Voluntary service

Information about Rights & Duties

Volunteering in another Member State

International Youth Volunteer Service (IJFD)

The International Youth Volunteer Service (Internationaler Jugendfreiwilligendienst, IJFD) makes it possible to spend a voluntary year abroad. It combines volunteering abroad with important intercultural learning opportunities and equips volunteers with personal, social and intercultural skills. The IJFD is governed by the Ministerial Directive of 20 December 2010, last amended on 28 May 2020.

An IJFD placement lasts from between 6 and 18 months. Volunteering can be done worldwide through a German agency/organisation in establishments abroad that promote the common good. The organisations educational staff support the volunteers throughout their placement.

To prepare for an International Youth Volunteer Service placement and to provide further support, seminars are organised, which the volunteers can help to structure. These seminars can be held up to 5 months before the period abroad, during it, and up to 6 months afterwards.

Volunteering opportunities are usually found in the social or environmental field and in the areas of peace and reconciliation.

To apply, you must:

  • have completed compulsory full-time education
  • be under the age of 27 at the end of the volunteering period.

While volunteering abroad, volunteers are covered by both insurance contracts under private law and by statutory accident insurance.

As a rule, volunteers receive pocket money during their volunteering. In most cases, accommodation and meals are also provided.

If the general legal conditions are met, child benefit is also paid during the IJFD placement.

Volunteers work full time in placements abroad on a non-profit basis, except for when they are receiving vocational training. The activities are mainly practical support tasks.

Responsible for the content
Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

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