Do you need an International Driving Permit to drive in Ecuador?

Ericka & Stefano

If you are a tourist and want to rent a car to move around Ecuador, your foreign driver’s license is enough.

An international driver’s license is valid in Ecuador for six months after you enter the country and allows you to operate vehicles for recreational purposes.

In addition to your license, you must have your passport and/or visa with you. And if the license is not in Spanish or has not been translated into Spanish, you must carry a certified translation from a notary office in Ecuador.

The National Transit Agency (ANT), Ecuador’s top transit agency, was contacted to confirm this information.

is an international drivers license valid in ecuador

So, regarding the question of whether you need an IDP to drive in Ecuador, the answer is not necessarily.

You simply need your license, passport and a certified translation of your license if it is not in Spanish.

However, many tourists opt to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) because it’s fully translated and allows them to drive in more countries than just Ecuador.

The IDP is also legal in Ecuador, according to Article 96 of the “Ley Orgánica de Transporte Terrestre y Seguridad Vial“:

The State recognizes the validity of documents, badges, driver’s licenses, international driving permits, vehicle identification cards, and customs passes that were given or renewed abroad, as long as they meet the standards and requirements set out in international instruments.

Art. 96a LOTTTVS

Tourists with a visa for more than 180 days (more than 6 months) must transfer their foreign license for an Ecuadorian one. This process is called “canje” or “homologación” and costs $142 USD.

If you are an Ecuadorian living abroad, you may drive with your foreign license for one year.

Finally, if you plan to live in Ecuador indefinitely, you must obtain an Ecuadorian driver’s license.

What do you need to drive in Ecuador?

If you are a tourist staying for less than six months:

  • A valid international driver’s license, or an IDP.
  • A valid passport with the entry date stamp.
  • A certified translation of your driver’s license if it is not in Spanish.

If you are a foreigner with a visa for longer than 180 days:

  • Foreign driver’s license exchange for Ecuadorian driver’s license. It costs $142.00 USD (more info).

If you are a foreign permanent resident in Ecuador:

  • Ecuadorian driving license. It costs $68 USD.

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About the author

Hey there! We are Ericka and Stefano. As longtime citizens of this amazing country, we are honored to serve as your tour guides and offer our firsthand experiences, insider advice, and must-see attractions in Ecuador. So be prepare for an exciting journey through Ecuador’s unique treasures.

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