Written By: Attorney Sara Chaca
June 21st, 2022
As the citizens and companies of the world, through investments, partnerships and relocations (i.e. for retirement purposes), continue to expand its/their reach and sphere of influence within Latin America, of particular interest is our fertile country of Ecuador, as per its location in northwestern South America directly in between Colombia and Peru with a healthy stretch of the Pacific Ocean on its western boundary as well, noting that it already enjoys up to multi-billion dollar trade relationships with most major countries in the world (i.e. the U.S., Canada, Europe and China – even the likes of Australia and New Zealand) in an ever increasing number of infrastructure, petroleum and high technology projects together.
And so, whether a person from another country is looking to invest, participate in and/or work for any of those such projects or perhaps in a project of their own creation, or even just admiring/enjoying the beautiful sites and views in Ecuador, one of the best ways for any Expat to do that is to have their University Degree be officially registered with Ecuador’s Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (“Senescyt”), which is the national ‘Degree Approving Institution’ with respect to all Expats’ University Degrees being formally acceptable/usable for purposes of living or working in Ecuador on what is known as a “Professional Visa”. Thus, this article will detail and explain the way in which a Expat from another country who received almost any form of University Bachelor Degree from their applicable University (including also for most any Master Degree or even PhD Degree) can utilize their Degree so as to have the ability, though never the obligation, to move to and/or work in Ecuador. Plus in such case, if/when relocating to Ecuador, the Expat can bring any or all of their family members (i.e. spouse, children, parents and siblings) to also live with them in Ecuador as their legal Dependents in being attached (connected) to their same Professional Visa, accordingly.
Naturally, please again remember that the whole reason for any Expat person to register their University Degree with Senescyt, even if they aren’t yet able/wanting to move to Ecuador at this time, is simply so that the Expat person can very easily do as the title of this article first states above, which is to keep your (their) options open for life!
So then, how does one from another country (i.e. again the U.S., Canada, Europe or China – and once more even the likes of Australia and New Zealand), go about getting their University Degree officially registered with Senescyt? Let us now examine the process for same in the following, so as to properly detail the present way of doing so, and the applicable/relevant procedure(s) required for that, this information being current as of the published date of this article:
For Professional Visa Certification to study or teach or practice or just be retired in Ecuador utilizing your foreign University Degree to qualify for a Residency Visa in Ecuador WITHOUT actually being required to work in Ecuador using your University Degree (whichever may be your desire to that affect is perfectly fine at this time), your University Degree must first generally be Notarized by your University’s Registrar office. To have that occur, you will need to order a Re-Issued Certified Copy of your University Degree from your applicable University, and this Re-Issued Certified Copy needs to be notarized by a Notary at or on behalf of your University Registrar’s office. Additionally, whether your foreign University is on the Approved list for Senescyt or not, you must in any case order a Certified Copy of your University Transcripts along with again a Notarization of your University Transcripts provided by your applicable University’s Registrar office. Lastly, as a Professional Visa applicant (again whether your University is approved by Senescyt or not), you must obtain a Certificate issued by your foreign University, which needs to explain what “Mode of Study” you performed at your University (i.e. Full Time or Part Time, AND whether your studies were done by you in person, via correspondence, online, etc.), and this document also needs to be Notarized by the Registrar’s office of your University.
With respect to the current document requirements shown in the immediately above paragraph for purposes of effectuating the registration of a foreign University Degree with Senescyt, once you have obtained those from your foreign University, for certification purposes with respect to complying with the Ecuadorian Scholastic Authorities’ requirements (i.e. Senescyt), you will then need to take or send all of your required documents (often via the mails is perfectly fine) to EITHER be Apostilled OR Legalized in the country or state of your University’s location. Certainly, this MAY be a different country or state than the one you currently reside in – undoubtedly, a knowledgeable Ecuadorian Lawyer is able to provide the specific information for where and how to request the applicable Apostilles or Legalizations as per the applicable details with respect to your particular University and country or state of its location.
Finally, if for any reason(s) you will not be coming/traveling to Ecuador in person so as to register your University Degree with Senescyt, not the least of which may be because you are not now, may not soon (even if ever), be ready to move to or work in Ecuador, though again you simply desire the ABILITY to do so at any time in the future. As such, you will for that specific purpose need to contract an Ecuadorian lawyer who is located in Ecuador that you are able to have serve as your personal representative with Senescyt, via signed “Authorization Letter” in Spanish that your Ecuadorian Lawyer will send you via email for you to print, sign and send back to Ecuador by courier (i.e. via DHL or FedEx) to their professional office in Ecuador. The aforementioned Authorization Letter is enclosed with all of your above referenced foreign University Documents and their respective Apostilles or Legalizations that you provide to your Ecuadorian Lawyer, with which for them to represent you in Ecuador while you remain in your country of origin (or travel anywhere else as you might wish) during the required approval period for your foreign University Degree to be officially registered with Senescyt, which is typically at most around a 4-8 week process as of this writing.
** Please note that any or all of the above explanation for the process to register your University Degree with Senescyt of Ecuador can/will be different if your University is NOT located in one of the previously mentioned countries and/or if you wish to register a PhD type Degree rather than a Bachelor Degree or Master Degree. As well, the process to apply for a Professional Visa (i.e. to move to Ecuador with or without one’s family members as their legal Dependents) is necessarily a SEPARATE subject containing additional requirements for any such FUTURE time of doing so, that is NOT specifically covered in the above explanation of registering one’s foreign University Degree with Senescyt. **
If like so many other Expats, you too wish to know more about registering your foreign University Degree with Senescyt, including the benefits of a Professional Visa for you and/or your family if/when moving to Ecuador, surely you can and should get in touch with an Ecuadorian Lawyer via email, so as to advise of your plans, as well as why you wish to register your foreign University Degree with Senescyt.
And of course, be sure to ask your Ecuadorian Lawyer any questions you have about the cost, process and current/future plans for you and your family in moving to and/or working in Ecuador ahead.
Sara Chaca (Attorney – Abogada) is a seasoned Ecuadorian Lawyer, who principally serves Expats in making their moves to Ecuador for Visa and Legal matter purposes, as her Expat clients begin their new lives here in her beautiful country. Sara resides in Cuenca with her family, and when not working, she enjoys spending time with her family in Cuenca’s majestic Cajas Mountains, including the many local parks & fairs of Cuenca, plus visiting the coast as well as many gem towns of Ecuador. Sara’s personal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and her law office’s fully informative website is www.ecuadorvisas.com – her Ecuadorian cell phone number is 099-296-2065 and her Toll Free “800” phone number for US & Canadian callers is 1-(800)-655-1581. Sara has a less than 24 hour first response policy, in that if you email or call her, she WILL return your first email or first phone call in less than 24 hours (more typically in closer to 24 minutes!). Most importantly, all first time consultations with Expats for any type Visa or Legal matter(s) are always FREE OF CHARGE. VIEW ATTORNEY SARA CHACA’S SELF-PUBLISHED “KINDLE” BOOK ON MOVING TO ECUADOR, THAT’S AVAILABLE FOR YOUR PERUSAL ON AMAZON.COM HERE.