Your initial visa is up and you want to stay longer in Ecuador.
How do you go about extending your visa?
How much is it going to cost you?
Where can you do it?
What documents do you need?
When do you need to apply for your extension?
In this guide, I’m going to share with you how I extended my visa in Ecuador. Hopefully, my experience will help your extension process go even more smoothly than mine. Ecuador has also made changes recently to the visa process (July/August 2023) and the fee (January 2024), and I will tell you about them.
Note: Technically, when you (for most countries’ citizens) enter Ecuador, you don’t get a “visa”. Instead, you get an “entry stamp” that allows you to stay in the country for 90 days. You can extend it for another 90 days for a fee. However, I’m going to simplify things by calling this stamp a “visa” because that’s what most foreign travelers call it.
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In This Post, You’ll Find…
PRO TIP: No one likes to think about insurance, but accidents do happen. I highly recommend getting travel insurance. During my travels over the past 2 years, I’ve been using SafetyWing for my insurance. They’re very affordable for all ages, and digital nomads can use their insurance long-term.
Ecuador Tourist Visa
Ecuador does NOT require the citizens of most countries to get a tourist visa BEFORE entry. There are only 23 countries that need to apply beforehand for a visa. This post is for those who don’t need a visa.
When you enter Ecuador, immigration gives you an “entry stamp” for 90 days free of charge. As I said above, I’m going to simplify things by referring to this entry stamp as a visa since that’s what most foreign travelers call it.
Immigration stamps your passport with the date of entry, but unfortunately, the stamp doesn’t indicate how many days you get. Not to worry. It’s generally 90 days unless stated otherwise. However, Ecuador has a habit of suddenly changing rules without any warning, so double-check before your arrival.
The 90 days mean that you have 90 days to stay in Ecuador during a 365-day period. In other words, you can’t finish the 90 days, cross the border into Colombia, and cross back into Ecuador for another 90 days. You have to wait another 9 months to reenter Ecuador.
However, the 90 days don’t need to be consecutive. You can stay in Ecuador for 30 days, leave for Colombia, and then return to Ecuador and stay for up to the remaining 60 days in one year.
Pro Tip: Always look at your stamp before leaving immigration in any country to make sure the immigration officer stamped the right date into your passport.
When to Extend Your Visa for Ecuador
However, let’s say you want to stay longer than 90 days.
Yes, you can extend your stay beyond the initial 90 days and get another 90 days for a fee.
But what’s confusing is when to apply for the extension because Ecuador changed it as of July or August 2023.
In the past (before August 2023), you had to apply for your extension AFTER the 90 days. Not BEFORE. If you see other blogs and vlogs saying that the extension is AFTER your 90 days, they are out-of-date and wrong!
The current rule as of August 2023 is that you can apply for your extension on days 80 to 90 of your first 90 days in Ecuador. The fee is 1/3 of the Unified Base Salary of Ecuador, which in 2024 is US$153.33.
Here are the words from the website of the Ecuadorian government:
“The request for extension must be requested from the 80th to the 90th day of regular stay, that is, while your authorized stay is in force, with the migratory category of tourist, upon request and payment of the fee that will be one third of the Salary. “Migracion Ecuador
Please visit their website to get the most up-to-date information.
What’s the Grace Period?
If you try to extend your stay AFTER the 90 days, you do get a grace period of up to 30 days. However, you must also pay a fine of up to 50% of the Unified Basic Salary (average salary in Ecuador), which is currently US$250. In addition to the US$250, you also have to pay for the extension of US$153.33 for a total of US$403.33.
This is what Migracion Ecuador says on its website:
“The foreign person who exceeds ninety (90) days of their authorized stay as a tourist, may request the extension of the authorization of stay up to 30 days after their regular stay, prior to the payment of a fine of 50% of the Unified Basic Salary , for having incurred in the migratory offense established for this purpose in the Organic Law of Human Mobility.”Migracion Ecuador
What’s the fine for overstaying AND not extending your visa?
I have met a lot of foreigners who overstay but don’t bother extending their visas. Supposedly when they leave Ecuador, they have told me that they can either pay a fine of US$200 (possibly more in 2024) or they are not allowed back into Ecuador for 1 to 2 years. However, with the recent changes, I’m not sure if this is still true.
One more thing is that the fine can only be paid inside Ecuador, so if you’re in Colombia and you want to re-enter Ecuador, you need to have someone in Ecuador pay the fine for you.
How to Extend Your Ecuador Visa
When I wanted to extend my visa, I was on the coast in the town of Las Tunas, which is about a 15-minute drive from Puerto Lopez and a 30-minute drive from Montañita.
