Before applying for the professional visa you will need to get your degree authorized according to the Ecuadorian government’s Education Ministry, known as SENECYT (sen – eh – sit; Secretaria de Edducacion Superior, Ciencia, Tecnologia e Innovacion). This must be your first step in Ecuador.
- Your original diploma with the apostille
- A copy of the diploma
- Your passport and a copy of your main passport page
Unlike in the past, you do not need your diploma to be translated as of January 2016.
SENECYT is located in Azogues, which is about 30 minutes from Cuenca by car. It is in the CAC building (Centro de Atencion Ciudadana) on the 5th floor. This is the same building where the immigration ministry (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana) is located.
- Address: Av. Luis Monsalve y calla Babahoyo, sector La Playa
- You can arrive by car (parking garage located underneath building), by taxi (approximately $30 roundtrip), or by bus (from Terminal Terrestre in Cuenca. Note that you will have to take a taxi from the Azogues bus terminal to the office).
When you arrive, continue to the 5th floor. There, you will find a small kiosk where you enter the reason for your visit. The machine will print you a number, and you will be seated until your number is called. When I went at 9 a.m., I only waited about 5 minutes (unlike the Immigration Ministry office in Cuenca, where you can expect to wait hours, even if you arrive before the office opens).
The SENECYT representative will enter your information from your passport and diploma and some very simple questions. If you have any supplemental documents from a university that is not on a pre-approved list, you should present these documents at this time. There is no application form or cost for this procedure.
As of January 2016, the return time for diploma authorization from a pre-approved university was about 15 days. To see your results, you can go to this Educacion Superior “Consulta de Titulos” webpage to enter your last name and passport number. If your results are not yet ready, the website will say your information is not yet in the system. If you have been approved, there will be a chart that says your identification information, your registration number, institution, degree, status, and date of registration. You are required to print out this document, which you may do easily from this webpage, and submit it along with your professional visa application.