How to Obtain an Ecuadorian Cédula for the First Time

Johan Klok | Last update:

The cédula is the Ecuadorian identification card. You can apply for your cédula at any time after you have received a temporary or permanent resident visa. Having a cédula is not an obligation.

Advantages

Having a cédula has several advantages:

  • You can travel in Ecuador with your cédula instead of your passport.
  • You can open a bank account.
  • You can get an IESS health insurance.
  • You can apply for VAT refunds (if applicable)

There are no real disadvantages but it takes some efforts to obtain a cédula.

Procedure

The procedure to obtain a cédula for the first time consists of two steps. You first need to apply for an orden de cedulación from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Then, with this orden the cedulación, you can apply for the actual cédula at the Civil Registry.

Orden de cedulación

The new visa rules that came into effect in February 2022 stipulate that the pass is issued at the same time as the visa. You can follow the procedure in this section if this does not happen.

Required documents

  1. Appointment: a print of your appointment.
  2. Passport: your passport has to be valid for at least six months.
  3. Certificate of migratory movements: you don't need a certificate of migratory movements if you have received your temporary resident visa less than 90 days prior to your appointment or if you have received your permanent resident visa less than 180 days prior to your appointment.
    In all other cases, see How to obtain a certificate of migratory movements to learn how you can obtain this certificate. A certificate of migratory movements is valid for 30 days. The official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will use your certificate to check whether you have not left the country for more than the allowed time.
  4. Basic document of your visa: the basic document is the document pertinent to the type of visa you have. In the case of a pensioner's visa, you will need to show your pension statement. In the case of a professional visa, you have to show your degree. In the case of an investor's visa: proof of investment (a CD certificate, for example). Etc.
  5. Prove of health insurance: a health insurance certificate or a copy of the health insurance policy. The health insurace insurance needs to be a private healthcare insurance with full coverage with a duration of at least three months from an insurance company approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  6. Prove of dependency: if you have a dependent visa, you need a document that shows this dependency (a marriage certificate or a birth certificate, for example).

Optional documents

  • High school or college diploma: original and copy. When you present a high school or college diploma, your cédula will show the respective education level. This is recommended if you want to apply for an Ecuadorian driver's license from an ANT office that demands proof of education of at least the level of a high school.
  • Disability card: original and copy. If you are disabled, you can get a CONADIS disability card together with your cédula. This can be useful to get discounts and to use dedicated parking lots.
  • Birth certificate: original and copy. When you present your birth certificate, your cédula will show the names of your parents.

Procedure

You can apply for an orden de cédulacion at one of the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ecuador. You first need to make an appointment on this website: Sistema de generación de turnos para servicios de Movilidad Humana. You may be asked to upload PDF files of all required and optional documents. You also have to bring all required and optional documents to your appointment. At the office, you will get a payment instruction to deposit the fee (see below) at a branch of BanEcuador. After showing the payment receipt, you will get your orden de cedulación.

Fee

$10 (if you are 65+: $5; if you have a disability equal to or more than 30%: free).

Validity

The orden de cedulación is valid for 30 days.

Cédula

You can get your cédula at particular civil registry offices in Cuenca, Guayaquil and Quito.

Making an appointment

To receive your cédula you will first need to make an appointment. You can make an appointment by sending an e-mail to extranjeros@registrocivil.gob.ec with your full name, a phone number to contact you, an e-mail address to contact you, the civil registry office you want to visit (see below), and the issue date or the orden de cedulación. As attachment you need to send a PDF of the orden de cedulación.

Not all civil registry offices issue cédulas to foreigners. To receive your cédula you can make an appointment for the following offices:

  • Cuenca: the office Parque La Libertad (located next to Parque La Libertad)
  • Guayaquil: the office in Edificio del Gobierno, Avenida Francisco de Orellana and Calle 13A
  • Quito: Iñaquito office, Avenida Río Amazonas N37-61 and Avenida Naciones Unidas

Visiting the civil registry office

After receiving an appointment you can visit the civil registry office. You have to bring the following documents to your appointment:

  1. Orden de cedulación
  2. Passport: your original passport and a copy of the page with your data.
  3. Visa: a print of your visa.
  4. Optional documents: the optional documents mentioned above under Orden de cedulación.

The appointment at the civil registry office starts with paying the $5 fee at a payment counter. After processing your documents, taking fingerprints and taking a photograph of your face, you will receive your cédula. This can take some time (one hour for example) because the cédula has to be printed.

Tip: wear a laminated copy of your cédula and leave your original cédula at home. You will only need your original cédula in case of legal or financial transactions. In shops, you don't need to show your original cédula.

What's next

Validity

If you have a temporary resident visa, your cédula will have a validity of 24 or less months. If you have a permanent resident visa, your cédula will have a validity of 10 years.

Renewing your cédula after expiration

See How to renew your Ecuadorian cédula for more information.

Renewing your cédula after losing your cédula

When you want to renew your cédula after having lost your cédula, you first need to obtain a Formulario de Constancia. You can create this document on this webpage: Sistema de Documentos Extraviados - Formulario de Constancia. See How to renew your Ecuadorian cédula for the next steps you will need to take.