Apostilles and Special Documents
If you submitted an apostille last year, you only need to provide an updated license photo if your license expires by the time of the mission. Please send this updated photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. HOWEVER! Check the list at the link listed below because just because you sent it in, it does not mean Pili received it.... But you can send a copy from last year in this year. Please read below.
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 Apostille) 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 who needs the documents:
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). This would be for those who are working in their professional field using their professional skills to treat patients. (Here is a list as of November 10, 2023 who needs these documents: APOSTILLES 2024 - Not updated yet for 2024) Blue means no Apostille required. Red means it is required and for whatever reason Pili does not have a copy of it from 2022 if you sent it in. Green means Pili has a copy from 2022 and you are good for 2023) If you sent it in last year and you are listed in red, then hopefully you made a copy last year (as I suggested below that you do...) and you can just email in a copy from last year.
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 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:
In 2022 good quality color copies worked for submission. These could be taken with a scanning app on your phone or high quality photo. Please be sure not to take at an angle or parts are missing in the photo. Use common sense-- if you take a bad picture, it will not suffice.
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.