So Dena has her Ecuadorian drivers license. And she didn’t have to take a week long course, like I did to get my Ecuadorian license.
More than a year ago, we heard about a new program by the ANT (Agencia Nacional de Tránsito), the national transit authority in Ecuador.
Instead of taking a course, the program allows for expats with a current driver’s license to apply for an Ecuadorian license based on their current one. We heard that it worked both in Quito and Guayaquil. But we weren’t sure here in Cuenca. Sometimes the rules aren’t equally enforced.
After finding the requirements online (see below) I went into the ANT office in Cuenca to confirm. Yes, it is a functioning program in Cuenca.
UPDATE (June 20, 2014): A reader on Facebook shared some recent changes: I was recently at the ANT in Quito, and, even though the website hasn’t been updated, the document from the motor vehicle admin. From your home country has to be apostilled now. Also, when I took the written test, there was an option for English, although I didn’t click on it to verify.
Read more about driving in Ecuador.
How to Get an Ecuadorian Drivers License Fast
All that we had to do, was get a letter from the transit authority in our home province of Nova Scotia.
It cost CDN$12.10 and they mailed it to our post office box in Canada and my parents brought it a few months ago when they visited. Because it was in English, we had to have it translated and notarized here in Ecuador ($26 for translation/notarization).
This document along with original and copies of Dena’s Canadian license, her cedula, a card stating her blood type and a color photo. They accepted the documents in Cuenca, scanned them all and sent them to Quito for approval. They told us to come back in 15 days.
When we returned, we were told that it was approved. The next step was to go to Paute to write the exam and get the license.
A few days later we headed to Paute and submitted the papers. They sent us to the other side of town for a eye and motor skills test (at the Sindicato de Choferes Profesionales del Cantón Paute, Centro Marginal Rio Cutilcay S/N y Abdon Calderon).
The cost was $20 for the examen psicotecnico (psychological examination). With the document we headed back to the ANT offices. Dena got in line for the exam (they only give the tests Tuesday and Thursday mornings). She got a perfect 20/20!
To pass, you have to get a minimum of 16 out of 20. The tests are 20 multiple choice questions taken from a bank of 400. You can download the pdf file from the ANT site to practice/study. They even have an online practice component.
After just a few hours in Paute, we walked out with her license. Now she can drive in Ecuador.
This is a big deal for Dena. The only other option was to take a driving course in Cuenca – where she would have to drive a standard. While she can drive stick-shift, she isn’t comfortable with that in the city. Now that she has her license, we are shopping for an automatic car…
Don’t Forget Your License Certification
If you are still planning your move to Ecuador, don’t forget to get your license certification. It hardly costs anything and you’ll have it for when you want to apply for your license.
Dena is a Professional Driver
Because of how the letter was written by the transit authority in Canada, Dena was rated as a professional driver here in Ecuador. The standard license in Ecuador is a Tipo-B (Type B). This allows cars, vans and pickup trucks.
She was issued a Tipo-C license which is a professional license. She can drive everything allowed by the Tipo-B plus buses (capacity up to 25 passengers) and full size trucks.
Requirements: Exchange of Foreign License for an Ecuadorian Drivers License
The requirements are here: Exchange of foreign driving license Ecuadorian driver’s license (Canje de licencia de conducir extranjera por licencia de conducir ecuatoriana)
The url has been changing. In case the link doesn’t work, please visit www.ant.gob.ec and search “extranjera”.
Requirements in Spanish. See translation below:
- ORIGINAL Y COPIA A COLOR DE LICENCIA DE CONDUCIR EXTRANJERA VIGENTE
- ORIGINAL Y COPIA DE CÉDULA DE IDENTIDAD O PASAPORTE, VISA Y CENSO
- ORIGINAL Y COPIA A COLOR DEL CERTIFICADO DE LA LICENCIA VIGENTE EMITIDO POR UNA DE ESTAS INSTITUCIONES: POR LA EMBAJADA O CONSULADO DEL PAÍS DE ORIGEN EN EL ECUADOR, EN CASTELLANO, O POR LA EMBAJADA O CONSULADO DEL PAÍS DE ORIGEN DE LA LICENCIA DE CONDUCIR DE LA REPRESENTACIÓN DIPLOMÁTICA DEL PAÍS MÁS CERCANO, EN CASTELLANO,O , POR LA ENTIDAD DE TRÁNSITO AUTORIZADA DEL PAÍS DE ORIGEN, EL MISMO QUE EN CASO DE NO ESTAR EN CASTELLANO DEBERÁ SER TRADUCIDO Y NOTARIADO EN EL ECUADOR, O POR LA ENTIDAD DE TRÁNSITO AUTORIZADA DEL PAÍS DE ORIGEN, APOSTILLADA EN EL CASO DE QUE SE EMITA EN CASTELLANO.
