Published on August 19th, 20162
DIY Transfer an Ecuador 9-I Visa to a New Passport (Part 2)
Whew! First of all, I’ve been busy. Busy with a myriad of “gotta-do” chores that need doing before I take off (in just 15 days – yikes!) for a six week romp in Eastern Europe. Furthermore, one of those chores was to transfer my Ecuador permanent residency visa from my old passport to my new one. Actually, I understand I COULD tote both old and new passports with me, but… better to have the visa officially transferred so as to avoid any possible hassles with EC immigration upon my return in October.
Which brings me to Part 2 (and the final) chapter in this “DIY Transfer an Ecuador 9-I Visa to a New Passport” saga.
When last we left off, I had gathered all the required copies and forms for transferring my Ecuador 9-I visa from my old passport to my new passport, to wit:
– old passport + color copy
– new passport + color copy
– original cedula + color copy
– completed visa transfer application
– bitty passport pic
– copy of my bank account statement showing 3 months income
– official “movimiento migratorio” certificate
All very easy-peasy. And so far, total expenditure: $2 for copies + $1.60 taxi fare to the police station + $5 movimiento migratorio = $8.60
Personally, I like nothing better than riding on local buses – and believe me, I’ve bounced on zillions of them in my travels around Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, Cuba, younameit. Bumping along through the countryside, chatting with the locals and fellow travelers alike. To me it’s one of the best ways to enjoy authentic experiences with the peoples of the world. Plus I’d never been to Azogues, so all the more reason to look forward to a little excursion.
And little it was indeed – but a 40 minute ride from Cuenca for the princely sum of 35 cents (half price thanks to my dodderin’ years).
Arriving in Azougues (a tidy little town, that seems on the economic upswing) I of course hadn’t a clue where the immigration office might be, so I simply sidled up to the “info” kiosk there in the bus station. No English of course, but all I had to do was hold up my passports and mumble “oficina de inmigración” and… before she could even answer, a lad standing nearby offered to walk me outside and show me the way. A delightfully helpful fellow, but I soon learned that his guide service came with a bit of bible study. Nonetheless, he pointed the way and I graciously accepted his pamphlet with a sincere “gracias”. The Immigration Office turned out to be a little further than I expected (about a mile or so), but it was a pleasant walk and I got to see some of the town along the way.
Arriving at the Immigration office (quite spiffy – see photo above – and much larger and nicer than the old immigration office in Cuenca), I found my way to the 2nd floor (again, by merely flashing my twin passports to the staff at the door) and was asked if I had an appointment (una cita?) I didn’t, so was given a number and took a seat. There were several other gringos there – all with Ecuadorian facilitators.
It wasn’t long before my number was called and I politely proffered my paperwork. The lass spoke perfect English, so there really is no need of a facilitator. Also, it isn’t as if the facilitator can make the trip to Azogues without you – you need to be there yourself to sign the papers, etc. She checked over all my documents and advised that – because my visa was issued in Quito they’d need to confirm it with the issuing office. She said that would likely take about 4 or 5 days and gave me a telephone number to call to be sure it was ready before I returned. She also confirmed what I’d expected – that my esteemed status as a dodderin’ (i.e. >65 “tercera edad”) the visa transfer fee would be half price (i.e. just $75 vs. $150 – yay!)
First Azogues trip down, 2 more to go.
To be on the safe side, I waited a week to telephone the number she’d given me, and when I did call I was told I could return with my paperwork to proceed with the visa transfer. So off I went on the bus, with no appointment, and once again I only had to wait 20 minutes to meet with the same lass as before. I submitted my paperwork, paid $25 (of the $75 total – I would pay the remaining $50 when I picked up my new passport with the transferred visa), and she gave me an appointment to return the following week.
Second Azogues trip down, 1 more to go.
By now I had the drill down pat: hop on bus, arrive Azogues, taxi or walk to the Immigration Office, and…
Final visit – I had an appointment so didn’t have to wait at all. I simply signed for my new visa, paid the final $50 and picked up my passport with the new visa – Yippeee!
Yes, for me it was 3 trips to Azogues, but one of those trips was only because my visa was issued in Quito. If yours was issued in Cuenca, perhaps you’d only need 2 trips. In any case, each of my trips only took a few hours. I hopped on the bus at 9am-ish and was back home in Cuenca by noon. The bus will cost you at most .70 each way, and the only other expense is for a few taxis, plus the $5 for the movimiento migratorio certificate, and the actual transfer fee of $75 ($150 for you youngsters under 65).
As I said at the onset of Part 1 – prior to opting to do the transfer myself, I had quotes from 3 different facilitators ranging from $100 to $300. That fee is in ADDITION to the visa transfer fee of $150/$75 for tercera edad. The paperwork and process was very simple, and the staff at immigration spoke excellent English. A facilitator can’t process the visa transfer for you – you must be present at each meeting in Azogues.
So it’s up to you: Pay a facilitator up to $300 to hold your hand, or simply do it yourself for less than $25 and… enjoy a little adventure while you’re at it!
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