Visas with the New Cuenca office

Hubby & I went to the new Cuenca visa oficina to get the scoop on getting a permanent visa. For those who may not know, this office is on Ordonez-Lasso, just east of Avenida de los Americas. Big white government building! Can’t miss it, even though we did at first. Walked right past it and then realized, oh, yes, that’s it!

Very nice official lady, speaks ok english and I heard her also speaking ok French ( a lot of “d’accord” when she wasn’t sure if the person understood her) and she gave us a bunch of papers. Still seems to be a lot of paperwork, not all of it outlined nor detailed in the lists of papers that she gave us, but she assured us that we don’t need a lawyer. Now, hubby speaks fluent spanish, so we won’t have a language issue, but, there are details that one might not necessarily know. Such as: all documents must be translated, 2 copies, and they must be translated by an acceptable Ecuadorian official, her suggestion was, someone at the university. How am I to find someone there? 

Our biggest question mark is the documents that need to be “apostilled”. She spent a lot of time explaining this need and the treaty and the countries who subscribe to “apostilled” documents to validate their validity, but really, where do these things get apostilled in the U.S.? I was born in one state, hubby was born in another state, we were married in a 3rd state, and we live in a 4th, Texas. Can we collect all our documents and get them apostilled in Texas? She didn’t know the answer to this question, but suggested that we call the embassy in Guayaquil. OK, that doesn’t really help us. 

So, we are now understanding why people hire a lawyer to get all this stuff done. It may be worth it to just not have to deal with all the details!

No, hubby says, he can do it. OK. Fine. Since we are going to get residency with a CD deposit of $25,500 ($25,000 for hubby and only a measly $500 for me, as dependent!) in hubby’s name, I will let him figure it all out.

After all, he is going to be retired sooner than me, and he will have oodles of time on his hands between cooking and cleaning and doing laundry (NOT!!) to handle all the paperwork.

Now we just have to figure out how to get a CD in a bank account now while we are here, since the latest that we’ve heard (from an Ecuadorian who seems to know) is that you can’t get a bank account without a cedula. Sort of trying to put the cart before the horse, although the Visa process, for us, requires the Horse part to be able to get the Cart part. I think.

Wish us luck!


8 responses to “Visas with the New Cuenca office

  1. Pingback: Morning Update – Tuesday, September 11, 2012 « South of Zero

  2. As I understand it, each document must be apostilized by the Secretary of State of whichever state issued that document. In other words, it looks like you will have to deal with several entities. A local attorney would be of no help in these matters. Suggest that you check each state’s website for information on “how to do it”. My experience in Arizona had me send a notarized copy of each document to Phoenix along with a few dollars, a pre-addressed return envelope, and a request letter. Good luck!

  3. P.S. – Unless the rules have changed in the last few months, several banks will allow you to open an account using your passport. Cedula not needed. Each bank seems to have slightly different rules, but they usually require letters of recommendation, copy of rental agreement, copy of utility bills, etc. You might try and go from there. I’ve heard they are one of the easiest. The branch on Solano y Doce de Abril worked well for a friend.

  4. We were able to open a savings account at Banco Pichincha without a Cedula, all they wanted was a passport number, from what we understand, you cannot open a checking without the Cedula. We received our retirement visa and Cedula a year ago with no problem, but we did use a local attorney.

  5. Would you mind me asking, will you be using a self-directed IRA to fund the CD? I’ve been curious if this was possible.

    • We will not be using a self directed IRA to fund the CD. We decided it might be too onerous. We have started an account at JEP coop and plan to wire the funds to the account right before we return permanently. We have never actually found anyone who has successfully funded the residence CD with self directed IRA funds.

  6. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and your thoughts. Because of you I am planing to go to “”Casa de mi abuela” and to visit El Jardin del Valle (thanks for the tips!). I will be coming to Cuenca in October and to me all the info on how to apply for residency and what doc to have is just so confusing!
    So far I applied for 6 month tourist visa here in states. I needed $230 money order, passport, 4 passport pic and my bank statement. OK, but what’s next. If I come to EC on $25.000 CD deposit – I would like somebody smart to tell me how do I transfer the funds? And in my case I was born in Europe so my birth certificate (I have never needed it in my 54 years!!!) is nor in English – who will apostel European documents???? Please write more on the process of getting your residency without a lawyer. Appreciate your info. Jrytych at yahoo dot com

    • Thank you for your kind comments and am glad you will be trying out a few of my favorite places. In Cuenca, I would recommend you visit the Visa office on Ordonez-Lasso, just off of Avenida de los Americas (the new road!). They will give you the help you seek for the residency visa. (when going there, walk a few blocks more away from Americas to the Hotel Oro Verde Gourmet cafe coffeeshop – best chocolate croissants in Cuenca). The Visa rep explained to us that certain countries subscribe to a treaty that validates “apostilled” documents, and some countries do not. Better check to see if your country of birth is one of the treaty ones or one of the other ones – if so, she will give advice, and her English is pretty good. As for transferring the money, I suggest that you get a bank account in Ecuador at one of the “approved” banks or Coops (the visa rep will give you a list of these) and then write a check to yourself at the EC bank, drawn on your US funds. It will take 3 to 4 weeks to transfer the money but then you won’t have to pay for a wire transfer, which of course you can also do. If you need help with opening a bank account, I also suggest the assistance of Juan Perez, who speaks excellent English from living in the U.S. for many years. He has a vast amount of valuable contacts in Cuenca, not the least of which is his father who founded one of the better hospitals in Cuenca, and can offer assistance with many items. His email is – he does charge for his services but whatever he charges is well worth his aid and friendship. I can recommend him wholeheartedly, he is extremely trustworthy and friendly. If he likes and trusts you, he will take care of you. Good luck!

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