For anyone wanting to work or become a digital nomad in Ecuador, the Ecuador professional visa is surely an awesome route. After coming to Ecuador on a government program to teach English, I fell in love with Ecuador and decided to live here.
I successfully applied for an Ecuador professional visa to teach English in Ecuador and received it. Although this visa has many other requirements, one of the most important requirements is to get your profession registered through Senescyt Ecuador.
And in order to do that, you must get your educational transcripts approved from SENESCYT, Ecuador. SENESCYT is the government entity in Ecuador that verifies your educational qualifications. Your degree must be recognized by them in order to score a freelance visa in Ecuador.You need to register your profession within three months of arriving in Ecuador.
So I would ask you to get started as soon as you get to Ecuador.
If you are a US citizen, jump to Valeri’s experience of getting Ecuador temporary resident visa.
Requirements to Get Profession Registered in SENESCYT Ecuador
Apart from your passport, the only requirement to get your profession registered on Senescyt is to submit the apostilled copies of your educational transcripts.
Each degree has to be registered. For instance, I have a bachelor’s and a master’s and I had to register both of them.
What is an Apostille?
An apostille is basically a form of notarizing on an international level, agreed by many countries. You can only apostille documents in the country/place of origin. Each country’s procedure for this is different.
The educational certificates and mark sheets are the first and foremost requirements for a professional visa. And remember that your certificates, mark sheets, and any transcripts that you present must be apostilled in your home country.
Does it matter if your country is part of the Hague convention countries?
There are conflicting pieces of information about these over the internet that for citizens of countries that are not part of the Hague convention countries, must get their documents certified by the Ecuadorian consulate covering their area.
And if your degrees are not in Spanish or English, then you need it to be translated and notarized as well.
What’s a Certified Translation?
A certified translation must be carried out by translators registered or accredited Embassies, Consulates, language departments of universities, polytechnics or other public bodies. It can be done in Ecuador or in your home country.
I would recommend you to get them apostiled no matter where you are coming from. There have been instances in the past where nationals of different countries ended up in Ecuador without having their certificates apostiled, and their applications were rejected.
In my case, since I have a master’s, I got the certificates and mark sheets for both masters and bachelors apostilled in India before coming to Ecuador.
So don’t take a chance.
How to Apostille & Notarize as a US Citizen?
If you are a US citizen, then the process of apostilling would depend on the state that the diploma was issued in. For example, some secretary of state will not apostille anything over a year old. The document has to either be a certified original or a notarized copy.
You would need to mail the original copy of the diploma and official transcripts to the Secretary of State. You can also ask your university to do the same for you if you don’t want to mail the original diploma yourself.
Once you have the apostilled diploam, you can even notarize them in Ecuador if you want to.
SENESCYT would take the notarized copies of your apostilled diploma and gives you back the original but they want to see an original apostilled diploma as well.
Application Process to Register Profession in SENESCYT Ecuador
When I registered my degrees, Senescyt only received the transcripts in person, but nowadays they are doing it online as well. As the online process also needs you to go personally for an appointment, it’s not completely automated.
Choose the Type of Degree & Apply
To start the registration process on Senescyt, visit the online application page of Senescyt. When you scroll down, you can see the option: Registro de titulos extranjeros.
When you expand the drop-down, you can see the options for different kinds of degrees. The first one if for general degrees, the second one is for PhD holders and, the last one is for people with professional and medical degrees.
Choose the option that fits you. Once you click on it, you will be forwarded to another page on the Senescyt portal. Scroll down to Modalidad de atención.
If you want to do it in person, then choose the option Punto de Atencion al usuario de la SENESCYT. This will show you all the facilities of SENESCYT and you can choose the one that’s close to you.
If for some reason, the portal is down or it’s not accepting the documents, you can always walk into one of their offices. They have offices in Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca, Loja, Ibarra, Azogues, and Portoviejo.
How to Register Your Degree in SENESCYT Online?
You can also register your profession in Ecuador online by choosing Iniciar tu tramite en linea. You will need to create an account in the portal by filling in some details. To get started, choose pasaporte and then fill in your passport number and click on buscar.
1.Create an Account in SENESCYT
As you are not registered, it will then display the other fields you need to fill in. Sometimes, the website acts up and you might need to try more than once. Even after registering, some things might not work. You need to refresh and try again if that happens.
Código de Seguridad:
A four-digit security code in case you lose access to your account.
Provincia de residencia:
The province of Ecuador where you are living.
Ciudad de residencia:
The city where you are living.
Your address in Ecuador.
Once you are successfully registered, you will receive an email from Senescyt with a user name and password. You can log in using those details and then it will prompt you to change the password. After changing the password, you log in again and you would see the option to choose a service.
