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Car Lovers: The Two Steps You'll Want to Take Before Moving to Ecuador

U.S. Motorists, if there's any chance you'll be owning or operating a car after moving to Ecuador, ponder your choice:

To get your Ecuadorian drivers license (DL), would you rather spend a total of 10-15 hours in a Spanish-language classroom in EC being taught the rules of the road...

Or would you prefer just to present your U.S. driving credentials and take a written exam (albeit in Spanish) whose answers are already posted on the Internet...

Well, of course, you'd rather show your license and skip the boring classes.

Problem is, if you didn't get your license certified and then get the certification apostilled (documented by your state's attorney general for international use) before you left for Ecuador, you're in for a bureaucratic ride.

Take my case. 

I didn't drive, as permitted in Ecuador, on my unexpired Pennsylvania DL during my first six months in the country.  Now it's past that six-month period, so I'm required to have an Ecuador DL if I get behind the wheel.

Remember I need Pennsylvania (at PennDOT, the PA department of transportation) to issue a certification of the DL, and the PA attorney general's office then to issue the apostille.

I emailed back and forth to bureaucrats in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a month seeking to find out how to get PennDOT to issue the DL certificate and then move the certificate down the street in Harrisburg, PA, to get the apostille at the PA attorney general's office.

When the dust cleared, I was informed it wasn't done that way.

I would have to send a check via international mail from Ecuador to Pennsylvania with an application for the PennDOT paper, which would then be sent back to me in Ecuador.

Then I would have to send the PennDOT certificate back to Harrisburg for the apostille*, which in turn would be sent back to me in Ecuador.

Now if you know anything about international mail in general and Correos del Ecuador in particular, you are aware it generally takes about two weeks to get a simple envelope one-way between the U.S. and Ecuador.  So with four mail deliveries, that would mean a minimum of about two months just to get the envelopes sent back and forth. 

On top of which you be aware that the likelihood of a significant additional delay or lost envelope -- given the four deliveries involved -- is highly possible.

All of which leads up to my conclusion that you should get all DL paperwork taken care of before leaving for Ecuador.

I met a longtime Expat at InterNations in Quito this week, who told me that it took him almost a year to clear these paperwork hurdles and obtain his Ecuadorian DL a few weeks ago.

It's two more pieces of paper for which you'll apply at a time you're already busy, but it could save months of waiting and wondering, later.

*Update of September 26, 2015... According to Ecuador's Jefa de Licencias, an apostille is not currently necessary if issued by some states in the U.S.  See Report #38 in this thread for more details.

cccmedia in Quito

Hey thanks for that. I'll b back in Canada in April and will get the necessary certs for my DL while i am there.
I don't suppose you know anything about shipping a vehicle here?  I have a 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited sitting in ?Toronto. It's in mint condition and i would like to have it shipped here.

Ecuador does not allow a non-Ecuadorian to bring a six-year-old car into the country for long-term use.

sources:  eHow.com and ecuadorrealestate.org

damn!  Thanks for that. I would have loved to have her here.  Thanks for the reply. :)

For those keeping a scorecard at home on the EC bureaucracy, it's now four months into trying to get U.S. paperwork for the EC drivers license.  These are the latest developments:

Six weeks or more was lost due to a misunderstanding that a DL Letter of Clearance from PennDOT was the same thing as a certification of the DL (it's NOT the same).

I had sent two applications, both with payment, for PennDOT to send me said Letter. They cashed both checks, but only one Letter arrived here.  Apparently, the missing letter was lost in the mail.  Moot, anyway, since what I really need -- and am now applying for with a $30 check -- is the certification.

PennDOT just confirmed via email that they can't run the certification down the street in Harrisburg for the apostille...it has to come to me in Ecuador...be endorsed at the U.S. Embassy in Quito...then mailed to the PA Secretary of State for the apostille...then all gets mailed back to me, and hopefully is acceptable to the EC equivalent of the motor vehicles department.

cccmedia in Quito

cccmedia :

Problem is, if you didn't get your license certified and then get the certification apostilled (documented by your state's attorney general for international use) before you left for Ecuador, you're in for a bureaucratic ride.

