Paula Owens, Tampa, FL
This is a recommendation for Sara Chaca and her law firm, Ecuador Visas & Containers, in assisting Expats in obtaining Residency Visas and Cedulas.
Our experience had the potential to become a complete nightmare, and had it not been for Sara, we would have probably gone back to the U.S. with our tails tucked between our legs. To begin with, BEFORE WE HAD MET SARA, we made two trips to Miami to talk to the people at the Ecuador Consulate to find out what we needed to do and then to pick up our visa’s prior to leaving the states. The consulate referred us to a women that worked at the Banco Del Austro there in the plaza down from the consulate. She is an Ecuadorian citizen and she translated and notarized all our documents after we had them Apostilled. On our second trip, we picked up the translations.
We took those documents to the Miami consulate and they legalized every document. We opted for the 180 day visas instead of the free 90 day visas as we were thinking it would give us more time in case of any snags in the process. Well, when we arrived in Quito, immigration stamped our passports and we were off to Cuenca, none the wiser. All was going as planned until we went down to the Ministerio to apply for our residency visas. When we got to the desk with our legalized documents in hand, they refused every one of our documents because the notary stamp that the Ecuadorian Consulate’s translator/notary used was in English, not Spanish. And, the guy behind the counter made me very angry when he took my original marriage license and waved it in the air saying it was ridiculous. It was over 20 years old (my original) and that it didn’t prove that we were still married. They wanted one that was 30 days or less in age. It did not matter that it was certified by the county and Apostille by the state, translated, notarized and legalized by the Ecuador consulate in Miami, they would not accept it here in Cuenca. We were told we were going to have to go back to the states and get a new marriage license. I then told him that if I ordered a new license that it would look exactly like the one he had in his hand and would not prove that we were still married and that he needed to tell me exactly what he wanted to prove we were still married. He got angry and told me we had to leave the Ministerio. We left and I told my husband we had better get an attorney to handle this mess. This struck fear in the both of us as we had read the horror stories about the experiences of others in hiring an attorney and the money it cost them, the long drawn out processes….. So we went on Gringo Tree and started mulling through the recommendations. I called a couple of people from the recommendations and the last one I called was Sara Chaca. I was immediately struck by her kindness and understanding of our situation so we scheduled a meeting. It certainly helped that she spoke enough English that we could communicate effectively with her. So, we started the process. We went to the Migratory Police to obtain our Migratory Movement reports. Remember me mentioning going through immigration in Quito? Well, they stamped our passports T-3. That is for the 90 day visas that are free when you enter the country, not the 180 day visas we paid for in Miami and actually had. Well, that had to be corrected. Sara took us to the notary and got a special power of attorney, flew to Guayaquil and got that mess corrected. She was with us every step of the way. We did not have to go anywhere or do anything that she was not by our sides. And we must have gone to the Ministerio office a minimum of 12 times throughout the process. There were a couple of times that she couldn’t be with us but Gabby was there in her place. Gabby speaks very good English and is as sweet and kind as Sara. The both of them have the patience of saints too. Not something I am known for. Each time we went back to the Ministerio, there was a problem to be fixed. I truly believe this was because of the first impression we made and the guy there held a grudge against us for making him angry. I’ve since learned that I am a guest here in this country and I should act that way and leave my old stress filled habits there in the states as they are not well accepted here. Yes, it was an experience to get our Residency Visas and our Cedulas. If it weren’t for Sara, we would not be here. I would recommend her, and have many times already, to anyone that needs help. She is amazing and one of the kindest, most helpful, honest and fair people you could ever want to meet. She could easily triple what she charges and still be well worth the cost. I never felt like I was being taken advantage of by Sara. That is saying a lot because after our first experience at the Ministerio, that experience left me very defensive and guarded. Sara took all the stress out of the rest of the process and I feel like I’ve made a friend for life in her and the entire office where she works. By the way, they also bring containers of household goods into Ecuador if you need those services too. They also have someone in their office that you can talk to about health insurance and prescription drug discount cards. Her Email is: email@example.com.
Debbie & Roland Beaulieu, Ormond Beach, FL
My wife and I wanted to thank Sara Chaca. Without Sara and her associates we don’t believe we could have obtained our Ecuadorian visas and Cedulas. The paper work alone is enough to frazzle most people. Many documents are needed, then they need to be Apostilled, translated and notarized. It is complicated, the paper work needs to be precise. Sara made sure we had all the documents we needed and that they were all complete and accurate. We had previously had a problem with immigration concerning the time we had available to us in Ecuador. Sara was able to straighten this out immediately. Sara was available to us always, either by phone or email. Sara or one of her assistants, Gaby or Mayra went with us and stayed with us during any interviews during this exhausting process.
