Ecuador ‘embraces’ remote workers with new digital nomad visa

Ecuador has launched a new digital nomad visa, promising remote workers “low cost of living” and “authentic experiences.”

The South American country is best known for its high mountains, deep rainforests, and the biodiverse Galápagos islands.

Thanks to a new visa, would-be digital nomads will have plenty of time to explore these stunning attractions.

Under the country’s ‘Rentista’ visa, remote workers will be able to spend up to two years in Ecuador. ‘Rentista’ means ‘rentier,’ or a person living on outside income.

Speaking at World Travel Market in London, the country’s tourism minister Niels Olsen promised “authentic and genuine” experiences.

“The pandemic allowed us to rethink tourism and opportunities,” he said.

“We weren’t the first country to invent it [the digital nomad visa] but we have really embraced it.

“We have great infrastructure and connectivity and the cost of living is significantly lower than in the UK.”

How can you apply for Ecuador’s digital nomad visa?

The visa is officially known as the ‘Rentista for Remote Work visa.’

To qualify for the nomad visa, you must have:

  • A passport that has at least six months validity
  • A clean police record
  • Proof of a foreign source of income of at least €1,266 per month (three times Ecuador’s ‘basic salary’)

Applicants must also prove that they have health insurance that’s valid in Ecuador and be willing to pay a processing fee of €460.

The visa is open to applicants from most countries. However, applications are not permitted from Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Cameroon, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Philippines, Gambia, Ghana, India, Iraq, Iran, Kenya, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Syria, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Yemen.

Would-be remote workers can apply via Ecuador’s virtual consulate, available here. The process should take between two and four months.

What is the remote work scene like in Ecuador?

Ecuador is smaller than Italy, but remote workers will have plenty of options.

The capital Quito has plenty of co-working spaces, as do other cities like Cuenca and Guayaquil. Smaller beach towns like Olón are also growing in popularity amongst ocean-lovers.

Wifi is strong in all major cities – though there are some remote rural sites – like the Amazon or high in the mountains – where you may struggle to get a connection.

Which countries in Latin America have digital nomad visas?

If you want to combine remote working from Ecuador with stints working in other Latin American countries, you could apply for multiple visas.

Brazil has a one year digital nomad visa. Applicants must have a minimum monthly income of $1,500 ($1,461) or an available bank balance of $18,000 ($17,500).

Last month, Colombia launched a remote work visa allowing digital nomads to live in the country for two years. To qualify for the scheme you’ll need to be earning $684 (€666) per month.

Costa Rica offers a two year remote work visa. Applicants must have a regular monthly unearned income of at least $2,500 (€2,434) from a guaranteed source for two years.

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