Time-saver alert:

I've been working -- mostly with PennDOT -- on this drivers license paperwork thing since September 2014...meanwhile keeping an eye out for a way around this Theatre-of-the-Absurd apostille dance.

I visited the ecuadorrealestate.org website tonight, and found that their list of DL paperwork requirements has a way around the dance.  The list was compiled after consulting the Agencia de Transito Nacional of Ecuador (ANT).

Instead of intercontinental back-and-forth mailings ad nauseum, the list indicates you can obtain a "certificado de la licensia" from the U.S. Embassy.

It needs to be translated to espanol and notarized, which notary services are available at the Embassy, as well, at $50 per document.

cccmedia in Quito

So, did it turn out the government didn´t make it easier for expats to get a drivers license?

http://cuencahighlife.com/expats-could- … -speeders/

The Ecuadorian assemblyman in the article Nards posted seems to want to formalize (in the law) that which has already occurred:  that experienced Expat drivers already have a way to avoid taking $200 worth of Spanish-language driving classes, provided they have a current DL from their home country, and submit required EC paperwork.

If the list I mentioned, at ecuadorrealestate.org -- in particular, the 'certificado' available at the Embassy -- is correct, an EC DL can now be obtained in Quito with relative ease and without the classes.

cccmedia in Quito

Where did the 6 month grace period for driving with a US license come from? I thought it was 90 days and was recently told that had been reduced to 30.

jessekimmerling :

Where did the 6 month grace period for driving with a US license come from? I thought it was 90 days and was recently told that had been reduced to 30.

It is now 30 days.  Source:  U.S. Embassy in Quito.

This is one of the most mis-reported numbers on the Internet concerning the formalities here ("tramites"), though that could somewhat be attributed to the possibility the number has changed over time.

That 30 days is for visitors and tourists with a passport and an unexpired license from another country.

Once one obtains the Ecuadorian ID, the rule is that they should have an Ecuadorian drivers license.

I have never read or heard anecdotal reports that an Expat encountered serious problems for exceeding the grace period.

cccmedia in Ecuador

I've been taking my chances. I drive a lot along the roads from Quito to Esmereldas. On an average trip I go through one police and one military checkpoint both coming and going. I've had my passport, license, and matricula checked numerous times while knowing full well that I was in violation. The great thing about the rules changing over and over is that not even the police can keep straight what the rule is this week. I've gotten in trouble for a cracked windshield and and driving in Quito during my day to keep of the roads in rush hour (pica plaqua or whatever it's called) but I've never been busted for driving with my US license past the grace period. *knocks on wood*

Further confusing the issue, the Embassy in Quito's website now says a visitor may use his unexpired foreign drivers license for 90 days in Ecuador.

This number appears on the Passports and International Travel page of the website.

(travel.state.gov)

Speaking of cars, anyone own a Lada Niva? I've been thinking about selling my Mitsubishi and buying a Lada. I've heard mixed things. They're cheap, and I'm told they're built much better than the rest of the Ladas, but I've only talked to one person who actually owned one, the guy who ownes River People in Tena. I just ran into him in Canoa and chatted a bit about his Niva. He seemed to like it, but his was still pretty low kilometer, so maybe it just hasn't become a basket case yet.

I have never owned nor driven a Niva but I've seen plenty of them. I'm also not a car enthusiast but I covet owning a Niva.

Is it new? The old ones are amazing. Tanks, indestructible. I especially love the ones with the steel rhino cages across the front headlights. Doors with big steel pin hinges. Helluva ride, get out of my way world the Niva owns your little plastic Japanese cars.

They sell these in Ecuador? I don't remember seeing any?

I thought the Niva was out of production.

gardener1 :

I'm also not a car enthusiast but I covet owning a Niva.

The old ones are amazing. Tanks, indestructible. I especially love the ones with the steel rhino cages across the front headlights. Doors with big steel pin hinges. Helluva ride, get out of my way world the Niva owns your little plastic Japanese cars.

