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Ecuador records of birth, death, marriage, divorce, university degrees and Apostilles: Foreigners obtaining Ecuadorian documents

By Sara Chaca

Seldom does a day go by in Ecuador where I don’t receive an email or phone call from a person in another country needing or wanting a form of Ecuadorian Certificate or Ecuador Public Records (i.e. Ecuadorian Birth Certificate, Ecuadorian Death Certificate, Ecuadorian Marriage Certificate, etc.), so as to duly evidence that said person or another in their family, business or otherwise, is/was either “born in Ecuador, died in Ecuador, married in Ecuador, divorced in Ecuador, or graduated in Ecuador from an Ecuadorian university”.

Lucky for those persons, Ecuador does in fact have and provide virtually all forms of certificates that is/are customarily issued in the US, Canada, Europe and most of the rest of the world. Not quite as lucky, however, is a person who is located in another country that needs/wants any such type certificate from Ecuador, that would normally have to fly to Ecuador and stay at a hotel, solely for the purpose of acquiring it. Towards that end, one is completely free and fully permitted by virtue  of Ecuadorian law to contract/hire an Ecuadorian Attorney to secure such type Ecuadorian document(s) on their behalf, whether as their personal representative or in their acting capacity as a “Power of Attorney”, naturally depending on the circumstances, type of documents/forms and the reason for needing/wanting them be provided from Ecuador.

As well, with Ecuador being an “Apostille Member” country (i.e. the Apostille section of the ‘Hague Convention’), it is also additionally necessary that said documents from Ecuador require an Ecuadorian Apostille from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs be issued on any such relevant document for purposes of one’s need and/or furnishing of an Ecuador certificate or official document coming from Ecuador for the utilization of same in another country, so as to formally be entered or submitted in any type of formal or legal process in that such other country or place, respectively. Many a person who has obtained a document from Ecuador (either in person while in the country or via third party), is/was later dismayed to learn that an Ecuador Apostille needed to have also been issued on the document, so that it can be made use of in any official manner in another country. Lest one forget that Apostilles for Ecuador are highly applicable and vitally necessary if/when one needs or wants to actually do something with that such document in ANY other country, and it important to note that this CAN’T be done as a simple Ecuadorian Notarization by a Notary in Ecuador, because it is a Government of Ecuador issued document and NOT the function of an Ecuador Notary to provide an Apostille from Ecuador – FYI, there  is a way to get an English document Notarized in Ecuador if one needs it (i.e. in  place of a US Notary in Ecuador), though in somewhat unrelated matter to this article, that must be saved for the theme of another article (or send me an email if you’d like to know the details of that one specifically..).

And so, whether the reason for a formal document being obtained from Ecuador is an Ecuadorian legal process, a court case located in another country, or merely for one’s own personal file, rest assured that almost never do/will you personally have to travel to Ecuador so as to obtain it/them, as Ecuador is now very much in the 21st century these days. Thus, Ecuadorian institutions are quite well familiar with the concept of a foreigner needing/wanting to obtain documents from Ecuador via a third party representative in Ecuador (without them personally flying/traveling there) who can/will do so on their behalf in a legal and professional manner.

Finally, much or all of the above can/will in like kind format be said for documents that persons of, from or who are located in Ecuador (i.e. Ecuadorian Residents, Ecuadorian Citizens/Nationals, etc.) need from their home country or past place of living (i.e. the US, Canada, among others..), and so naturally this is an important thing to keep in mind, that the reverse of the above described situation is often necessary, in the case that one travels and/or moves to Ecuador without first having brought or obtained their needed/desired documents from their country(ies) of origin, respectively. And so at that, when in doubt, don’t leave your documents, apostilles or legalizations (for Non-Apostille Member countries such as Canada), to the last minute, or it’ll take very many minutes (sometimes weeks/months) to rectify such type mistake, or shall we say, adventures in procrastination!


Sara Chaca (Attorney -­‐ Abogada) is a seasoned Ecuadorian Lawyer, who principally serves Expats in making their moves to Ecuador, as well as for any legal issues that arise or become actionable for her Expat clients to undertake in their new lives here in her beautiful country. Sara resides in Cuenca with her family, which consists of her American husband and 2 daughters (as well as her parents and siblings), and when not working, she enjoys spending time with her family in Cuenca’s majestic Cajas Mountains and local parks & fairs of Cuenca, plus visiting the coast as well as the many gem towns of Ecuador. Sara’s personal email address is sara@ecuadorvisas.com, and her personal cell phone number is 099.296.2065. 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 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.