ECUADOR: New Immigration Law Implemented

A new immigration law in Ecuador called “Ley de movilidad humana” has superseded the previous legislation, and reorganised several visa categories. Regulations to implement the new law are expected. This came into effect on 6th February 2017.

Key Changes

The 12-6 visa has been replaced by a subcategory of temporary residence. It is now obligatory to register with Ecuadorian social security or travel to Ecuador with a private health insurance once a work visa has been approved. With the previous law, social security registration was not a requirement.

The applicant will be allowed to leave the country 90 days per year, for each of the first two years. The foreign national must maintain his or her temporary residence visa for 21 months to qualify to apply for a permanent resident visa.

The law includes some general documentary requirements but it is expected that the new regulations will clarify the complete list of documents, and the procedure and timing.

There is a new visa category for dependents called “personas amparadas por el titular de la categoria migratoria”.

The 12-9 visa has been eliminated.  The most similar category now is the special visa for tourism; however this category can no longer be renewed and can only be applied for once every five years. Short-term work is still possible under this category, and dependents can apply for the same visa with the same rules.

Visas for Venezuelans and nationals of Mercosur countries remain in force.

Our advice

Foreign nationals who are resident in or intending to travel to Ecuador should contact their immigration provider to check the implementation of the new immigration rules.

For advice and information on Ecuadorian immigration, please email us at

Contact Newland Chase