Equador’s foreign minister confirms the request.
The US wanted him extradited, but the Hong Kong government said Washington had failed to meet its requirements.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, who is in Vietnam, said on Twitter: “The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden.”
Wikileaks said in a statement that Mr Snowden was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from Wikileaks”.
The anti-secrecy group said Mr Snowden’s asylum request would be formally processed when he arrived in Ecuador.
The announcement came after the Ecuadorian ambassador to Russia told reporters he would meet Mr Snowden and a representative from Wikileaks for talks on Sunday.