They sell these in Ecuador? I don't remember seeing any....

I thought the Niva was out of production.

Top Cat's preferred off-road vehicle -- "Niva" is Russian for crop-field -- is still being cranked out in 'the motherland.'

Not only that, but some Nivas from the 2004 and 2007 model years are currently available in the $7,000 range on the Ecuador car-sales website patiotuerca.com

You can find a few more at mercadolibre.com -- "the eBay of Ecuador" -- including a yellow-taxi Niva, asking price 14K, also from 2007.

Niva factoid:  Vladimir Putin bought a Niva in 2009 to help boost Russian car sales during a financial crisis (according to Wikipedia).

cccmedia in Quito

I owned a Lada Niva (2006) for a year. Decent car but started having some problems so I sold it and bought a new Chevy Vitara.

I got my license in Quito a year ago and I did not need the driving record apostilled-  only translated and notarized. I was able to print my driving record for $5 online and then translated it and had it notarized.

amyf :

I owned a Lada Niva (2006) for a year. Decent car but started having some problems so I sold it and bought a new Chevy Vitara.

I got my license in Quito a year ago and I did not need the driving record apostilled-  only translated and notarized. I was able to print my driving record for $5 online and then translated it and had it notarized.

Amy, how and where did you find the reliable instructions as to what documents were necessary for the DL....

The ANT site is opaque and espanol, and -- as you may have noticed -- at unofficial sites on the Internet, the information varies.

cccmedia in Quito

cccmedia :

Niva factoid:  Vladimir Putin bought a Niva in 2009 to help boost Russian car sales during a financial crisis (according to Wikipedia).

cccmedia in Quito

Gotta wonder how many he will be buying this year as the Russian economy goes down along with the currency.

I got the info from someone online who had just got their license too and I did the same thing. Maybe they are requiring the apostilled driving record now but who knows-  it changes all the time.

cccmedia :

I visited the ecuadorrealestate.org website tonight, and found that their list of DL paperwork requirements has a way around the (absurd apostille) dance....

Instead of intercontinental back-and-forth mailings ad nauseum, the list indicates you can obtain a "certificado de la licensia" from the U.S. Embassy.

Wrong!

I just received an email from the U.S. Embassy in Quito that I'd hoped would confirm the existence of this "certificado de la licensia."  Its supposed availability is still listed at the Ecuador Real Estate website.

"Unfortunately," the Embassy representative wrote, "the U.S. Embassy is not allowed to provide any type of letter or certification on a U.S. driver's license."

The Embassy says the issuing agency is "the only one" that can issue a certification, which then must be apostilled by the secretary of state in the issuing state.

This is the exact scenario that we outlined at the start of this thread. 

In the case of Pennsylvania (my old state), it involves sending a letter and $30 check for the certification...waiting for the Commonwealth to process and send me the certification...getting endorsement of the certification at the Embassy in Quito for $50...sending it overseas again to the PA secretary of state...waiting for it to come back with an apostille...and praying the whole time that the overseas mails will safely deliver everything.   Then it's on to ANT in Quito to BEGIN the EC round of the DL paperwork.  Whew!

I have been attempting unsuccessfully to leave a message at ecuadorrealestate.org suggesting a correction.  If anyone has their email address, please post same.

cccmedia in Quito

Take a bus or a cab already

mugtech :

Take a bus or a cab already.

One of the circus janitors was always complaining about having to clean up after the elephants' mess.

The other janitor said:  "Why don't you just quit..."

"What!  And leave show business!"

ccmedia,

Hypothetically, if you weren't able to secure the documents you needed from the U.S. what would be involved in getting a drivers license here in Ecuador starting from scratch. Somone told me you had to prove you were a high school graduate and then take a written test.  I don't know if that is true.  I doubt I could prove I was high school graduate without great difficulty. 

On the other hand I was told getting a license to drive a scooter or motorcycle is easier. ....................

