Apostilles and Special Documents
Obviously this year has been a challenge, so we are trying to do what we can. The Ecuadorian government would like this information to have things be official but I also realize that there is a time crunch. The important part is to take this seriously and get acting on it ASAP. Even if for some unfortunate turn of events we had to cancel this year, the documents should be good for next year as well and we would have them on file. We ask that you make every effort to comply with this as soon as you can.
What is it and why do we need these?
The government of Ecuador would like to ensure that unqualified people are not coming down to their country to play doctor and treat patients like a free for all surgery camp. In the past, other groups might have come down with college or high school students in tow and allowed them to do things they would never be allowed to do in their home country. That's not good.
This is especially important because in the past two years, the Ecuadorians have stopped allowing many mission trips to come into their country and we are one of the few still allowed to operate. Failing to comply with their requests for this information could jeopardize our status.
They ask that if you are going to be treating patient's, you have something official (the Apotille) that shows you have some qualifications to treat patients. If you are not going to be treating patients, that is you are attending as a general volunteer, transporter, runner, etc... then you can disregard these requirements (see below).
If you are going to be administering care to patients (Nurses, MD's, Therapists, Pharm, CRNA, including residents / students doing patient care, etc...) then keep reading.
The Apostille is just an official state verification of a document, any document that has a state agent's signature. It is essentially a fancy official notary from your state.
All the Apostille states is that the document that has been submitted has been signed by an official state authority. That state authority could be a notary public, the secretary of education, the head of the state medical board, whatever.
If I take my medical license to the state government, the state will verify that the person who signed the license is in fact the state's agent to do so. It doesn't verify that you have a license directly, it doesn't verify you went to school, it doesn't verify that I am allowed to practice medicine, etc... All it does is say "Yes, that's the Secretary of State's signature on there" in a nice and official looking way (see my example below)
Here is what you need to have individually Apostilled:
1. Med School / Nursing School / College / Other Diploma (most relevant)
2. CV (shorten to one page for convenience, just list your education and work)
3. Professional license as appropriate
Please supply all 3 if available or whatever is available (scrub techs may not have a license but should have a diploma or certificate from school)
Here is who needs the documents:
1. If you are treating patient's in Ecuador, you need to have an Apostille given to MME in the last year, depending on your document expiration (it is good for 2 years).
2. If you turned in an Apostille last year, you should be fine to not have a new one this year unless your license expired. If it did, you only need to Apostille the new license, not the other documents. Here is the list of people and their status for 2022
3. If you are treating patient's but do not have a "license" ie you are a student or belong to a group that doesn't license their associates, you need to have a resume / diploma / CV / something Apostilled.
Here is how to do it:
In order to do this, you would print out a one page resume / diploma / CV, write a statement on the bottom that says "I certify that the above information is true and this is my signature" and sign it in front of a notary public, who notarizes it. Then you take that to your state agency who does the Apostille, they then "notarize" (or Apostille) the fact that the notary public is in fact a notary public. Seems silly, but the state is just verifying that the person who notarized your paper is a notary. That's it. There is no verification that any information is correct. I could get the newspaper Apostilled if I get my signature notarized saying "This is the newspaper. - Michael Horan"
To find out where to do your Apostille, go to your state government website and search for Apostille. You should find the info there.
If you haven't done this, it can take time to mail this in. If you live near the capital, its easiest just to call to see what you need and go take the document there. In South Carolina it costs $2. Costs vary.
If you have questions, please email email@example.com
In addition, you could do what I do, which is store a copy in the cloud somewhere that you can access. I keep a copy of my Passport and credit cards I bring on the trip there as well so if they get stolen, I can easily get to the account numbers and cancel them.
Here's where to send it:
You will mail the original documents to:
Mr. Luis Miranda
11300 NW 131st St.
Medley, FL 33178
Teléfono/ Phone : 305 420 6343
When you mail it, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we know you have mailed it to Florida.
You should also bring a copy of all documents with you and also leave one at home in case you need it.
In this example, the South Carolina Apostille is on the left. On the right is a copy of my medical license printed from the web on the state's website. I then wrote on the bottom the sentence "My signature below indicates that I certify that this is a copy of my South Carolina Medical License....". I took this to my office's Notary Public and signed it in front of them and she notarized it. Then, I took this notarized copy to the South Carolina Secretary of State's office (as directed by their website) and had the Apostille made ($2 per Apostilled document. Done. Repeat for each of the documents you need.