She is still assisting us in other legal matters, even though we are now living in Bahia de Caraquez, on the coast of Ecuador now. Again, Sara is very dependable whether it is dealing with municipalities or individuals. Whether it involves phone calls, emails or in person, she is there. Either Sara or her assistant Mayra even came to Bahia de Caraquez on the Ecuador coast when we needed them to.
We thank Sara for her knowledge, for being proficient and for her kindness.
Joe Durr, Annapolis, MD
May this letter serve as reference and recommendation for Ecuador Visas & Sara Chaca
On May 15, 2014, my wife and I moved from the United States to Cuenca, Ecuador. We had visited this country many times before and the visit prior to our May move we tried to obtain our visas on our own. It is possible to do this on your own. However, if you’re not used to the customs, if you are not fluent in Spanish and if you do not have all the time in the world you may find out that you have hit many brick walls in achieving your goal. Prior to our move in May of 2014, we contacted Sara and her team of bilingual professionals. Upfront she made it very clear as to what documents would be needed to submit to the Ecuadorian Immigration Department to obtain our retirement visas. I would like to explain the factors why you should contract the services of Sara and her team:
They understand the process of Ecuador Immigration.
They explain your options as to the various visa that would apply to your situation.
They walk you through the US documents required for obtaining your visa.
They verify up front the process and if your documents are all in proper order prior to your leaving the US.
When you arrive in Ecuador they make you feel welcomed and the working relationship becomes a personal one on one.
They tell you every step of the way where and when to meet at what location.
You never feel alone and after the process is completed you feel like your hand has been held at every step.
Also, they are bilingual which is necessary if you do not speak fluent Spanish.
I would certainly recommend Ecuador Visas, and Sara and her team to represent you for a smooth, pleasant transition in your move to Ecuador.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Billings, Edmond, OK
My experience with Sara Chaca and Ecuador Visas has been a very positive one, and naturally the process has been a long one since I chose a property-linked visa. This type visa for using a Real Estate Property Investment Visa is the most complicated and time consuming because of the several different points that paperwork must be handed off to the Registro de Propiedad, in addition to just the Immigration Ministry for a Real Estate Property Investment Visa. Sara walked me through every step of the process, preparing the paperwork thoroughly and super conscientiously and escorting me everywhere I needed to be in the process. Sara is knowledgeable about all the different visa options and walked me through the implications of each decision. On two occasions I had time constraints within the process and Sara moved mountains to meet my deadlines. Everyone in the office is friendly and helpful. What is most remarkable about Sara personally, though, is that she is an outstanding communicator. She responds promptly to every email and query. She reads and listens to every concern and addresses each head on. This is the reason that I chose Sara Chaca and Ecuador Visas in the first place, and it is the reason I highly recommend them.
John & Pamela Stivers, Melbourne, FL
We just wanted to thank you and your staff for the excellent support in obtaining our Ecuadorian Pensioner Visa. Several people advised us that we could do this process on our own. Now that we are done and after experiencing all that is involved, we believe the investment made through your firm was well worth it. Knowing that you and your staff were by our side every step of the way is worth the investment alone. Peace of mind has a value all of its own and it was obvious that we would have been in trouble attempting this process without your support. Thank you again for your outstanding service and we highly recommend you and www.EcuadorVisas.com along with your many additional services. You are invaluable to anyone moving to Ecuador.
Mark & Pat Cabral, Fort Lauderdale, FL
My wife & I recently moved to Cuenca Ecuador. We were in contact with a different company prior to moving here regarding our Visas & Cedulas but we weren’t satisfied with the service. Once we moved to Cuenca, we were recommended to use Sara Chaca. She & her entire staff were very professional & helpful in obtaining our Visas & Cedulas. They all made the process very easy. We highly recommend her for any legal services. Sara will stir you in the right direction for all your needs. We look forward to using Sara & her office in the future.
Rich Koolmeyer, Charlotte, NC
Sara, thank you in counseling and obtaining my EC resident visa so quickly. I would highly recommend you and I qualify you and your services as follows:- Very detailed with the information provided
- Very patient in answering all questions in a very prompt way.
