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To help increase tourism Ecuador launches its ‘digital nomad’ visa program

Published on October 03, 2022

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The government’s proposal seeks to attract 8,000 to 10,000 foreigners a year. But the lack of security and deficiencies in access to basic services are barriers to attracting these kinds of ‘tourists.’

Ecuador is looking for foreign people from any country in the world who work remotely, to do so from the country. The proposal is to give them a nomadic visa so that they can stay in Ecuador for up to two years, and from the country —with a computer and the Internet— maintain their employment in another country.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, this type of visa has been in force since April 2022. However, its official launch was on September 27, 2022, within the framework of World Tourism Day.

Tourism Minister Niels Olsen explained that one of the objectives of this visa is for remote workers to inject “resources into the national economy with their internal trips.”

 Another is to boost the tourism sector in Ecuador, which was one of the most affected in the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 During the launch of the campaign promoting this project, he clarified that through it, Ecuador seeks to attract 8,000 to 10,000 foreigners a year.

In an interview that Minister Olsen gave on the Telerama television channel, he explained that in the United States alone there are 9 million remote workers. If this visa program manages to attract 1% of those workers from the United States, approximately $180 million per month would enter the local economy.

These are the steps to apply for a nomad visa in Ecuador:

To apply for a nomadic visa, applicants must enter the web portal of the Ecuadorian consulate. The website may be viewed in English or Spanish. Then:

  • Register by creating a username and password.
  • Enter the “Consular Procedures” option and enter the country where the person is located and the consulate to which they will go.
  • Select the “Visas” option.
  • Immediately, the “Visa Application” option will appear. Select this option; the person can proceed to enter all their personal data.
  • Attach the documents that validate that you meet the requirements to obtain the visa.
  • To obtain the Nomad Visa, applicants must:
  • Be a citizen of one of the 183 countries established by the Ministry.
  • Have a valid passport.
  • Demonstrate that you receive income from abroad, equivalent to three basic salaries per month, that is, $1,275.
  • Provide documentation showing that the person works or provides services to companies or people abroad or documentation of being the owner of a company abroad.
  • Have health insurance.
  • Provide a criminal record
  • Have health insurance

Is Ecuador an ideal destination for digital nomads?

Although this type of visa is common among some Latin American countries, such as Costa Rica and Panama, Ecuador is a pioneer in South America in offering this document for digital nomads.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, this type of work has increased among companies around the world. For this reason, there are indexes on the best cities in the world for those looking to work remotely while traveling. Nepstick has a ranking, but no Ecuadorian city made its list. Buenos Aires, in Argentina, is at number 33 and Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, at number 54.

This index was made from a study based on data from the millions of users looking for accommodation on the platform — for long stays. Some of the characteristics that this index considers are health, rent, security and freedom of rights, internet speed, gender and minority equality, levels of environmental pollution, among others.

Unfortunately, Ecuador has one of the 50 most violent cities in the world —Guayaquil. Likewise, the figures for gender-based violence at the national level are alarming. In just the first 4 months of the year, complaints of physical, sexual and psychological abuse exceeded 9,000.

Regarding issues such as pollution, the Ecuadorian capital, for example, does not have a solid waste management model. Rather, it has been the informal recyclers who have promoted recycling in the city.

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