Photo by Christine Urias. Photo illustration made using Prisma.
An ever-increasing number of people are retiring to Ecuador. International Living has named Ecuador as the “top retirement haven in the world” six times in the last seven years. Retirees are attracted by the country’s incredible beauty, fascinating culture, relaxed lifestyle, and friendly people. Of course, one has to prepare properly for such a move. There are always a few “musts” to take on any journey or new chapter in life.
These are the top four things to bring to Ecuador:
- Proper Documentation
Obviously, it is not unique to Ecuador that obtaining permanent residency involves bureaucratic processes. Retirees should research the requirements before moving to Ecuador. Upon arriving in the country, it is imperative that immigrants meet all deadlines.
In order to obtain permanent resident status, retirees frequently apply for a pensioner visa. The 9-1 visa application requires proof of a minimum income of at least $800 per month, an investment of $25,000 in local real estate, a bank CD, or other approved financial instrument.
A police report is required from one’s home country, and married retirees must provide a marriage certificate. The visa application documents must be authenticated by the U.S. Secretary of State and translated into Spanish after arrival in Ecuador.
- Spanish Translation Booklet
It is not that Ecuador isn’t an English-language friendly country. Cuenca, for example, has several English-language bookstores, store owners, and helpful locals willing to assist non-Spanish speaking retirees.
But if retirees want to explore outside the major cities, a Spanish translation booklet can come in very handy.
This translation aid will be especially important in case of medical emergencies. If you are not fluent in Spanish, consider having an Ecuadorian friend accompany you on your first visit to a clinic or hospital.
- Extra Clothes and Shoes
Keep in mind that most of the clothing in Ecuador is made for the average Ecuadorian body, which tends to be shorter and narrower than that of the average gringo retiree. Ecuadorian cities have skilled seamstresses and tailors, however, so it is possible to get custom-made clothing.
Traffic can be congested in cities such as Cuenca. Walking is a popular alternative in Ecuador, so bring your most comfortable shoes from home. It is better to be prepared in case you find it challenging to locate a perfect pair.
- Small Electronics
Small electronics are more expensive in Ecuador. Bring laptops and other computer-related items from home. However, printers, copiers, scanners are fairly cheap and easy to find.
It is also helpful to bring an apostilled copy of your high school or college diploma. This information is noted on your residency ID (cedula) and is necessary should you wish to obtain a driver’s license.
Mary’s comments on Proper Documentation are incomplete and incorrect. For correct documentation information go to http://www.ecuador-visas.com or write me at: [email protected]