After almost ten years in Ecuador, we finally bought a car. Now the fun part....getting our drivers license in Ecuador.
By law, if you live in Ecuador, to drive you must get an Ecuadorian drivers license. Some have tried to get around this by getting an international drivers license, but Ecuador will only accept this license for six months (180 days) according to the people I spoke to at the Comision de Transito.
According to Article 10 of the transportation law, you can drive within Ecuador on your foreign license as a tourist or if you are a citizen of Ecuador but reside in a foreign country.
This article also says you can "exchange" your license for an Ecuadorian license. There is a reference to Article 94, which says you just have to take the tests required for a license. Seems easy enough right?
After my initial meeting with the Transit authorities where I was told I have no choice but to go to driving school, I got a second opinion. And it seems that I was either lied to, or the Transit office in Tena has no idea about the exchanging of foreign licenses. Either is quite possible.
To avoid going to and paying for driving school, you can exchange you license. This is being done all the time, all over Ecuador. Note: If you are in the process of moving to Ecuador, it would be a good idea to get Steps 1 and 2 mentioned below done before leaving for Ecuador.
You can take a driving course to get your license. The course is typically one to two weeks long. Some schools offer a course on the weekends which lasts about a month.
Aneta is one of the most popular schools in Ecuador. Their course includes classes to learn the Ecuadorian transportation laws, a psychiatric evaluation (guess they don't want crazy people driving), a first aid class, and driving practice.
The class costs around $200 depending on the driving school. If you have a valid license from a foreign country the exchange route described above does end up being cheaper, but may be more time consuming depending on your circumstances.
Once you finish the driving course you will receive a certificate that shows you've completed the course.
Next you take this certificate along with the other requirements to the Comision de Transito. Requirements include:
Once you pass the written and driving tests you will receive your license. Cost: $38.
The written test is really pretty easy. Read it carefully. It's mostly common sense and recognizing signage. You can take a practice test online.
If you already have an Ecuadorian license you won't have to take the driving class again. But you will have to pass all the tests given at the Comision de Transito.
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