If you’re looking for a fabulous place to stay long-term, I want to recommend Onda Hostel. It’s got dorm rooms and studio apartments. I had no intention of staying longer than 90 days when I got to Onda Hostel near the end of my first 90 days, but once I arrived at the place, I didn’t want to leave. Honestly, there were a lot of people at Onda who had planned to stay a short time and ended up staying for weeks and months.
Here are the steps, which I’ll go through in detail below, on extending your visa:
- Prepare your documents
- Go to your local Migración Office
- Have Migración check your status and get the current extension fee and the bank code for paying the extension fee
- Pay the extension fee at Banco del Pacifico
- Submit the application and documents at the Migración Office
You should do steps 4 and 5 on the same day.
Step 1: Prepare Your Documents
According to the Migración of Ecuador website, these are the documents you need to bring with you to Migración:
- Extension Application Form – print out and fill out the form BEFORE arriving at Migración Office. This form has recently been revised and it is different from the one I filled out.
- US$150 paid to Banco del Pacifico using the payment code 4.6
- Comprabante de Transaccion (proof of transaction) receipt from Banco del Pacifico that you paid the extension fee.
However, here are the documents I brought with me to the Migración Office in Manta in August 2023:
- Passport (of course)
- A colored copy of the information page of my passport
- A copy of the page in my passport where Ecuador immigration stamped my visa when I arrived in the country (I’m not sure if it needs to be colored, but I made a colored copy just in case)
- Extension Application Form – print out and fill out this form BEFORE arriving at the immigration office
- US$150 paid to Banco del Pacifico using the payment code 4.6
- Comprabante de Transaccion (proof of transaction) receipt from Banco del Pacifico that I paid the extension fee.
For those doing the extension in Manta, you can copy and print out documents at Cyber Muyuyo in Puerto Lopez or a shop next to the Tuti Supermercado and across the street from Migraciónes Office in Manta. It takes 1 minute to walk from Migración to this copy and print shop.
Step 2: Go to Your Local Migración Office
Here is a list of places from the government’s website where you can extend your visa in Ecuador.
It’s open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, but that doesn’t mean the person processing visa extensions will be there until 4:30. So it’s best to go as early as you can in the morning. It took me 1 hour, but I’ve heard of other people taking 4 hours.
The office also closes for a half hour at noon for lunch.
The Migraciónes office is on the first floor of UVC Manta, which is the building of the National Police. The entrance for Migraciónes is outside so you don’t have to worry about wandering hallways looking for the office. Just ask one of the police officers or security guards when you arrive or look for a door with a sign saying “Migraciónes” or “servicio de apoyo migratorio” on it.
Don’t go to the Extranjería office in Manta. This office deals with resident visas. It’s not for tourist visas. My driver tried taking me there when I first arrived in Manta because that’s where he usually took foreigners.
How to get to Manta
Two bus companies cover the route from Puerto Lopez to Manta:
- Cooperativo Manglaralto
- Cooperativo Transportes Turismo Manta
Manglaralto’s buses are newer and cleaner than Turismo Manta’s but its bus drivers can drive just as insanely as the ones from the latter.
There are also two routes from Puerto Lopez to Manta. One route goes through Jipijapa (3 hours) and the other goes directly to Manta (2 to 2.5 hours). The direct bus to Manta can be frustrating because sometimes it goes all along the coast and through the whole city of Manta–so annoying because it takes 45 minutes to get through the city. You’re looking at 2.5 hours. Other times it’ll take a shortcut and a newer and faster road, avoiding going through the city. Then you can get to Manta in 2 hours.
Manta has a nice terminal. When you exit you should find a row of taxis waiting to take you to where you want to go. Expect to pay US$3.
Step 3: Check Your Status and Get Current Fee & Bank Code (Codigo) at Migración
When you arrive at Migración, the support service staff will check your status in their computer system to make sure you’re qualified to extend your visa.
They should also give you the information you need to pay for the extension (prórroga). You’ll need the bank code (4.6), the correct amount (US$153.33), and the bank name (Banco del Pacifico). Ask them to write it all down for you as it might have changed.
The Extension fee just increased in 2024 to US$153.33.
Ecuador’s bureaucracy works in mysterious ways. Rules change without much or any notice. Therefore, always go to immigration first before paying the fee at the bank. If you pay the wrong amount, you will have to pay the correct amount again. It’s unlikely that you will get your original payment back. If you pay US$150 the first time, you can’t just return to the bank and make up the balance with and additional $3.33. You have to pay the total amount all at once.
