Salvadoran Residency Requirements

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January 2024

The information provided here is intended to explain the general requirements for a U.S. citizen to become a legal resident in El Salvador.

Salvadoran Immigration Officials have expressed their desire to treat each application on a case-by-case basis because the documentation presented by U.S. citizens varies depending on the state or jurisdiction where the documents were issued. Salvadoran Immigration can provide the specific requirements to apply for each type of residency on their website:

The general requirements to obtain a temporary residency are as follows:

  1. Application form signed by the foreign person, his/her legal representative, or employer. In case of not applying personally, a signature legalized by a Salvadoran notary will be required.
  2. Photocopy of the valid passport and of all the pages used. The original document must be submitted for comparison.
  3. Original police or criminal record from the country of origin or where the applicant has resided in the last two years prior to their entry to El Salvador.
  4. Solvency of the National Civil Police of El Salvador when the applicant has stayed for more than three months in the national territory or has more than two entries to the country in the last year.
  5. In the case of applying for residency that authorizes to work in the country, a letter of commitment from the employer, where work opportunity is requested, or certified photocopy of work contract complying with all the formalities.
  6. Fee, which will depend on the type of residency the applicant is approved for.

If the  applicant is married or in a common law marriage to a Salvadoran national and wants to obtain permanent residency,  besides the above requirements, they must comply with the following:

  1. El Salvador’s Marriage Certificate. If the marriage has been celebrated abroad, it must be legally registered in El Salvador.
  2. Photocopy of the identity card of the Salvadoran spouse in which the married family status and the name of the spouse is stated.
  3. If it is a common law marriage, an affidavit must be presented granted before a Salvadoran notary, which contains the time that the relationship has existed.
  4. Affidavit granted before a notary, by the person who will provide the economic support in the country, establishing the commitment that he/she acquires, the time for which he/she will cover this support and the form of obtaining the income.

On their website you may find all the forms that you need to submit in accordance with the type of residency you aim to obtain.

U.S. citizens should be aware that any documents (e.g., birth certificate, marriage certificates, divorced decrees, police record checks) presented to the Salvadoran government (GOES) must be apostilled, also all types of documents must be issued within the last sixty (60) days otherwise they are considered invalid.

The documents must be apostilled originals, no photocopies or copies certified by notaries.  Remember that the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador does not apostille or authenticate any document. State-issued documents (birth/marriage/divorce/police records) for use in countries that are members of 1961 Hague Convention must be authenticated by the competent authority in the state where the document was executed. You may read more about on the website. If you need help with your application, you may consider hiring the services of a Salvadoran attorney to assist you with the paperwork.

Please confirm all this information with Salvadoran Immigration.  You may contact the Salvadoran Immigration at:

Dirección General De Migración y Extranjería, 9ª Calle Poniente y 15 Avenida Norte, Centro de Gobierno, San Salvador, El Salvador, Centroamérica.

Phone: + 503 2213-7700 / 2213-7778