Nards Barley :

If you weren't able to secure the documents you needed from the U.S., what would be involved in getting a drivers license here in Ecuador starting from scratch.... Someone told me you had to prove you were a high school graduate and then take a written test.  I don't know if that is true.  I doubt I could prove I was high school graduate without great difficulty.

The married couple who call themselves Gringos Abroad have lots of experience getting drivers licenses in Ecuador, and have posted all about it at their web site.

After you read their post(s), you'll understand why you don't see too many Gringos around town driving.

Here are some highlights in a nutshell, given the scenario you pose (no DMV documents from the U.S.):

--  There are six required non-DMV documents (plus copies) listed at gringosabroad.com

--  You will take a Spanish-language drivers course.  The accelerated course is 35 hours over one week, and has cost about $184 including incidentals.

--  You will be tested, possibly at several offices, for reflexes, motor skills and eye-sight.  Also:  a psychological exam.

--  There will be a "written" test, of course.  Get 16 of 20 questions correct and you pass this hurdle.

As for the high school certificate, that IS a requirement, too.  The author at Gringos Abroad said there had been a whole series of emails and phone calls between his attorney (yes, he had an attorney on this!) and the driving school, before it was settled that a color copy of the certificate would do.

As for it being a matter of "great difficulty" for you to produce a high-school graduation certificate, Nards...well, the whole lot of this is about an Expat overcoming "great difficulty," IMO...and is no doubt considered a shining example of their greatness by the Ecuadorian bureaucracy. ;)

cccmedia in Quito

Nards Barley :

I was told getting a license to drive a scooter or motorcycle is easier.

I read something like that too.  However, I have been deliberately avoiding looking into it.

I've seen the Ecuadorian taxistas and other motorists in all their aggressive glory, and don't want it on my conscience that I abetted another Expat in any way to risk his health riding a motorcycle in La Republica.

We don't want you posting from Cuenca General Hospital.

cccmedia in Quito

Is an international driver license an option for you?

"In the United States, the Department of State has authorized two private entities, the American Automobile Association and the National Automobile Club (http://www.thenac.com) as entities in the United States to issue IDPs."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internati … rs_License

An international DL, sometimes called an International Driving Permit, is not the proper means for an Ecuador resident wanting to drive in Ecuador.

Once one has obtained the Ecuadorian ID or "cedula," it is required that they have an Ecuadorian license to drive legally on EC roadways.


cccmedia in Quito, cedula-holder since February 2014

cccmedia :
Nards Barley :

I was told getting a license to drive a scooter or motorcycle is easier.

I read something like that too.  However, I have been deliberately avoiding looking into it.

I've seen the Ecuadorian taxistas and other motorists in all their aggressive glory, and don't want it on my conscience that I abetted another Expat in any way to risk his health riding a motorcycle in La Republica.

We don't want you posting from Cuenca General Hospital.

cccmedia in Quito

Ask ZenSpike, he has been riding since early on in his migration.

May 7, 2015 update on the long slog toward getting a driver's license in Ecuador without taking interminable Spanish-language drivers ed classes:

I started this process by contacting the Pennsylvania motor-vehicles bureau last September, when I still had almost one year left on my unexpired drivers license.

Due mostly to slow PennDOT service, international mail delivery times and my confusion over the difference between a driving clearance record and a DL certification...I still haven't come close to completing even the U.S. portion of the process.

Catch 22:  PennDOT consistently has told me I would need to get the DL certication notarized.  The only notary in Quito for U.S. papers is at the U.S. Embassy.  When I visited the Embassy today (getting unrelated papers notarized), a representative told me the Embassy notary absolutely is not available to notarize the DL document.

The Embassy gave me some website links for ex-PA drivers, and now I have to figure out if there is a way to get an in-state PA notarization without my being there, as I won't be in the U.S. before my DL expires.  After the PA notarization, the DL document needs to be apostilled in PA and returned to Ecuador, so I can start the Ecuador portion of the EC DL process.

The moral of the story:  if you're moving to Ecuador from the U.S. and there's any chance you'd want to drive in La República without the tedious drivers ed classes, it's essential to get your DL certication apostilled in your U.S. state before the move.  Unless, of course, you don't mind a never-ending process with a dozen or more pitfalls along the way.

cccmedia in Quito

A couple of different forum members have sent me PMs lately, seeking the online location of the driving test 'written' questions.

