Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is AMIGOS?
- AMIGOS was founded on the principle that young people can change the world. In 1965, a 29-year old from Houston, Texas, named Guy Bevil, led a team of teens into rural Honduras to fight a growing polio epidemic. Serving communities in remote areas of the country, this group of 181 high school students and 36 adults helped protect thousands of people from the crippling disease and established friendships that crossed borders. This service had a bold impact on the lives of these young people and, as a result, they returned more mature, culturally aware, and inspired to continue serving communities at home and abroad. Today, AMIGOS offers transformative immersion and leadership experiences throughout the Americas. Please find more information here about how we work, our values, and what AMIGOS offers our volunteers.
What can I expect to take away from my experience with AMIGOS?
- While everyone's experience is different, most AMIGOS volunteers walk away with new friendships, an understanding of ethical service, and a global perspective. Many alumni take the skills they learned through AMIGOS and use them to support their communities at home. Check out some volunteers' stories from 2021 here.
AMIGOS Application and Dashboard
I am unable to login to my AMIGOS dashboard. What do I do?
- Please email firstname.lastname@example.org regarding any issues logging into your dashboard. In your email, please make sure to thoroughly describe your issue so our team can assist you as efficiently as possible. Screenshots of your issue are really helpful to us!
I can't tell if a form was submitted or not. What do I do?
- Please email email@example.com and we can check for you!
I have a corrected version of the form I printed and I need to submit it. What do I do?
- You can not resubmit forms once they've been turned in. If you have been directed to correct a form, please email the corrected copy to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get it into your file.
Who do I contact if I have questions about or trouble submitting paperwork?
- Please contact the Admissions Team at email@example.com if you have any questions or issues submitting your paperwork.
How much does my program cost?
- The program fee for all Explore programs in Latin America is $5,875. The program fee for our program in Colorado is $6,975. Flights are not included in your program fee, and you can find the expected cost of your flight
- The program fee for Discover programs in Panama is $3,975. Flights are not included in your program fee, and you can find the expected cost of your flight
- There may be additional costs in preparing for your trip with AMIGOS. Please find more details in your Welcome Packet.
- The standard price for local chapters for programs in Latin America is $4,375. For the program in Colorado the standard price is $5,475. However, some chapters are offering discounts or other prices based on the fundraising you have opted to do. Please check out your chapter's website for the 2022 price here.
How do I pay my program fee?
- You can find a link to pay here: https://amigosinternational.org/program-fee-payment-links/
- You can also find a link to pay for your program fee on your dashboard or, for National Chapter students, in the billing statements emailed to you. Checks are accepted. Please reach out to your chapter contact for the right mailing address.
Is my flight included in my program fee?
- No, flights are not included in your program fee. Please find the expected additional cost of your flight here.
How will I pay for my flight?
- You will be sent a billing statement via email with the link to pay for your flight and the $50 administrative fee after it is purchased on your behalf and your program fee is paid in full. You will have one week from the time you receive this email to pay for your airfare in full.
- You will be sent a billing statement via email with the link to pay for your flight and the $50 administrative fee after it is purchased on your behalf. You will have one week from the time you receive this email to pay for your airfare in full.
Can I set up a payment plan with AMIGOS?
- We do not have official payment plans. However, you can choose to pay your program fee all at once or in installments, and you can set up recurring payments through our payment system. Either way, the full program fee is due on May 1st for Session A volunteers and on June 1st for Session B volunteers.
- Please contact your chapter to discuss this possibility. Most chapters accept payments made in installments. You can find their contact information on their website here.
I am interested in fundraising. How do I get started?
- You should have received a Fundraising Toolkit from our Admissions Team. This toolkit includes ideas about how to get started and how to set up an online fundraising page.
- All local chapter students are required to participate in group fundraising. Please check out your chapter's website here for more details.
Who do I contact if I have questions about payment?
- Please reach out to the Admissions Team at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding payment.
- Please check out your chapter's website for the correct contact information here.
Below is a list of all the paperwork you will need to fill out. Please note that some forms have special instructions or only apply to some volunteers.
