Are you considering applying for an Ecuadorian visa? It’s important to navigate through the maze of information and debunk common myths that can lead to confusion and potential setbacks. In this article, we will bust five of the most annoying and potentially damaging myths surrounding the process of obtaining an Ecuadorian visa.
So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for an enlightening journey into the truth behind Ecuador visa myths!
Myth #1: High Price Equals High Quality
One prevalent misconception is that paying a hefty price for visa services or assistance guarantees a higher chance of success or faster processing. Well, here’s the truth: the price tag does not determine the quality or efficiency of your visa application. In fact, some of the most expensive visa providers may sit at the very bottom of the list when it comes to recommending agencies for Ecuador visa assistance.
So, what should you look for instead of price? The two crucial factors are the depth of knowledge about current visa rules and processes and having connections with the migration office where you’re applying. Trust me, connections matter in Ecuador, and the best evidence of a reliable visa provider is the number of visas they have successfully processed in recent months. Aim for a visa factory, not an attorney who offers everything under the sun plus visas. You can even request to contact their previous customers for reference.
Myth #2: Trusting Recommendations from Facebook Groups
Ah, Facebook groups—a place where recommendations flow freely. But be cautious! While it may seem helpful to hear about a random person’s positive experience with a visa provider, it’s important to understand the underlying dynamics. Ecuador has stringent defamation laws, and businesses won’t hesitate to send legal threats if anything negative is posted about them. This leads to a biased sample size of recommendations – usually positive and limited to individuals’ personal experiences with their chosen provider.
So, how can you find trustworthy visa recommendations? Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof solution in a country with strict defamation laws. It can be frustrating, but seeking accurate, up-to-date information from reliable sources and consulting experienced professionals remains the best approach.
Myth #3: It Doesn’t Matter Which Visa Office I Apply At
Now, this myth can be quite perplexing. Coming from a legal background, I initially struggled to understand why migration officers in different offices might apply different rules. Shouldn’t they all interpret the laws the same way? Surprisingly, they don’t. For example, the migration office in Azogues, a city near Cuenca, has a reputation for being particularly challenging to work with.
To avoid unnecessary complications, it’s advisable to explore alternative migration offices with a better track record. While the differences in interpretation may seem illogical, it’s crucial to play it safe and choose an office that aligns with your needs.
Myth #4: A Criminal Record Automatically Disqualifies You
Let’s get one thing straight—Ecuador, like most countries, conducts background checks to keep out individuals with violent or sexual criminal records. However, having a minor offense in your past, such as smoking some reefer at Woodstock, doesn’t automatically disqualify you from obtaining an Ecuadorian residency visa.
Migration officers exercise subjectivity when evaluating applicants with criminal records. They consider factors like the type and gravity of the offense, as well as how long ago it occurred. While offenses involving violence or sexual elements and recent convictions might face closer scrutiny, many applications with non-spotless backgrounds have been approved.
Myth #5: You Can Stay 1 Year in Ecuador Without a Residency Visa
This myth stems from outdated visa information. In the past, the special tourist visa allowed individuals to enjoy a year-long stay in Ecuador with ease. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed, and the current regulations permit a stay of 90 days, with one 90 day extension available, but no replacement for the year-long stint.
To ensure longer stays, it’s essential to obtain a temporary residency visa. Don’t rely on outdated information and assume you can fly under the radar for a year – it’s better to play by the rules or you’ll quickly find yourself with ‘irregular’ status.
Congratulations! We’ve successfully debunked five Ecuador visa myths that may have clouded your understanding of the process. Remember, accurate information is your best friend when navigating the intricacies of obtaining an Ecuadorian visa. Seek guidance from reliable sources and consult experienced professionals who can provide up-to-date insights and assistance tailored to your specific needs.
If you’re seeking a visa provider who knows the ins and outs of the process, feel free to reach out to Jason at YapaTree for recommendations. We’re here to help you make your Ecuadorian visa journey smoother and more enjoyable. Remember, debunking myths is just one step toward unlocking the extraordinary possibilities that Ecuador has to offer. Keep exploring, stay curious, and embrace the adventure ahead. But, always leave room for trusting your gut!
View full video transcript
5 Ecuador Visa Myths Exposed
Today we’re busting some of the most annoying and potentially damaging myths around applying for Ecuadorian visas. Listo, Vamos! Welcome back to the channel. Jason from YapaTree here. One of the delights about choosing Ecuador as an expat is the relatively easy and cheap visa process, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t run into trouble along the way. And unfortunately, many expats do run into trouble when going through the visa process. So I’m exposing five of the most common Ecuador visa myths that I routinely see being thrown around. Hopefully, by watching this video to the end, you’ll also avoid falling victim to them. I’ve been working with various visa facilitators and attorneys in Ecuador for multiple years now. We’ve also produced a lot of content on the topic of visas, which involves a lot of interviews and research. So overall, I do think that I have a very good view of the current practices. Some good, some not so good employed by the visa industry here. Now, I also happen to be a qualified lawyer and tend to put my legal hat on whenever this topic comes up. And it comes up a lot, as every expat needs to go through this process. But enough fluffery. Let’s get to the Myths.
Myth number one. High price equals high quality. One of the biggest misconceptions is the belief that paying a hefty price for visa services or assistance guarantees a higher chance of success or faster processing. It’s simply not true. The price tag does not determine the quality or efficiency of your visa application. Indeed, some of the most expensive visa providers sit at the very bottom of my list of agencies I’d recommend to friends and family looking for Ecuador visa assistance.
