Ecuador Visa Requirements
Some people have been asking online about the visa requirements for Ecuador and I don't want you to end up in prison for following bad immigration advice like I did. So here are the details for getting a 6 month tourist visa for Ecuador.
Firstly, the free tourist visa is valid for 90 days in the country every 365 days. It is multiple entry, but you cannot go to the border and renew it once it has expired (although apparently you can pay the border officials $200 to delete the record of your previous entries).
Police make a sport out of catching foreigners who overstay their visa and the normal "on-the-spot-fine" (i.e. bribe) is $100, but as the legal six-month visa only costs $230 it is better to apply for that. You may be able to apply from overseas but that would be very slow and difficult.Ecuador Visa Requirements
You will need about two weeks for all the paperwork and all the documents have to be in Spanish. I needed the following.
The official visa requirements are listed at http://www.mmrree.gob.ec/servicios/visa9v.asp
Your letter of petition has to be a little more specific than just "I want to bum around Ecuador".
The bank statements, evidence of onward travel and copy of your passport all have to be notorized. This only costs ~$1.50 per document.
For evidence of onward travel I reserved a flight to Miami and made a copy of the reservation with the travel agents business card underneath. It wasn't professional at all - I could have just printed up my own "reservation" from Microsoft Word. My reservation was only valid for 3 days and they don't cost anything as long as you don't mention it's for a visa application.
You bank statements also have to be in Spanish. English won't be accepted. I translated my bank statements on the computer (photoshop!) before printing them. If you pay a translator they must sign the translation which means you have to pay $15 for notorization instead of $1.50 because it has a signature.
I don't know how notorization makes the process any more secure since the notarias don't even bother confirming the documents are genuine copies.
The duration you are given depends on how much money you can show you have access to. I showed my credit card which has a limit of $5000 and some other cash accounts and they gave me six months.
Oh, and the office in Guayquil (el Litoral?) is only open Monday to Thursday 8am to 12noon for visa applications.
Hope that helps!
Roger has been traveling since 2009. His curiosity has led him to over 20 countries, from the fantasy worlds of Japan and Korea through the paradises of South-East Asia, across Africa, Europe, Central America and even to prison in Ecuador. His travel experience has tested his language skills, and his ability to adapt and solve problems.
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