- ORIGINAL Y COPIA DEL CARNET DEL TIPO DE SANGRE
- UNA FOTOGRAFÍA ACTUALIZADA A COLOR TAMAÑO CARNET
Requirements for Ecuadorian Drivers License
- Original and color copy of a current foreign drivers license.
- Original and color copy of Ecuadorian cedula or passport, visa and censo.
- Original and color copy of certificate (letter of certification) of current license issued by one of the following institutions: 1) by the embassy or consulate in Ecuador of your country of origin, in Spanish, or 2) by the embassy or consulate in the nearest country of your country of origin, in Spanish, or 3) by the authorized transit authority in your country of origin, if not in Spanish, it must be translated and notarized in Ecuador, or 4) by the authorized transit authority in your country of origin, apostilled if issued in Spanish
- Original and copy of your blood type card
- A current color photograph, “card sized”.
Offices for Agencia Nacional de Tránsito
Here are the contact details for Cuenca, Quito, Loja, Santa Elena and Otavalo. Guayaquil is managed by another transit authority.
For other locations, or to confirm the latest information, check Trámites Ciudadanos. It is a central information page run by the national government. I have used it many times to find information about certain legal processes. The Spanish term “”trámites” is very common here. We don’t really have an equivalent word in English. We usually say “paperwork”. A couple of dictionaries that I checked translate it as “formalities” or “processes”. Either way, it means a lot of photocopying…
- CUENCA – AZUAY
- Teléfonos: (593) (7) 409 21 72 Email: email@example.com
- Responsable: María Fernanda Tenorio Vásquez
- Dirección: Calle El Salado Av. Don Bosco Horario de Atención: lunes a viernes 8:00 a 16:45
- PAUTE – AZUAY
- Teléfonos: (593) (7) 225 16 91 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Responsable: María Soledad Sarmiento Loyola
- Dirección: Av. Luis E. Vásquez José V. Izquierdo Terminal Terrestre de Paute Horario de Atención: lunes a viernes 08:00 a 16:45, dos últimos sábados del mes 09h00 a 14h00
- QUITO – PICHINCHA
- Matriz ANT
- Teléfonos: (593) (2) 382 88 90 Email: email@example.com
- Responsable: Ing. Paola Carvajal
- Dirección: Av. Occidental SN José Sánchez Horario de Atención: lunes a viernes 08:00 a 16:45
- Quito has six other branches. Check Trámites Ciudadanos for the addresses.
- LOJA – LOJA
- Agencia Loja
- Teléfonos: (593) (7) 257 46 83 / (593) (7) 258 60 63 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Responsable: Richard Mauricio Carpio Ocampo
- Dirección: Bolivia y Argentina Policía Nacional Horario de Atención: lunes a viernes 08:00 a 16:45, dos últimos sábados del mes 09h00 a 14h00
OTAVALO – IMBABURA(Update July 10, 2013: This office is not accepting documents for this program.)
- SANTA ELENA – SANTA ELENA
- Teléfonos: (593) (4) 293 12 52 Email: email@example.com
- Responsable: Ligia Edith Vargas Perez
- Dirección: Av. Carlos Espinoza Larrea Calle 25 de Diciembre Horario de Atención: lunes a viernes 08:00 a 16:45, dos últimos sábados del mes 09h00 a 14h00
How To Request the Certification Letter
UPDATE (June 12, 2013): A number of readers asked how we requested the certification letter. I’m sure that there are lots of ways to do it, but here is what we did. I called the transit authority to confirm how it worked. Because I couldn’t come into the office, they told me to fax my request. Here is what the letter said:
Registry of Motor Vehicles
My name is Dena Haines, born XXXX, XX, 19XX. I’m applying to get a drivers license in another country and they require that the issuing transit authority (Service Nova Scotia – as I have a NS License) issue a certification that my drivers license is valid. It is valid until XXXX, XX, 20XX. My master number is: XXXXXX123456789
I am requesting a certified letter at the cost of $12.10.
I also included my credit card number and mailing address in Nova Scotia. The letter arrived three days later.
Do you have your Ecuadorian license? How did you get it – the old way or the new way?
Are you planning on getting your license?