With an increasing number of travel enthusiasts swapping office hours for a digital nomad life, numerous countries are rushing to stay ahead of this exciting new trend by easing immigration rules for country-hoppers. One of them is Ecuador, a lesser-known destination in South America that has recently launched its very own Digital Nomad Visa.
In this article, you will learn what the new digital nomad visa category means in essence, how many years it is issued for, whether U.S. citizens dreaming of a move to the Global South are eligible to apply, the financial threshold, and other requirements that must be met by applicants, and most importantly, how bureaucratic is the process.
Why Is Ecuador Promoting Long-Term Stays?
Although they have historically been tough on immigration, especially after the recent migration crises on both sides of the Atlantic, countries in Europe and the Americas are now warming up to the idea of hosting remote workers under more relaxed visa regimes. This year, we have seen a record number of them opening up routes for nomads.
Currently, more than 45 countries have already acknowledged nomads as vital contributors to their economy, not only actively promoting themselves as safe havens for them, but going as far as establishing a formal immigrant visa for the category. These are the so-called Digital Nomad Visas, commonly shortened to DNVs.
Following other examples in Latin America, such as Costa Rica and Colombia, Ecuador has now joined the select pro-nomad group. Despite having offered the visa as early as April, when the modality came into force officially, the wider promotion started only this fall, more specifically in late September, during World Tourism Day.
On September 27, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism presented its Digital Nomads campaign with the sole aim of increasing awareness about the benefits of working remotely from Ecuador. In sum, the country is allowing nomads to remain within the national territory for up to two years so long as their main source of income originates from abroad.
They hope the nomad way of life will help ‘inject’ money into the national economy, seeing that nomads are often perceived as long-term tourists: they are allowed to remain in a country without being subject to strict tax rules like other migrants, but on the other hand, their access to healthcare and the welfare system may be limited.
Is The Ecuadorian DNV One Of The Easiest To Apply For?
That is the case in Ecuador, where health insurance is mandatory for the entirety of the period. Other requirements include:
- Be an eligible foreign national*
- Earn at least US $1,275 per month, or three times the minimum wage in Ecuador**
- File any documents that confirm your status as a remote worker, either as an employee for a foreign company or person or as the owner of a company registered abroad
- Pay the visa fee, estimated at U.S. $460.00
*Americans, Canadians, the British, and most Europeans are all eligible
**In official wording, they must demonstrate income from a foreign-based source ‘of at least 3 unified basic salaries per month’. This totals at least 36 ‘basic salaries’ per year
As noted by Nomad Embassy, Ecuadorian authorities may also request a background check to ensure applicants are of good character. All in all, the process is pretty straightforward compared to other DNVs, notably Europe’s: in Portugal, for instance, a high monthly income rule and exhaustive checks have infamously discouraged aspiring nomads.
There are still criteria to be met, but as long as you satisfy the nationality requirement while earning the reasonable sum of US $1,275, as well as paying the visa fee, you should be granted a permit in no time. Processing times may still vary, depending on the appreciation of documents and the availability of staff. Applications can be made online at this link.
Why Live In Ecuador?
On the ground, nomads who have partnered with the Ecuadorian Government to promote Ecuador as both a vacation hotspot and secondary home showered the nation with love. Canadian entrepreneur and influencer Joshua Yentin has been quoted saying he ‘fell in love very quickly with the country‘ upon arriving.
Mr. Yentin specifically mentioned the cuisine, the landscapes, and ‘the very kind people’. Indeed, these are some of Ecuador’s strongest assets, particularly its nature, comprised of dramatic Andes peaks, a well-preserved section of the Amazon jungle, and a Pacific coastline with unspoiled beaches.
The country is also popular for its rich History: the capital city of Quito, and the competing hub of Cuenca, both stand among some of the oldest colonial-era settlements in the Americas. Here, guests will find impressive Neo-Gothic cathedrals, imperial palaces dating back to the Spanish period, and charming historical centers with cobblestone streets.
Lastly, since October 2022, Americans are no longer subject to health checks traveling to Ecuador: all are welcome under the same guidelines, regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, no mandatory testing or quarantine is in place, making Ecuador one of the easiest destinations to enter in Latin America right now.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com