratio Primary||18.19||14.29|
|Pupil-Teacher Ratio Secondary||11.52||14.49|
|Government spending on education (proportion of GDP)||4.36%||5.62%|
|College and University – Gender Parity Index||1.15||1.41|
Does Ecuador have a good education?
Americans moving to Ecuador must know that the education system in this Latin American nation is quite strong. Primary education is available for free of cost. However, a fee must be paid for further studies.
Is college free in Ecuador?
Yes. The public universities in Ecuador are tuition-free since 2008 for Ecuadorians. However, international students will have to pay the tuition fee at private universities that range from 2000 USD to 6000 USD per year.
Housing in Ecuador
Expats must consider their budget, their preferred areas, and the types of housing they want to live in while moving to Ecuador from USA. Housing and property in this South American nation are quite cheap and affordable as compared to other western countries.
One can find four types of accommodations in this country, namely – Apartments, Condos, Houses, Furnished vs Unfurnished. Although the property is available at a cheap price in this country, finding a house in Ecuador is still a challenging task especially in large cities like Guayaquil and Quito.
While renting the accommodation, make sure to check the premises before signing the lease or paying the deposits.
How to buy a house in Ecuador?
The simplest way to find or buy a house in Ecuador is by looking online or by reading the newspapers. The online listing websites let expats know about the right place where they can find accommodation easily.
It may be helpful to find a short-term accommodation first while doing immigration to Ecuador from US before settling on the final property. Beware of price inflation or fraud as expats might run into gringo tax (higher price for foreigners).
Housing price in Ecuador
Ecuador is one of the least expensive countries in the world to live in. The average housing price for a three-bedroom apartment with two-bath units in this country is around US$95,000 to US$120,000. Big houses in the posh neighborhoods are priced at about US$275,000.
Can a foreigner buy property in Ecuador?
Yes, sure. There is no restriction for expats on buying housing/ property in Ecuador. However, foreigners are suggested to hire a lawyer to confirm that there is no debt on the property and to avoid the unnecessary gringo tax.
Life in Ecuador
This small South American country has been voted the best place in the world to retire. It offers an excellent quality of living at a relatively low price. It is an ethnically and culturally diverse land and Spanish is by far the most widely spoken language.
Americans moving to Ecuador must be glad to know that living in this country is extremely affordable. One can comfortably live in Ecuador between $1600 to $2200 per couple. A variety of residence options exist in this country and it is relatively simple for retirees with a pension to get a house here.
Cost of Living in Ecuador Vs the USA
Let’s find out the cost of living in this Latin American nation before actually moving to Ecuador from USA
|Cost of Living (One person)||$500||$1900|
|Cost of Living (Family) excluding rent||$1792||$3313|
|One-Way Ticket (Local Transport)||$0.30||$2.10|
|GDP Per Capita||$6183.82||$65,297|
Facts about living
- Ecuador has been ranked amongst the top 3 retirement havens in the world.
- This country has some of the world’s lowest real estate prices. You can buy a two-bedroom apartment for just $58,000.
- It offers 50% off on public and private transportation to foreign retirees.
- The unemployment rate of Ecuador is 5.27%, lower than the global average.
- The official currency of Ecuador is US Dollar which makes its economy both stable and growing.
Is it safe to live in Ecuador?
Sure. Ecuador is counted amongst the safest countries to live in. It has a relatively lower crime rate as compared to other western countries and thus offers safe vibes to the expats.
Can US citizens live in Ecuador?
Yes, of course. This is one of the best places in the world to retire and offers 13 visa options to Americans who meet retirement in Ecuador requirements fully.
Best Places to Live in Ecuador
Deciding where to live in Ecuador can be hard but you can narrow down your choices by knowing your priorities such as proximity to the beach, mountains, quality healthcare, nightlife, etc.
Here is given the list of the best places in Ecuador for expats to live in.
It is located in Southern Ecuador’s Andes Mountains and is home to the famous blue-domed Catedral Nueva. The city is a blend of old and new and has a little of everything to facilitate the foreigners.
The capital city of Quito sits high in the Andean foothills and is famous for its well-known colonial center This is the oldest of all Southern American capitals and is designated UNESCO world’s heritage site.
Also known as the ‘Lost City in the Incas’, Vilcabamba is a beautiful small village in the southern region of the country. It is known to many as the Valley of Longevity.
This is a beautiful town in the Andean highlands in the northern region of Ecuador. It is flanked by the mountains and is known for its famous Otavalo market where traditionally clad people sell colorful handicrafts.
Cotacachi is an artisan city that is famous for its handicrafts and leather goods. It sits at an altitude of 2418 meters and is surrounded by majestic landscapes and waterfalls.
Nicknamed as the Pearl of the Pacific, it is a port city in Ecuador that is known to be the gateway to the Pacific beaches and Galapagos Islands.
7. San Clemente
It is a small coastal village located in the province of Manabi, Ecuador. This new ‘Gold Coast’ of the country is lined up with pristine beaches and lots of adventurous activities.
A city in Northern Ecuador, Ibarra lies at the foot of the Imbabura volcano and is located just 70km northeast of the country’s capital, Quito.
This beautiful city is located in the southern region of Ecuador and is known as the country’s music and cultural capital.
Located just 30km away from the Pacific Coast, this is one of the oldest and the sixth-largest cities in the country.
Culture & Climate
Ecuadorian culture boasts a mixed-race background which results in tremendous cultural diversity and unique customs across the country. This is a multi-ethnic country and people here are of indigenous, European, and African heritage. Ecuadorians are known for being warm and polite and value their family the most.
