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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Should We Stay or Should We Go? Resident Travel Restrictions

Thank you Clash for the title! 

One of the most frustrating things about being in Ecuador is the conflicting information that floats around about things that are near and dear to your heart. The list is almost endless, but most of the truly worrying things have to do with getting your residency or keeping your residency.  Part of the trouble is that these things are fluid - things change even while you're in process of applying for something. The good news is that you're usually granfathered into the old rules. The bad news is that if something goes wrong or gets rejected, you may have to start from scratch.

All that is pretty much behind us now, except for the sticky travel rules that we have to obey in the first two years. So here's how it breaks down as of 27 August 2015:

- During the first two years, you may only be out of the country for 90 days per year and the allowance is not cumulative, also based on the date of your Visa in your passport. 

- If you don't plan on getting your citizenship (resident status only) your anniversary date is based on the Visa date in your passport. Once you've gone two years past that Visa date, you're off restricted travel and can leave the country for up to 18 months at one time. (I did not ask if that was an in and out privilege, meaning if you come back for a day, can you leave for another 18 months without issue.)The world can finally be your oyster.
- If you want to obtain your naturalization (citizenship) you cannot be out of the country for more than 90 days over a three year period based on your Cedula date. If you go out of the country over the allotted time, I assume that you must start a new 3 year/90 day stretch. (I can't imagine that they'd just ban you forever from getting your citizenship...but who knows...after all this is Ecuador.) Take heart, if this is your choice...there are amazing places to see here in good old Ecuador, you won't need to go away to have a holiday.

Pumapungo Ruins
Las Cajas
Other things of note: most flights leave Ecuador for places outside of South America just before midnight. That means you lose the whole day, as the Aduana will stamp you as leaving the county before midnight. That sucks, but it's the way of things. If you clear customs after midnight on your return to Ecuador, you will also lose that day, so padding when you're doing your calculations is necessary. If you want a precise log of your movements the Policia Mobilaria have an excellent record of your ins and outs which they can go over with you. If you want a print out, you will be charged. (The last time we paid is was $5 each.)

Now, I can't  guarantee how long that information will be good for, but it stands right now and that's what we're using as a basis for further travels next year. I got this information directly from the same office where we received our Visa's, after a mostly futile visit with the office of the Aduana. They did however redirect me to the Visa office.

Hope that helps, I know there's a lot of debate about the right and wrong of it out there. If you want to be 100% certain, it's best to go to the Visa office yourself. Consider that my warning to avoid being held responsible for errors.

Safe travels!

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