If you’re an expat living in Ecuador and need to renew your passport, this article covers the renewal process and provides all the shortcuts you’ll need for locations, instructions and forms.
IMPORTANT: You are not allowed to travel internationally with less than 6 months of validity left on your passport. If the expiration date on your passport is June 1st, you will need to renew your passport before January 1st if you plan to travel to another country. Due to the pandemic, the passport process is taking longer than normal so plan accordingly.
Required Items for US Passport Renewal in Ecuador
The Ecuador US Embassy website has all the details about how to renew your passport in Ecuador from an application perspective. You’ll want to complete the questionnaire here FIRST to ensure you’re eligible to renew your passport.
Below, we’ll include more specific details about what you need, shortcuts to forms and maps, how to gather everything, the costs, and where to get things done.
Your Old Passport
If you’re living in Ecuador, it can be nerve wracking to surrender your only passport, which makes it impossible for you to travel internationally until you receive your new passport. Sadly, you have no other option; you must submit your old passport with your passport renewal application.
Prior to the pandemic, the passport renewal process took roughly 2 weeks. During the pandemic, the process was taking several months due to office closures and reduced staff at the US passport offices. As of this writing (October 15, 2020), we are told the process will take roughly 30 days.
Color Copy of Your Passport Photo and Signature Pages
You will also need to include a color copy of your main passport photo and signature pages with your passport application. Just lay your passport flat on the copy machine so both the signature page and the photo page are on one sheet.
In Guayaquil, we went to the Cyber Tek store in Mall del Sol to make a copy of the passport and print the passport application. The cost for the color copy and printing the application was less than $3.
New Color Passport Photo
In Cuenca, the FujiFilm store in Milenium Plaza Mall took my passport photo, made a copy of my old passport and printed the passport application for me. The cost for everything was less than $10.
In Guayaquil, the FujiFilm store in Mall del Sol took Amelia’s passport photo, but wasn’t able to make a copy of the old passport or print the application. The cost for just the passport photo was $13.
We went to the FujiFilm store in Mall del Sol because we stayed in the Sheraton Hotel that’s located across the street from the mall. However, there is also a FujiFilm store that takes passport photos located next to the authorized DHL service center in downtown Guayaquil where we went to mail the passport application. More on that below.
As of this writing, the passport renewal application fee is $110 and must be paid with cash or credit card in person, or with a cashier’s check made out to “U.S. Disbursing Officer” if submitting by mail, which is currently the only option due to the pandemic.
We have a bank account at JEP so we went to the branch in Guayaquil, which is only 2 blocks from the DHL office. A cashier’s check is called a “Cheque de Gerencia” in Ecuador, which translates to Management Check.
The JEP tellers told us they can only do cashier’s checks for $3,000 or more so we kept asking and explaining until they finally agreed to give us one for $110. It took a teller, an account manager and a bank manager to do it, and the whole process took nearly an hour, so be patient.
We’ve heard from other people that cashier’s checks are challenging to get in Ecuador. They prefer to do wire transfers, which isn’t an option for US passport renewals.
Passport Renewal Application
Once you complete the renewal questionnaire and determine you’re eligible to renew your passport in Ecuador, you’ll need to print and fill out Form DS-82: U.S. PASSPORT RENEWAL APPLICATION FOR ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS.
If you live in Ecuador, use your current Ecuadorian address for both the mailing and permanent address fields.
Staple your 2″ x 2″ (5cm x 5cm) color passport photo with 4 staples as shown on the form.
If your passport has expired, you need to include a copy of your birth certificate or naturalization papers.
If your name has changed due to marriage or divorce since your last passport was issued, you also need to provide all relevant legal documents showing the name change.
Passport Renewal Options
Renew Your Passport In Person in Ecuador
Renew Your Passport By Mail in Ecuador
Due to the pandemic, you must mail your passport using an authorized DHL Service Center, which you can locate on this map. There are authorized centers in the major cities like Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Loja, Machala, Manta, etc.
We went to the DHL office in Guayaquil (pictured above), which is located downtown across the street from La Iglesia de San Francisco. The Google Maps pin is on the wrong block so we had to ask a security guard for directions. The DHL office is behind me in this picture so if you see the church from this angle, turn around and you’ve found it!
Currently, passports are only being processed at the US Consulate in Guayaquil so be sure to send your passport to Guayaquil. If you send it to the US Embassy in Quito, your passport will NOT be processed until the office reopens, which could be months or longer.
The lady at the DHL in Guayaquil knew exactly what to do. The cost was $24.80, which included the postage for both sending the package and returning it. The passport will be returned to a different DHL location, but they didn’t explain why.
We didn’t have a manilla envelope and couldn’t find a store nearby that sold one so thankfully the DHL office had one on hand. That location doesn’t appear to sell packing materials like we’re used to seeing at shipping centers in the US, so we recommend going prepared with all of your materials in a letter size manilla envelope. Leave it unsealed so the DHL clerk can review everything.
Transfer Your Visa to Your New Passport
Ecuador now uses electronic visas, which means there is no longer a visa sticker applied to your passport. This change went into effect after my passport renewal in April 2019 so when traveling internationally, I carried my new passport as well as my old passport with the visa sticker and a hole punched in the passport by the consulate.
When I got my permanent resident visa in January 2020, it was automatically attached to my new passport so I no longer need to carry my old passport.
Now that the Ecuador visa is electronic, and since the new passport will have a different number, Amelia will need to get her visa transferred from her old passport number to her new passport number. We’re going to hire GringoVisas.com to help with that process and will keep you posted about what that entails.
If you’re applying for a temporary or permanent resident visa in Ecuador and your passport will expire within the next 2 years, we recommend renewing your passport BEFORE you submit your visa application so you avoid the need to transfer your visa to a new passport.
While it took several different stops, overcoming a few challenges, and cost us several hundred dollars including our trip to Guayaquil from our home in Olón on the coast, the process for submitting the passport application for renewal was relatively painless.
Hopefully, we’ll receive Amelia’s new passport in a reasonable timeframe because it’s stressful to live in a foreign country without one. Once we receive it, we’ll update this post with additional information and our experiences.
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