- Following up in order to make sure that all is clear before filing and keeping you well informed during all the phases of the process.
- Since the first contact you proved to be friendly making me feel welcome and at home in EC like most Ecuadorians do.Thank you again and rest assured that I’ll be using your services again as discussed, even though I am in Quito, because I TRUST you.Best regards.
David Kramaley, CEO of Chessable Ltd., United Kingdom
It has been a genuine pleasure for my family and I in working with Attorney Sara Chaca and her law firm of "Ecuador Visas". We have found Sara and her entire staff to be extremely professional, friendly, and 100% true to form in providing the very best service available, both in Ecuador and abroad - those are some high standards! Sara has assisted us, year after year, with the handling of numerous tourist visas and other legal matters in Ecuador. I am a dual national, being both British and Ecuadorian, and as such, my mother constantly requires help with her British Visa applications/approvals, and so Sara and her team assist her each year like clockwork with that, such that my Mom can also see her grandkids in the UK without missing a beat, as specifically all of her documents have to be carefully translated and notarized so that her British Visa is approved in a timely manner each year. Sara and her team have been and continue to be extremely helpful in this and all other visa type processes, and has made it completely stress free to provide the above indicated services for my family and I each year. Sara's got us as long term customers, and I would recommend her and her team to "anyone and everyone", in a heartbeat!
Steve Mitchell, Antlers, OK
It is my sincere pleasure to recommend Sara Chaca for all of your visa needs. I hired Sara to obtain my residency. My personal situation was rather complicated, but Sara promptly resolved every issue of mine and I now have my Ecuadorian residency and I am so very glad that I chose Sara to represent me in the process. Sara is a superb professional that goes over and above the call of duty, and she also speaks very good English. Thanks so much Sara.
Gordon T. Adams, Grand Marais, WI
I am writing my delightful assessment of Sara Chaca, as per her and her legal services firm having successfully acted on my behalf in the interests of my Ecuadorian divorce as well as my car having been involved in an accident in Ecuador, and of course my Visa and Cedula. She has performed quite admirably for all my concerns, and at very excellent prices for her various legal services as well. Sara has always acted very professionally in every instance I have endeavored with her. I am very fortunate to have her and to have been the grateful recipient of her superb services, and I sincerely thank her from the bottom of my heart.P.S. I would very highly recommend Sara to anyone with a legal problem or desiring a Visa, Cedula or Container
Randy Ray Wilfong, Sarasota, FL
I am from Sarasota Florida and have lived in Cuenca just over a year now. I would like to recommend Sara for any legal matters.
She was a tremendous help in preparing a Last Will and Testament for use in Ecuador. This is important to do if you have assets here since they are not covered by your USA Will or Trust.
She arranges everything and is patient in explaining the details. She is very professional, pleasant and promptly replies to any emails you send her. Sara and her office manager Mayra are both fluent in English.
I will certainly use Sara for any of my future legal needs. It is so nice to find a professional as honest, pleasant and trustworthy as Sara.
Shawn Kadnar, India & United Arab Emirates
This is a recommendation for Sara Chaca and her law firm ECUADOR VISAS & CONTAINERS. I had started doing my research of making Cuenca, Ecuador my home since October of 2013.
In December, through a news letter I happened to come across Sara’s email id.
I wrote to her, assuming that, there would be no response.
Was I surprised when I received one immediately? And that put into motion my entire plan.
Over the next 6 weeks they answered each and every one of my queries.
I was even provided with a bulleted list of all the documents required.
Armed with all original documents, I entered Cuenca in March 2014, on a T-III visa and provided the same to Sara.
I was told to expect my visa within 12 weeks.
And so it happened. On July 01, I was informed of my visa having been processed. And by the 3rd week of July I even had my Cedula in my pocket. Bottom line: Sara and her team are very professional in their approach.
Another quality that impressed me was their punctuality.
Sara also makes it a point to have one of her staff (who is bi-lingual) to accompany you to all government offices.
That takes the stress of you, a foreigner in a strange land, away. Here’s wishing Sara, her law firm and her team all the best.
And, More Power to You.
Reginald Prewitt, Nashville, TN
My wife, adult son and I all moved to Cuenca in early January 2018. We first met Sara Chaca in early February 2017. The previous November my wife sent me some information about Ecuador suggesting that she thought the idea of living here was worthy of thought and research. We were convinced by what we learned and began plans for an exploratory trip after the first of the year.
