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Most travelers entering Ecuador as tourists, including citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the EU, Canada and the USA, do not require visas. Upon entry, they will be issued a T-3 embarkation card valid for 90 days. Residents from a handful of African and Asian countries (including China) require visas.

All travelers entering as diplomats, students, laborers, religious workers, businesspeople, volunteers and cultural-exchange visitors require nonimmigrant visas.

Various immigrant visas are also available.

All (nontourist) visa holders must register at the Dirección General de Extranjería (02-225-3082; Av Gaspar de Villaroel E10-288 nr 6 de Diciembre, edificio Karina; 8:30am-4:30pm Mon-Fri) in Quito within 30 days of arrival in Ecuador. If visa holders wish to leave the country and return, they need a salida (exit) form from the Jefatura Provincial de Migración, which can be used for multiple exits and re-entries. Visa holders who apply for residency need to get an exit permit from the immigration authorities in Quito before they leave the country.

Stay Extensions
New regulations mean it’s a real headache getting visa extensions. Unless you’re from an Andean Pact country, tourist visas are not extendable. If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you’ll need to apply for a 12-IX Visa; you can also do this while in Ecuador, though it’s more time-consuming than doing it in advance through an Ecuadorian consulate in your home country. Pick up the necessary paperwork for the 12-IX Visa, and pay the $230 fee at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (02-299-3200; www.mmrree.gob.ec; Carrión E1-76 & Av 10 de Agosto, Quito).

No matter what, don’t wait until your visa has expired to sort out your paperwork, as the fine for overstaying can be hefty – $200 to $2000.