The first stage of my Ecuador visa experience was very positive.
To read Part Two of my experience click here.
I originally entered Ecuador as a dependent on my parents missionary visa. They applied with the backing of our religious organization. It was quite easy, since we had the help of friends experienced in the application process. Later, when I was 18, I received my own missionary visa. This visa served me well, since I wasn't looking to work in Ecuador. But it was costly to renew every couple of years.
Then after I married, I became eligible for a resident visa (visa 9-VI Economic Dependence), since my husband is Ecuadorian. But after spending a year or so getting him his green card so he could work in the U.S., I was dreading the Ecuador visa experience.
To make matters worse, I spent a lot of time researching requirements and such on the Internet only to find conflicting information. After calling the consulates in Chicago and Minneapolis...more conflicting information. So I was confused and dreading this process even more.
Finally we gathered all the paperwork we had, from our marriage license to passports and went to the Consulate in Minneapolis.
After ending up at an old consulate office, again due to the conflicting information on the Internet, we found our way to the current office. It was like walking off the streets of the United States and right into the heart of Ecuador. From the furnishings and decorations, to the people waiting their turn, it was Ecuador! Even the two hour wait for our turn (there were only 5 people waiting before us) was 100% Ecuadorian.
The wait was due to the fact that only one lady was working to take care of all of us. She was the only one to show up, since it was actually an Ecuadorian holiday. She didn't have to work, but she felt pity on the people waiting. This woman was one of the nicest people I've met.
When our turn came she sat us down and explained things very clearly to us. She took care of the paperwork and explained what we need to do when we arrive in Ecuador.
The residency requirements were very simple. Because of my marriage, I automatically have the right to be a resident of Ecuador. So basically the only thing to do is to be registered as one. For now I will enter on the 6 month tourist visa, which will give me time to get all the paperwork sorted out. And the woman at the consulate advised against getting a lawyer, which all the sites I've read so far have said was necessary. Apparently all I have to do is walk in to the Immigration office in Quito and apply myself. So that will be a huge saving for us.
My Ecuador visa experience will be continued. But so far the experience has been very positive. I just hope the part to be handled in Ecuador will go just as smoothly.
To read my Ecuador visa experience upon returning to Ecuador as well as my lessons learned click here.
At the same time we went to sort out my visa, we also wanted to file paperwork for our son's dual citizenship. He automatically qualifies, being born in the U.S. with an Ecuadorian father. At times I've envied his situation. Just being able to go freely between both countries is very appealing. Of course I will now have the same opportunity.
Filing his paperwork was also very simple. All that was required was an original birth certificate and id from both parents. Once the filing is complete he will be able to get his Ecuadorian "cédula" (id card) and passport.
Update: When we arrived in Ecuador, we went to the Civil Registry in Quito to see if they had received the paperwork for the dual citizenship. It had not arrived there, but they were quite sure it was in the country.
We were sent to the Passport office and found the paperwork was there. They gave us a sealed envelope with the paperwork needed by the Civil Registry.
Once this was in hand the process was quite simple, although in the end it took about three days to complete. Once my son was added to the Ecuadorian system he was able to get his cedula (ID card).
The only hang up with the cedula was that my sons city of birth was not in the system. So we had to wait a day while the system was updated.
After this we were able to get his Ecuadorian passport. He has to travel with both...he enters the US on his US passport and enters Ecuador on the Ecuadorian passport.
The passport was very simple. We brought a copy of his cedula and copies of both parents' id. The cost was $70 (USD). Total time: 2 hours. You receive your passport the same day.
So again my Ecuador visa experience was very positive. And it was much less complicated than the U.S. visa process.