Ecuador may offer visas to ‘digital nomads’

Aug 24, 2021 | 2 comments

Talks are underway between the president’s office and the interior and tourism ministries about creating a new visa category for so-called digital nomads, those who work by internet and can live anywhere in the world. According to Tourism Minister Niels Olsen, Ecuador could become the first country in South America to offer the option.

Tourism Minister Niels Olsen says the visa application process would need to be streamlined to attract international digital nomads.

According to Olsen, there are millions of financially independent workers around the world who can live wherever they want. “They have the flexibility to travel and choose where to settle and I believe Ecuador would be a desirable destination for many of them. There are 18 nations that currently offer the visa, understanding that this group can provide a financial boost to the economy.”

According the figures provided by the tourism ministry, there are about eight million digital nomads from the U.S. and Canada and another seven million from European Union countries. “Many of these workers are looking for countries that offer convenient residency options,” Olsen says. “Ecuador would need to be competitive in its offer and we are working toward this goal.”

Although many of the requirements of other visas would apply to the digital nomads, Olsen said special consideration would be made to expedite the application process. “Many of these workers would be temporary, since they move frequently, so we would need to design a process to reduce the bureaucratic red tape.”

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