European Voluntary Service

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The back of a European Youth Card of an EVS volunteer

European Voluntary Service (EVS) is the European Commission's project that allows a young person (17–30 years) to become a volunteer in another country for a specified period, normally between 2–12 months. The service activities can be, for example, in the field of environment, arts and culture, activities with children, young people or the elderly, heritage or sports and leisure activities. Each project has three partners, a volunteer, a sending organisation and a host organisation. The project has to take place in a country other than where the volunteers lives, is non-profit-making and unpaid and lasts for a limited period (maximum 12 months).

An EVS project involves a triangular partnership: a volunteer, a sending organisation, and a host organisation. One of the countries involved in a project must be an EU Member State or an accession country.

Financial aspect[edit]

Volunteers doing reconstruction works on Nevytsky Castle, western Ukraine
  • The volunteer's international travel covers reasonable travel costs from the volunteer's home to the host organisation, and the costs are paid to the sending organisation in full when the volunteer uses the cheapest available train or plane ticket (e.g. discount air ticket, or equivalent). A copy of the ticket(s) must be attached to the final report.
  • Contribution to the sending activities (recruitment, preparation, contact, assessment, follow-up) is a lump sum payment depending on the length of the project and is determined for each country.
  • Exceptional volunteer costs related to the special needs of the volunteer (medical attendance, additional preparation, etc.) are paid in full, provided they are reasonable and justifiable.
  • The volunteer's allowance is fixed per host country[1] and is paid in full to the host organisation to be given to the volunteer weekly or monthly.
  • On 9 May 2012 Fraternité 2020 was registered as Europe's first European Citizens' Initiative. Its goal is to get 3% of the EU budget for EU exchange programmes like the EVS from 2014 (the share currently is 1.2%). To be successful it needs to collect 1 million signatures by 1 November 2013.

All volunteers are insured for sickness, accidents, permanent invalidity, and repatriation in case of serious illness, accident, and death through AXA [1]. The insurance also covers civil liability. This insurance complements the protection provided by the national social security (if applicable) which is proven by the E111 (or similar) form of the volunteer. All insurance costs are paid directly by the European Commission and they are not included in project budgets.


The first step of a prospective volunteer is to find and contact a sending organisation and together with them consult the database of approved hosts.

All volunteers who have completed their EVS project are entitled to a certificate called a Youthpass signed by the Head of the Youth Agency. This certificate validates their period of voluntary service and provides details of the activities in which they were involved. Volunteers from the countries involved also have the possibility to benefit from the Youth initiative action, and get involved in other Community programmes in general.

In Austria, due to the conscription regulations, the EVS is recognized as an alternative service to mandatory national service in the Austrian Armed Forces or the regular alternative service called Zivildienst.[2]

Implications of Brexit[edit]

British residents will continue to have access to the programme until 2020.[3]


  1. ^ "EVS Pocketmoney overview 2008" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-29. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-10-14. Retrieved 2017-05-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Implications of Brexit".[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]