My experience at Migración
When I arrived at UVC Manta around 10:30 am, there were maybe 5 people and their children already waiting. There wasn’t a physical line. People were sitting on chairs at the entrance and the rest of the room was filled with 2 rows of office desks with chairs in front of them of office desks. I was expecting a setup like the DMV in the U.S. with a government worker standing behind a counter, but it wasn’t like that at all. It felt more like a social services office in the U.S. The whole setup seemed very casual and not well organized.
However, I unintentionally ended up jumping the queue by asking one of the support service staff who wasn’t busy with any customers whether I needed a paper copy of the application form (I hadn’t printed out the form beforehand). It turned out that he spoke English well and was very helpful.
He quickly had his colleague check the computer system to make sure my visa had expired. Then he got his colleague to give him the bank code (codigo) that I needed to pay the extension fee. He wrote all of this on a Post-it note.
I had to quickly run across the street from the Migración Office to a copy shop to print out the application form. Luckily, I had already downloaded the form on my phone, so I just showed the copy shop my phone. This cost me 50 cents.
In addition, I needed to copy my passport again because my first copy got wet and the ink ran.
Step 4: Pay the Extension Fee
When I arrived at the bank, there was a long line of 20 to 30 people moving very slowly. Luckily, the security guard saw me with crutches and allowed me to join a special line with only 2 people in front of me. I was out of the bank in 10-15 minutes. If I had to wait behind the 20+ people, it would have taken over an hour in the bank.
You need to tell the bank teller that you want to pay the prórroga for servicio de apoyo migratorio and give her the bank code, which is 4.6.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know I needed to say these exact words: prórroga for servicio de apoyo migratorio. Instead,I was using the word extensión in Spanish. She was confused and I was confused until another bank teller who spoke English sorted it all out. My fault.
You can ONLY pay the fee on the day you’re extending your visa. Don’t pay the fee the day before or else you’ll lose your US$153.33.
I had to pay additional 57 cents for a valor comision and valor IVA.
In total it cost me US$150.57 in 2023.
The bank will give you a Comprabante de Transaccion (proof of transaction) proving that you’ve paid for the extension. You’ll need to submit that receipt to Migración when you apply for your extension.
Before you leave the bank, check to make sure your name and passport number are correct on the Comprabante de Transaccion.
Step 5: Submit the Application and Documents
The last step is to submit all of your documents.
When I arrived back at Migraciónes Office at 11:30 am, there wasn’t anyone else waiting in line, so I immediately submitted my visa extension application. I gave the support service staff my documents including my passport, colored copies of my passport information page and entry stamp page, my application form (I filled it out right in the office), and the receipt (Comprabante de Transaccion) proving that I paid the extension fee.
It took less than 10 minutes to get my extension.
I was given a piece of paper called the Comprobante de Prórroga (Proof of Extension) proving that I had extended my visa. It included the beginning and ending dates of my extension as well as my name, passport number, nationality, birthdate, amount of extension, the date the extension was processed, and a QR code. The beginning of my extension started on day 91.
I asked the officer to staple the Comprobante de Prorroga into my passport.
Before leaving Migración, check to make sure all of the information is correct.
Extending Your Visa Online
Unfortunately, you do not get your extension on the same day as you do when you go in person.
The whole process took me only 1 hour and it took 2 friends of mine who followed this blog post 2 hours total to complete the process. However, I was lucky. It would have taken me a lot longer if I hadn’t unintentionally jumped the queue when I asked that nice government employee a question and if I hadn’t joined that special line at the bank. I wouldn’t have finished until the afternoon.
So go early. Get to your Migración Office by 9:00 am. But 8:00 am is even better.
I just wish there were clearer rules on extending your visa in Ecuador. It’s frustrating when you get different answers from different government workers for something as important as when you can extend your visa.
I have to say that many Ecuadorians were very nice to me when they saw I was using crutches. They gave up their seat for me, held doors for me, and let me use a faster line.
More Posts on Ecuador:
- Top 40 Foods You’ve Gotta Try in Ecuador
- How to Get to Papallacta Hot Springs
- How to Extend Your Visa in Ecuador
- The Ultimate Food Tour in Quito
- Galapagos Packing List
- Best Camera & Camera Gear for the Galapagos
- Anahi Galapagos Cruise Review: Western Islands Tour B1
- Anahi Galapagos Cruise Review: Eastern Islands Tour A2
- 25 Books to Read on Ecuador
- 15 BEST Places to Visit in Ecuador
- 25 BEST Places to Stay in Quito
- 20 BEST Quito Tours
- 15 BEST Day Trips from Quito
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