The regular Ecuador Tourist Visa that you get on arrival gives you 90 days in the country. To get this "visa" (which is actually a tourist stamp) you don't have to do anything, your passport will be stamped when you pass through Immigration at the airport in Ecuador.
Some people want to stay longer than that. With the amount of things to see and do here in Ecuador I don't blame them.
But you can only get the 90 day tourist stamp once every 365 days. You cannot just cross the border and come back in on a new tourist stamp. So what do you need to do if you want to stay longer?
Updated February 2018
Before you leave for Ecuador you need to.....do nothing. You will handle all the visa paperwork in Ecuador.
Note: Citizens of certain countries need to get a visa for any length visit to Ecuador. If on the list, you need to contact the nearest Ecuadorian Consulate or Embassy for visa requirements.
On arrival you will receive the 90 day T-3 stamp in your passport.
In the last days before the 90 days are up you need to visit an immigration office in Ecuador to apply for a 90 day extension. Immigration or Migracion is different than a visa office and is handled by the Ecuadorian National Police. These offices are operating in the capital city of each province, but I am unsure if all handle this paperwork. It would be a good idea to go in a week or so early just to be sure or just plan to handle this in Quito, Guayaquil or Cuenca.
To qualify for the extension you must:
The 90 day stamp and the extension can only be used once every 365 days.
If you still want to stay longer you can apply for the Special Tourist Visa, which is valid for 6 months. This would bring your total time in Ecuador to one year.
You can only apply for this visa after you have used the two 90 day options and you can only use this option once every five years. You would apply for this at the visa or cancelleria office and should be able to obtain it in every province of the country.
You can not legally work in Ecuador with this visa.
The requirements are similar to those listed above for the 90 day extension. For a complete list of requirements and step by step instructions for obtaining the Special Tourist Visa (in Spanish) click here.
Update September 2017!
If your visa has expired and you are illegal in Ecuador, a few days before you leave the country you need to go to Migracion (a different office from Extranjeria) in Quito or Guayaquil to get your record cleared. This will make things easier when you decide to come back to Ecuador.
There is no fine to pay when you leave the country.
When can you come back? You must be outside of Ecuador for two years. After this time you can return.
The only exception would be if you obtain a different visa to come to Ecuador OR you can pay a fine equal to two basic wages in Ecuador, which comes to about $775 USD. The fine must be paid at an Ecuadorian Consulate of Embassy. (Note: this fine is a new option and you may find some consular offices are not up to date and may say they've never heard of such a thing)
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