- Part I Paperwork - Due Feb. 1 or within 1 month of acceptance if accepted after this date, Part I Paperwork Checklist
- Personal Information
- Passport Information (Latin American programs only)
- Leadership Survey
- Consent and Release
- Immunization Records
- Health Form (must be filled out by a physician)
- Mental Health Form (necessary for students who are seeing, or have in the past two years seen, a mental health professional; must be filled out by all treating mental health professionals)
- Part II Paperwork - Due Apr. 15
- Notarized Travel Forms (Under 18): Power of Attorney and Parent Permission to Travel for Volunteers Under 18
- Notarized Travel Forms (Over 18): Power of Attorney for Volunteers Over 18
- Background Check (for volunteers over 18)
- Health Update
- Single Parent Affidavit (if applicable)
- Parent Questionnaire
- Unique Travel Forms (only required for students requesting to travel on non-published program dates)
- In-Country Release and Travel Deviation Form
Where can I access all the necessary paperwork required for participation in AMIGOS?
- You can access all paperwork on your online dashboard (http://apply.amigosinternational.org/login) or here on Knowledge Base.
How do I submit my paperwork to AMIGOS?
- Please submit all of your AMIGOS paperwork via your online dashboard. (http://apply.amigosinternational.org/login)
When is the paperwork due?
- Part I of your paperwork is due February 1st (or within 1 month of acceptance if accepted after this date). Part II is due April 15th. You can find a list of required paperwork above or in your Welcome Packet.
How can I make sure my paperwork is completed correctly?
- In order for your AMIGOS paperwork to be valid, take care to fill in ALL blanks, including initials, signatures, dates, and printed names. Please scan (or take a clear picture of) all pages of a form (even if you haven't written on it) and submit this document via your online dashboard. Take care to notarize all forms that require it. If your forms are incomplete when submitted, our Admissions Team will reach out to you to correct the form.
AMIGOS forms ask for two guardians to sign. What if I am a single parent?
- If you are a single parent with full legal custody of your child, you will need to submit a Single Parent Affidavit in addition to a supporting legal document that confirms you are the sole guardian of your child. This supporting document can be a custody decree, a birth certificate with only your name, or a death certificate. If you are a single parent that shares custody of your child, both guardians will need to sign all AMIGOS forms.
What if I can't get my child's other parent/guardian to sign the forms?
- Please contact the Admissions Team at email@example.com with information about your specific case, and we can assist you.
Do I have to get all of the paperwork notarized?
- No. You will only need to notarize the Parent Permission to Travel Form, the Power of Attorney, and the Single Parent Affidavit forms.
I am an incoming AMIGOS volunteer that will be over 18 by the time my project starts. How are my paperwork requirements different than those for minors?
- You will not need to fill out the Parent Permission to Travel Form, and you will need to fill out the Power of Attorney form specific to volunteers over 18. Additionally, you will need to undergo a background check.
- One important note is that you can not complete these forms until you turn 18. If you turn 18 before April 15th, great! No worries. However, if you turn 18 after April 15th but before your project starts, you will miss the posted deadline, and that is okay. Our team keeps record of students who turn 18 between April 15th and the time of their project start and we will be in touch on this topic.
What if I misplace the original notarized travel forms?
- You must have your original notarized travel forms with you during travel. If you misplace them, you must resign all of your forms and get them notarized again. Then you must send photos of the new copies to AMIGOS. A copy of your travel forms will not be sufficient for travel.
What if I can't turn my paperwork in on time?
- Please contact the Admissions Team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you cannot turn in your paperwork on time to discuss a plan.
Who do I contact if I have questions about or trouble submitting paperwork?
- Please contact the Admissions Team at email@example.com if you have any questions or issues submitting your paperwork.
Do I need a passport to participate in AMIGOS programs? How long should it be valid for?
- If you are traveling to Latin America, you will need a passport that is valid through 6 months after your arrival back in the U.S. If you are traveling to Colorado, you will not need a passport if you are a US citizen.
I don't have a valid passport. What should I do?
