Visas are very important if you want to stay in Ecuador for a long time. If you don't have the right kind of visa when arriving in Ecuador, it can cost you a lot of time and money making sure you get it.

What is a visa?

A visa is a stamp that has been put in your passport by a foreign country before you enter it. A visa is proof that you are in the country legally and only for a certain period of time.

For travellers a visa is a nice little souvenir from a foreign country that you can show to your friends after getting back home. Once you have enough of them collected in your passport, it is like a small journal that will bring back memories of the countries you have visited.

What kind of visas can I get for Ecuador if I want to travel around?

  • Tourism visa -  Allows you to stay in the country for three months. This is the kind of visa everybody gets before entering the country. You can extend your tourist visa for another 90 days in Quito and Guayaquil.
  • Volunteering visa - allows you to stay in Ecuador for one year. You need to go to the Ecuadorean embassy in your own country to get this one. You can only get this kind of visa if you have proof that you will do volunteerwork with an official non-profit organisation in Ecuador. It costs a bit more money, but if you want to stay around for a year, the volunteering visa is your best option.
  • Student visa - You can get this kind of visa if you are going to study at a university or other official learning institute in Ecuador. It will allow you to stay in the country for six months. You need to go to the Ecuadorean embassy in your own country to get a student visa. For travellers this is a very expensive option, if you just extend your tourist visa, you get to stay in Ecuador for the same period of time.

Can I change visas after arriving in Ecuador? 

Changing visas after arrival in Ecuador is not your best option. It can take a lot of long hours running from one office to another, most of the time without any result. Many times you will need to hire a lawyer to do it for you. 

What about leaving the country and going back after a few days? 

Leaving the country for a few days for an extension and going back into Ecuador can be quite risky. A lot of people have a hard time coming back into the country. Not to mention that it is officially illegal.

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