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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the customer service hours at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Quito?
  2. I would like to move to the United States permanently.  What type of visa do I need, and may I apply for this visa at the U.S. Embassy in Quito?
  3. How long is the current wait time for a nonimmigrant visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in Quito?
  4. Do all temporary visitors to the U.S. need visas?
  5. Do I need a visa, if I am just transiting through the U.S.?
  6. Who may apply for a non-immigrant visa in Quito, and what constitutes eligibility for a non-immigrant visa?
  7. My child is planning to travel to the United States. Must he or she appear for an interview? Can I appear with him or her? Do I need to present written permission from the child's other parent allowing him or her to leave the country?
  8. Can my American citizen sponsor or relative be present with me at the interview?
  9. Does my American sponsor or relative need to send a letter of invitation to the Embassy?
  10. Will the consular officer look at all my documents during the interview?
  11. Should any particular documents be presented in order to receive a visa for medical treatment?
  12. Is my passport required to be valid for at least six months after the end of my proposed stay in the U.S.?
  13. What happens if I have a valid visa, but my passport has expired or has been cancelled? Can my visa be transferred to my new passport?
  14. How long is my B1/B2 (nonimmigrant business and tourism) visa valid?
  15. How much time is required to process a visa?
  16. Do I have still have to fill out a paper I-94 form upon arrival to the U.S. and turn it in upon departure?
  17. Who do I contact if I have an inquiry or need assistance to resolve some difficulties I have experienced during travel screening at transportation hubs in the U.S, including continuously being referred to secondary (additional) inspection?

 

Q. What are the customer service hours at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Quito?

A. The Consular Section is open for non-immigrant visa applications from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, by appointment only.  It is closed on official American and Ecuadorian holidays.  For more information, see our business hours for the general public. (back to the top)

Q. I would like to move to the United States permanently.  What type of visa do I need, and may I apply for this visa at the U.S. Embassy in Quito?

A. Ecuadorians and other residents of the Quito consular district who want to move to the United States in order to live and work permanently need to do so using an immigrant visa.  Usually, the first step of this process occurs when a United States-based petitioner (often an employer or a family member) submits an application (petition) for U.S. residency on behalf of an Ecuadorian beneficiary (the person who wants to move permanently to the U.S.).  More information regarding who may file a petition can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

Petitioners who reside in the U.S. must file the I-130 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and, effective August 15, 2011, petitioners residing in Ecuador must file their Forms I-130 by mail with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox. (back to the top)

Q. How long is the current wait time for a nonimmigrant visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in Quito?

A. Please see our wait times, which are updated on a weekly basis. (back to the top)

Q. Do all temporary visitors to the U.S. need visas?

A. U.S. visa policy permits citizens of certain countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa under certain circumstances.  For more information regarding the Visa Waiver Program, and to find out which countries participate in this program, see the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP) web page

International visitors to the U.S. from Visa Waiver Program countries must apply for travel authorization in advance of their travel.  This should be done online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.  See our Important News page for recent updates to the ESTA system. 

Currently, Ecuador is not part of the visa waiver program; therefore, citizens of Ecuador who do not hold dual citizenship with one of the VWP participant countries must apply for a non-immigrant visa for travel to the United States. (back to the top)

Q. Do I need a visa, if I am just transiting through the U.S.?

A. Yes. All travelers who normally require visas need to obtain transit visas to change planes in the U.S. In addition to the standard set of documents for a non-immigrant visa application, transit visa applicants should submit valid visas to their final destination and travel itinerary. (back to the top)

Q. Who may apply for a non-immigrant visa in Quito?

A. Ecuador contains two locations where you can apply for a visa – the Embassy in Quito and the Consulate in Guayaquil.  Please choose the location that best suits your needs regarding timing and travel.  If you would like to know the current wait time to get an appointment, please refer to the Visa Wait Times web site. (back to the top)

Q. My child is planning to travel to the United States. Must he or she appear for an interview? Can I appear with him or her? Do I need to present written permission from the child's other parent allowing him or her to leave the country?

A. Children under the age of seven are not required to appear for a visa interview if one of the following criteria is met:

  • One or both parents holds a valid U.S. visa
  • One or both parents is applying, along with the child, for a U.S. visa

    NB: If the child meets one of the above criteria, the parent must provide a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

Children who are seven and older must appear for an interview.  Although it is not a requirement that parents or legal guardians provide birth, custodial, or power of attorney documents during the interview, a consular officer may request these documents at their discretion should they deem them necessary to adjudicate the child’s case. (back to the top)

Q. Can my American citizen sponsor or relative be present with me at the interview?

A. Only parents accompanying their minor children and medical assistants holding a doctor’s note may accompany applicants into the Consular Waiting Room.  This includes American citizens, spouses, attorneys, sponsors, friends, and family members.  Any information these individuals would like to present should be submitted with the application or given to the applicant to present to the consular officer during the interview. (back to the top)

Q. Does my American sponsor or relative need to send a letter of invitation to the Embassy?

A. Any information which an applicant wishes the Consular Officer to consider should be brought to the Embassy by the applicant on the day of the interview.  Thus, any invitations, letters of support, or other information an American sponsor or relative wishes to send should be addressed and delivered to the visa applicant directly, not to the Embassy.

