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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tips for Selecting a Visa Facilitator in Ecuador. February 2013.

From Dana

There are many people who do what I do, and help people obtain visas. Some are very good. Some unfortunately are not. I"d like to share some tips for selecting a good facilitator.

1) Get references. Talk to people who have gotten visas through this person. This is a large expense. Make sure you have someone with a record of delivering in a timely manner.

2) Don't send money before you meet them. There is no reason they need money before they meet you. Translations, if you need them can be done quickly after you arrive. I never take money from a client until after we meet. We both need to know we can work together.
3) Go to the visa office with your facilitator. You should be a part of the process, and the visa staff should know who you are. Should there be a problem and you have to continue the process without your facilitator, the visa staff will know you, and you will know where you are in the process.
4) Don't give the facilitator your documents. They don't need them. Everything we do can be done with copies...translations, etc. You need originals for notarizations, but I generally take clients with me. YOU should keep control of your passport, etc. I have had several clients who were forced to pay hundreds of dollars to get their documents back when they decided to go another way. You should never have to pay someone for your own documents. .The only exception I make to this is for out of town clients who have had visas approved. I will occasionally pick up their passports and keep them for a couple of days until they arrive to do the cedula.
5) Don't pay anyone for the list of requirements. I happily give that to prospective clients. The information is readily available for free and a prepared visa applicant is in everyone's best interest.
6) Make sure all of your documents are in order before you leave for Ecuador. And make sure there is someone at home who can get what you need should you be missing something. Some facilitators will charge you many hundreds of dollars to get them for you. Much better to have a relative or friend who can help. 6) Don't give your visa facilitator money to bribe visa staff. This was done a few years back. Not any more. Visa staff are on camera and can not accept so much as a box of candy. Any bribe money you give to a facilitator is possibly not going to the visa staff but to the facilitator.
7) Understand that rules change constantly, and without warning, sometimes from one day to the next. If something is slightly different than what you were told, don't be angry. That's bureaucracy in Ecuador.
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Comment from

There is at least one "visa" person who is lurking in Facebook and requesting funds be sent by PayPal for services -- this should be a huge red flag

Another well know 'visa' person was holding folks passports for ransom when he was unable to follow through on getting their visas for them -- no reason to even have your passport prior to the visa being approved.

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