Having voluntary services (Freiwilligendienst) by foreigners in Germany is possible. There are different types of voluntary services that are Voluntary Social Year, Governmental Voluntary Service and European Voluntary Service.

What are different types of voluntary services?

Voluntary Social Year- Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr (FSJ)

Term of this service is for up to one year and is normally conducted by German high school graduates before entering university. Applicants can also be non-EU citizens but should not be more than 26 years old. The service normally is organised by charities and NGOs.

Governmental Voluntary Service – Bundesfreiwiligendienst (BFD)

This is also another type of voluntary service for which there is no age limitation although you should be at least 18 years old to get this position. If you are a minor, the organization that is organising the project and is accepting you should act as your supervisor. This service is manged by the German government and is normally granted for 6-12 months. Your voluntary services can be repeated after 5 years. 

European Voluntary Service – Europäischer Freiwilligendienst (EFD)

This voluntary service is organised by the European Union for volunteers under the age of 30.


Topics that normally are offered in voluntary services regard social and natural matters, cultural and recreational issues. No salary is paid in similar services although accommodation and food are normally provided.

What are requirements?

1.General Requirements

Acceptance and contract with the organisation holding the voluntary service.

Proof of basic German skills (A1) or English as the language for providing services.

Financial resources proving that your costs will be covered during your stay in Germany for the term of your stay. This can be proved by blocked account with a minimum payment of Euro 850 per month, letter of obligation by a person having residency in Germany, coverage of costs by parents.

Plausibility of the services as a means to demonstrate that these services complete or integrate with your personal plans in life or your future career. You should know the reasons for choosing this volunteer service, what you look for to achieve and why you want to do that (these factors can be mentioned as part of your motivation letter). 

Visa is granted if there is no risk of stay of applicant in Germany as refugee or asylum. Therefore in the motivation letter grounds and reasons securing return of applicant to home country should be duly verified. 

Motivation letter and CV that provide an overview on your professional and educational background and its connection to the voluntary service you wish to attend.          

2.Common Needed Documents

Valid Passport

Filled in Application Form

Biometric photo

Health Insurance

Accommodation: Proof of accommodation for your stay if it is not provided by the organisation holding the service. Accommodation can be proved by hotel reservation (short term), invitation by a friend or family or rental agreement. Upon your arrival in Germany you should get registered in the place of your residency based on the rental agreement or approval letter of the landlord.