Ecuador: National Assembly Approves Immigration Reform Bill

February 25, 2021 Lucy Halse

Key Points

  • The National Assembly has approved a comprehensive immigration reform bill
  • The bill replaces the Visa de Excepcion de Corta Duracion with an Acts of Commerce Visa
  • The UNASUR Temporary Visa is removed
  • Travel restrictions are eliminated for temporary residents
  • Stricter eligibility rules apply for permanent residents
  • Additional details will be provided in the next 90 days when the Official Registry publishes accompanying immigration regulations

Overview

Ecuador’s National Assembly has approved a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

What are the Changes?

The reform bill replaces the Visa de Excepcion de Corta Duracion with an Acts of Commerce Visa that allows foreign nationals to conduct technical and business activities in Ecuador for up to 180 days. The reform bill also eliminates the UNASUR Temporary Visa and modifies requirements for temporary and permanent residents.

Short-Term and Business Travelers

Ecuador’s immigration reform bill establishes a new Acts of Commerce Visa that allows foreign nationals to conduct commerce, business, sporting, technical, academic and technological activities for up to 180 days each year.

Temporary Residents

With the new reform bill, temporary residents are no longer limited to a 90-day stay outside Ecuador each year to maintain their status. Temporary residents may now work in Ecuador with a temporary resident visa while working abroad and maintaining their residency.

Permanent Residents

Restrictions and requirements will increase for permanent residents. Applicants must now show at least 21 months’ worth of permanent residency in Ecuador to be eligible for permanent residence status. Before, applicants could meet the requirement for permanent residency with 21 months of non-continuous residency. Based on the new requirements, permanent residents residing abroad must travel to Ecuador more frequently to maintain their permanent residence status. Foreign nationals who have been permanent residents for at least two years must now return to Ecuador every two years to maintain their status as permanent residents rather than every five years as previously required.

Fines may apply for noncompliance, and permanent residents who violate their status may not be able to apply for another visa for 2-3 years. Additional information will be provided on penalties for noncompliance.

Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Temporary Visa

Ecuador plans to opt out of the UNASUR agreement, which means that UNASUR visa holders will need to obtain a Mercosur Visa, if eligible, or another type of visa once their UNASUR visa expires if they want to remain in the country.

What Should Employers and Applicants Know?

Along with the changes noted above, Ecuador’s immigration reform bill permits more causes for deportation, including foreign nationals who are considered a threat to public safety.

Looking Ahead

Additional details will be provided in the next 90 days, which is when the Official Registry will publish accompanying immigration regulations.


Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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