A bright start to the morning - a phone call from a visa lawyer in Quito, Ecuador.
And let the visa games begin . . .
Getting visas in Ecuador has been shifting over the last year or so, presenting some challenges for those of us who are looking at somewhat long-term presence in the country without establishing permanent residency. It used to be that you could simply renew your 90 day tourist visa rather indefinitely, a part of the famous (infamous?) visa run culture I was introduced to when I was living in Asia.
Basically, every couple of months you just needed to pop out of the country for a second and you'd get hit with a brand new batch of visa time. In China, people would run to Hong Kong for a weekend of open access Internet and superior English language bookstores. Drop the passport at the office on Friday when you get in, pick it up Monday morning when you head out, shopped, rested, and ready for more China time.
In Ecuador, the pop in and pop out option has been curtailed. No more re-juicing your tourist visa. The 90 day tourist visa now means 90 days in a calendar year, not 90 days whenever you get a new entry. Which means if I want to be in Ecuador the rest of the year, I need another kind of visa.
And so we are in the process. I'm not interested in the $25,000 investor class visa, and I'm not in the mood to pursue a property purchase. There is a work visa prospect out there on the horizon, but these things take time and evidently a collegiate diploma certified by the State Department as authentic which I've no idea how to even begin to pursue since I was under the impression that the State Department did actual things, like protect the country, versus authenticating degrees.
Also, the lawyer helpfully pointed out that you are supposed to only get a work visa in the field to match your degree. Right, because career change never happens and everyone is doing EXACTLY what they planned to do when they left college. Not entirely sure how that will work out for me, with my combination of HR, Psychology, and Spanish degrees and a career as a freelancer. Job title brainstorming seems imminent :-)
In the meantime, we are working on some kind of limited three month visa which can then be converted into any other kind of visa later. Much later, when we've figured this all out. I'll keep you updated!