After you get your permanent residency visa to live in Ecuador, doesn’t matter which type, could be the investors visa, the pensioners visa, or even the professionals visa…
…you’ll then have 30 days to get your mandatory Ecuadorian “Cedula”, or official ID card.
The visa, or what is stamped in your passport, is the more complex part, the cedula which looks like a drivers license, is just a formality but you NEED it or they won’t let you travel out of the country.
It’s happened to me.
You’ll pass through the airline check in counter, then at immigration they’ll tell you sorry, you can’t board the plane without a cedula (if you are in Ecuador on a permanent residency visa).
Besides, having a cedula qualifies you for a lot of benefits, especially senior benefits in Ecuador if you are over 65.
Even if you are not a senior, you can still get special pricing on certain things, like for one, trips to the Galapagos.
For instance, foreigners pay $465 round trip on Tame to the Galapagos from Quito right now. Ecuadorians or foreigners which have perm resident status with Ecuadorian cedulas pay only $250. And foreigners pay a $100 per head park entrance fee, people with Ecuador cedulas pay only a $10 per person entry fee upon arrival.
Getting your cedula is a recently streamlined, easy process and one I just did myself this week in January of 2014.
Once you pick up your visa that same day I recommend you get the document CERTIFICADO DE EMPADRONAMIENTO which costs $5 and only takes a few minutes to retrieve from the same immigration office that gives you your visa, in Quito its the one near the 6 de Diciembre and Colon intersection.
With that document you will need to wait 48 hours and then go to the REGISTRIO CIVIL (Civil Registry) on Naciones Unidas y Amazonas (if applying in Quito).
You will need to bring the Certificado de empadronamiento, your actual passport and a color copy of your passport ID page and a copy of your current residency visa.
Upon entering the Civil Registry, you will have to take a turn and pay $5 to the bank counter that is within their offices there.
You will then go down the stairs and to the windows 24 and 25 and wait for your turn to appear on the screen.
Once you are called they will photo you, take your fingerprints and then in one hour you will receive your brand new Ecuadorian cedula!
No more need to walk around with your passport, in Ecuador your cedula is everything, you can even travel to nearby Andean countries like Colombia and Peru with just your cedula.
And of course, no reason to pay a lawyer to get a cedula for you!
Important changes since early 2013 (one year ago):
Prefice: About a year ago in Guayaquil I helped a few friends get their cedulas. And since then things have changed a bit, for the better!
A year ago, after applying for the cedula and getting your photo taken you had to come back in 3-5 days, not anymore, in one hour I got my cedula.
A year ago, they asked for an apostilled birth certificate, they never asked for mine although I still recommend bringing it down.
A year ago, they asked for proof of civil status, a marriage certificate or if you were single you had to do a really annoying hassle of going to a notary and doing a sworn statement saying you were single (declaracion juramentada). Not anymore. They didnt ask for me to prove my single status.
PS. I highly recommend getting yiour cedula in Quito although you can get it in a few other cities in Ecuador. Just easier.
Keep in mind.
Unlike countries like the US, your civil status appears on your ID card, and if you are married then ANY legal transaction you want to do in Ecuador like sell a real property or a car you will have to have your wife sign off on it!
But what if your legal wife or husband is not in the picture?
In Ecuador, you are pretty much screwed if thats what appears on your ID cedula card. Your transaction will be greatly difficulted or stopped. So if they arent in the picture go for single if you can.
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