My partner is from a 'bad boy' country (GHANA). Approximately 2 years ago, he and I were introduced by a tax client, an international business consultant who had been in Accra, Ghana on business. The client had issues with his computer and was recommended to my partner. When the client returned to the U.S., he shared with me that he had met the 'male' equivalent of me. He said that this Ghanaian IT Consultant seemed so intelligent but was moreorless stuck because he was self-employed and just not making much money. My client was not in a position to offer the Ghanaian IT Consultant potential employment in the U.S. due to the nature of my client’s business (he traveled internationally extensively).
I have been in the tax law profession for 36 years. My Bachelor’s degree is in Accounting, and my Master’s degree is in Tax Law. Living in the US is expensive, especially for those on a fixed income and/or minimal interest income from bank accounts. I know I must keep working in my profession until either the interest rates increase markedly which they haven’t in more than 8 years, and/or I figure out a way to cutback on my professional work, and/or I decrease my living expenses.
This is potentially where my Ghanaian partner could really help me AND help himself…
I NEED and WANT to cutback on my professional work…
He NEEDS and WANTS to increase his income...
We get along marvelously…
So…he and I are together in Ecuador for 3 months exploring options for offering income tax services for U.S. expatriates in Cuenca, Ecuador (the current number of ‘expats’ in Cuenca is not exact, but there are thousands…some quotes are as high as 11,000 of which however many thousand are U.S.)
I have been researching becoming a U.S. expatriate in Cuenca, Ecuador since September 2017, including emailing back and forth with US expats already living in Cuenca. This initial 3+ months’ trip to Cuenca is to check out the prospects for he and I to work together in the preparation and ‘electronic’ transmission of U.S. income tax returns beginning in 2019.
The arrangement we have is both business AND personal. We have become very close in the 2 years of using smartphone apps (Hangouts and Whatsapp)…initially, we texted…then we began audio-chatting…then we began video-chatting. In a normal day, we communicate 2-3 times per day and probably average 2 hours per day of conversation be it texting, audio or video chatting.
I have come to know his mom, his sister, his niece over the 2 years…we have texted…we have audio chatted…and we have video chatted.
Our ultimate goal: We want to be together…we want to work together…we think Cuenca, Ecuador is where we want to be for now…However, that could change in time…
We found booking airfare for him to ECUADOR (a Visa ‘free’ country) was a challenge!
Travel by AIR was extremely limited for him because most flights from Accra, Ghana to Ecuador required travel thru a ‘U.S.’ airport. Travel for a Ghanaian thru a US airport evidently requires a US VISA. His US ‘Tourist’ VISA application was unsuccessful in May 2017 (denied presumably because ‘my’ name was listed as the ‘support’),Many flights from Accra, Ghana were thru a Schengen Area which requires ‘Ghanaian’ Passport holders to have an Airport Transit VISA (another unsuccessful application presumably because we did not really understand that ‘he’ needed to prove his own financial support rather than ‘my’ offering to help).
We did find an airfare from Accra, Ghana thru Brazil to Ecuador. He applied for and RECEIVED a ‘Tourist’ VISA from BRAZIL! He does have ‘income’ in Ghana, but we thought it was not enough to ensure his qualifying for either the ‘US Tourist VISA’ OR the ‘Schengen Area Airport Transit VISA’.
This initial scouting trip to Cuenca, Ecuador i. Though his ‘travel’ was successful, he must return from his initial arrival in Brazil within 90 days based on his Ghanaian citizenship
Only having 90 days at a time or a maximum of 180 days in a ‘lookback’ year is NOT enough! This is not satisfactory for business or for personal !!
Preparation of U.S. income tax returns is generally done in the months of February, March until mid-April unless an ‘extension’ is filed by mid-April. For ‘expatriates’, the ‘extension’ deadline is mid-JUNE which makes the maximum 90 days virtually impossible to work with.
The country of Ecuador offers a unique ‘residency’ situation…the first 90 days is ‘free’…the second 90 days is ‘paid’…then, a Temporary Residency is available (assuming qualifications are met which they are for EACH of us) for 2 years with a maximum 2 years extension…then, a Permanent Residency is available
Even though I am educated in ‘law’, it is certainly NOT ‘immigration’ law!
We have reached a point where it is time to consult with ‘professionals’ in the immigration field, particularly now that US President Trump has signed an Executive Order on January 27, 2018 to enhance the security of the U.S. visa process worldwide.o