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Volunteering Abroad During Covid-19

Last updated: September 5, 2022

All IVHQ’s volunteer programs are open!

All of IVHQ’s 40+ volunteer programs are accepting applications for start dates up to 2 years in the future. Our programs are getting booked up for popular start dates, especially those over the summer – so if you’re looking to get away and make a difference this year, we recommend selecting your destination and applying for your project as soon as possible!

Over the last two years IVHQ has hosted thousands of volunteers safely on our programs, so we know how to keep you and the local communities safe. Our tried and tested volunteer health & safety precautions have been designed to protect you from Covid-19 and any other location-specific risks.

Now more than ever, volunteers' contributions are critically needed to help IVHQ’s host communities get back on their feet. We have volunteers starting on programs every week – you could be volunteering with us in as little as two weeks time!

You can check if you’re eligible to join your preferred volunteer program, as well as confirm availability for your desired dates, by applying online – it’s free, only takes a few minutes, and there’s no commitment at this stage!

Apply Now

Covid-19 requirements prior to traveling

All volunteers should bring a Covid-19 RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) or the equivalent with them to their program. The local team can request that volunteers complete this if at any time during their time on the program they begin to show symptoms. This helps to minimize the risk of infecting other volunteers and the local communities you'll be volunteering with.

Covid-19 vaccination requirements: IVHQ strongly recommends all volunteers are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 prior to travel. Many countries require you to be fully vaccinated to avoid quarantine on arrival, and some IVHQ programs and placements also require you to be fully vaccinated. For more information on any vaccination requirements for your preferred program, please contact us.

Quote from Marc

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. And also, 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.

IVHQ Volunteer Marc - NGO Support in Romania Quote from Marc

See what's required to visit your chosen destination

Fill out the quick form below to find out what the border and visa requirements are for the IVHQ destination you're traveling to, based on your country of residence.

Free changes up to 14 days before your start date

Flexible Booking: We make it easy to change your travel plans should you need to

We make it easy to change your travel plans should you need to – or if you simply change your mind! You can make free changes to your program start date, volunteer project, or destination up to 14 days before your start date.

Our flexible booking policy means that once you've paid your Registration Fee, your money is protected. Plus, you don't need to pay your Program Fee until 30 days before your start date.

Free changes

Guaranted flexibility

Protected Registration Fees

Protected Program Fees

Learn more about flexible booking

Volunteer health & safety

Travel insurance for Covid-19

Protecting volunteers with the right travel insurance

IVHQ’s travel insurance is administered by CISI, one of the world’s leading providers of insurance for study abroad and international student travel. The cover plans have been customized specifically for our volunteers and is the same price for everyone, no matter where you live or where you are traveling to (with the exclusion of Cuba). There is also no minimum or maximum age limit on our cover.

IVHQ Covid-19 Health & safety measures

Health & safety measures

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, we introduced a number of extra health and safety measures across all of our local teams and programs. 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.

  • All volunteers must provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test from within the last 72 hours on arrival.
  • Volunteers receive information on how to minimize infection.
  • Enhanced cleaning practices in accommodation and placements.
  • Antibacterial spray/wipes available at all placements.
  • 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.

Volunteer stories

Wondering what it's like to volunteer in a world that has been impacted by Covid-19? Thousands of IVHQers have volunteered around the globe over the last two years, contributing their time and skills to make a real impact during this period of need. This experience means we know how to keep you safe and ensure you’re able to make a difference.

Find out how recent volunteers felt about additional health and safety measures on IVHQ programs, traveling without crowds of tourists, and what it's like to help local communities get back on their feet post-pandemic. Read these stories from IVHQers on the ground in Tanzania, Costa Rica, Portugal, Ghana and Romania…

What it’s like to volunteer abroad in a Covid-19 world
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Volunteer story from Alexandre

Volunteering in Costa Rica at this time definitely made the experience more special. We did not queue anywhere and had the usually extremely busy national parks, paradise islands, wildlife sanctuaries, volcanoes and beaches all to ourselves. It was also really rewarding to give the local people working in tourism a little hope that international travel is resuming!

Read about Alexandre's experience
Volunteer story from Emily

Despite the Covid-19 situation, I feel very safe in the volunteer house, at my placement and being out and about in Portugal. The program has implemented a number of measures to make sure we’re all safe. For example, social distancing rules are in place, the house is cleaned very regularly, there’s hand sanitizer everywhere and we have to wear masks if we go into stores.

Read about Emily's experience
Volunteer story from Tonja

There was no reason for me to fear as the local team made sure that I was taken care of. I was able to teach about hygiene at a school, educate a community about Covid-19, conduct over 200 malaria tests, take blood pressure screenings and provide first aid care to people who aren’t able to access a clinic. It was an amazing experience during the pandemic and I don’t regret a minute of it.

Read about Tonja's experience


Almost all IVHQ programs are open and hosting volunteers every week. The handful of programs that remain closed are scheduled to reopen over the next couple of months. You can check the next available start date for your preferred program on its website page.

If it looks like your project or program will not be open for your start date, your IVHQ Program Manager will get in touch with you. Please contact your Program Manager or get in touch with our team of Volunteer Travel Specialists for up to date information on country-specific plans.

From the very start of the outbreak, our local teams implemented enhanced health and safety procedures across all IVHQ programs to minimize any risk of Covid-19 infection or transmission. You can learn more about these here.

We have only reopened programs where we believe the local conditions provide a safe environment for our volunteers. IVHQ continues to implement enhanced procedures for monitoring the health of our volunteers and isolating, caring for, and reporting any cases, should they arise. This will remain in place.

All IVHQ 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.

Your normal health insurance is unlikely to cover you for overseas expenses, which is why travel insurance is compulsory for all IVHQ volunteers.

The majority of IVHQ volunteers choose to obtain travel insurance through our trusted partner, CISI. Learn more about IVHQ's Travel Insurance here.

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. We also offer options that can provide you with a refund.

We offer Registration Fee options that will provide you with a refund if requested. We have always honored refunds for any volunteer who is eligible for one under IVHQ’s terms and conditions, even during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For volunteers who booked a non-refundable trip, we can reschedule your trip for a future date for free, or we can retain your payments as a credit for you to use in the future.

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 at, direct to your Program Manager by email or check out our contact page.

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