GENERAL INFORMATION FOR IMMIGRANT VISA APPLICANTS
We understand that moving to a different country implies a great amount of stress and hard work. To help you out in the process we have prepared a list that focuses on key points and terms you should become familiar with. If you are a U.S. citizen planning on moving to Ecuador, the following information will be useful for you:
A visa applicant may choose to apply for the type of residence visa that best fits their interest and personal situation. Immigrant visas are approved in Ecuador only. This means that an Ecuadorian consulate cannot accept immigrant visa applications. For information on requirements for immigrant visas please follow the link http://www.mmrree.gob.ec/servicios/req_visas_inm.asp
First of all, all public documents that you intend to use in Ecuador must be legalized with an Apostille. The Apostille is NOT a seal or stamp from a public notary. It is NOT either the seal or stamp from the document's issuing agency affixed in it. The Apostille is a special legalization issued by the corresponding Secretary of State.
For instance, if you need your birth certificate legalized with the Apostille and you were born in Maryland, you must contact the Secretary of State of Maryland to request an Apostille on your birth certificate. In this regards, documents such as, but not limited to: birth certificate, marriage certificate, criminal background check, letter of income, professional degrees, etc. must be legalized with an Apostille.
For more information on how to get an Apostille in the U.S. please visit the U.S. Department of State web site at http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/c16921.htm
Secondly, all documents written in English must have their corresponding notarized translation into Spanish. The translation must be performed by a third party and legalized with the Apostilled as well. This means that if you are bilingual, you cannot translate your own documents. In the event that you are unable to get the translations done in the U.S., they can be prepared and notarized in Ecuador.
Third, the criminal background check is one of the documents required to apply for an immigrant visa. You must get one from all the places where you lived in the last five years. We recommend to get the criminal background check no more than a month prior to your scheduled trip to Ecuador.
Next, if you will be applying for an immigrant visa based on your retirement pension, you must get a Certification Income Letter issued by the Consulate of Ecuador of your jurisdiction. In order to get that letter, you must present at the consulate your Social Security Award letter (apostilled). The fee you should pay at the consulate is USD 40.00.