Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Visa Extension in Quito

Like many others we are in the stressful process of applying for a Pensioner Visa. Since we initially provided our attorney the necessary paperwork after arriving in July 2011, we have had the additional requirement of a Criminal Background Check issue to tackle and we did so earlier this month. But, of course as many of us have experienced first-hand, another problem arose to delay our visa application. The day our attorney submitted our Pensioner Visa application we only had 29 days left on our 90 day tourist visa, and we needed 30 days according to the requirements. This could have been avoided, but our attorney wasted 21 days by not informing us we needed the Criminal Background Check, as our application sat in her office after she had told us that she was going to use an Interpol report in its place. If I hadn't called to check on the status of our application, we may have never found out we needed to do our own Criminal Background Check. So, our attorney's error caused us to fall one-day short in meeting the 30 day requirement to submit our application. So, we required to extend our visa, so off to Quito we go.

With two daughters back in Atlanta that we help financially, and Nick's school expenses of $400 a month, we needed to make the trip to Quito and back as cheap as possible. After doing some research we decided to take the overnight bus to Quito on Wednesday evening. The bus company, Pan Americano, offered an overnight trip for $10 per person leaving at 10pm, and arriving around 7am in Quito. The bus was modern, with reclining seats, on-board movies, bathroom, and seats 40, but there were only 10 passengers, so we had room to spread out. One big problem though, NO HEAT! It was one of the coldest, and most uncomfortable bus trips of our lives! We felt safe, but it was just too damn cold to get comfortable. We arrived in Quito at 5:20am, and had to kill time until our attorney's office opened at 8am. Sitting in a cold bus station, and watching time drag by was not fun. Eventually, we got a taxi at 7:30am, and headed to our attorney's office to only sit there for an hour before our attorney's assistant arrived. We headed to the Immigration office after a quick stop to purchase proof of return tickets to Miami for $11.50, and then sat with others needing Visa's for the next two hours. After one failed attempt to get a 12-IX Visa, and several discussions with supervisors, and the head of the Immigration office we finally walked out with a 12-IX visa at 2pm.

Tired, and hungry since we hadn't eaten since the night before we headed to McDonald's, because is was near by, and we were hoping had a nice bathroom. McDonald's are the same around the world, and the one in Quito was no exception. It was clean, busy, and the food even tasted the same. Well, after our experience on the bus we decided we wanted to get home quickly, so we headed to the airport, and bought three one-way tickets to Cuenca on AeroGal for $201.23. We arrived home on Thursday at 7pm, exhausted, dirty, and ready to spend the next few days relaxing. In all it was a success, we extended our Visa for $30 each, and our attorney is submitting our Pensioner Visa application this week, and we should only need to return to Quito in a few months to get our Censo and Cedula.

The most important thing we learned during our 44 hour experience is you must have patience, and never give up hope that in the end everything will work out.  


  1. I was wondering if you would share how and where you got your criminal background check. You have to have one here in the US before you can get your visa, so do you have to have another one once you get to EC?

  2. You only need one criminal background check. When we left Atlanta in July 2011 there was not a requirement for your Pensioner Visa application to include a criminal background check, so we never bother to get one done. We had our daughters who live in Atlanta get our criminal background checks done for us after the new requirement went into effect.