Let me start with the good news. Visa Angels has joined forces with Ecuador Moves to be a "one stop shopping for Visas and shipping of containers from outside of Ecuador to Ecuador. We have recommended each other for years but never worked under one location. We have joint office spaces at Edificio Maldini, Gaspar de Villarroel y Isabel la Catolica. We are so excited to have our own office space so clients who have worked with Visa Angels in the past remember we had to meet at Mall del Rio infront of Subway which is no longer there in "my office".
Changes in containers and Visa laws have driven us crazy but we hope we are getting this sorted out. Speaking for visas, there are some changes that have caused obstacles to us being able to file visa applications the first time. As mentioned before Ecuador will still not accept Amparo dependent visa applications for spouses. Each adult must have their own Visas. Children are of course permitted to be dependents of their parents. In addition the Antecedentes Penales which is the Ecuadorian Police report is now MANDATORY for all new visa applications. (If you already submitted your application in Azogues, this change does not affect you.) This is for people who will be arriving into Ecuador or who are here waiting for their Visa appointments. The only 2 ( two ) places that can take the registration is in Quito or Guayaquil so for those due to arrive, you will have to overnight so you can go to the proper offices to be photographed, fingerprinted and interviewed before they will accept your passport information to be entered into the Ministry of the Interiors data bases. If you are already here with an appointment date you must go to one of these cities to register for this report. The report is free of charge as is the process but getting to the proper location requires Traveling there, hiring an interpreter and spending several hours waiting. If you choose to not comply the visa application will be rejected on the spot and you either make another appointment with that printed report, or plan to leave Ecuador. This is very stressful for us as it just happened one day that Cuenca would no longer be able to take the registration.
Now, believe it or not that was the good news. Now for the sad news we are sharing with you today.
Sad but Necessary News
I wanted to let you know that due to all the extra pieces to the visa process, our volunteers have dwindled away over the past several months so I was faced with the decision of re-thinking what we have been doing with the volunteers and how to go forward without them. All of the expenses to operate fall solely onto visaangels so my choice was to stop Visa Angels or to begin to actually charge a set fee which will allow me to cover expenses and my time. After 2 months of tearing both options apart, I have come to the conclusion that I must continue to keep Visa Angels running if at all possible so I have moved to a flat charge for Visa Angels assistance with the visa process. The fee will include all emails, reviewing of the scanned documents, receiving the documents to present to the translator, making all the required copies, preparing the application for submission and my time going to and from Azogues. It also includes making all the appointments via the internet and keeping you up to date of new or existing requirements.
What is not covered and never was paid to Visa Angels is the cost of the translations still $34.00, per document, the cost of the movimento migratorio document $5.60, photos if required 8 for $4.00 and the cost of transportation to and from Azogues from Cuenca. Round trip is $35.00 and additional waiting hours are $10.00 for the driver. You must also pay the govenment fees for the Visa which has always been required and no one can pay that except the applicant. Assistance with obtaining the cedula is a separate process and will be handled by me at $15.00 an hour at the registro civil.
The fee I have come to is $250.00 per visa for adults (over the age of 18) children under the age of 18, will be $100.00 per visa. This is very hard for me because we were always able to cover all the costs with volunteers and people who donated to visa angels but that is no longer the facts. If you would still like Visa Angels to get your visa I would be happy to do so. Based on everyone else in the area offering assistance with visas, the next lowest fee is $600 per visa.
We have a Paypal account where people can deposit the money so we can begin the process. If after beginning the process anyone decides to not continue to use Visa Angels $50.00 of the $250.00 fee will be retained. It is our hopes to "hire" people to work for Visa Angels and part of these fees will go towards that.
I hope everyone who knows Visa Angels knows how hard of a change this is to swallow for us. I believe so much in what we do but in all honesty I cannot afford to subsidize everyone's visa costs as I have done the last 6 months. It is with a very heavy heart that I announce these changes and hope you will still put your faith in Visa Angels. If there are any potential volunteers or even those who don't want to volunteer but could donate money or supplies to us this might not need to happen.
Thank you for understanding.
Joann (Jodie) Mansfield