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Ecuador Legal Checklist

Ecuador Legal Checklist

A recent message about Ecuador Legal scams started when I received this note from a subscriber.

“Gary, When I read your newsletter today, I was hoping you would say something about the cost of a visa.  Unfortunately, there are people who are promising newcomers a resident’s visa for $7000.  I’ve never heard of anyone paying more than $2000 for a resident’s visa, no matter which lawyer they used.

The reader went on to say that one  couple discovered this scam and tried to back out of the contract.  This elderly couple was threatened by a lawsuit.

I do not have all the facts so cannot be sure if this is a pure scam… just really unfair pricing or if more than just a visa was offered, but $7,000 seemed awfully high if all that was provided was just a resident visa.  I immediately wrote to the three attorneys who advise us in Ecuador to check on the price.

I asked Ecuador attorney Roberto Moreno, about this and he wrote:   Gary,  Yes, $7000 is absolutely out of range. Depending on the visa we charge from US$900 to US$1200.  Also, it is important to inform the readers that some lawyers will just obtain visas with few requirements, especially in Guayaquil.  The risk is that the visa could be removed later on. We prefer now to obtained all the visas for our clients at the immigration office in Quito.

cotacachi-green

Gary Scott and immigration attorney, Roberto Moreno, at Meson.

Ecuador Living subscribers. Use your password to access:

For more about Roberto and his law firm here.

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For Ecuador Legal Thoughts.

To Learn from My $72,000 Ecuador Legal Error.

For Ecuador Tax Laws.

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To help Ecuador Living subscribers better understand Ecuador laws, Roberto has now shared the Ecuador legal checklist below:

Roberto wrote: Please find attached the highlights of general legal information we have
 prepared.
 
We will be happy to answer further questions that anyone could have arising 
from this information at roberto@morenodidonato.com”

LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS TO LIVE AND INVEST IN ECUADOR
By Roberto Moreno

DIFFERENT TYPES OF VISAS

Non- Immigrant:
*    to stay for an specific amount of time
*    most common: Commercial Acts visa good for up to six months.

Immigrant (indefinite time):
*    retired
*    investment in Property
*    investment in Certificate of Deposit

*With an immigrant visa you can apply for citizenship after you have lived in Ecuador for three years.

NON IMMIGRANT VISA : COMMERCIAL ACTS VISA
Requirements:
*    passport valid for at least six months
*    visa application
*    personal information form
*    bank statement
*    government fee:  US$230.00 plus US$80 for each dependent

MOST COMMON IMMIGRANT VISAS

RETIREMENT

INCOME OF AT LEAST US $800 PER MONTH FOR PRINCIPAL AND US $100 FOR EACH DEPENDANT
*    passport valid for at least six months.
*    application for visa and form of personal information.
*    official document of support of the retirement pension or permanent income apostille or legalized at an Ecuadorian Consulate
*    certificate issued by the Ecuadorian Consul verifying the income

INVESTOR IN LAND PROPERTY FINAL DEED OF PURCHASE OF A PROPERTY MINIMUM US$25,000 and $500 for each dependent
*     application for Visa and form of Personal Information
*     deed of purchase registered before the Register of the Property
*    actualized encumbrance certificate from the Registry of Property

INVESTOR IN CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSTI MINIMUM US$25,000 for one year and $500 for each dependent
*     visa application  and  Personal Information form
*     time deposit with a term of 365 days minimum
*     To get a Title, Policy or Certificate of Deposit:
– your passport (original and copy)
– bank account in Ecuador
– a letter from your lawyer certifying that it will be used to get the visa

GENERAL DOCUMENTS FOR ANY KIND OF IMMIGRANT VISAS:
*    passport valid for at least six months
*     visa application
*     personal information form
*     5 photos (2×2)
*    Marriage License (wife or husband – dependent) / Apostilled or Legalized at an Ecuadorian Consulate
*    Birth Certificate (for children – dependent) / Apostilled or Legalized at an Ecuadorian Consulate
*     government fee: $350 (titleholder)  $350  (each dependent)

OTHER IMMIGRANT VISAS:
*    GENERAL MANAGER
*     AGENTS
*     UNDEFINED LABOUR CONTRACT
*     RELIGIOUS
*     PROFESSIONALS
*     DEPENDENTS

IMPORTANT NOTE: All official documents coming from abroad should be legalized by APOSTILLE.

