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Work Permit in Ecuador

Is a Work Permit Required in Ecuador?

In Ecuador, a work permit is crucial for foreign nationals due to the country’s specific economic policies and labor market conditions. One of the primary reasons for this requirement is to protect employment opportunities for Ecuadorian citizens. With a significant portion of the population dependent on employment for their livelihoods, the Ecuadorian government prioritizes local job opportunities to ensure that its citizens benefit from the country’s economic activities. By requiring work permits, the government ensures that foreign workers are only employed in positions where there is a clear shortage of local expertise, thereby safeguarding jobs for Ecuadorians.

Another significant reason for the work permit requirement in Ecuador is to support the country’s economic development and diversification goals. Ecuador is working to develop various sectors beyond its traditional reliance on oil, such as agriculture, tourism, and renewable energy. The work permit system allows the government to attract skilled foreign professionals who can contribute to these emerging sectors, filling critical skill gaps and promoting innovation. This targeted approach is essential for enhancing productivity and fostering sustainable economic growth.

Ensuring compliance with labor laws and standards is also a fundamental aspect of Ecuador’s work permit system. The government uses the work permit process to ensure that foreign workers are employed under conditions that meet Ecuadorian labor laws. This includes guaranteeing fair wages, safe working conditions, and access to social security benefits. By enforcing these standards, the government aims to prevent the exploitation and abuse of foreign workers, ensuring that all employees in Ecuador are treated with respect and fairness.

Additionally, the work permit system in Ecuador involves thorough background checks and verification of qualifications to maintain national security and professional standards. The government ensures that foreign workers possess the necessary skills and credentials and do not pose any security risks. This scrutiny helps maintain the integrity of the Ecuadorian workforce and ensures that foreign workers contribute positively to the economy and society.

Moreover, Ecuador’s work permit system supports its broader goals of social inclusion and economic stability. By managing the entry of foreign workers, Ecuador can better control the economic impact and social integration of these individuals. This regulation helps maintain social cohesion and supports the government’s objectives of balanced development and social harmony.

About the Ecuador Job Market

Work Permit in Ecuador

Number of Expats:


Expats Job Websites:

Popular Industries for Expats:

Petroleum, Food Processing, Textiles, Wood Products, Chemicals, Agriculture

Types of Ecuador Work Visas Available

There are a variety of work permits available to foreign nationals who wish to travel to Ecuador for employment purposes. Typically, Ecuadorian visas are broadly divided into two categories – resident and non-resident visas. However, there are other types of visas under these categories.

An expat must choose the right type of visa depending on their work type and intended duration of stay. Foreign workers availing non-resident visas have to obtain a Work Visa, also known as the 12-VI visa. Expats traveling to the country for business or other professional purposes require this Ecuador work visa. 

There are two types of resident visas available in Ecuador:

Professional Visa or 9­-V Visa

This visa allows workers with degrees from local universities to move to the country and work in their respective professional fields. 

Technician Visa or 10­-IV Visa

This visa is usually issued to technical experts who have signed a contract with an Ecuadorian company. 

If an expat meets all visa requirements of Ecuador, they might be issued resident visas for an indefinite time.

Ecuador Work Permit Requirements

The Ecuador work visa requirements vary depending on the type of visa. However, the basic requirements for all kinds of visas are listed as follows:

  • A passport (with validity for a minimum of six months) 
  • Two recent colored passport photos
  • A copy of the foreign employee’s CV
  • A medical certificate
  • A duly filled visa application form
  • Proof of payment of the visa application fee
  • A police background check to prove that the applicant has no criminal record in their resident country

The requirements for the title holder’s application for a Work Visa (12 VI) have been listed below:

  • Passport with at least six months validity 
  • Recent passport size photo
  • A written request signed by the company’s legal representative addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility
  • RUC certificate of the sponsor
  • A certificate stating that the company does not retain any debts to the Ecuadorian Institute for Social Security (IESS)
  • A contract of employment and the document which holds the employee’s enrollment to IESS (Ecuadorian Institute for Social Security), provided the applicant has an employment contract in the private sector
  • Appointment of the President or General Manager registered in the Commercial Register
  • Labor Authorization for working in the public sector 
  • Professional services contract duly registered in a Civil Court. 
  • Letter issued by the head office apostilled or legalized and the Industrial Training Agreement between the head office and the branch office in Ecuador

Many employees choose to bring their family members along with them when coming to work in Ecuador. The procedure for obtaining the dependents’ visas depends on what type of visa the employee holds. Therefore, it is best to check with the Ecuadorian embassy for their particular requirements and procedures. 

For dependents of employees holding a Work Visa (12 VI), the documents needed are as follows:

  • Passport with a minimum validity of 6 months
  • Passport size photograph
  • Legal birth or marriage certificate 
  • Copy of the visa issued to the employee

Ecuador Work Permit Application Process

The steps to apply for an Ecuador work permit are as follows:

  • Firstly, the foreign nationals interested in finding employment in Ecuador need to contact the Ecuadorian embassy in their country of residence. 
  • They should confirm the list of necessary documents with the embassy and submit them in due time.
  • After submitting the required documents, applicants must stay in their country of residence while waiting for the decision of the Ecuadorian officials. Only after approval for their permit can they travel to Ecuador to start working. 

Timeframe for Work Permit Application 

(Data from Internationalliving)

The timeframe to complete the entire process from application to approval for an Ecuador work visa is four to eight weeks.

Ecuador Work Permit Fees 

  • Application form: USD 50 (non-refundable)
  • Visa: USD 400 
  • Dependants: USD 200 per person

This is How Multiplier Can Help With an Ecuador Work Permit

With a local presence in  150 countries, we are a global EOR firm with experience handling and providing hassle-free hiring of employees around the globe. Our experts ensure that your company always gets the best talent among all others.

The work permits for an Ecuador work visa are varied, and the application process for the same is a multi-step and tedious process. Our SaaS-based solution provides you with a one-stop solution to this entire process. Moreover, we will take care of the applications and permits from the beginning and keep you updated on all relevant updates.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Ecuador offers several types of work visas including:

  • 12-VI Work Visa: For foreign nationals coming to Ecuador for employment purposes. This is a non-resident visa.
  • Professional Visa (9-V Visa): For professionals with degrees from recognized institutions.
  • Technician Visa (10-IV Visa): For technical experts with contracts from Ecuadorian companies​

General requirements include:

  • Valid passport with at least six months of validity
  • Two recent passport-sized photos
  • Copy of the foreign employee’s CV
  • Medical certificate
  • Completed visa application form
  • Proof of payment of the visa fee
  • Police background check to show no criminal record
  • Employment contract and documents proving enrollment in social security (IESS)​

The process involves:

  • Contacting the Ecuadorian embassy in the applicant’s country of residence
  • Confirming and submitting the necessary documents
  • Waiting for the approval of the work permit while remaining in the country of residence
  • Traveling to Ecuador only after receiving the permit approval​

The entire process from application to approval typically takes between four to eight weeks​

The fees include:

  • Application form fee: USD 50 (non-refundable)
  • Visa fee: USD 400
  • Dependent visa fee: USD 200 per person

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