How to apply for long-term volunteering

1. Application period

Normally you can apply to projects throughout the year. Some projects have their own application period, which is mentioned in the project description. If there is no deadline, this means the application period is ongoing.

It is good to apply several months prior to your departure, even though leaving may sometimes also be possible with a shorter notice. You also need to see when KVT organizes trainings, and make sure you are able to take part in one before leaving. It is mandatory to attend the training before your project.

2. Filling in the application

The long-term volunteering database contains all the voluntary work projects that SCI offers and that are open for application. The database and website are constantly being updated so if you can’t find a project that interests you, check back in a couple of weeks. If you are interested in a project in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Vietnam or Namibia, write to as these projects are not in the database.

When you want to apply, download the form: application form LTV, and fill in the required information. The volunteers are chosen to the projects based on their applications, so describe yourself and your motivation thoroughly, and answer the questions carefully.

3. Motivation letter

Some projects ask for a separate motivation letter alongside the application. We recommend writing a motivation letter even when it is not required, because it gives you a better chance being accepted to the project.

4. Coordination fee

  • Coordination fee 270€
  • KVT’s membership fee (if you are not already a member): 20€/10€
  • You need to renew your KVT membership each year by paying an annual membership fee

Make all the payments to KVT’s account FI98 8000 1200 0695 17. You can pay the coordination fee and the membership fee in the same payment. Fill in your information in KVT’s member register via this form, or write your name, date of birth, address and phone number or e-mail in the message box of your payment. You can find more information on member registry and data protection practices here.

Pay both the coordination fee and the membership fee when you send your application. The coordination fee covers mainly administrational costs in Finland and it includes processing the application, contact with the volunteer and the receiving organization, the interview, the training as well as the personal assistance and support during the volunteering period. If you do not get the volunteering position you wished for and we cannot find you an interesting alternative, we will return the coordination fee to you in full (the membership fee will not be returned). If you, for any reason, need to cancel your departure after sending the application, please inform KVT about this. In this case, KVT returns half of the coordination fee if you have pressing reasons for your cancellation.

5. Sending the application

When you have finished your application, send it as a word document to . You don’t need to sign the application. Before sending the application, please pay KVT membership fee 20/10 € and the coordination fee 270 €, and send the receipts for these payments together with the application.

6. Interview

We interview all applicants before sending their applications to the receiving organization. When we have received your application, we will contact you within two weeks to set a time for the interview.

7. Acceptance

Normally the acceptance comes within two days to two weeks after sending the application to the receiving organization. In some cases, the volunteer needs to send a criminal records extract to KVT office after being accepted. This is generally when the volunteer will be working with children, youth or people with special needs. The extract costs 12 euros. After the acceptance, KVT will send the volunteer further instructions on how to order the extract.

8. Training

All volunteers who intend to do long-term volunteering abroad need to take part in a training. These are organised three to four times a year (normally December–January, April–May and August–September). In the training we discuss ethical and sustainable volunteering, practical matters relating to the volunteering period, adapting to a foreign culture and hear from former volunteers.

9. Project fee

In Europe, the United States, Japan and Taiwan, there is no project fee and the volunteers normally receive food and accommodation, plus a small weekly/monthly allowance.

Volunteer projects in the Global South (Africa, Latin America, most parts of Asia) usually have a monthly project fee (covering food, accommodation, on-arrival training and support, plus some other expenses depending on the place), which is mentioned in the project description. The programme fee is normally 150–350€ per month and is paid to the receiving organization or the volunteer host. Depending on the project, the project fee is either paid on arrival or once a month. The programme fee is never paid to KVT.

10. Allowance

In some volunteer projects in Europe and the United States and Japan, the volunteers sometimes receive a small allowance. This is mentioned in the project description. There is no allowance in the projects in the Global South.

11. Travel costs

The volunteers are responsible for their own travel expenses to the destination country and mostly also for all travels within the destination country. In some countries, the project fee may include expenses for picking up the volunteer from the airport, and transportation to the project location. Information about this will either be found in the project description or in the infosheet.

12. Information after application

You will receive an acceptance letter within two weeks from sending your application. In some cases getting this information may take longer. If you haven’t received a reply after two weeks, please write to .

When you have received your acceptance letter from KVT, you can start to arrange your travels and visas. We will send you contact information of the receiving organization with your acceptance letter. You will also receive an infosheet, in which there is information about the project’s background, your daily schedule and arriving in the destination country.

13. Visa

If a visa is required to the country you are going to, the receiving organization will send you a visa invitation letter and other required documents. You can apply for a visa at the embassy or consulate of the country you are going to. You can find information about the offices online. The volunteer is responsible for acquiring the visa and any fees connected to that.

You can check which countries require a visa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

14. Insurance

The volunteer is responsible for taking insurance and paying for this. We recommend making sure your insurance also covers volunteer work. When going to an EU country, the volunteer may also get the European Health Insurance Card, which can be ordered for free from Kela.