Essential Employment Paperwork in Ecuador



Expats coming to Ecuador on a tourist visa and planning to look for work should be warned that Ecuador does not allow application for another kind of visa anymore upon arrival in the country. Those who want to find employment in this country must obtain a work visa first before flying in.

Foreign nationals who are going to work in Ecuador for more than 90 days are required to apply either for the 12-VI visa or also known as the work visa. It is granted to highly-skilled workers, skilled workers, CEOs and Presidents of companies who are under a temporary assignment in Ecuador. The work visa has a validity period of six months up to two years maximum and can be renewed. Expats under this visa can also bring their family to Ecuador but the spouse or dependent will not be allowed to work.

Requirements for the Work Visa

The work visa can be obtained from the Ecuadorian Embassy/Consulate in the applicant’s home country. Keep in mind though that every embassy or consulate has its specific requirements so make sure to keep in touch with them first before proceeding with the application. Consular fees are USD 200 for the visa, USD 30 for application and USD 50 per each dependent. Below are some of the requirements for work visa application:

  • Passport valid for at least six months
  • Proof of current legal status in Ecuador
  • Résumé/CV of applicant indicating professional experience in the field of expertise
  • Two copies of application form with current photo in white background
  • Application addressed to the Director General de Migración y Extranjería
  • Work Dependence: Authorization to legally work in Ecuador, provided by the Ministry of Work, a copy of the work contract and an updated Certificado de Cumplimiento de Obligaciones or RUC (if applicable)
  • Presentation of Professional Services: An employment contract certified by the firm, a copy of academic degree(s) or evidence of advanced technical skills, updated Certificado de Cumplimiento de Obligaciones or RUC (if applicable)
  • Manager, President or Legal Representative: Designations registered in the Registro Mercantil and updated Certificado de Cumplimiento de Obligaciones
  • A copy of the prospective company/employer’s by-laws
  • Certificate of payment to the Insituto Ecuatoriano de Seguro Social (Ecuadorian Social Security Office)
  • Birth/marriage certificates of the applicant’s dependents
  • Colombian citizens: Annotated police report must be submitted


Expats who have a work visa are required to register at the office of the Dirección General de Extranjería located in Quito’s Mariscal district. The registration fee is around USD 4 and applicants should present their passport, several passport-sized photos and Certificado de Visación (visa certificate). Take note that the registration must be done within 30 days of arrival in Ecuador.