Volunteering Abroad During Covid-19

Last updated: June 28, 2021

IVHQ has volunteering projects running in 39 of our 52 destinations, with volunteers starting every week.

IVHQ programs have reopened in countries where border restrictions allow and government advice and local health guidelines deem it safe to do so. IVHQ volunteers provide invaluable support to local communities around the world. Now more than ever, volunteers' contributions are critically needed to help these communities get back on their feet. Volunteering is exempt from most countries' travel bans and we have volunteers joining our programs every week - you could be volunteering on one of our programs in as little as two weeks time!

traveling from the US, UK, Canada, or Mexico?

Find out where you can volunteer abroad right now quarantine-free:

US residents UK residents Canada residents MEXICO residents

Volunteer projects are running in these countries

Book now for start dates up to 2 years in the future - you can make changes later for free thanks to our flexible booking policy.

Africa & Middle East

Africa & Middle East:

Some countries may have restricted entry requirements. Check current border restrictions.

North, Central & South America, & the Caribbean

North, Central & South America, & the Caribbean:

Some countries may have restricted entry requirements. Check current border restrictions.

Europe

Europe:

Some countries may have restricted entry requirements. Check current border restrictions.

Asia & Pacific

Asia & Pacific:

*Open only for those already in-country

Some countries may have restricted entry requirements. Check current border restrictions.

Please note that some volunteer projects in the destinations listed above may not be operating due to Covid-19 restrictions. Please refer to the relevant destination page for more information, or contact us.

Other destinations are expected to open later this year

You can still apply and register for other programs - 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.

Covid-19 test prior to travelling

On arrival, IVHQ requires all volunteers to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test from within the prior 72 hours. This is a border requirement in many countries and helps to minimize the risk of other volunteers and the local communities you'll be volunteering with.

UK volunteers are exempt from the travel ban

We are providing UK volunteers with a letter of authorization that can enable you to travel abroad to volunteer, which is a legitimate exception to the current UK overseas travel ban.

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 restrictions and visa requirements are for the IVHQ destination you're traveling to, based on your country of residence. In addition to volunteers presenting a negative Covid-19 test from the prior 72 hours upon arrival, some destinations also require you to bring health documents, wear masks in public spaces, or apply for a visa. Enter your trip details below to make sure you have everything you need before arriving at your volunteer destination!

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 program or destination up to 14 days before your start date.

Free changes

Guaranted flexibility

Protected Registration Fees

Protected Program Fees

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.

If you want to volunteer but do not have the means to travel internationally, consider joining one of IVHQ's volunteer programs in 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 from home on one of Intern Abroad HQ's remote internship.

Learn more about flexible booking

Volunteer health & safety

Travel insurance for Covid-19

Travel insurance for Covid-19

You can get a travel insurance quote from World Nomads for your volunteer abroad trip by visiting IVHQ's volunteer travel insurance page.

IVHQ Covid-19 Health & safety measures

Health & safety measures

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, we introduce 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 during Covid-19? Hundreds of IVHQers are currently volunteering around the globe and contributing their time and skills to make a real impact during this time of need.

Find out how recent volunteers felt about additional health and safety measures on IVHQ programs, travelling without crowds of tourists and what it's like to help local communities get back on their feet post-pandemic. Read these recent 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
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

FAQ's

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.

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. 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.

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 Covid-19 for the benefits specified in your policy.

Find out more and get a quote here.

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.

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.

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 info@volunteerhq.org, direct to your Program Manager by email or check out our contact page.

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