As a new Resident of Ecuador, the decision to obtain your Ecuador Drivers License is not to be taken lightly. It is an important consideration for every Expat when beginning their adventures as a new Resident of Ecuador. There are numerous Expats who plan to rely on a combination of walking, buses, taxis or rides from friends. For other Expats, namely those who plan to work or travel frequently, it is often necessary to obtain their Ecuador drivers license.
Before delving into the requirements for getting your Ecuador drivers license it is important to note, that as an Expat, you are permitted by law to initially drive in Ecuador on a valid foreign issued drivers license for up to 90 days from the date of your last flight to Ecuador. Can’t remember? Check your passport for the entry stamp date. After those 90 days, or once an official Resident of Ecuador, you must obtain an Ecuador drivers license if you wish to drive legally.
Any Expat who posses a current, valid drivers license from his/her home state, province or country will generally not require any driving school here in Ecuador and will only be required to effectively read Spanish at an intermediate level. In reality, to accomplish this task, an Expat does not need to be able to read a book in Spanish per say, but rather, simply be able to read and answer basic rules and interpret the multiple signs of the road as per Ecuadorian driving laws (which are generally the same or similar to those in the US).
In addition, you must also be able to correctly answer the driving questions on the multiple choice exam. Any reputable local Ecuadorian Attorney’s office in Cuenca should have a full list of possible multiple choice test questions for the Expat to consult and study. Please note: The testing rules for getting an Ecuador Drivers License do not generally permit any English translation or English translator to be present at test time. One bit of good news is you can take the multiple choice exam as many times as necessary until you pass.
As far as the Driver License process, the first document you need is an official copy of your Driving Record. This document can be ontained from your state/ province, or country’s Department of Motor Vehicles. You may need to do this in person at the DMV if required by your state, province or country.
Next you must have that Driving Record either Apostilled or Legalized by the issuing state, province or country. After obtaining your Driving Record, it will need to be translated and notarized in Spanish, here in Ecuador. Any local Ecuadorian law office in Ecuador should be able to take care of this Translation/Notarization for you.
The next document needed is a certified copy of your highest educational degree either a High School Diploma or University Degree . The document will also need to be Apostilled or Legalized and then translated and notarized in Spanish here in Ecuador. Once again, most Ecuadorian law offices are able to take care of the Translation/Notarization of those documents for you.
Last but not least, you will need to have your blood taken at a local government medical clinic that is verified by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Transit (Agencia Nacional de Transito del Ecuador “ANT”). Nothing to be alarmed about, they only want to know your blood type in the event a blood transfusion is needed as a result of a car accident.
Once you comply with the above mentioned documents, you can submit your documents for approval. The remaining process can take several days up to several weeks to be fully completed.
- Minimum age 18 years.
- Read and write Spanish.
- Original identification document
- Original certificate of blood type.
- Original certificate valid driver’s license from a Foreign country issued by one of the following institutions.
- Diplomatic missions of countries of origin in Ecuador, in Spanish.
- Diplomatic missions not in Ecuador, in Spanish.
- Transit Entities from country of origin, Must be apostilled or legalized. The translations of the documents must be authenticated by a Public Notary, Consul or Civil Judge in Ecuador.
- The requirements will be delivered to any User Support Office of the ANT at national level.
- Validation of documents and payments.
- Submit documentation.
- Take photograph and signature.
- License Delivery
* The foreign original documents will not be retained by the ANT office.
* The license will be issued for the term of the visa.
For more information please visit the ANT licensing page here or your local attorney’s office.