The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has increased the number of countries whose citizens will need a special visa to enter Ecuador as tourists. The ministry says the move was prompted by an increase in the number of foreigners entering the country, an increase in those overstaying their 90-day in-country allowance, and an increase of those entering for “illicit purposes.”
The ministry adds that citizens from more than 90 percent of the world’s countries can still enter with only their passports. “There will be no change for the vast majority of foreigners wishing to visit our country and we foresee no change in the future,” says Foreign Minister José Valencia.
The 11 countries added to the list on Monday are Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Iraq, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria and Sri Lanka.
The 12 countries previously on the list are Cuba, North Korea, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia.
According to Valencia and Interior Minister María Paula Romo, the expansion of the list is part of an overall review of immigration policies and proposed revisions to Ecuador’s 2017 Human Mobility Law, currently pending in the National Assembly.
The mobility law recognizes the “principle of universal citizenship,” but, according to Romo, needs to be revised to allow greater flexibility due to changing in international conditions.
“We recognized shortly after the law was enacted that Ecuador was being used as a point of entry for people involved in human trafficking and possible terrorist activities and we had to put the first 12 countries on the list,” she says. “That remains a problem but we are currently dealing with the vast out-migration from Venezuela as well as new terrorist threats.”
According to Romo, three suspected Islamic State terrorists, who entered South America through Ecuador, were arrested in Ncaragua two weeks ago.