Ecuador has a tropical climate that varies with altitude and region. This country mainly has two seasons – the dry season and the wet season. The coastal lowlands in the western part are typically warm. It has a diverse geography that is very vulnerable to climate change.
What is the culture like in Ecuador?
Ecuador has a distinct culture that is both vibrant and beautiful. This country has a long and rich history and therefore, its culture boasts a unique blend of indigenous practices along with European colonial influence.
What are some family traditions in Ecuador?
Americans moving to Ecuador must know about the traditions of this country. Some of them are given here:
- Inti Raymi, also known as the Sun Festival, is celebrated on June 21st of every year in the Andes.
- Dia De Muertos takes place during the first few days of November and is associated with Mexican skulls.
- Semana Santa is held in the second week of April and includes parades and festivals.
Is Ecuador hot or cold?
Ecuador enjoys a mild temperature throughout the year. However, the weather is slightly cool in the highlands of the Andes. The average temperature in the capital city of Quito hovers between 17 to 18-degree Celsius.
Does Ecuador have 4 seasons?
This South American country enjoys 2 seasons in general, namely a wet season and a dry one. But, it is quite difficult to predict Ecuador’s weather. It might be possible that you will get the chance to experience all 4 seasons in one day.
Ranking in the World
Before actually moving to Ecuador from USA, one must know about the important rankings of this country. According to the US Best News, Ecuador ranks at #68 in their best countries ranking.
Its economic freedom score is 52.4 making its economy 149th freest in the 2021 index. This is ranked 27th out of 32 countries in the American region and its overall score is slightly below the regional and world averages.
Ecuador stands at 65th position in terms of quality of life. This is one of the most affordable countries in Latin American to live in. The economy of this country is the 8th largest in South America and 69th largest in the world by total GDP.
This is referred to as the retirement haven and attracts immigrants from all around the world.
It is ranked #119 in terms of the immigrant population. All you need to meet is retire in Ecuador requirements and enjoy a luxurious lifestyle. This nation holds the ranking of #45 when it comes to a comfortable retirement.
The Happy Planet Index has ranked this South American country at a position of #23 for its happy and peaceful environment. Moreover, it is ranked #71 in terms of safety.
Ecuador has a strong education system and this country ranked #73 in the quality of education, according to the US News. This country is counted amongst the best places to commence your business without getting stuck into lots of formalities.
That is why US News has ranked this Latin American nation at #38 in terms of starting a business. Also, this country ranked #71 in global competitiveness.
Moving to Ecuador FAQs
Can an American move to Ecuador?
Yes, of course. Moving to Ecuador from USA is not at all challenging since this Latin American nation allows a US citizen to stay for up to 90 days without any visa. Moreover, Ecuador is way cheaper than the US and is known to be the haven for retirees.
This country uses the US Dollar-based currency to facilitate the immigrants. US citizens need to apply for a temporary residency visa before actually moving to this country.
How much money do you need to live in Ecuador?
Ecuador is one of the least expensive countries in the world to live in. One can enjoy a high standard of living and a lavish lifestyle by spending fewer dollars as compared to other western countries.
A couple living in Ecuador will require somewhere between $1600 to $2400 a month to live a quality life in this Latin American nation. Also, a couple can retire on less than $18000 per year.
How long does a US citizen stay in Ecuador?
A US citizen can stay for a maximum of 90 days in Ecuador without any visa. They just require a valid passport and a round-trip ticket to stay in this South America for 90 days or less.
However, those citizens who are planning to stay here for a longer duration need to apply for a temporary resident visa in advance to avoid any further hassle.
Can US citizens own property in Ecuador?
Yes, sure. US citizens can easily own property in Ecuador without any restriction. The average price of a three-bedroom apartment in this South American country is just around US$95,000 and US$120,000.
Most of the expats prefer hiring a lawyer before investing in any housing in Ecuador to find out whether the property is free of debt or not. Foreigners will not face any trouble while registering their house in this country.
A good understanding of the country you are relocating to is important before actually making a move. We hope our immigration to Ecuador from US guide will help you in knowing the essential aspects of this beautiful country.
Inhabited by just over 16 million people, Ecuador is a relatively small country located in the northwest of the South American continent. It is bordered by Peru and Columbia by land and Costa Rica by sea. It is known to be the most bio-diverse country in the world.
There are many good reasons why foreigners prefer moving to this nation. Firstly, Ecuador is home to an expat community of entrepreneurs, diplomats, businessmen, foreign officials, and of course retirees who are looking to scratch their money and experience a different way of life.
Living in this Andean nation is no less than a dream comes true. Contemporary Ecuador enjoys an influence of Amerindian culture and thus makes for a unique national heritage. The major languages you will hear in this Latin American nation are Spanish and Quichua.
Moreover, this country is a cultural melting pot and the diverse ethnic makeup of the population has left its mark on the national culture. It sits right on the equator and this is why this country is at the mercy of nature.
Americans moving to Ecuador must know the fact that it is susceptible to some really active forces and floods are fairly common here. The Amazon and coastal regions are tropical but you will find a steady drop in the temperature while venturing deeper into the country.
If you have planned to immigrate to this country, then you are in luck. Since Ecuador welcomes foreigners with open arms, you will not face much trouble while relocating here. Apply for a temporary residency visa, pack your bags, and spend the rest of your life in this retirement haven.