Ecuador Drivers License for expats / Ecuador Laws

Ecuador Driver’s License Now Easier to Get

If there was ever a place where if you don’t like the rules, just wait a few minutes and they will change, Ecuador is it. We have been here for five years now, and one of the most difficult things to get was an Ecuador Drivers License.   There seemed to be no way to get around taking a one-month daily behind the wheel driving course.

But apparently as of March 29, 2011, that law has been changed. Thanks to a post on the Ecuador_expats yahoo groups bulletin board, we have the following information.   This is a good site to join, by the way, to read about real people living in Ecuador.

The new law is only for returning Ecuadorians and expats with a series 9 permanent residency visa. It is called “Canje de la licencia extranjera.” The law states that Ecuador will recognize the validity of International documents and permissions regarding driving in conformity with norms and requisites in international instruments (drivers licenses).

The requisites are as follows:

1. Original and copy of the original valid foreign drivers license.

2. Original and copy of your ID documents such as cedula and censo. You receive these documents after you get your residency visa.

3. Original certificate of authenticity. This is an apostilled document from your home state’s secretary of state office saying that your driver’s license is valid. It must be translated into Spanish.

4. Original and copy of your blood type. You can get this at the Ecuadorian Red Cross for $2.50.

5, Two photographs, facing, ID size

6. Pass the psychometric exam and the driving test (written, practical, and medical). The psychometric exam is a coordination test.

7. Fill out the special request form which you get from the Transit office in Quito, or you can download it from the website. ANT stands for Agencia Nacional de Transito in Quito.

Here is a link to an article regarding the new law. One of the things the new law did is place sever restrictions on the legal amount of blood alcohol permitted. Driving after one large glass of beer can get you a fine of $264 and five days in jail. The higher the amount of blood alcohol, the higher the penalties.  Don’t mess around with this one.  From what we hear, Ecuador jails are not pretty.



  1. Gretchen says:

    For the drivers license….What documents should be notarized? Does the certificate of authenticity that is apostilled need to be notarized?

  2. oh! i forgot to mention that our gardener fernando told us yesterday that on SUNDAYS it is illegal to even have any kind of liquor in your car and that on SUNDAY you will face stiff fines if stopped. he said that is because on SUNDAY many people have the day off and are traveling. i asked him about the other days of the week and he said that it’s illegal to drink and drive but that there aren’t very many traffico police in imbabura because they are in carchi and guayaquil to stop drug running. so or course now we feel much safer on SUNDAYS…uh, huh

  3. good grief! i have to go through all of that so i can drive like a stark raving manic and put myself and everyone else on the road in peril? hmmm, think i will pay someone to take the test for me like ecuadorians do…
    BUT for those of you who do things by the book, this is great news, i think?

  4. So when have the Ecuadorian police ever done anything correctly, instead of handing them your license just hand them a $20 That is if you ever get stopped since they mostly just sit around the station and do nothing like in Cotacachi. What a worthless bunch…

  5. I tried to bring up the above website but nothing ever appeared. My CRITICAL question is about bringing my pets into Ecuador: What is required? I’ve been told that I HAVE TO HAVE A BROKER to be a go-between once my pets get to Ecuador. Is this true? Please tell me the steps that are ACTUALLY required. I trust that the info I get from you will be facts, not fiction. Thanks for easing my mind about getting my beloved pets into Ecuador. Respectfully, C. L. Brown

    • Hi Carole. Gary and I don’t have pets and haven’t brought any from the states, so we don’t have first-hand knowledge to share with you about safely bringing your animal friends to Ecuador. We do have info on our website about pets, both negative and positive. The problem is that requirements in Ecuador are constantly changing so the info we have if dated.

      Sandyb in the above posts lives in Ecuador and will be bringing her two dogs here asap. Perhaps you two can put your heads together to find out all that is currently required and report back to the rest of us. I’m sure it would be greatly appreciated.

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