A map of Ecuador and a red plane

How to obtain a tourist visa for Ecuador?

Ieva Miltina Ieva Miltina 22 July 2021
26 view 5 min. read

It is the home of the unique ecosystems in the Galapagos Islands, the furthest point from the center of the Earth, and the most magnificent tourism destination in general. Ecuador is a country many travelers are eager to visit for many reasons, and it is no surprise. The rich nature, the beautiful landscapes, and the exciting historical background are just some of the things that lure wanderers into the arms of this South American jewel. Did you know that Guayaquil in Ecuador was the home to the first chocolate port in the world? I’m just saying...in case you are a chocoholic, it is the perfect destination for satisfying your cravings because the quality of chocolate there is otherworldly.

If you are here, you are looking for information about living in Ecuador on a tourist visa. Am I right? You have found yourself the right reading piece because this article will talk just about that. You will find out how to get Ecuador visa and how long you can stay in Ecuador on a tourist visa. And a little more about technicalities like fees, processing time, and tourist visa requirements for Ecuador. I will try to help you maneuver the basic information to make your travel planning easier. Hopefully, in no time, you can depart on an exciting trip to the fourth-smallest country of South America. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves - the first things first. What is there to know about the Ecuador tourist visa?

Do you need visa for Ecuador?

sunset light falling on seats

Before we discuss the details of particular bureaucracy procedures, it is smart to understand an answer to this question. So do you need visa for Ecuador or not? Actually, very few travelers will need to obtain a tourist visa for Ecuador. You should get a visa if you are a national of Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Congo (Democratic Republic), Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, India, Iraq, Libya, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Syria, Somalia Venezuela, Haiti, Mali, Ivory Coast, and Myanmar. Everyone else is exempt from obtaining a tourist visa.

Additionally, if you would enter this country to stay for a longer time than the standard tourist visa permits, you will have to obtain either extension, the temporary, or the permanent residence visa. Let’s stick to the topic and find out more about anyone willing to travel to Ecuador for tourism.

How to enter Ecuador if you are exempt from a visa?

south america

This is another important aspect you should keep in mind because you might need to present some documents even if you are exempt from a visa. By default, when crossing the border or arriving at the airport you will be asked to state the reasons for your travel and to present a return ticket. Another important tip for people arriving by land from Peru or Colombia - make sure that you get a stamp in your passport when crossing the border. There are stories about busses that do not stop on the border, and foreigners then must go back to this border post to get the stamp. Keep this in mind when traveling by bus if you want to avoid unnecessary delays or issues that derail from the initial plan.

How long can you stay in Ecuador on a tourist visa?

officer will arrival stamp

So let’s get back to the ones that are not exempt from this visa. Living in Ecuador on a tourist visa is not a viable option in a long term. A standard tourist visa will allow staying 90 days within a period of 12 months. It is about 3 months within a calendar year. And this brings us to the next question...

Is it possible to get an Ecuador tourist visa extension?

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It is no wonder that many coming to Ecuador would want to stay longer mesmerized by the beauty of nature and the culture. The good thing is - if you are a tourist, you might extend your 90 days into a 6 month tourist visa for Ecuador. There are two ways to do this. First, apply for a 6 month tourist visa for Ecuador right away. Anyone can apply for a 180-day special tourist visa once each 5 years. Or another option - get an Ecuador tourist visa extension (known as “prórroga”) before the previous 90 days expire. You can get 90 extra days and will have to apply online or with officials on the spot. If you are considering this option, please research the information well ahead, because staying in Ecuador with an expired visa will get you a hefty fine and might deny you entry to this country for at least 2 years.

What are tourist visa requirements for Ecuador?

colleagues exchanging papers

Here goes the technical part in understanding how to get Ecuador visa. The process of obtaining an Ecuadorian visa is pretty standard - you fill an application form and submit it alongside a bunch of documents in the closest embassy of Ecuador. If there is no such embassy in your country, you might need to submit documents by email or post. Please consult the embassy that processes applications of your nationality to find out the exact procedure that applies to you.

So what are the basic necessary documents that have to be added to this visa application?

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You don’t have to be worried - the usual list is not too long, and asks for simple information about your travel and identity. Besides the filled and signed application form you will need to provide a valid passport (at least 6 months after departing from Ecuador), recent photography, photocopies of the main page of your passport, and previous visas. Additionally, you will have to prove the reasons for your travel. For tourists, it means providing a travel itinerary (return ticket) and accommodation bookings or support letters from the locals.

For safety reasons, you will be asked to provide travel insurance and criminal record from authorities in the country of your residence. Last but not least - proof of financial means will be required to ensure that you can sustain yourself during the trip. It can be a bank statement or other ways to prove your financial status. These are the basic formalities, but you might be asked for more information or papers to prove the fact that your stated travel purpose is truthful and you intend to leave the country in the required time.

What is the processing time of the Ecuador tourist visa?

woman filling calendar

This is one of the countries that give out their visas in a rather quick manner. You can expect to wait anywhere from 2-15 business days to get your desired document. Always remember that submitting the documents as they are required to a T will speed up the process. Because if there is some information missing, the officials will need more time to contact you and request additional formalities - it all takes time. Read the requirements and be ready ahead to ensure the visa is issued quicker.

How much does an Ecuador tourist visa cost?

entrepreneur counting money

The fee depends on your nationality and the place where you submit your application. Generally, the visa will cost you from 60 USD to 100 USD. A fee that might grant you entry into paradise. Totally worth it!

Let’s wrap this up. As you noticed, Ecuador is quite accustomed to receiving frequent guests, that is - tourists. Even more so - I would go as far as to say that their economy relies on the very desired bucks of these foreign visitors. Which makes all the bureaucracy concerning Ecuador tourist visa quite easy to comprehend. After all, if the guests are welcome then the path to the door to the house should be clear and easy to access, right? Anyhow, I am excited about your idea of traveling somewhere. Even if you might choose a different travel destination than Ecuador, I wish you all the best! May the road bring you to experience exactly what your soul yearns for.

* I have to make a remark here. All of the above-mentioned procedures and formalities apply to the standard situation and might differ nowadays. The best shot is to check the latest information with the authorities. Additionally, traveling in these times might definitely sound like a super exciting thing, because we have all been restricted from much of this during the last year or so. I would like to remind, that the travel industry is still not fully open and some limitations on traveling might still exist across the globe. My dearest suggestion for any traveler is to book and buy such travel options that entitle you with free reimbursement in case of changing travel plans. After all, the Covid-19 restrictions change day by day. Better safe than sorry, right? Also, check the entry requirements right before your travel - you wouldn’t want to be spending the most of your very desired exotic trip quarantining in a hotel on arrival, would you?

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Ieva Miltina
Ieva Miltina Activist and entrepreneur

Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday. 

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