Ecuador Laws / Ecuador Residency Visa / Living in Ecuador

Ecuadorian Citizenship

For different reasons many people ask about the possibility of getting Ecuadorian citizenship. It’s not too difficult but you need to be sure that your home country permits dual citizenship or be prepared to become 100% Ecuadorian. US citizens are most likely familiar with the “loss of citizenship” warning printed inside our passports.

Warning US Passport

The US State department make these “potentially expatriating acts” more clear on its website:


Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481), as amended, states that U.S. citizens are subject to loss of citizenship if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Briefly stated, these acts include:

  1. obtaining naturalization in a foreign state (Sec. 349 (a) (1) INA);
  2. taking an oath, affirmation or other formal declaration to a foreign state or its political subdivisions (Sec. 349 (a) (2) INA);
  3. entering or serving in the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities against the U.S. or serving as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of a foreign state (Sec. 349 (a) (3) INA);
  4. accepting employment with a foreign government if (a) one has the nationality of that foreign state or (b) an oath or declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position (Sec. 349 (a) (4) INA);
  5. formally renouncing U.S. citizenship before a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer outside the United States (sec. 349 (a) (5) INA);
  6. formally renouncing U.S. citizenship within the U.S. (but only under strict, narrow statutory conditions) (Sec. 349 (a) (6) INA);
  7. conviction for an act of treason (Sec. 349 (a) (7) INA).

According to the US State department website, if you do not intend to relinquish US citizenship you are free to become naturalized in a foreign state. The US State department website continues with:

When, as the result of an individual’s inquiry or an individual’s application for registration or a passport it comes to the attention of a U.S. consular officer that a U.S. citizen has performed an act made potentially expatriating by Sections 349(a)(1), 349(a)(2), 349(a)(3) or 349(a)(4) as described above, the consular officer will simply ask the applicant if there was intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship when performing the act. If the answer is no, the consular officer will certify that it was not the person’s intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship and, consequently, find that the person has retained U.S. citizenship.

I am only presenting information collected from the US State department and I am not an attorney. However, it seems pretty clear to me that one should be able to apply for Ecuadorian citizenship without risking loss of US citizenship.

Ecuadorian Citizenship

You can get Ecuadorian nationality by naturalization.
1. Be 18 years old or older.
2. Have a profession, business, job, or investment that allows you to live indepently.
3. Speak and write in spanish.
4. Have general knowledge of ecuadorian history and geography and also about Ecuador´s constitution.
5.Prove a minimum time of three years of residence since the date of expedition of the Ecuadorian identity card as a foreigner.
6. The time of residence is reduced to two years in the case that a foreigner is married to an Ecuadorian or has one or more children born in the national territory.
7. The absences of more than ninety days interrupts the time of legal residence. In case of serious reasons for health or studies, the Minister of Foreign Relations will be able to consider that such absences do not interrupt the time of legal residence.

Children of the foreign applicant could be included in the request of their father to obtain the Ecuadorian nationality, they have to be under 18 years old and depend on their parents.

8. Write a request asking for naturalization, this has to be sign by the applicant and a ecuadorian lawyer.

Once you get your ecuadorian citizenship you can get an ecuadorian passaport.

Information about Ecuadorian citizenship was taken from the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores



  1. I went to ecuador last year with a young lady who was born in Ecuador and adopted at birth by an American couple who reared her in the US. The Ecuadorian customs officials almost didn’t allow her to enter without an Ecuadorian passport and told us Ecuadorians are considered citizens for life from birth. After much discussion about her being adopted at birth, they relented and allowed her to stay- with a warning.

  2. Jennifer Smith says:

    My mother was born and raised in Ecuador and moved to the US in her 20s. Could myself, her daughter and a US citizen, attain dual nationality?

    Thank you

  3. me and my husband a ecuadorian born, we became us citizen 25 years ago, am going onto ecuador vacation january2012 , I would like to know if, I need to have dual citizen or ecuadorian pasaport or if i have problem getting in or out of the country, because many I heard as a us citizen , i need a ecuadorian passaport , please i need and answer , thanks

  4. Hello all,

    I am in the same situation as Angela. My mother was born in Ecuador and moved to the US for university. She married my father, an american citizen. My mother only has her green card. Can I gain ecuadorian citizenship without having to live in Ecuador for 3 continuous years?

  5. Hi. I´m living in Ecuador and am married to an Ecuadorian man. I have applied for Ecuadorian citizenship and of course want to keep my US citizenship. However, I´m now starting to hear that many employers will pay me less as a dual Ecuadorian-US citizen than they would pay me if I only had US citizenship. Has anyone heard this before? Do you think it´s true?

    • Saajid Gilani says:

      No Magdalene it is not true. The fact is that when a company take you as a American then they value you more. And when they know that “oh you are just another Ecuadorian and why should they pay you more is true to all countries except western ones! If you are planning to work and stay in Ecuador you and your husband both can benefit from your diversity.

      I am planning to move to Ecuador for trade reason and I need to obtain the Ecuadorian citizenship. Do you by any chance know a good atty who can help me with the legal process. I am married to an Ecuadorian with two children for 13 years now and live in the US. Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

  6. Hi Valerie. I am not an Ecuadorian attorney so please check with one. Why don’t you consider becoming a dual citizen? I can’t think of any downside. Both the US and Ecuador permit dual citizens and, assuming the new constitution is passed today, you will legally be considered an Ecuadorian because of your mother.

    Of course, getting the paperwork could prove to be difficult as often in Ecuador the law says one thing the reality is totally different. Best of luck to you.

  7. My mother was ecuadorian. I lived there for over 10 years and had a visa through her. She has since passed away but my brother was just able to get his residency with her birth certificate. I dont want to relinquish my US citizenship but I would like to get Ecuadorian residency. Is this an easy process and where to get the info from? I went to Consulate website and couldn’t find anything.

  8. Hi Meaghan,

    Applying for Ecuadorian residency visa does not mean that you are applying for Ecuadorian citizenship. They are two completely different things. After three years of Ecuadorian residency, as explained above, you can apply for citizenship.

  9. meaghan simpson says:

    Hello Dear Pro-Ecuador! – I am still learning about relocating to Ecuador as a retiree resident. As I understand it I can apply for a retiree residency VISA once I am in Ecuador and plan to stay at least 9 months of the year for at least 2 years?…. BUT my question is: does this mean I am also applying for Ecuador Citizenship? Do I become a dual citizen of USA and Ecuador by engaging in Residency Retiree? For what purpose would dual citizenship be useful? The Ecuador Embassy did not mention Citizenship when I was discussing Retiree Residency Visa.. Sure do want to thank you for helping me as I am planning on relocating permanently and soon later this year when the luggage embargo seasonal allowances are lifted and hopefully I can safely arrive there with enough of my supplies and tools to begin my life anew in Ecuador! I am also seeking a travel companion to assist me and also for the additional luggage allowance. I will be traveling from California, USA to Cotacachi, Ecuador.

  10. I just had a quick question. My mother was born in Ecuador and remained an Ecuadorian citizen when she moved to the US. She only recently became a US citizen (about 9 years ago). I was wondering if I had an claims to an Ecuadorian citizenship via her birth (I was born in the US). I’m not sure if it makes a difference but my father is a US citizen (prior to his naturalization he was a Cuban citizen, however once he claimed US citizenship he lost rights to his Cuban citizenship).