They are at www.ant.gob.ec ... Click on Nuevo Banco de Preguntas.

ANT stands for Agencia Nacional de Tránsito.

cccmedia in Quito

I finally had a break-through this week toward getting the elusive Pennsylvania apostille for my driving record as required for my EC license quest.

After learning, as detailed in this thread, that the Embassy here would not notarize my certified driving record, I contacted some apostille services in the U.S.  Only one gave me a positive email response, a company that supposedly served all 50 states.

However, when I phoned them in DC, the head guy told me, ¨We don´t have the resources¨ to get the document notarized, the key step that would precede the issuance of an apostille.

So I approached matters from another direction and started contacting Pennsylvania notaries in the capital, Harrisburg.  Of the first four I contacted, three did not email me back and the fourth was on leave for a month.

So then I emailed about a dozen more notaries in various PA cities, and two emailed me back saying they could notarize the driving record.  I even got a budget from one who apparently will be taking my payment via paypal.com and doing the notarization followed by obtaining the apostille.

If this works out, I will share the notary's information including the budget.  I obtained the notary names and email addresses at www.123notary.com ....

cccmedia in Quito

mugtech :

Take a bus or a cab already.

That's what I'm still doing -- buses and cabs.

But concerning seeking an Ecuadorian DL off my unexpired Pennsylvania DL, we're way past the Point of No Return.

So here is this month's update in the slow slog toward driver's license Heaven ;) ...

There has been progress.

In less than two weeks time, I received from the notary in PA another copy of my driving record -- this time certified and apostilled. :)

The charge, including PA to EC priority FedEx shipping of the documents, was $310.

Yes, mugtech, I know I could have paid for the EC road-ready driving course for less, but the point is to avoid all those boring Spanish-language classes. 

The tab should be enough to convince drivers to get these 'certs' done before moving to Ecuador.

Today I visited a different office of ANT (the EC motor-vehicles bureau) after finding out there is one in Gringolandia, at Cordero and Foch.

I reviewed my list of requiremens from ANT headquarters with a representative in her Cordero and Foch office, and found out that these are the key steps I need to take...

1.  Get my blood type officially verified at a Cruz Roja clinic across the street ... which was closed for a long lunch so I couldn't get it done immediately.

2.  Get the PA driving record translated and notarized.

3.  Take the 'written' test of 20 questions, with sample questions available at  www.ant.gob.ec  ...

4.  Pay $65 at Western Union or a bank and thereby get a comprobante or bank proof for ANT.

5.  Pass an examen psicosensimétrico -- probably hand-eye coordination and maybe other stuff -- at any of the approved driving schools.

Getting a copy of my high school diploma, Nards, which may still be necessary for first-time DL applicants, is not on the list of requirements for my application and was not stated to be a requirement based on my querying the ANT rep today.

The unexpired PA license, my Ecuadorian ID and some copies of such are also required when submitting the brief, completed application form.

cccmedia in Quito

cccmedia :

Pass an examen psicosensimétrico -- probably hand-eye coordination and maybe other stuff -- at any of the approved driving schools.

Three weeks ago I went to ANETA, Ecuador's leading escuela de conduccion or driving school, to take this examen.

I was expecting to pay $20 and take the test, but they took one look at my Pennsylvania drivers license and warned me off the test.  They said that since my drivers license expires in October (2015), I did not meet the requirement to have four months of validity left on the license.

Wait a minute!  There's a requirement to have four months left on a U.S. license to make the change to an Ecuadorian license!  Nobody told me that before!  This could spoil everything! :o

That putative time requirement is not listed at ant.gob.ec ...  It's not in the printed requirements sheet I picked up at ANT headquarters months ago.  Could this be correct?  I went to ANT's Gringolandia office the next day to find out.

There an official looked over my PA license and said I lacked sufficient "vigencia" or validity, which he said requires six months to be remaining on the license, not four.