- If you are traveling to Latin America and do not have a valid passport, please apply for or renew your passport as soon as possible. The routine passport application or renewal process takes about 18 weeks, and it can take some time to schedule an appointment near you. You can also choose to expedite your passport in order to receive it in 12 weeks for an additional fee. You can find more information about applying for or renewing a passport here.
- If you have a photo of your expiring passport, please still complete your Passport Information form as our team can move forward with the booking process using this information. On the form, respond affirmatively to the question that your passport is expiring so our team can follow up to collect your updated passport information.
Do I need to book my own flight to my project site?
- AMIGOS manages flight bookings for all volunteers on Latin American projects to ensure a safe and streamlined travel experience for each volunteer group. By purchasing flights, we are able to support our volunteers at gateway airports like Houston and Miami, handle any issues that may arise in the event of a delay or cancellation, avoid overnight international layovers, facilitate multi-day layovers as necessary for pre-departure trainings, and be on-call 24/7 when students are traveling.
- Students on our Colorado project are responsible for booking their own flights within the guidelines shared by AMIGOS. You will be notified via email when you have cleared the screening process and are okay to book. On travel day, student on our Colorado project will have access to our 24/7 Travel Hotline for support if need be.
Does an AMIGOS staff fly with the students?
- An AMIGOS staff member will be on any international flight with Discover volunteers.
- An AMIGOS staff member will not be on the plane with Explore volunteers. However, there will be AMIGOS staff members in connecting airports in Houston and Miami (for those traveling to Latin America) and to meet students at their final destination.
Can I ask AMIGOS to use my miles to book my flight?
- Unfortunately, we cannot use your miles to book your child's flight to Latin America. If you are booking your student's flight to Colorado, you are welcome to use your own miles.
What kind of airport support will my student have while traveling?
- Students will be able to call AMIGOS staff via our Travel Hotline if they encounter any delays, cancelled flights, or if they are trying to find the AMIGOS group at the airport. AMIGOS staff will remain at the airport until all AMIGOS flights have taken off for Latin American projects.
What if I want to meet my child in the country they are traveling to?
- In order to meet your child in their destination country, you will need to fill out an in-country release form and travel deviation form and submit these to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can coordinate travel plans with you and your child.
What if my child needs to leave from and return to different airports?
- Please indicate this on the Passport Information form by stating their varying departure and arrival airport codes.
Can my child start the program late? Can they leave the program early?
- No. Our programs take place largely in remote areas, and we cannot accommodate travel dates other than those published for the program.
Who do I contact if I have questions regarding travel?
- Please reach out to our Admissions team at email@example.com.
Health & Safety
What medical forms will I need to submit for my child's participation in AMIGOS?
- You will need to submit the AMIGOS Confidential Physical Health Form (must be completed by a physician), a copy of your student's immunization record and COVID card, and the Health Update form. If your student is seeing or has. in the past two years, seen a mental health professional, you will also need to submit the Confidential Mental Health Form.
What immunizations are required for participation in AMIGOS?
- Please find a list of all required immunizations in your Welcome Packet.
Does my child need to vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in AMIGOS? What about boosters?
- Yes, AMIGOS requires all volunteers and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We expect the definition of "fully vaccinated" to continue to evolve throughout the spring. At present, for those residing in the United States, fully vaccinated is defined as having received a two dose series of either the Pfizer or Modern mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster for young people aged 12+ at five months after completing their first two-dose series. This expansion now allows for all AMIGOS volunteers to receive extra protection against COVID-19. The health and safety of our volunteers, staff, and communities is our number one priority and as such, we are now requiring that AMIGOS volunteers and staff receive whatever booster(s) are available as soon as eligible to provide extra immunity and protection against COVID-19.
How will I be notified if my child has a medical issue while on an AMIGOS program?
- If your student experiences a minor medical issue, like a cold or headache, you will not be notified. If your child experiences a more severe medical issue, our health and safety team will contact you. Details of this process are outlined in our Family Preparation Guide. Please take the time to read it once our Programs Team distributes it.
During the period at the beginning of a project, what happens if a volunteer tests positive for COVID-19?
