Find out where Americans are volunteering abroad right now without quarantine
Let’s face it, the last year has been an absolute rollercoaster ride. The world needs rebuilding and we’re ready to get back out there and make a difference. That’s why many Americans are opting for a kinder, more regenerative way to travel in 2021 and beyond - by volunteering abroad.
As vaccines continue to roll out and more countries reopen, IVHQ volunteers are adding immense value by helping local NGOs, communities and conservation initiatives get back on their feet. Volunteers are also getting the opportunity to explore some of the world’s most sought after destinations without hoards of tourists. The best part? IVHQ has programs available in 19 countries that don’t require quarantine on arrival or return.
We’re here to keep you updated on where you can volunteer abroad as the world reopens and what the Covid-19 entry requirements are for each country. We’re regularly updating this guide and have answered some of your most common questions about US international travel restrictions below.
What does the US Travel Advisory mean for Americans who want to volunteer abroad?
The State Department recently announced a travel advisory system that uses science-based data from the CDC to assign countries perceived risk levels. This comes just after the government announced a new set of recommendations around international travel for Americans based on vaccination and immunity status.
So, what does this mean for Americans that want to volunteer abroad?
If you are vaccinated…
- Before you leave the US: Get a Covid-19 test within 72 hours prior to travel since IVHQ requires a negative test result on arrival at your destination. This is part of IVHQ’s health & safety guidelines, plus most countries require it.
- When returning back to the US: You will be required to provide a negative Covid-19 test result from within the last 72 hours or documentation of recovery from Covid-19 in the past 3 months. However, you will not need to self-isolate.
- Once back in the US: It is recommended that you get a viral test 3-5 days after travel, self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms and follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.
If you are not vaccinated…
- Before you leave the US: IVHQ requires a negative Covid-19 test result from within the 72 hours prior to travel. The US government also requires a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
- When returning back to the US: You will be required to provide a negative Covid-19 test result from within the last 72 hours or documentation of recovery from Covid-19 in the past 3 months.
- Once back in the US: You will be required to self-isolate on your return to the US for 7 days if you test negative, or for 10 days if you don’t get retested.
Is it safe for Americans to volunteer abroad right now?
Our volunteer programs are only open in destinations where the local government and public health guidelines deem it safe. You can see the full list of IVHQ programs in countries open to US travellers below - all of which do not require quarantine.
All IVHQ programs have implemented additional health and safety measures to protect volunteers and local communities against Covid-19. We require all volunteers to show negative results from a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of travelling and all Americans are required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test to return back to the US after traveling. Testing is available in all IVHQ program locations and our local teams can provide guidance for volunteers in-country on where to obtain the tests as well as any costs associated with them. Your IVHQ Program Manager can offer advice around this prior to departing on your volunteer trip and to help with your planning.
IVHQ also has a flexible booking policy in place, so that you can easily make changes to your dates, destination or project after booking - for free.
It is always important, especially during this time, to protect yourself with the right travel insurance. We partner with World Nomads because unlike many other providers, US residents may make claims arising from Covid-19 for the benefits specified in your policy. See what’s covered and get a quote here.
Where can Americans volunteer abroad now without quarantine?
If you live in the US and have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 3 months, you can join any of these IVHQ volunteer programs without the need to quarantine on arrival or when you return home. All of these programs are open, have volunteers starting every week, and are fully hosted with accommodation and meals included. Volunteer for just 1 week or up to 24 weeks.
Here are the most popular IVHQ programs for US volunteers that do not require quarantine upon arrival. For the full list of IVHQ programs Americans can join without quarantine right now, click here.
- Costa Rica
- Victoria Falls
- South Africa
- Puerto Rico
Top IVHQ programs in countries Americans can travel to without quarantine:
Discover unique wildlife, lush rainforest, dramatic volcanoes and stunning beaches on IVHQ’s Costa Rica program. Choose from 15 projects which range from Childcare and Teaching to Medical, Eco Agriculture and Turtle Conservation. US tourists must complete a “health pass” form to show a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of travel. You’ll also need proof of travel medical insurance.
Want to know what it’s like volunteering in Costa Rica right now? Read about Alexandre’s recent Costa Rica volunteer experience.
Discover Machu Picchu, stunning mountains and fascinating culture on IVHQ’s Peru program. Choose from 18 meaningful projects based in the ancient cities of Cusco and Lima - with the Lima program fee starting at only $180 for one week! American tourists may enter Peru with a negative Covid-19 test result less than 72 hours old. Flights are authorized from Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Orlando. Note flights from Brazil, South Africa and the UK are currently suspended from arriving into Cusco and Lima.
