sApplying for your tourist visa extension in Ecuador need not be complicated. Since we went through this process in 2019, the Ecuadorian government has updated a lot, including adding an online system for those who can read Spanish. That means you have a choice in how to apply, in person or online.
When we first wrote this article, the process was a little confusing if only because the online information did not always match up with the real-life reality. We hope this article helps avoid some confusion on your part.
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What You Need to Enter Ecuador
If you are already in Ecuador and are looking for how to apply for the tourist visa extension, feel free to skip this first section. For those of you still planning your trip and trying to plan ahead, read on!
Tourists from most countries (including the US) are allowed in the country for three months without needing anything more formal than a return ticket (if anyone asks) and an entry stamp on your passport. Before you arrive, make sure your passport will be valid for at least 6 months after entry and has two blank pages for stamps. If it expires within 6 months or is on its final pages, better go get it renewed before traveling.
However, if you want to stay in Ecuador longer than 90 days, you need to request a tourist visa extension, called a prórroga. The process, while simple, can become quickly complicated if you don’t follow the steps in the right order. Here is that order.
90 Days from Date of Entry
When you pass through immigration on your way into the country, your passport will be stamped with the date of entry. That is considered to be day 1. The first day that you can possibly request an extension is on your 90th day. NOT BEFORE.
This sounds strange to many of us. We know that without that extension, we are technically in the country illegally. Not quite. According to the Migration Office in Cuenca, a tourist has 20 days of leeway to request their extension. However, according to the Migration Office in Quito, you must present yourself on day 90 or the first business day thereafter.
Before Applying For the Tourist Visa Extention
Before applying for the tourist visa extension, you will need to do these three things:
- Download the form that you will need to fill out. Here is the direct link to the form: https://www.ministeriodegobierno.gob.ec/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/nuevo-formulario-ciudadano-prorrogas-2020.pdf (if you happen to find a more up-to-date form, please let us know! We believe this is still the best link to use – updated February 3, 2022)
- Make a photocopy of your passport.
- Make a photocopy of your entrance stamp to Ecuador.
If you would prefer to apply online,
- Scan or take a photo of your Passport cover
- Scan or take a photo of your Personal Information inside your Passport
- Scan or take a photo of your entrance stamp to Ecuador
Visiting the Migration Office
Skip the next two section if you plan on applying online.
There are migration offices all over Ecuador. And there are immigration offices all over Ecuador. We’ve heard that some tourists have tried to go to immigration offices to request the tourist visa extension. That won’t work. Make sure you look for the offices called Servicio de Apoyo Migratorio and not any others.
We completed our extension in Zamora with no problems. In fact, some of the smaller offices might be more efficient as fewer people are requesting services. Check out the list of offices where they can complete extensions here:
All of these offices are open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday thru Friday. If your 90th day falls on the weekend, go in the following Monday. They won’t be able to help you the Friday before. If it happens to fall on an Ecuadorian holiday, ditto. These offices are all closed on Ecuadorian holidays.
Once At The Servicio de Apoyo Migratorio
Take in the form and the photocopies. When you enter the office, let them know that you want to request an extension. They will ask for your form, the photocopies, and your original passport. They may also ask if you have already been to the bank. Don’t panic. Just say that you wanted to confirm how much to pay. The current Ecuadorian website agrees with our recommendation (a change since we first applied). If a friend of a friend tells you otherwise, you may want to skip to the end of this article to read about our experience. Don’t visit the bank first!
You should ask the government clerk to give you the code number to give the bank. That should trigger a charge for the correct amount for the tourist visa extension. You can also ask how much that should be. In fact, we suggest asking the clerk to write these numbers down for you.
On February 3, 2022, that amount is $133.33. Also ask him to write down the name and address of the closest bank that will accept this payment for you (usually Banco Pacifico but in smaller towns like Zamora, they may have an alternate bank to visit). Then ask him to write down his name and phone number just in case the bank needs to call him.
Alternately, fill out the online application. Using Mozilla Firefox is recommended:
- Explanation page: https://www.gob.ec/mdg/tramites/emision-registro-prorroga-migratoria-permanencia-pais (Feb 3, 2022)
- Direct link to the application: https://www.gob.ec/tramites/11237/webform (Feb 3, 2022)
When applying online, the Virtual Services Clerk will contact you within 2 working hours, 8 am to 4:30 pm. Once they have validated your claim and informed you of the correct amount to pay, you can visit the bank. As with an in person visit, I would ask for their contact information in case the bank has any questions.