BANK ACCOUNTS
Open a bank account locally:
*    prolonged stay
*    if you plan to invest in the future

Requirements:
*    will vary from bank to bank
*    open your bank account with your passport  and  a letter from a law firm

Restrictions:
*    no restrictions to transfer money
*    large amounts (banks will request a licit source form)

DO YOU LIKE A PROPERTY? GO FOR IT!
*    no need of special visa
*    don’t miss a good opportunity
*    to rent be sure of all details  (rental price includes utilities?)

THE IMPORTANCE OF TITLE INVESTIGATION
*    be sure to get the necessary investigation of the property before you take your decision,
*    review previous ownership title before the corresponding authorities.
*    you can get  Title Insurance. (First American Title Insurance provides this alternative)

STEPS TO PURCHASE A PROPERTY
Define:
*    one document purchase (only one deed)
*    a promissory or general deed (first to secure the purchase and  later to finalize the final deed).
*    in your name
*    in the name of a company

Expenses:
*     municipal taxes
*     public notary fees
*     registry of  property

*if you plan to use the property as an investment to obtained your VISA you will need the final deed of purchase.

TAXES AND SENIOR BENEFITS IN ECUADOR
Income tax rate:
*    individuals:  5% -35%
*    companies: 25%

VAT:
*    12%
*income coming from abroad is not object of withhold

SENIOR BENEFITS
65 and over with an immigration visa:
*    exoneration of all type of municipal taxes
*    income tax:  special exoneration
*    vehicle tax:  special reduction
*    refund of the VAT rate
*    special expenditures regarding telecommunications, electricity, water
*    50% discount in all transport fares (airfares: national and international), bus fares, ship fares.
*    judicial fees:  lower amounts
*    50% discount in public, cultural, sport, artistic and recreational presentations.

HOUSEHOLDS  GENERAL PROCEDURE
*    Obtain a resident visa
*    Hire the services of a Custom Agent in Ecuador / We can help you
*    Provide a List of households that includes information such as article, quantity, referential value, condition (new or used) for the Custom Agent
*    Legalize the list of households at an Ecuadorian Consulate (For some custom agents this requirement is not require)
*    Hire the services of a freight company that will provide the Bill of Lading

VEHICLES (AS HOUSEHOLD)
*    Value up to $20,000 / Cubic capacity up to 3,000 cubic centimeters
*    No older than 4 years of manufacturing by the time when you decide to bring your households
*    Can´t be sold in the next 5 years counted since the arrival date
*    Has to be ship in the same container with the households
* Hybrid vehicles can be import to Ecuador without paying duty taxes or VAT.

IMPORTANT:  Households can arrive to Ecuador up to 6 months after the arrival date to Ecuador

PET REQUIREMENTS
*     Certificate of Vaccinates
*     Certificate abroaded by the veterinarian of the pet (5 days before the departure date)
*     Certificate conferred by the APHIS – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – United States Department of Agriculture (48 hours before the departure date)

*     Contract the Airline for specific circumstances that each airline may have

IMPORTANT: If you bring pets it’s important that you bring them as your carry on baggage; otherwise you will have to pay custom taxes.

HEALTH INSURANCE, SOCIAL SECURITY AND PRIVATE INSURANCE
SOCIAL SECURITY
* The Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (Instituto Ecuatoriano de Seguridad Social – IESS) is the public entity in charge of the Social Security in Ecuador.

Voluntary Affiliation:
*       Independent workers
*       retired people
Benefits:
*    medical assistance in public hospitals ( from the 12th month of affiliation)
*    Age: 18 -64
*    Minimum US$ 35 per month.
*    Requirements: cedula – visa-or passport – personal bank account

PRIVATE INSURANCE
Offers:
*    Medical insurance
*    Life insurance.

Age limit:
*    65
*      one insurance company has no age limit

Coverage amounts:
*    medical: US$13,500  – $25,000
*    life insurance: US$14,000- 60,000
*      Coverage percentage:  80% of service received and medicines.

*      Cost: $ 80 – $ 250 monthly (depending on: type of service, age, sex, etc.

Gary

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