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Ecuador News

Proof of insurance date for foreigners pushed back again; Some attorneys predict the requirement will be dropped altogether

The government has delayed for the third time the date at which foreigners will be required to show proof of health insurance when they enter Ecuador. The new date is July 22, according to the ministry of the interior.

Tourists will be exempt from the health insurance requirement, the government says.

Originally, the requirement was scheduled to go into effect in February as part of the 2017 immigration law.

In a point of clarification, the government said that the requirement will apply only after foreigners have been in the country for more than 90 days, meaning that tourists and short-term visitors will be exempt.

According to some immigration attorneys, the health insurance requirement may never be implemented. “There’s a good reason why they keep delaying it,” says Cuenca attorney Lina Ulloa. “It violates the health care access provision in the constitution.” She adds that a law suit currently before the constitutional court challenges several parts of the immigration law, including the health care requirement.

“There are no plans to develop the data bases necessary to track compliance with the insurance requirement,” Ulloa says. “I think the government recognizes that there’s a problem with the new law and they’re waiting for the court to rule before they spend money on software.”