Ecuador Cedula, Very Important Residency Step


Getting our cedula was the next task after our residency visa to being permanent residents of Ecuador. The cedula is Ecuador’s national Identification card. Above all, it was part of our resident visa package we paid our Ecuadorian lawyer to do for us.

Day 1

We met our lawyer’s assistant (who happens to be a lawyer herself) at 2:30 pm at the Registro Civil. It was standing room only. The place was full of people and there was a sign at one desk that said something about “Express.” We followed our lawyer and immediately started the process. We gave them our passports and our lawyer handed them some other paperwork that they had pre-completed. About 20 minutes later, we took all the completed paperwork over to another window to pay. Unfortunately, the payment system was down, so we had to come back the next day.

cedula 1

Day 2

This time we were meeting our lawyer at 12:30 pm and it wasn’t standing room only. We paid our fee and got a number to meet with a representative to go over everything for finalization. There were 52 people ahead of us. But believe it or not, it went fast. We only waited about an hour because they had quite a few people working the process. Next, they printed the cedula. That took about another hour. That afforded us a bit of time to have some food. After lunch, we came back and picked up our cedula cards. Another residency task checked off. This now makes it official. The cedula is like a state ID card. Your 3 years as a resident time starts once you get your cedula if you ever want to apply for dual citizenship.

Check out the article on how we got our residency visa the easy way.

14 thoughts on “Ecuador Cedula, Very Important Residency Step”

  1. Hi Keith, my husband and I are thinking about making some changes in our life, thinking of early retirement. We are from Toronto , Canada.
    Seems like we have 2 places in mind…Ecuador and or Panama.
    We have some questions we’d like to ask you, is there a way to correspond via email, or maybe Skype?
    Thank you for your blog.
    Very good information

  2. Kathleen Luehrman

    confused about the cedula and when you can get it. Do you have to have a temporary visa for a specific amount of time before you can get a cedula and health insurance? This is confusing to me. THank you. 🙂

    1. Hi Kathleen, the process has changed since we moved to Cuenca. Now you start out with a temporary visa (we went straight to permanent). For a temporary visa, you can apply for the IESS (government) health insurance BEFORE you get your temp visa so that will satisfy the health insurance requirement. Then once you receive your temporary visa, you can get your cedula (government ID). So to recap, you get your health insurance BEFORE apply for your temp visa and you get your cedula AFTER you get your temp visa. Hope that helps. I’d recommend contacting one of the visa Attorneys in Cuenca. They answer questions for free and have the latest updated info.

    1. It doesn’t matter whether you’re employed or not, you can get your cedula the same day. Just remember you need to have your residency visa first.

  3. We are about to go for our immigration interview for our temporary visas next month. We’ve been told that we need health insurance prior to getting our temporary visas. Can we get the IESS insurance to suffice the requirement for the granting of the temporary visa or do we first have to get a private policy?


    1. Althought we haven’t had first hand experience in doing this, I’ve been told by 2 people that yes you can get IESS prior to getting your temp visa. But if you want to be 100% sure (because rules always change here), call Sara at Ecuador Visas. She’ll answer questions for free.

    1. Jennifer, that really depends on many things. First you need to get a temporary residency visa. If you get that, you can get a cedula. I would suggest contacting on of the lawyers in Ecuador. They all will take to you for free and answer any questions. The laws for residency tend to change often.

  4. Hello, is having proof of health insurance still required when getting a cedula for the first time?
    Thanks in advance for your answer,

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