Ecuador replaced paper-issued visas with an electronic version that can be digitally verified.
Implementation dates: March 2020 – present
Since March 2020, the Ecuadorian Government has modified the way in which visas are issued, replacing paper-issued visas (stamps, stickers, ID cards, etc.) with a digitally verifiable electronic one. These include the so-called «humanitarian visa» granted to asylum-seekers, as well as to recognized refugees.
When a person applies for asylum, the authorities send the electronic humanitarian visa to the email address provided so that they can download it, keep it on their mobile phone (or any other device such as tablet, iPad, etc.) or print it. It can be downloaded as many times as required.
The electronic humanitarian visa is valid for six months and can be extended pending a final decision on the application. The extension process is also carried out remotely. It contains the primary identification data and is accompanied by a verification code. The code is a verification mechanism that the visa holder can share, if they wish, with public and private institutions so that they can confirm the validity of their status as an asylum applicant, as well as their migratory status.
Thanks to the electronic visa and the verification mechanism, access to this documentation for people in any part of the national territory is guaranteed. This facilitates access to rights and local integration. It also provides an additional guarantee for people to prove their status as asylum seekers with various authorities, avoiding possible cases of refoulement.
For the State it means that provisional documentation can be issued to people applying for refugee status on a low-cost basis.
- Remote documentation is faster, cheaper to provide and less vulnerable to corruption or forgery.
- This process improves the quality of life for users, as they do not have to travel to apply for these procedures and can do so from any location in the country.
There are cases of asylum applicants who do not have the technological skills and/or resources to receive and download the document.
Directorate for International Protection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility.
Impact of the COVID pandemic on implementation:
Although the e-visa project was already underway, the pandemic meant that it had to be implemented quickly. In any case, the e-visa project was not a direct response to the pandemic.
Use of the Asylum Capacity Support Group mechanism: