Last updated: December 1st, 2020
The majority of International Volunteer HQ’s programs have already reopened in countries where the government advice, local health guidelines and border restrictions allow this.
IVHQ volunteers provide invaluable support to local communities around the world. Now more than ever, volunteer contributions are critically needed to help these communities get back on their feet.
Don’t let COVID-19 stop you. It’s been an incredible and safe experience. IVHQ offers so many projects in so many countries that it’s difficult not to find one that suits the requirements of this challenging time. With challenging times, comes more need for help. So if you ever want to make a real impact in a time of need, this is your time. Marc, IVHQ volunteer in Romania - September 2020
Our local teams are excited to welcome you back and have been working hard behind the scenes to implement additional health and safety measures. We also have a flexible booking policy in place, so that you can make changes to your dates, destination or project for free. Find out more below.
- Which IVHQ programs are open?
- Covid-19 health & safety measures
- IVHQ’s flexible booking policy
- Travel insurance for Covid-19
Which IVHQ programs are open?
IVHQ is only reopening our volunteer programs where the local government and public health guidelines deem it safe. Please note that many countries require proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test on arrival.
IVHQ programs in more than 30+ countries are already open. The IVHQ programs listed below are already open and accepting volunteers.
You can still apply and register for all other programs beyond these dates – as far ahead as 2023. If the program you register for is not going to open in time for your chosen dates, your Program Manager will let you know and you can change your plans for free thanks to our flexible booking policy.
North, Central & South America, & the Caribbean:
Asia & Pacific:
Covid-19 health & safety measures
When the Covid-19 pandemic began, we introduced a number of extra health and safety measures that have been implemented by all our local teams. These have been designed to minimize the risk of volunteers introducing a new infection to the local community, and minimize the risk of cross-infection between volunteers and from the local community.
These measures are in addition to our standard safety policies and are strictly enforced across every program to minimize the risks associated with Covid-19. Your wellbeing is always our highest priority.
All volunteers tested for Covid-19 within 72 hours of travel
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accommodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
- All volunteers must be tested for Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to travel, where possible.
- All volunteers will receive information about Covid-19 and how to minimize infection.
- Increased frequency and depth of cleaning practices in accommodation and placements.
- Antibacterial spray/wipes available at all placements with surfaces wiped between shifts.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers available at project sites and program base.
- Volunteers asked to maintain a greater physical distance from one another.
- Symptomatic individuals will be isolated from others.
- Volunteers will be assisted if they need testing, advice and/or treatment.
IVHQ’s flexible booking policy
We make it easy to change your travel plans should you need to – or if you simply change your mind! As long as you cancel or reschedule at least 14 days before your program start date, we won’t charge you to change your start date, volunteer program or destination.
Our flexible booking policy means that once you’ve paid your registration fee, your money is protected. Plus, any program fees you’ve paid can be used as credit towards a future trip, or put towards an internship with our sister organization Intern Abroad HQ.
If you want to volunteer but do not have the means to travel internationally, you are still able to join IVHQ volunteer programs within your home country. For example, we offer a wide range of US volunteer programs, or you can make an impact on important social and environmental projects on one of Intern Abroad HQ’s remote internships.
Most of our volunteers book their trips months in advance, so please take this time to plan for the future. With IVHQ you can apply and register for programs up to three years ahead.
Travel insurance for Covid-19
At IVHQ, we like World Nomads because unlike many other travel insurance providers, they do not have an endemic or pandemic exclusion for policies purchased by US residents. This means that you may make claims arising from the Covid-19 for the benefits specified in your policy. These benefits include emergency medical and trip interruption coverage for you personally or a travel companion who contracts Covid-19 or goes under quarantine when traveling.
If you unexpectedly catch Covid-19 at home before you leave for your trip, you may also be eligible for trip cancellation coverage, which represents compensation for any pre-paid non-refundable travel expenses such as flights, hotels, and excursions. Review what’s covered by World Nomads’ policies in relation to Covid-19 and check coverage for non-US residents here.
You can get a travel insurance quote from World Nomads for your volunteer abroad trip by visiting IVHQ’s volunteer travel insurance page.
Will my program be open for my start date?
We are reopening our volunteer programs on a case-by-case basis, based on the latest travel advisories for each country, the status of local health risks, and any local government or border restrictions that might remain in place. Since we support volunteers from countries all over the world, our approach to opening programs is based entirely on local conditions and guidance from the relevant local authorities. Each volunteer should make their own assessment on whether they will be able to travel to participate in their program based on their own individual circumstances.
For a list of programs that are already open or that we anticipate will reopen in the near future, please refer to the top of this page. As the situation in each country is changing constantly, we are not able to provide certainty around program availability until a few weeks before each volunteer’s start date. We are proactively contacting all volunteers who are due to travel in the near future to advise on program availability. Please contact your IVHQ Program Manager or get in touch with our team of Volunteer Travel Specialists for up to date information on country-specific plans.
If your program is currently closed, our current advice is to hold off from changing or cancelling your travel until we have greater certainty over when your program will begin operating again.
Will I be safe if I continue with my plans to volunteer?
From the very start of the outbreak, our local teams implemented procedures across all our programs to ensure early detection of any cases, in accordance with the advice from local and international authorities. There have been no reported cases of Covid-19 among any volunteer or staff member on any IVHQ volunteer program. We only reopen programs when we believe the local conditions provide a safe environment for our volunteers and we implement enhanced procedures for monitoring the health of our volunteers and isolating, caring for, and reporting any cases, should they arise, will remain in place.
All local teams on every IVHQ program following our enhanced volunteer safety procedures to minimize any risk of Covid-19 infection or transmission. You can learn more about these here.
All our volunteers should also take personal responsibility for their own health and the safety of others. Please do not travel if you are feeling ill or if there is a risk you may be an asymptomatic carrier of Covid-19 – for example, if you have been exposed to an infected individual within the 14 days before you start your IVHQ program.
Will my travel insurance cover me for Covid-19?
Your normal health insurance is unlikely to cover you for overseas expenses, which is why travel insurance is compulsory for all IVHQ volunteers.
We’ve partnered with World Nomads for many years because their travel insurance policies provide comprehensive but affordable cover for most of the typical activities IVHQ volunteers get involved with while on an IVHQ volunteer abroad program. Unlike many other companies, World Nomads does not have an endemic or pandemic exclusion for policies purchased by US residents, which means that you may make claims arising from the Covid-19 for the benefits specified in your policy.
Can I change my travel plans free of charge?
We’re offering greater flexibility for changes to travel dates and destinations during this period of uncertainty.
All volunteers can change their travel destination, volunteer project or start date free of charge as long as you contact us more than 14 days before your start date. If you don’t know when you will be able to travel, we can hold any program fee you’ve paid as a credit on your account or provide a refund.
For volunteers due to start their programs within the next 14 days, we are dealing with each individual situation on a case by case basis. If this applies to you, please contact your Program Manager.
If you have been accepted for an IVHQ volunteer program but haven’t yet completed your registration, you can make changes to your trip free of charge at any time. This means you can select a different destination, volunteer project or travel date and still continue with your plans to make a difference abroad. When you are ready to register, we offer options that provide a refund should you need to cancel your trip closer to your departure date.
Can I get a refund?
We have always provided refunds to any volunteer who is eligible for a refund under IVHQ’s terms and conditions, and this has not changed since the current pandemic began.
For volunteers who booked a non-refundable trip, we are offering free changes to program start dates or credits you can use in the future.
What’s the best way of contacting IVHQ?
IVHQ’s Volunteer Travel Specialists are available to answer any of your queries related to existing registrations or help with your planning for the future. You can get in touch with us by email to email@example.com, direct to your Program Manager by email, or through our online enquiry form.