We selected a 12 day "Retire in Ecuador" tour package of the Sierra from Latin Frontiers. We had many more questions than answers by this time. Our research had discovered people in Ecuador we wanted to meet who might have the answers we needed to decide if Ecuador, Cuenca specifically, was where we could enjoy living as well as how it was possible. Sara Chaca's Ecuador Visas was at the top of the list of those we wanted to talk to. A few emails and a couple of phone calls later we had an appointment with Sara during the four days of free time in Cuenca we had tacked onto the trip. I had also learned that Sara has a comprehensive network of people and companies that provide relocation services and help for new expats to get settled. And so, I also made an appointment with Sara’s associate, Paul Wilches of Relocation Services Ecuador, for Container Shipping purposes with respect to our Household Goods being sent from our prior home in the US to our now new home in Ecuador. Understanding the residency visa process and how an international overseas move worked were at the top of our concerns.
The trip and the meetings were a stunning success. We returned home highly impressed with the area we had visited - from Cotacachi to Vilcabamba. We were most impressed by Cuenca and the incredible people we had met here. We left with the answers we needed to feel a move was probably desirable and definitely was doable.
We returned home to prepare our home for sale and to continue gathering the information we needed to make a tough decision. We officially made the decision in May and began gathering the documents needed to apply for temporary residency visas in August. The visa law was in transition when we spoke with Sara but the official regulations weren't released until March. There was a lot of uncertainty and confusion in Ecuador and definitely with us. Sara was invaluable during this time and the 14 months I've known her.
From the day we met I found her generous with her time, skilled at helping us understand exactly what was required, and always cheerful and patient with my incessant stream of questions. She and her staff led us by the hand through the difficult maze of getting documents from four states and the US government. It took about two months of chasing paperwork through several government agencies to finally have all of the Apostilles needed to submit applications for our temporary residency visas. The situation became more clear during these months and helped us decide which type of visa application each of us would pursue. By this time my son had decided he wanted to go with us so we added him without any drama. This is not a difficult process but it can be tedious due to the expected precision necessary in the documentation. Ecuador Visas reviewed every piece of paper and ensured they were correct so we did not arrive in Ecuador only to find we needed corrections or more documents.
The success of their guidance and our work can be seen in the results, We applied for our visas within about two weeks of arriving in Cuenca and received them 26 days later. We received our Cedulas about ten days later. I know that many people run this gauntlet alone or with non-professional assistance. I would not wanted to try. The move was very involved and I still spent a significant amount of time on visa issues. I made enough mistakes and missteps when I had specific instructions and professional review of my efforts. I have no doubt this would have been far more difficult with out Sara and Ecuador Visas. The money we spent was well worth it.
Sara's office has helped us with establishing bank accounts, obtaining health insurance, finding transportation and translation service, real estate, and several more things we never considered when we decided to move to Cuenca. I asked them whenever I had a question and nobody else to help me. They are always generous with their time and friendly guidance.
The biggest service I've used from Sara was the preparation of three contracts associated with the construction of a house in San Joaquin. We arrived here with a temporary apartment lease for the first two months while we looked for a rental house for the three of us, four cats, and two big dogs. The plan was to lease for a year or longer while we became settled and chose a more permanent residence. Like so many thing during the past 18 months plans changed in an instant with a chance meeting. A realtor, Veronica Arpi, we had been talking with since our exploratory trip introduced us to a builder of homes we had seen listed and liked. We were offered an opportunity we could not turn down. That one event greatly complicated our becoming established in Cuenca. Almost everything we thought would follow our arrival had to be modified. We are totally unfamiliar with contract law and real estate in Ecuador. Sara was the obvious person to ask to advise and represent us in these matters. She had just returned from an international trip but immediately got to work on writing contracts that clearly defined the responsibilities of the parties and protected our interests. She explained everything in detail and I'm happy to say established a solid foundation on which to ensure a minimum amount of trouble during the construction. Her fee for the very short notice work was beyond reasonable for superior work. We'll also soon be creating Ecuadorian Wills for Estate Planning purposes with respect to our property that is located here in Ecuador. Sara will do the work.
We came to Sara and Ecuador Visas looking for information. We found an attorney we trust. Sara is our attorney for whatever happens in the years to come. Thanks Sara!