Ecuador Visas
Interview

I recently interviewed Sara Chaca from my longest Site Sponsor, Ecuador Visas, to find out more about what they offer. I've had contact with Sara over the years and found her to be highly professional and very friendly. Learn more about what she and her colleagues offer below and then head over to their website to contact them.

Life-in-Ecuador (LE): There are a lot of lawyers in Ecuador offering "expat services," what makes Ecuador Visas stand out above the rest?

Ecuador Visas (EV): Our office is 100% fluent in English, and we are among the longest continually serving immigration law firms in all of Ecuador. 

Also, we have and maintain relationships with all of the individual coordinators and staff of each of the Immigration Ministries throughout the country (including Cuenca/Azogues, Guayaquil, Machala, Manta, Quito, etc.). 

Finally, because we've served more clients than any other Immigration law firm that we know of, our vast experience has allowed us to encounter virtually every type of "unique" situation that one might have when planning their move to Ecuador (i.e. Police Report artifacts, Birth or Marriage Certificate issues, etc.).

(LE): In what areas of Ecuador, do you offer your services?

EV: Our Visa, Container and Real Estate service encompass the entire country of Ecuador. My highly qualified, English-speaking paralegals and I are constantly traveling on behalf of our clients that live in every major city of Ecuador.

(LE): How can you help expats who are applying for residency? Why is this service of value?

EV: Our Residency Visa service includes all manner of advisement, document/legalization review, notarizing, translations, taking files to and from the Ecuadorian Immigration Ministry, and the obtaining of one's Ecuadorian Cedula ID card. 

And after you have your Residency Visa, we're still not done, as many clients desire additional post-Residency services such as to buy or rent an apartment/house, starting a business, do a will, etc.

In short, we are the law firm that stays with you for life.

(LE): Can you help with residency visas before someone moves to Ecuador?

EV: Yes of course, and in fact nearly half of all of our Residency Visa clients select the "Visa Via-Cable" process, where a client receives their Visa BEFORE setting foot on the plane to Ecuador. We very regularly process Visas this way even for entire families moving to Ecuador. There is NEVER any extra charge for us to do so, in case pricing is a concern when determining the best way/time to apply for their Residency Visa. 

(LE): How complicated is the process of shipping personal belongings to Ecuador? How can you help?

EV: Generally, within the first six (6) months of one's move to Ecuador, you are able to ship any/all of your standard household goods to Ecuador duty free (without tax). 

Our Container/Customs Expert is the very best in the business and has shipped hundreds of Containers for our clients. To get a quote just send us an email and he will be able to compute the cost of your shipment to Ecuador for you.

(LE): Why do you recommend using a lawyer when closing on real estate in Ecuador?

EV: Real Estate closings in Ecuador vary from those in North America. For example, "title insurance" does NOT generally exist in Ecuador. Thus, without a Real Estate Lawyer, you have to confirm that the property has no debts, liens or outstanding taxes owed on it on your own (not to mention challenges that result from disgruntled family members, partners, etc.). Thus, a competent Real Estate Lawyer in Ecuador is important for one very good reason: to prevent you from losing your money due to there being no qualified and perfectly saleable deed to compensate you for the property that you "believe" you are buying.

(LE): What other legal services do you offer?

EV: Our law firm provides a full suite of legal services, from contracts of any type, wills, opening of companies, citizenship, etc. As was stated further above, we are the law firm that stays with you for life.

(LE): Why might an expat need an accountant while living in Ecuador?

EV: An expat might need an Accountant/CPA in Ecuador if they buy or start a business or to declare taxes for a regular or live-in housekeeper.

For US citizens, you are required to make US tax declarations if one has more than $10,000 USD in any/all of their combined Ecuadorian bank accounts or still has income in the US that is above and beyond the US standard deduction amount each year for which a US tax return still needs to be filed electronically (even if the Expat is living in Ecuador year round).

(LE): In addition to providing professional services, you offer friendly help to expats settling into life in Ecuador. What are some of the worries you commonly address with newcomers?

EV: Absolutely - we are able to assist with referrals to excellent English speaking insurance agents or realty agents. We also can help with school and health care recommendations. As we have families too, we also need these services and are happy to advise from our own personal experiences who has served us best in Ecuador!


Thanks to Sara Chaca for taking the time to answer these questions! To contact Sara and her team visit their website: www.ecuadorvisas.com

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