How to get your Ecuador drivers license (without taking courses)

After securing my residency visa and cedula this past month the natural progression is to focus on getting my Ecuador drivers license.

Now, Ive lived in Ecuador for two and a half years now without owning a car, or driving even once.

But more impressively, in that time Ive never even felt like I needed a car!

Thats one big reason I chose Ecuador, the public transport is plentiful and cheap.

I remember spending a day recently in Los Angeles (USA), and I didnt even last 2 hours before I felt the need for car.

The thought that scares a lot of people, myself included, is the possibility that Id need to go back to drivers school, even though Ive already spent most of my life driving.

Well, actually, as I found out this week in the Agencia Nacional de Transito in Quito (where you need to go to get your license) folks with foreign licenses dont need to take the required-by-law $200+ driving course for all first-timers getting their Ecuador drivers license as long as they VALIDATE their foreign license in Ecuador.

To validate your foreign license in order to get your Ecuador drivers license in 2014 bring to the “Agencia Nacional de Transito”…

1-Your original and color copy of your license from your home country.

2-Your original passport, color copy of both your ID page and current residency visa.

3-A “Certificado de la licencia” (certificate of License) as retrived from your countries embassy in Ecuador.  If in another language other than espanol youll need to have the document translated by anyone but you and notarized.

4-Original and copy of your CARNET DE TIPO DE SANGRE or blood-type test as gotten from any hospital or Red Cross in Ecuador.

5-2 Passport photos.

6-Fill in the form FORMULARIO PARA CANJE DE LICENCIA DE CONDUCIR which can be retrieved and filled-in on-site at the help desk in the Ecuador DMV (Agencia Nacional de Transito).

When turning in your documents you will also have to take an eye test and basic on-site, written drivers exam.

You’ll then pay $38, and a week later you’ll get your new license, good for 5 years!

Now, you can drive in Ecuador on your foreign license, but only up to 6 months.

And yes, local transit cops will pester you about it (as they are usually looking for a reason to snag a bribe from a foreigner, so don’t give them one!)

There you have it, you can now drive in Ecuador. Should any problems arise, visit

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