- We routinely update our policies and procedures to reflect the most current medical and public health recommendations. The current policy is that they will be isolated from the group and will be retested after 5-7 days. Once they have received a negative test and they are asymptomatic or there are improvements in their symptoms and no fever for 24 hours without a fever reducing agent, if fever was present, they may reintegrate into the group. During the period of isolation, their health and wellbeing will be monitored by an AMIGOS staff member, they will be given their phone to communicate with, and they will be allowed time outside.
What happens if my child tests positive for COVID while at their project site and is (under current policy) unable to return to the United States as scheduled? Will AMIGOS provide lodging/food for those required to quarantine until permitted to return?
- Yes, AMIGOS will provide lodging, food, and care for the volunteer throughout the duration of their quarantine period. Additionally, a AMIGOS staff member will monitor the volunteer's health throughout this period and the AMIGOS Medical Director will be in close contact regarding the volunteer's health. AMIGOS will in touch with the family on a daily basis throughout this time. AMIGOS will also arrange alternative travel home to the United States for the volunteer once cleared to return. Please note that at this time all volunteers and all persons entering the United States via plane need to produce a negative viral COVID-19 test within one day of entering the United States.
How can I learn more about health and safety on AMIGOS programs?
- Please read through our General Health Criteria, our Standards of Conduct, and our list of required immunizations. We will also send out a Family Preparation Guide, which includes more information about our health and safety systems and what to expect as a parent of an AMIGOS volunteer. Additionally, in the spring, our Health & Safety Manager hosts a webinar for families. This is a great time to learn about AMIGOS and ask any of your health and safety questions.
What if I have a change in my health after I submit my forms?
- Please contact our On Call Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who do I contact if I have questions about my medical forms?
- Please contact the Admissions Team at email@example.com.
In the Field
Will I get to meet my project staff team and the other volunteers on my project before the project begins?
- Yes, prior to departure, volunteers and families will be invited to attend a webinar that accompanies the "Project Information Packet". This project-specific webinar provides the opportunity to meet other volunteers assigned to the project, as well as the chance to meet Project Staff and learn more about the project.
How many AMIGOS staff are assigned to each group of volunteers and how many volunteers are in each group?
- There are generally 20 volunteers and four AMIGOS staff members in each group. Depending on enrollment in each project, there may be fewer volunteers and/or staff members, but the target ratio is 1 staff member for every 5 volunteers.
How can I find more information about what my AMIGOS experience might be like?
- You can visit @amigos_americas on Instagram or read through field notes written by last summer's volunteers on the AMIGOS Blog!
Can I request to be on the same project as my friend? Can I request to be roommates or in the same pod as my friend?
- You can request to be on the same project as your friend--make sure you both select the same project as your first choice! We cannot guarantee you will be on the same project as your friend, but we will accommodate the request if we can. However, we ask that you do not request to be in the same pod or room as your friend, as we believe that an AMIGOS program is the best place to meet new people! You will still be able to see your friend throughout your time with AMIGOS.
What are sleeping arrangements like on an AMIGOS program?
- Students will sleep in hostel or cabin-like accommodations, and they will be rooming with one or two other volunteers.
Who cooks and cleans the facilities where the volunteers live in Latin America?
- Lodging sites have housekeeping and maintenance facilities that clean and disinfect surfaces, bathrooms, bedrooms, and shared spaces. In addition, all lodging sites have full time cooks who will prepare meals. Volunteers may be involved with food preparation at select locations and are excepted to follow rigorous guidelines for food preparation and sanitation. All volunteers are expected to be contributing members of the group and do their part to maintain a tidy environment.
What kind of service will I take part in?
- This depends on the project you have chosen! Most of your service will be focused on learning more about the region you are in and the theme of your project. Some examples of service are harvesting produce on an organic farm, clearing trails at a national park, or volunteering at a sea turtle estuary. Check out volunteers' field notes from last year on the AMIGOS Blog for a first-hand account of some of the service you will be involved in!
Will I get any free time?
- Yes, you will have free time to exercise, read, play games, and get to know all of the other volunteers!