Caution
October 19, 2023

Worldwide Caution

Update
January 10, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

International Parental Child Abduction

English

Country Information

Ecuador

Ecuador
Republic of Ecuador
Exercise increased caution in Ecuador due to civil unrest, crime, and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Updated with information about the current state of emergency and crime information in the province of Guayas.

Exercise increased caution in Ecuador due to civil unrest, crime, and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. U.S. embassy and consulate personnel are prohibited from traveling to some areas due to increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reconsider travel to:

  • Guayaquil north of Portete de Tarquí Avenue due to crime.
  • El Oro province outside the cities of Huaquillas and Arenillas, due to crime.
  • Los Rios province outside the cities of Quevedo, Quinsaloma, and Pueblo Viejo, due to crime.
  • All areas south of Esmeraldas city in Esmeraldas province, due to crime.
  • The provinces of Sucumbíos, Manabí, Santa Elena, and Santo Domingo due to crime.

Do not travel to:

  • Guayaquil, south of Portete de Tarquí Avenue, due to crime.
  • The cities of Huaquillas and Arenillas in the province of El Oro, due to crime.
  • The cities of Quevedo, Quinsaloma, and Pueblo Viejo in the province of Los Rios, due to crime.
  • The canton of Duran, in the province of Guayas, due to crime.
  • Esmeraldas city and all areas north of Esmeraldas city in Esmeraldas province, due to crime.

Country Summary: Crime is a widespread problem in Ecuador. Violent crime, such as murder, assault, kidnapping, and armed robbery, is prevalent and widespread. The rate of violent crime is significantly higher in areas where transnational criminal organizations are concentrated.

Demonstrations occur frequently throughout the country, usually motivated by political and/or economic factors.  Demonstrators routinely block local roads and major highways, often without prior notice. Past demonstrations have varied in duration, with some extending for several days or weeks. Blocked roads may significantly reduce access to public transportation, health services, and airports and may disrupt travel both within and between cities.

Outside of Ecuador’s urban and semi-urban population centers, much of the country’s territory is sparsely populated and isolated. First responders’ and U.S. government officials’ access to rural and remote regions of the country is often extremely limited and can lead to significant delays in assistance to U.S. citizens in these areas.

Ongoing State of Emergency:  On January 8, 2024, Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa declared a nationwide state of emergency for a period of 60 days. U.S. citizens should be aware of several temporary rules applicable to residents and foreigners in Ecuador due to the state of emergency:

  • There is a nationwide curfew in effect for the duration of the state of emergency. Curfew restrictions vary based on location. For specific guidance, please refer to official curfew guidance issued by the Government of Ecuador. There is an exception for individuals traveling to and from the airports with a scheduled flight during curfew hours. U.S. citizens traveling to or from the airport during curfew hours should carry their flight itinerary and passport. 
  • All foreign citizens entering the country via land border crossings from Colombia or Peru are required to present an apostilled certificate showing a lack of criminal record. See Travel.State.Gov’s Office of Authentications webpage and Criminal Records Checks webpage for information on how to obtain a criminal record check and apostille from the United States. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Ecuador cannot assist citizens crossing a land border in obtaining the required documentation. 
  • For additional information and updates to the state of emergency, please track official communications from the Government of Ecuador.

Read the country information page for additional information on traveling to Ecuador.

If you decide to travel to Ecuador:

Level 4: Do Not Travel

Guayaquil, south of Portete de Tarquí Avenue, due to crime.

The cities of Huaquillas and Arenillas in the Province of El Oro, due to crime.

The cities of Quevedo, Quinsaloma, and Pueblo Viejo in the province of Los Rios, due to crime.

The canton of Duran, in the province of Guayas, due to crime.

Esmeraldas city and all areas north of Esmeraldas city in Esmeraldas province, due to crime.

Transnational criminal groups and local gangs regularly engage in violent criminal acts in these areas, including indiscriminate attacks without warning in public spaces. Violent crimes have included murder, targeted assassinations, armed robberies, bombings, kidnappings, and assaults, among others. Violence in these areas has steadily increased in frequency and brutality in recent months, posing an increased security risk to U.S. citizens. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to these areas without prior authorization. As a result, the U.S. government is limited in its ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in these areas.

Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Guayaquil north of Portete de Tarquí Avenue, due to crime.

El Oro province outside the cities of Huaquillas and Arenillas, due to crime.

Los Rios province outside the cities of Quevedo, Quinsaloma, and Pueblo Viejo, due to crime.

All areas south of Esmeraldas city in Esmeraldas province, due to crime.

The provinces of Sucumbíos, Manabí, Santa Elena, and Santo Domingo, due to crime.

Transnational criminal groups and local gangs have sporadically engaged in violent criminal activity in these areas, with violence increasing in recent months. U.S. government personnel are directed to exercise extreme caution and maintain increased vigilance when traveling in and around these areas. 

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

... [READ MORE]

Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Quito

Avigiras E12-170 y  Eloy Alfaro 
Quito, Ecuador
Telephone:
593-2-398-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 593-2-398-5000 or 593-9-9788-3222
Email: 

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Guayaquil
Santa Ana St. and Jose Rodriguez Bonin Ave.
San Eduardo Sector
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Telephone:
593-4-371-7000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 593-4-371-7000
Email: 

General Information

Ecuador and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Convention (Hague Abduction Convention) since April 1, 1992.

For information concerning travel to Ecuador, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, health conditions, currency and entry regulations, and crime and security, please see country-specific information for Ecuador.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction. The report is located here

Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizen Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Ecuador.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website

The Ecuadorian Central Authority is at the Ministerio de Justicia, Derechos Humanos y Cultos.  The office can be reached at:

Autoridad Central
Dirección de Acceso a la Justicia, Protección y Reparación Integral
Secretaria de Derechos Humanos
Ministerio de Justicia, Derechos Humanos y Cultos
Av. General Francisco Robles and Av. General Ulpiano Páez 10th floor
Quito, Ecuador
Telephone: (+593) 02 395 5840 ext: 212
Email: autoridadcentral@minjusticia.gob.ec
Website: https://www.justicia.gob.ec/

To initiate a Hague case for return or for access to a child abducted to Ecuador, the left-behind parent must submit a Hague application to the ECA, either directly or through the USCA.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to ECA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Ecuadorian central authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the sole responsibility of the person hiring the attorney.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Ecuador.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Ecuador. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand Ecuador-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to file Hague Abduction Convention with courts in Ecuador. The ECA will act on behalf of the left-behind parent when a private attorney is not retained. Beginning in January 2012, per an agreement entered with ECA, the Ecuadorian Office of Public Defenders assumed the role of legal representation on behalf of the ECA for left-behind parents in Hague Convention cases.    

The U.S. Embassy in Quito maintains a list of attorneys. Additionally, the US Consulate General in Guayaquil maintains a list of attorneys that specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

The Ecuadorian Central Authority strongly promotes mediation in abduction cases and will attempt to initiate mediation in all Hague Abduction Convention cases. 

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: May 15, 2019

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Quito
Avigiras E12-170 y
Eloy Alfaro
Quito, Ecuador
Telephone
593-2-398-5000
Emergency
593-2-398-5000 or 593-9-9788-3222
Fax
No Fax

Ecuador Map