2.Log into SENESCYT and upload Documents
Then you will see the option to choose the service you want to. Since, Ecuador professional visa is a temporary resident visa, you want to choose everything as TEMPORALES.
Then click on SIGUENTE.
After this, you can upload the transcripts.
Here are all the documents you need to upload. Except for the passport, all the other documents must be apostilled. And if your degree is not in Spanish/English, you would need to get the documents translated to Spanish and get them notarized.
You can only upload PDF or XL Sheets.
Passport bio page and the page containing entry stamp of Ecuador.
Front and back pages of the original certificate from your university which has been apostilled.
Academic record or study plan or document that verifies the duration of your studies.
Document Verifying the Type of Study
Original documents or certified documents verifying the type of study, and its apostille. Mark Sheets containing the subjects can be used for this purpose.
Document Evidencing 60 Credits
An original certificate and/or document that verifies that the student has completed the equivalent of at least 60 credits equivalent to the ECTS( European Credit Transfer System).
Documents Evidencing Course Start and Degree
- An official document or certificate that proves when you started the said course.
- A document that proves that it was a degree or its equivalent.
Once you upload all the mandatory documents, you will need to choose the zonal office that will process the application. Choose the one that fits you and submit the application.
After the application submission, you will receive an email from Senescyt with further instructions.
Here is the email translated by Google.
3. Pay the Fees for Registering Professions in Senescyt
If your documents are all in order, then you would be notified to pay for the registration.
In order to register your degrees in Senescyt, you need to pay $25 per degree. You can pay it in Banco Pacifico or Banco de Guayaquil.
After making the payment, you will receive a call from an official to set up an appointment. If you don’t, then call the number specified in the email.
4. Personal Appointment
You would need to go for the personal appointment on the agreed date and time with the original documents.
You will need to provide an official email, physical address and contact details of the Foreign Institution where you studied. And if your university is not registered, you might need to provide an official letter from the university.
I didn’t have to provide any official letters even though the university where I did my masters was not registered.
They give you a code after receiving the documents. On their portal, you can check whether the degree is approved or not. It will show approved for the one that’s approved, and en processo (in process) for the one that’s not. And you will get a receipt for the same.
Once it’s there, you can check the registration on Senescyt’s portal.
How Long Does the Registration in SENESCYT, Ecuador Take?
The process of registering a foreign degree can take up to 30 working days, especiallly if your university is recognized in the Senescyt.
In my case, since the university where I did my master’s was recognized, it took only 15 days to register the master’s. However, the university where I did my bachelor’s was not recognized in Senescyt, and it took more than two months to register my bachelor’s.
If your university is not registered, in that case, you would be needed to fill out a form to provide the institution’s details, name, email, and a couple of references (preferably your teachers). You might also have to provide an official letter from the university specifying the course, the total number of hours, and other details, but I personally didn’t have to provide this.
Does Senescyt Accept Online Degrees?
Yes, online degrees are acceptable as long as they have been issued from the same authority accrediting the regular degrees, and if they are equivalent to regular degrees in the country where they are issued.
But there are several courses for which online or distance degrees are not accepted. As per Senescyt’s guidelines, here is the list.
Note that while these are specifically mentioned, there are various courses for which Senescyt doesn’t accept online or distance degrees. You need to check with them at the time registration about that.
- Alternative therapies
- Applied Chemistry
- Biochemistry and pharmacy
- Childcare, Disability Studies
- Engineering – Civil, Electronics, Electrical, Industrial, Mechanical, Textile
- Food Production or Food Science
- Geography, Geology, Geotechnics
- Hydraulics, Hydrology
- Dentistry, Nursing, Medicine, Therapy
- Nuclear Technologies
Here is the reference from the official website.
Do You Have to Submit the Physical Documents?
Yes. Although you can upload the documents in the portal, you still will be asked to show them the apostilled copies of the transcripts.
If you lose them or they are damaged or if you are still waiting for it, in that case, you can get a temporary certificate from your university about the same and submit it, with an affidavit. This will vary for different universities. You would need to check with Senescyt about the details.
After Approval, How Long Does it Take to Reflect on Senescyt?
After the status of a foreign title appears on the Senescyt platform as ‘Approved’, the registration will be reflected in approximately 72 hours.
Where to Find the List of Approved Universities for SENESCYT?
SENESCYT maintains a list of universities for different countries, and if you have studied from one of them, your application process would be faster and a bit easier. And not to forget, less documentation.
You can check the list here.
Search for your country’s name in Spanish. For example, Estados Unidos for U.S. citizens.