Visiting the Bank
Enter the bank and wait in line. When you get to the teller, let them know that you are paying for an extension (prórroga) for the migration office (servicio de apoyo migratorio). They will tell you an amount. Please make sure that it matches the amount that the government clerk wrote down. If it does not, tell the bank teller that the government clerk said that the amount had changed. If they don’t believe you, ask them to call the clerk in question and hand over that slip of paper with his name and number.
Recently, a member of Ecuadorian Expats on Facebook who applied online for the extension was told to use code 4.6 to trigger the correct amount. I would always confirm a code number with the clerk beforehand as it could change.
After you show your passport and pay the correct fee, the bank teller will give you a receipt with the amount you paid plus a small bank commission of about 70 cents. Guard that paper with your life.
Return to the Servicio de Apoyo Migratorio
Take that small piece of paper back to the migration office. Hand it and your passport to the government clerk and wait for him to enter all the information into the computer. He will then hand you a small piece of paper that grants your extension. He will offer to staple it to your passport or to just place it between a couple of pages. He may or may not offer you the receipt from the bank. If you need it, please make sure to ask for it if it is not offered.
Finishing Your Online Application
Send the bank receipt and the information requested by the clerk to the email address the clerk gave you. Once they receive the information, they will email you a copy of your extension. We recommend having at least one copy printed for your records.
Whether you have applied in person or online, you are now legally able to travel throughout Ecuador for 90 more days!
Be warned, if you leave the country before those 90 days are up, you do not get them back. Once 90 concurrent days have passed, whether inside or outside Ecuador, your tourist visa extension expires.
Para aquellos que dicen ir al banco primero
Para aquellos de ustedes que leyeron el antiguo sitio web del gobierno ecuatoriano o tuvieron un amigo que les dijo que es mejor ir primero al banco, aquí está nuestra refutación. Mientras que ir al banco primero puede ahorrarle hacer dos viajes al Servicio de Apoyo, puede realizar pagar dos veces si el gobierno ecuatoriano ha cambiado del precio. Sí, esto le ha pasado a alguien que conocemos y casi nos ha pasado a nosotros. Sigue leyendo.
Un miembro del Grupo de Facebook Ecuador Expats compartió una historia preocupante. Había pagado al banco la cantidad requerida que figuraba en el formulario que había impreso en el sitio web. Había encontrado inadvertidamente una forma antigua. Esto es fácil de hacer como una búsqueda de Google generalmente enumera las páginas más visitadas más alto en sus resultados de búsqueda. Tomó esa prueba de pago al Servicio de Apoyo Migratorio y le dijeron que era incorrecto y que no podían aceptarlo.
Luego regresó al banco y se negaron a reembolsar el dinero. Tampoco le permitirían pagar la diferencia entre las dos cantidades. Sintió que su única opción en ese momento era pagar de nuevo. Lo último que supimos, estaba trabajando con un abogado para obtener el primer pago reembolsado.
Fuimos completamente conociendo la experiencia de este caballero y estábamos dispuestos a pagar la nueva cantidad en el nuevo formulario, enumerado en $128.67. Sin embargo, el nuevo formulario ya estaba desactualizado. La tarifa subió el 1 de enero de 2019 y es de $ 131.33 (y aún sigue siendo esa cantidad dos años después).
Además, el banco donde pagamos nuestra tarifa claramente tenía la tarifa antigua escrita en su documento de referencia. El banco no tenía idea del cambio. Afortunadamente, fuimos al banco con un oficial de policía de inmigración que fue capaz de explicar que la cantidad había cambiado y que el cajero necesitaba cobrarnos una cantidad diferente. Sin él, odio pensar en cuánto tiempo podríamos haber pasado en el banco. Es por eso que sugerimos tomar el número de teléfono del empleado del gobierno con el que está trabajando.
No importa lo que leas en otro lugar, NO PAGA EL BANCO antes de visitar el Servicio de Apoyo Migratorio.
Y eso es todo, nuestro consejo para obtener tu extensión de visa de turista. Tranquilo, ¿verdad?