Voluntary service in Germany 



Information for international applicants

Volunteer service in Germany is also possible for applicants from abroad. For example, you can engage in voluntary service after your au pair placement. You can also apply for a voluntary service directly from abroad. In this case, you have to meet certain requirements.

Voluntary Service International

Duration: 6 to 18 months

Start: possible at any time. Application and issuing of the visa usually take 2-6 months, sometimes up to 12 months!

Target group: Young people from abroad between 18 and 26 years of age.

Seminars: for 12 months of service, 15 days of education in a constant seminar group. Plus one language course and 5 days as an optional seminar.

Possible areas of work: Anything is possible, from a children day-care centre to a retirement home.

Monthly pocket money: 400 euros plus money for public transportation (for a full-time assignment)


  • German language skills of at least A2/B1.
  • Accommodation (e.g. with a relative or friend). You have to take care of this yourself.
  • Contact person: you must already know someone in the place where you will do your voluntary service.

Certificate: All volunteers receive an FSJ certificate and a report card.

Any more questions?

  • Do I already have to be in Germany to apply?

    You can apply to us if you are already in Germany, e.g. as an au pair.

    If you are still abroad, it is more difficult for us to find a place for you. Many institutions would like to get to know you personally during a trial day. This is difficult if you are still abroad. As a substitute, it is sometimes possible to make a video call with the institution. We cannot promise you whether this is possible. In any case, you should apply at least 4 to 5 months before you want to start. It takes a while until you have a contract and a visa.

  • What are the prerequisites?

    There are a few important prerequisites:

    • You need to have a basic knowledge of German (level A2-B1).
    • You must be at least 18 years old. If you are over 26 years old, please click here  https://www.freiwilligendienste-caritas.de/interessierte/27plus
    • You need a special visa for the voluntary service.
    • You need accommodation. For example, with a relative or friend who already lives in Germany. You have to take care of this yourself.
    • You need a contact person who will support you in Germany. This person must live in the place where you want to do your voluntary service.
  • How long does a voluntary service last?

    A Voluntary service lasts a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 18 months.

  • When can I start volunteering?

    You can apply to us at any time. It's best to apply to us between January and March and start your voluntary service in September or October. That's when we have the most places to choose from. However, you can also start at a different time.

  • Where can I do a voluntary service?

    Our places are mainly in the social sector, e.g. in kindergartens, retirement homes and hospitals. Once you have applied, we will talk to you and see which places are still available.

  • What do I get for my voluntary service?

    You will receive from us:

    • 400 euros pocket money, plus a subsidy for local public transport
    • Health insurance, accident insurance, pension insurance, nursing care insurance
    • For 12 months you get 26 days holiday
    • A certificate and a reference at the end of your voluntary service
    • We provide you with educational support during the year, e.g. at the educational seminars
    • A language course, if you do at least eight months of service
  • How do I get a visa?

    If you are from an EU member state, you do not need a visa.

    Do you live outside the EU? Then you usually have to apply for your visa in your home country. There is a German embassy or consulate in almost every country. You can apply for your visa there. You will need various documents for this: e.g. your contract for voluntary service. You will receive this contract from us. We have to find a suitable place for you. You can only apply for your visa once we have found a suitable place.

    If you are already in Germany, you can apply for your visa at the immigration office. You must tell us which visa you currently have. Not every visa allows you to apply for a visa for voluntary service in Germany. In some cases, you will have to travel to your home country and apply for your visa there.

  • Where can I stay?

    It is best if you find your own accommodation. You need to do this before you start your voluntary service. It is good if you have relatives or friends in Germany and can stay with them. The accommodation must be free of charge for you. This is because the pocket money you receive during your voluntary service is too little to pay rent.

    If you do need accommodation, please let us know at the beginning of your application. We only have very few places with accommodation. Therefore, it may not work out with the voluntary service if we do not have accommodation.

  • What are seminars?

    Seminars are educational days where you get to know other volunteers. We talk about various topics there. You can exchange ideas with other volunteers. The seminar days are part of your voluntary service and are compulsory. We cover the costs of the seminars.

  • Who can advise and support me?

    We are not a special incoming organisation. We specialise in volunteers from Germany. You therefore need friends or family in Germany. They can support you with your application and also later on. Unfortunately, we can only give you limited support with visa issues or dealing with the authorities. Only with regard to your questions about the voluntary service we can However, we can give you advice. Get in touch with us.

  • How can I apply?

    If you fulfil the requirements, you can apply using our online form.

  • You will need

    • Curriculum vitae (CV) with all your previous positions
    • Your contact person in Germany and the adress of your contact person
    • Address of your accommodation in Germany
    • Proof of German language skills
  • Later we will need from you

    Later we will need from you

    • Scan/photo of your passport
    • Your visa


Important internet addresses for you:


Do you have any questions? Get in touch with us!