Visas and Work Permits 8 min

Work permits and visas in Ecuador: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
April 12, 2024
Sally Flaxman


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Businesses that want to expand into Ecuador need to make sure that team members have the right documentation to legally stay and work in the country. This includes getting the correct work permits and visas to work and stay in Ecuador.

International hiring can be challenging even for well-established companies, especially if they have limited knowledge about local hiring laws. Local laws and tax practices in Ecaudor can be complicated and compliance is a challenge.

It’s the employer's responsibility to hire, pay, and manage employees compliantly. There are serious penalties and fines associated with noncompliance, so companies must ensure they follow immigration rules and regulations.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the work permits and visas process in Ecuador, explaining the requirements, eligibility, and work visa sponsorship process. We’ll also touch upon how an employer of record like Remote can make it simple for you to hire in Ecuador and beyond.

The importance of immigration compliance in Ecuador

With the rise of remote work, many people can easily combine work and travel. Some digital nomads travel on tourist visas while they’re working without knowing that it’s illegal to do so in many countries.

Because this lifestyle has become popular, many countries have implemented legislation to deal with digital nomads — issuing specialist digital nomad visas for remote workers. 

Employees who don't obtain the correct visas and permits may be subject to legal penalties for performing illegal work. Employers may also be fined for not verifying that their employees abide by Ecuadorian labor laws.

Which workers need a work authorization check in Ecuador?

Every non-citizen employee who wants to work or relocate to Ecuador will need a work authorization check.

Additionally, employees who are already in Ecuador on any visa should undergo eligibility checks. This includes temporary residents, permanent residents, and work permit holders.

Remote can simplify and speed up the process of performing eligibility checks for your employees in Ecuador. Once the employee enters their information and personal documentation onto Remote's platform, our expert Mobility team will conduct and lodge an eligibility check and ensure the work permit supplied is valid. If there is no existing work permit, or the existing permit isn't valid, Remote can help the employee get a valid permit as quickly as possible. 

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What are the eligibility requirements for a work visa in Ecuador?

To hire foreign employees in Ecuador, you must ensure they have the proper work visa and documentation. Without a work permit, foreign nationals can't work in Ecuador. Ecuador offers over 30 different types of visas, although not all are work visas. Individuals who want to work in Ecuador need a resident or nonresident work visa. 

If the employee plans to stay in Ecuador for an extended period, they'll need a resident visa. There are two types of resident visas available in Ecuador:

  • Professional visa (9-V visa): For degreed workers who are working in their professional field

  • Technician visa (10-V visa): For technical experts who have signed a contract with Ecuadorian companies 

If your employees are not planning to stay in Ecuador indefinitely, they can apply for a Temporary Resident visa, which allows them to stay up to two years in Ecuador. Effective February 2021, temporary residents can travel as much as they desire. They're no longer restricted by the 90-day limit. 

When you apply for an Ecuador work permit, you'll need to supply some of the following documents, depending on the type of visa needed: 

  • A passport from your home country that's good for at least six months after the date you plan to enter Ecuador

  • The visa application form

  • Passport-sized photos

  • Copy of the employee's CV

  • Proof of health insurance

  • Proof that you've paid the visa application fee

  • A background check showing no criminal record in your home country

  • A written request addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility and signed by the employer's legal representative

  • RUC certificate from the sponsor

  • Proof that the employer does not owe any debts to the Ecuadorian Institute for Social Security

  • Work contract

  • Registration certificate issued by the adequate Ministry

  • Labor authorization if working for a public company

  • A contract registered in civil court for professional services

  • An apostille on certain documents before they can be submitted or legalized by the Ecuadorian embassy or consulate

What are the long-stay visa types in Ecuador?

After you've had a temporary residency visa for at least 21 months, you can apply for a permanent residency visa. To qualify, you need to meet one of the following requirements: 

  • You've had a temporary residency visa for at least 21 months.

  • You're married to or have a civil union with a citizen of Ecuador.

  • You are a disabled person dependent on a citizen or permanent resident of Ecuador.

  • You are related to a citizen of Ecuador or permanent residence by at least the second degree — you have a grandparent in common.

To apply for a permanent residency visa, you will have to submit an application at an immigration office in Ecuador along with the following documentation: 

  • A passport from your home country that doesn't expire for at least six months

  • A record of your travels in and out of Ecuador, called a movimiento migratorio, from the immigration office

  • A background check from the local police where you've been living 

  • Income verification 

How do you get a work visa for Ecuador?

Applicants must take the following steps to get an Ecuador work visa: 

  • Contact the Ecuadorian embassy in their home country to confirm the necessary documentation. 

  • Submit the required documents to the embassy. 

  • Wait until their application is approved before traveling to Ecuador. 

It generally takes one to two months for a work visa application to be approved. 

Remote's relocation services can help speed up the process by providing: 

  • Guidance on choosing the best visa option 

  • Visa sponsorship

  • Advice on complying with local immigration and tax regulations 

  • Relocation and setting-in assistance 

  • Insurance

  • Cross-cultural training to help employees adjust to life in Ecuador 

What is the process for employee work visa sponsorship in Ecuador?

If you want to sponsor the employee for a work visa, you'll need to provide the employer documentation listed above. 

This includes an employment contract, and a written request addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility and signed by your company's legal representative, serving as proof that you don't owe any debts to the Ecuadorian Institute for Social Security. 

Remote's relocation service to help speed up and manage your employee work visa sponsorship. We facilitate and manage eligibility permissions, work permits, and visas for team members who want to relocate or new starters. 

What are the visa requirements for digital nomads in Ecuador?

Ecuador offers a digital nomad visa known as the Rentista visa for people who want to live and work in Ecuador for up to two years. The Rentista visa is available to people even if they aren't working for an Ecuador-based company. This relatively new visa takes two to three months to approve, so you should ensure you have enough time to get approved before you travel to Ecuador. 

Requirements for a Rentista visa 

Ecuador's work visa requirements include the following documentation: 

  • A completed and notarized application form

  • A passport that's valid for at least six more months

  • Two passport photos

  • Health insurance that provides coverage in Ecuador

  • A clean criminal background check from your local police department

  • A work contract that includes your position and permission to work abroad

  • Proof of income that's at least three times the basic salary in Ecuador, which is $425 monthly in 2022

  • A rental agreement that's been apostilled in your country and translated into Spanish

How to apply for a Rentista visa

The process for applying for a Rentista visa is as follows: 

  • Gather all the documents you need, translate them into Spanish, and have them notarized. 

  • Make an appointment at the local Ecuadorian embassy. 

  • Submit the application and other required documents during your appointment at the embassy. 

  • Pay the nonrefundable $50 application fee.

  • Wait for approval.

  • When you're approved, pay the $400 visa fee. 

Relocation can be a complicated process for both employers and employees. When you have to handle visas, immigration, foreign labor law and tax requirements, the paperwork and potential compliance risks can can quickly become overwhelming.

Keep in mind that you can't legally employ someone in another country without a legal entity within that country, which adds to the complexity. Since setting up local entities in multiple countries is not economically feasible, working with a trusted EOR like Remote is a time and money-saving solution.

Remote minimize the stress involved in global hiring. Our comprehensive services can help you:

  • Deal with visa requirements, immigration procedures, and documentation 

  • Understand international taxation

  • Avoid permanent establishment risk 

  • Comply with local employment and tax laws. 

Download Remote’s Relocation Guide for insightful tips on how to manage international employee relocation. You can also talk to one of our Mobility gurus for advice and guidance on how you can kickstart the relocation process for your team members.

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