We understand the wish of U.S. citizens and residents to have family members visit the United States.  However, a letter of invitation cannot guarantee visa issuance to a foreign national friend, relative or student.  Visa applicants must qualify for the visa according to their own circumstances, not on the basis of an American sponsor's assurance. (back to the top)

Q. Will the consular officer look at all my documents during the interview?

A. Applying for a non-immigrant visa is not primarily a document-based process.  We encourage visa applicants to bring documents to the interview that may help demonstrate their qualifications for a visa.  However, applicants should be aware that Consular Officers have the authority to make their decision without referring to such documents. 

The main issue in determining if an applicant qualifies for a visa is intent, and documents alone cannot establish intentions.  In many cases, the visa application form and information provided by the applicant during the visa interview is sufficient for the Consular Officer to determine an applicant’s eligibility for a visa.  In these cases, the Officer makes a decision referring to only some or none of the supporting documents.  In other cases, however, the Consular Officer will request to see certain documents during the interview. (back to the top)

Q. Should any particular documents be presented in order to receive a visa for medical treatment?

A. Medical services in the United States are very expensive. U.S. law prohibits the issuance of a visa to anyone who is likely at any time to become a public charge, including individuals who might require medical care at the expense of U.S. Federal, State, or Local government agencies.  persons seeking medical care in the U.S., must present the following:

  • A letter from the doctor in Ecuador describing the patient’s condition.  The letter has to also inform whether or not treatment is available in Ecuador.
  • A letter from the doctor and/or hospital in the United States accepting to treat the patient, describing the treatment that will be provided and giving the estimated cost for it.
  • Proof of the availability of funds to pay for the total cost of the treatment.

Please note that meeting the requirement listed above is in addition to meeting the general qualifications for a non-immigrant visa based on U.S. Immigration law(back to the top)

Q. Is my passport required to be valid for at least six months after the end of my proposed stay in the U.S.?

A. Yes, the “six month requirement” is applicable to Ecuadorian nationals.  Citizens of certain other countries however are not subject to this six month rule. (back to the top)

Q. What happens if I have a valid visa, but my passport has expired or has been cancelled? Can my visa be transferred to my new passport?

A. Your visa cannot be transferred.  For entry into the U.S. you may present your expired or cancelled passport containing the valid U.S. visa, along with your new passport.  Alternatively, you may apply for a new visa, but you must pay all fees again. (back to the top)

Q. How long is my B1/B2 (nonimmigrant business and tourism) visa valid?

A. A U.S. visa determines the period within which you may apply for admission to the United States at a port of entry (usually an airport, port or overland border crossing).  The consular officer decides how long your visa will be valid (up to five years for a B-1/B-2 visa for an Ecuadorian) and how many entries will be printed on the visa (normally the visa will be a "multiple-entry" visa, but in some cases the consular officer will limit the number of entries).  If you receive, for example, a multiple-entry, five-year visa, it means that you may apply for admission to the United States as many times as you wish over the next five years.  Likewise, if you receive a one-entry, three-month visa, it means that you may apply for admission to the United States one time over the next three months.

The validity of your visa and the number of entries are completely separate from how long you are allowed to stay in the United States.  When a visa-holder arrives at the port of entry, an immigration inspector from U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security makes the decision as to whether or not to admit them to the United States and decides how long they may stay.  In most cases the immigration inspector will admit the traveler for a specific period of time (for example, six months).  The traveler must depart before his or her period of stay expires, and in most cases, may not work.  If a traveler does not depart on time, or works illegally, he or she may be subject to arrest and removal from the United States, and may be ineligible to receive a visa in the future.  For more information on the difference between visa validity and allowed duration of stay in the U.S. please visit the U.S. Department of State’s web page regarding visa validity vs. duration of stay(back to the top)

Q. How much time is required to process a visa?

A. Usual time for visa processing is three to four working days after an interview.  Some visa applications require additional administrative processing, which requires additional time.  Administrative processing is often resolved within one month of application, but the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case.  Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. (back to the top)

Q. Do I have still have to fill out a paper I-94 form upon arrival to the U.S. and turn it in upon departure?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has made the Form I-94 an electronic process and in most cases will no longer issue a paper document to travelers arriving in the United States. CBP will place an admission stamp in travelers’ travel documents instead of issuing a paper form. More information about the Form I-94 can be found on the Department of Homeland Security’s website: www.cbp.gov/I94(back to the top)

Q. Who do I contact if I have an inquiry or need assistance to resolve some difficulties I have experienced during travel screening at transportation hubs in the U.S, including continuously being referred to secondary (additional) inspection?

A. Travelers may visit the Department of Homeland Security's Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) web page to seek help with such issues. (back to the top)