Moving to Ecuador


Moving to Ecuador

RESTRICTED ITEMS: Drugs, narcotics, food, pornographic material, live plants, firearms and ammunition are strictly prohibited. Alcohol, cigarettes are restricted too. Gas R-12 &/or R-502 (Usually founded in domestics machines and equipment’s as freezers and air conditioners).


Household goods and personal effects are allowed duty free for:

  • Foreign diplomats
  • Ecuadorian diplomats
  • Ecuadorian citizens returning after finishing official assignments in International Organizations recognized by the Ecuadorian Government.
  • Ecuadorian citizens returning after a minimum if one (1) year of legal residence abroad (resident visa from the country where they return from is required)
  • Foreigners with immigrant visa
  • Foreigners with non-immigrant working visa.


Only one item per article is allowed. Additional items are subject to payment of duties and fines or confiscation

Returning citizens will not be eligible for duty free importation if they have stayed in Ecuador for more than 30 days during the last year of abroad residence.

Returning citizens need to stay in Ecuador until the clearance process is completed, if not duty free this doesn’t apply.

The shipment must arrive up to 60 days AFTER the arrival of the consignee.

Shipments on which all conditions are not fulfilled will be subject to payment of import taxes(approx. 43% of CIF value, calculated by Customs after inspection)

The OBL/AWB and cargo documentation must have the consignee’s R.U.C. (Ecuador tax contributor unique register, if the consignee is a company), ID number (if importer is an Ecuadorian natural person) or passport number (if other than Ecuadorian). If the cargo is consigned to someone else, that individuals R.U.C., ID or Passport number must be indicated.

Except for diplomats, if customer brings two shipments, only one shipment is free of duties the second one will pay duties.

If Customer brings two shipments (air and sea) only one of them will have duty free. The other one is dutiable.


Except for diplomats, household goods and personal effects shipments valued over $ 4.000,oo (declared value for Customs purposes only, not full replacement value), must be inspected an origin before embarkation. Inspection authorization will be requested by the destination agent in Ecuador.  Lack of verification at origin will cause immediate re-embarkation of shipment. Cost of verification is 1% of FOB value (min. $250.00) and taxes approx. 1 week.

Effective September 16, 2005; the Ecuadorian Government will commence enforcement of new wood packing material based upon international treaty. The only approved method for treating wood packing materials (i.e., cases, skids, pallets, braces, etc.) is heat treatment or fumigation. The wood packing material must be stamped with the acceptable symbol indicating the type of treatment used. Any shipment not complying will be exported out of the Ecuador immediately at shipper’s cost.


  • Original passport with stamped visa
  • The property of goods must be demonstrated by means of the buying documents or with a sworn declaration stamped by an Ecuadorian Consul at origin, in which is evident the detailed in Spanish and complete list of household goods and working equipment included on the shipment. There will be no exceptions to this requirement.
  • 2 Originals of OBL / 1 original of AWB (please see consignment instructions below)
  • Work contract valid for more than one year (foreigners only)
  • Resident visa from the country they return from (returning citizens only)
  • Migratory Certificate, issued at destination by Migration Police prior to presentation of Customs declaration(not applicable to foreign and Ecuadorian diplomats)
  • Verification certificate (issued by Inspection Company)
  • Transportation Insurance policy issued in Ecuador


If the visa is not stamped on arrival, a $2.000.00 refundable guarantee must be presented. If the working visa is not presented to Customs within 90 days, the guarantee will not be reimbursed and Customs duties will be applied.

Returning Ecuadorians must present the resident visa from the country they were living in.

Except for diplomats, detailed physical inspection at the port of entry is mandatory

If non-declared items are found during inspection, this will be considered a felony and will be severely punished.


  • Original passport
  • Inventory list (no Consular seal needed)
  • 2 Originals of OBL / 1 original of AWB
  • Official Franchise from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved by Customs e)    If a motor vehicle is included, original invoice


No diplomatic sea shipments Aprox. 2 or 3 weeks

No diplomatic air Shipments: Aprox. 10 working days

Diplomatic sea and air shipments: Aprox. 7 working days


Except for diplomatic shipments, importation of used motor vehicles is prohibited. To import a motor vehicle, it must be brand new, it must be inspected at origin before embarkation (even if it is sharing a container with household goods) and an import permit must be previously approved in Ecuador. Motor vehicles are subject to duties (approx. 65% of CIF value).


Be advised that according to a new Customs Law issued by the Ecuadorian Congress, and published at the Official Register On May 3rd, 2003, verification at origin for shipments whose value for customs is equal or greater than US $4000.00 is mandatory,  also the issuance of  a Marine or Air Transport Insurance for the international transportation leg of the shipment by Companies Established in Ecuador is being enforced in this law to determine the CIF value of the shipment  and is one of the documents to be  obtained in Ecuador to request the verification at origin.   Presence of the customer in Ecuador for these previous  steps is not needed. However a copy of the customers Passport (all pages) is required.

In the event a shipment arrives to Ecuador without the Inspection Certificate, the Customer has 15 Working days upon the arrival date of the shipment to request Ecuadorian Customs Authorities at Port/Airport of  shipment’s arrival: re-embarkation, in this case Customer’s presence is needed to sign personally this  request and present additional obligatory documents, as per Customs Procedures valid at that time.-If in this period of time, Customer does not apply for it, Customs will confiscate the shipment!!.

Only the following imports are exempted of Verification at Origin:

  • Imports destined for the Diplomatic and Consular Sector
  • International Transit Regime
  • Traveler’s accompanied baggage
  • International Mail Traffic and Courier
  • Border Traffic.

It is important to differentiate between [Declared Value For Customs] and [Declared Value for Insurance].-Also it is recommended that these figures are not indicated on MAWB,HAWB,MBL or  HBL.-The process of assessing values to the shipment based on the consularized list is a careful  coordination between customer, origin agent, customs broker and destination agent.

It is also expected, that in a near future, this new Law be reformed.-It seems that if this happens, the verification at origin for Household Goods according to its value and the insurance clause would be deleted.


In the description cargo box of the OBL should say the following: EFECTOS PERSONALES Y MENAJE DE CASA USADOS or USED PERSONAL EFFECTS AND HHGDS

Ecuador – For Providing the above Customs Information

Please note:
The information on this page is intended as a guide and NOT as a complete or definitive resource.
The information on this page should not be used as an authoritative reference.

Updated June, 2007