At this point, I knew it was time to bring in the troops.  And by the troops I mean my immigration attorney, Sebastian Cordero.  He was leaving to assist his EC coastal clients for about 12 days, but emailed me that he could go to ANT with me when he got back.

Finally, today, I showed up at ANT national headquarters in north Quito with my attorney, Sebastian.  We bounced from office to office for a while, but eventually, there I was, standing face to face with Ecuador's number-one drivers license official -- the perfectly dressed, coiffed and groomed Jefa de Licencias.  I let Sebastian do the talking.

It took less than a minute for La Jefa to blow up what the ANETA and ANT/Gringolandia officials had told me.

The Jefa told my attorney that I could apply for my EC license based on my PA license right up to September 30th, the day before the PA license is to expire.  I would be allowed to take the two exams.  This was exactly the news I was hoping for.

The fee for attorney assistance turned out to be $75 plus tax.  I am glad to pay it given the positive results.

The take-away is this...  Even though what you need is a currently-valid U.S. license to apply for the drivers license exchange, key personnel involved in the process don't know that.  They think you need four or six months vigencia remaining. 

So I highly recommend that you get your application in at least six months before license expiration, so that YOU don't have to hire an attorney to straighten things out at the national headquarters of Agencia Nacional de Transito.

cccmedia in Quito

Great post CC……..how things change…….I had a US apostilled drivers abstract to get my Ec license last year…….
Great to hear you only need a US license to get one now……
Seemed like a good idea to have 2 licenses…...

AMDG :

how things change…….I had a US apostilled drivers abstract to get my Ec license last year…….
Great to hear you only need a US license to get one now……

Actually, ANT hasn't dropped any of the requirements for the license exchange, most of which are listed in Report #32 in this thread.  A still-valid foreign license is only one of the requirements.

The certified driving record with apostille is stlll required.

Although the official term for obtaining an EC license in this way is canje or exchange, the applicant gets to keep the original foreign license.

The original point of this thread -- that drivers should get the certified record and apostille before moving to Ecuador, in order to save expenses and headaches -- remains unchanged.


Update of September 26, 2015...   Clarification --  The necessity of the apostille depends on which state issued the driving record.  See Report #35 of this thread below for more details.

cccmedia in Quito

My Day-of-Decision at the Agencia Nacional de Tránsito

                               - or -

        Ten Things That Happened in My Case
After I Showed up at ANT to Take the Examen Teórico


I showed up two weeks ago (early September 2015) for a 3:20 p.m. appointment to take the off-road final test.  Supposedly, this would be the last step before obtaining my Ecuadorian license based on my soon-to-expire U.S. license.

Here's what happened next...

1.  The ANT reviewer approved the paperwork I submitted.

2.  However, she said I needed to undergo a previously unannounced medical review with the ANT doctor.

N.B. -- Expats should be aware that ANT may require even under-65 applicants (such as me) to undergo a medical review.

3.  It was after 4 p.m. on a Friday at this point, so I was told to come back for the ANT medical review on Monday.

4.  On that next Monday, the ANT doctor instructed me to go to an internist and get a certificado relating to a blood-sugar problem that could theoretically be connected to a possible vision problem.

5.  I made the internist appointment, went there, and got the certificado.

6.  I went back to the ANT doctor .. who approved the certificado.  But now she wanted my hearing to be checked, and I would need another certificado for that.

7.  It turned out in the ear-testing that although I consider my hearing to be fine, there are certain high-pitched sounds (that IMO only dogs can hear) that I cannot perceive.  I had my hearing checked by eye doctors at two different clinics on consecutive days, and both determined that I lacked sensitivity to such high-pitched sounds.

8.  The first ear doctor ($60) essentially 'flunked' me, with a certificado saying my hearing of high-pitched sounds was medium-to-severely impaired.  The second doctor ($20 at a foundation clinic) at least had a plan to correct my problem:  I would go get a pair of audífonos -- ow-DEE-foh-noze -- a high-tech hearing aid, small in size but powerful.