What I tend to see happening a lot with Ecuadorian businesses is that they struggle when scaling their businesses. I’ll walk you through a common scenario that I see. A visa provider obtains a following either through really good marketing or just generally providing a good service. Then they struggle to keep up with the quality standards due to this influx of new customers. And some visa providers are able to eventually cope with increased demand. But if your application is being processed during this growth period, then there is a chance that yours will fall through the cracks. The old adage you get, what you pay for does not necessarily apply and I do not suggest using price as a proxy for quality.
So what should you look for instead of price? In my humble opinion, the only two things that matters when it comes to getting your visa processed are one. Firstly, the depth of knowledge. Of the current visa rules and the processes. And secondly, they need to have connections with the migration office that you’re applying at. If you come to Ecuador and you think connections do not matter, you’re absolutely crazy. They really do. And the best evidence to support both of these traits is to find out how many visas that provide has completed within the past few months. You really do want a visa factory here.
You don’t want an attorney that offers everything under the sun plus visas. You can even ask to contact some of their previous customers. If your provider balks at providing any referrals, then you pretty much have your answer myth too.
Trusting random recommendations from Facebook groups. I’ve seen this end in disaster numerous times. However, it’s actually a little bit more complex than it seems. You see, the first point you need to know is that Ecuador has very strong defamation laws.
Post anything negative or even constructive about a business in Ecuador and you should not be surprised if you receive a nasty letter from their attorney with all sorts of legal threats. Biggest providers have sent these disgruntled letters to ex customers in the past. The second point is that visas are generally a service that expats have exactly 1 experience with and that is with the visa provider that they used and this is the one that they obviously recommend.
And the potentially also become friends with this person or may even be receiving compensation for their recommendations. Now put these two together and you up end up with a scenario where the recommendations are only positive and made with a sample size of exactly 1. So whilst it may be somewhat helpful to hear about a random person’s positive experience with a visa provider, you’ll never hear from customers that did not have a good experience. And obviously, if someone has only used one provider and that they claim that they are the best, take that with a grain of salt as they clearly have no comparison.
So how do you know who to trust for visa recommendation? The unfortunate thing is, you don’t. I wish I had an answer for you and I truly despise the defamation laws here, and it’s one of the most frustrating things that I’m still coming to grips with about living in Ecuador even after all these years.
Myth 3. Rules are rules, so it doesn’t matter which visa office I apply at. This one took me a while to come to grips with as well, because coming from a legal background it is really hard for me to understand why some migration officers apply different rules than others.
After all, they should all be interpreting the laws in the same way, right? Actually no, not all the time. And for us Cuenca folk this really matters as the closest migration office to us is in Azogues. And it tends to be the most difficult one to work with. Perhaps the best example of this was when they interpreted a rule change in 2022 You see, the Ecuadorian government updated some visa rules relating to obtaining permanent residency. Most migration offices in Ecuador allowed you to spend up to 90 days outside of Ecuador during this two year temporary residency period and still be eligible for permanent residency.
But the Azogues office took a contrarian view. If you spent just one day outside of Ecuador, they would deny you permanent residency. This rule was eventually challenged by some expats and the expats did win. But who wants to go through that hassle? No, Gracias. Now this is just one example, but there are many other instances that lead me to recommend using other migration officers where possible.
Myth 4 – My criminal history will prevent my application from being accepted. Let’s be clear, Like most countries, Ecuador does have a background check requirement that is aimed at keeping out the bad apples and being completely honest.
I’m glad they aren’t letting in people with histories of violent or sexual crimes. Nobody wants these people in their backyard, but that doesn’t mean that just because you got caught smoking some reefer at Woodstock that you’ll automatically be denied an Ecuadorian residency visa. There is a fair amount of subjectivity afforded to the migration officer that is processing your visa. They generally look at the type of conviction, the gravity of conviction, and how long ago the offense took place.
In particular, any offense with a violent or sexual element will be heavily scrutinized, as may offenses that occurred within the last, say, 10 years. Now, do be prepared to be interviewed by your immigration officer in if your background check does include some convictions, but I have seen many applications be approved. That did include background checks that were not squeaky clean.
Myth 5 – I can stay one year in Ecuador without residency. There is a lot of outdated visa information out there and one example of this is the special tourist visa, which was a great solution that effectively allowed you to stay one entire year in Ecuador with ease.
I personally obtained this visa when it was available a few years ago and it was great. However, it is no longer available and there is no replacement. There have been various rumors floating around there, but nothing has eventuated. So at the moment you can currently stay in Ecuador for six months each year very easily. Residents from most countries can get their first 90 days upon arrival and then extend for another 90 days once you’re here. We do have an article about this which we’ll link to as well. But after these hundred and eighty days you’ll need to look at obtaining a temporary residency visa if you want to spend more time in Ecuador.
And that’s a wrap Yapa family. We have busted some common myths around the Ecuadorian visas that might have been holding you back. Remember, always seek accurate, up to date information from reliable sources and if needed, reach out to experience professionals for guidance. If you do want my recommendations for visa providers or general visa guidance, feel free to reach out to me, [email protected]. Of course, if you’re in the market in Cuenca looking to rent or buy a property more than welcome to. send me an email or check out our current listings at yapatree.com.
And whilst you’re tapping away on your keyboard, feel free to like this video as that does help our message reach more people. I do really appreciate you watching this video and I hope that you’re much better positioned to apply for your Ecuadorian visa. Until next time, take care and remember, don’t forget your Yapa.