Visa! Shots! Pills?

For the past two months I have been preparing for my move down South. No, not to Mexico. I’ll be  on the equator after moving to Quito, Ecuador in a little over a month for a travel writing internship! I will be working with V!VA Travel Guides and learning how to make my dream career a reality, while hopefully becoming bilingual at the same time.

Since I’ll be staying for longer than 3-months, which would have meant that the only document I needed to enter the country legally was my passport, I had to start the dreaded Visa process. This is where it gets complicated, so for those really interested in this whole thing, pay close attention. Please.

I had the decision between a tourist visa or the student visa. There were really some big differences between the requirements for these two types of visas. However, the one that really made the choice easier was the fact that the tourist visa, or visa 12-x tourist, would have been valid for only 6 months.  I plan on staying a bit longer because family and friends want to visit and I would like to show them around using my apartment as the home-base.

The simpler route and most beneficial for someone in my situation was to obtain the student visa. I had my contact from V!VA enroll me in a Spanish school for three months. She sent me the forms I needed for the Visa 12-V Student and that was that. I will not only be able to stay for up to one year but will be able to add a language to my resume. As a journalist, that’s a huge bonus, trust me.

Requirements from the California consulate that I’m flying to this Friday include (I’ve also posted how much I had to pay for each item if a cost was needed):

2.1.1   Complete in your computer, and sign two copies of each form of visa applications. Free

2.1.2   Passport valid for at least for the next six months Already have

2.1.3   School registration or proof of admission to a government approved school, college or university Approximately $70 USD

2.1.4   Certificate from bank indicating good economic standing with letter from the parent/guardian indicating that they will support the student while in Ecuador. Free

2.1.5   Certificate of deposit in a national or foreign bank or financial institution domiciled in Ecuador in the amount of at least $1,000. Was told it was unnecessary

2.1.6   If the visa applicant will be traveling with close family members the deposit will need to be increase by $500 for each member of the family traveling Traveling alone

2.1.7   If the foreign student has close family members who reside in Ecuador or any another immigrant who can guarantee the foreigner subsistence, no proof of deposit will be required from the applicant.   In this case, the close family member or immigrant will need to issue a notarized financial guarantee. My employer gave me a note for proof it is a paid internship

2.1.8   Document issue by a local or foreign bank or financial institution which can prove that the applicant will have the sufficient funds during his and his family stay in Ecuador. $10 USD

2.1.9   Two recent photographs, passport size, in color, white background Approximately $10 USD

Total Cost of the Ecuadorian Student Visa itself: $130 USD

I have checked all the requirements off my list and the final thing to do  is to fly to California and wait the two hours they say it will take to receive my Ecuador Visa.

Traveling to Ecuador also has another requirement: shots.

Before I got the shots necessary to survive in Ecuador, I had to go to my family physician and get an updated record of all my shots. Took that record to the international shot place and handed it over. The lady sat me down and went over all the indigenous diseases found in the country and what shots she highly recommended. She explained how Quito is located on a strip of land in the middle of Ecuador that doesn’t have a lot of disease but if I planned on traveling outside of the zone that it would be beneficial to get the shots she recommended.

I ended up getting my Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Yellow Fever and updated Tetanus shot with Whooping Cough.

Total Cost: $400-$500 USD

According to my health packet:

  • Hepatitis A is transmitted through fecal matter, person-to-person contact and contaminated uncooked shellfish, fruits, vegetables and contaminated water.
  • Typhoid Fever is transmitted via contaminated food & water.
  • Yellow Fever  is transmitted by the Aedes sp. mosquito.

She also suggested: rabies (but I don’t think I’ll be walking up to random dogs in the street to pet them no matter how much I want to) and dengue (but greatest risk lies near the coast, which I’m not located near & I plan on using insect repellent because it is transmitted via mosquitoes), and traveler’s diarrhea medication.

What I would like your opinion on is malaria pills & altitude pills (since Ecuador is so high in elevation), would you recommend these or not?



Filed under Ecuador, Facts, International, Internship, Tips, Travel

2 responses to “Visa! Shots! Pills?

  1. rkzemansky

    This was really helpful for me, plus advice of a few people I knew who’d taken malaria medication.

    Is there anyone you can talk to there about availability of medication once you arrive? Or will you have to take it all with you? ‘Cause that might affect choosing between something that’s daily versus weekly. The other thing I’d compare is side effects, and anything that’s special about where you’re going that needs to be taken into account.

    I didn’t have much choice because where I went (DR Congo), malaria is resistent to other medications (Chloroquine resistent, I think). I ended up on Malarone. It definitely worked – I got tons and tons of mosquito bites and didn’t get sick. But it’s pretty pricey, has to be taken daily starting before the trip and extending afterwards, and a friend of mine won’t touch it because it made her hallucinate. Between the price and the daily pills, I don’t know if it’s a good long term option.

  2. amazing blog post, very informative!

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