9.  I went to Audio Medical where the doc sent me and bought the fancy ear device.

10.  I re-took the hearing test wearing the earphones, got a passing grade this time from ear-doctor #2 and was permitted to take ANT's examen teórico. :)

cccmedia in Quito

Success at ANT.

A final ANT review of my paperwork naturally produced one more obstacle....

The reviewer said the ten-digit number of my cédula -- SEDD-oo-lah, the national ID picture-card that resident Expats get -- was not in the ANT computer system.  She said I needed to come back the following Wednesday, September 30th, by which time this problem supposedly would be corrected, so I could then take the examen.

That created a potentially serious problem that I outlined to her....

My Pennsylvania license was set to expire October 1st, and my attorney had confirmed in our meeting with the Jefa de Licencias in late August that September 30th was the drop-dead date.  If I agreed to show up on the 30th and encountered one additional delay of any kind, I would lose the right to do the license exchange. 

Fortunately, the reviewer 'got it.'  She took my ID, went somewhere for 15 minutes, came back, typed some stuff into her computer, and voilá -- my cédula number re-appeared in the ANT computer system.  I was good to go -- to go down the hall to the exam-testing room.

Taking the test on a computer was the easy part, and I got all 20 questions right.

Five minutes later, the drivers license -- literally hot off the press -- was in my hands.

What a relief !

One year and ten days after I first started researching the drivers-license project, I had achieved the final goal.  I now have an Ecuadorian drivers license that will be valid until September 2020. 

I had successfully avoided the many weeks of dreaded Spanish-language driving classes that some Expats endure, being 'taught' how to drive after already driving for decades in their home countries. 

I had beaten the clock by five days. :D

cccmedia in Quito

Solving a Mystery....

Does an Expat Really Need to Get an Apostille
For His or Her U.S. Driving Record?


When the ID problem came up, the ANT reviewer and I got a visit from Ecuador's top drivers-licensing official -- the always-immaculately-dressed Jefa de Licencias, "Ellie" García.

La Jefa gave some input on the ID situation and was starting to walk away when I politely asked her this question on behalf of other "extranjeros"....

Is it absolutely necessary for an Expat to get an apostille for a U.S. driving record?

Her answer surprised me:  It depends on what state it's from.


For some states, an apostille is required, she told me.  For the other states, the driving record may simply be downloaded from a website while in Ecuador.

So, I asked, how does an Expat find out if a driving record needs to be apostilled?  And how does the Expat find the right website for downloading if no apostille is required?

For both answers, La Jefa said to visit or call her office -- Jefa de Licencias at ANT national headquarters in Quito, aka sede occidental de Agencia Nacional de Tránsito en Quito.

cccmedia in Quito

Hi,

My American friend and his Ecuadorian girlfriend, a lawyer, went to the ANT office in Jipijapa, Manabí. They spoke with the 2 top officials there. They said that if we bring our Florida DLs, high school diplomas, and FL driving records there, we can turn in our FL DLs and walk out with an Ecuadorian DL same day.

I had already gone to a Driving School in Portoviejo, which erroneously told me that I could get my EC DL with my current Cedula though it says "Initial" rather than having "Básico" which indicates a high school education.

I went to the Ministerio en Guayaquil where I received my original cédula with my high school diploma and college/university transcripts in hand. They referred me to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores to have my diploma made official. The 1st visit was a waste of time as it was late. The 2nd visit was far more useful because the lady at the info desk told me exactly what needs to be done.

Per her instructions, I contacted the Department of State of New Hampshire to ask about having it apostilled. As per their instruction, I then contacted my high school and asked them for a signed and notarized copy of my diploma. I was advised it would cost $1. Fortunately, my niece lives about 40 mins from the school and in the state capital and will take care of getting it apostilled and send it to me. My friends said the officials in Jipijapa didn't mention the apostille, but figure better safe than sorry.

The driving record I'll order online and my friend is going to Florida this month. So, he take both to be apostilled and bring all our documents back

Never-mind, my post was about reciprocity with a Spanish (Spain) driver's license.

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