Discover the jewel of East Africa on IVHQ’s Tanzania program with convenient IVHQ add ons for safaris, kilimanjaro hikes and maasai tribe visits. Choose from 5 impactful projects, including Teaching, Medical, Childcare, Women’s Education and Animal Welfare. American tourists will need to fill out a health surveillance form and have a health screening on arrival. You may also be asked to take a Covid-19 test.
Hear from recent IVHQ volunteer Aysha to learn what it’s like volunteering in Tanzania right now.
Discover ancient Mayan ruins, fascinating culture and the vibrant colonial city of Antigua on IVHQ’s Guatemala program. Choose from 13 brilliant projects, ranging from Animal Care, Childcare and Turtle Conservation to the unique Mayan Cultural Immersion and Medical projects. American tourists must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken 72 hours or less upon arrival. There are direct flights from all the main cities in the US.
Explore the Maasai tribes, quaint villages and incredible African wildlife on IVHQ’s Kenya program. With 6 impact driven projects to choose from, including Women’s Education, Teaching and Special Needs Care, you’ll be making a valuable contribution to the local community. US tourists will need a negative Covid-19 test result taken 96 hours or less upon arrival.
Explore West Africa’s treasures and become part of the charming local community on IVHQ’s Ghana program. There are 7 incredible projects to choose from, including Healthcare Outreach, Sports and Teaching. All travellers must show a negative Covid-19 PCR test result that’s no older than 72 hours upon entry into Ghana. On arrival, passengers must take another test that costs $150 and have a temperature screening.
Discover what to expect when volunteering in Ghana right now from recent IVHQer Tonja.
Go into the wild and live on a private African game reserve on IVHQ’s Victoria Falls program. The special Wildlife Conservation project gives volunteers the opportunity to help local conservationists research and protect the Big 5 animals, including the critically endangered black rhino. As part of Zimbabwe, all travellers need to have a negative PCR Covid-19 clearance certificate issued by a recognised facility within 48 hours from date of departure. Upon arrival at the airport, you will undergo thermal scanning.
Immerse yourself in a totally different culture and get a taste of authentic Africa, living like a local on IVHQ’s Zambia program. Choose from 6 incredible projects, ranging from Teaching and Kindergarten to Medical and Elderly Care. American tourists travelling to Zambia need a negative Covid-19 test result taken at least 14 days before arrival.
Explore beautiful surf beaches, rugged landscapes and incredible wildlife on IVHQ’s South Africa programs in Cape Town, Table View and Kruger National Park. Choose from a diverse range of meaningful projects, including Teaching, Sports Development, Childcare, Surf Outreach, Animal Care and a new Widlife Conservation project. All arrivals to South Africa will need to show proof of a negative PCR Covid-19 test, administered no more than 72 hours before departure.
IVHQ’s Belize program is based on a stunning private island in the Caribbean. The special Marine Conservation project involves helping local scientists with a range of scuba diving tasks to protect marine life. American travellers must download the Belize Health App and need a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours of travel for fast track at the airport. You can also be tested upon arrival but may have to quarantine while awaiting results.
Immerse yourself in Caribbean culture and soak up the sand, sun and sea on IVHQ’s Puerto Rico program. Impactful projects include Youth Support, Environmental Sustainability, NGO Support and Community Development. US travellers need a negative Covid-19 test result to gain access to this paradise island.
Immerse yourself in a truly authentic South American setting on IVHQ’s Ecuador program. Choose from 18 impactful projects, ranging from volunteering with children to Community Development and NGO Support. US travellers need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test, no older than 10 days upon arrival. Testing is available if you don’t have a negative result, but you must quarantine at a facility while waiting for results.
Make an impact and immerse yourself in one of the world’s most vibrant cultures! IVHQ’s Mexico program is one of the most convenient and easiest to get to during this time. Choose from incredible projects, including Sustainable Agriculture, Teaching English, Animal Care, Childcare and Special Needs Care. Americans will need to fly to Mexico while the land border remains closed and all IVHQ volunteers are required to have a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of travel.
Discover the white sands, aquamarine ocean, unique wildlife and rustic markets on this paradise island just off the coast of Eastern Africa. IVHQ’s Zanzibar program has 2 amazing projects to choose from: Turtle Conservation and Rainforest & Coastal Conservation. As part of Tanzania, incoming tourists will need to fill out a health surveillance form and have a health screening. You may also be asked to take a Covid-19 test.
If you would like personalized program recommendations to meet your volunteering goals and travel plans, submit this quick form and our team will get back to you to explore your options.
Don’t want to cross any borders just yet? Why not explore the diverse cultures and cities in your own country on IVHQ’s USA program? With incredible projects in Community Development, Construction, Environmental Sustainability and Youth Support - this is a chance to give back to communities a little closer to home. Choose from programs across the vibrant cities of New Orleans, San Diego, Chicago and Philadelphia on the staycation of a lifetime!