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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes

Last update: 24 March 2021

EU programmes

The International Youth Office (BIJ) is the main agency in charge of implementing the Youth section of the Erasmus + programme. The BIJ publishes every year an  evaluation with information on the evolution of youth participation to mobility programmes.

Regarding the action 1 of the Erasmus + programme in 2019 (youth exchanges and youth workers mobility) 

  • Youth exchanges: 39 projects were funded out of the 68 submitted to the BIJ in 2019. The number of projects increased significantly compared to 2013 (19 projects funded).
  • Youth workers mobility: 14 projects were selected out of the 23 submitted to the BIJ in 2019. 

The French-Speaking Community also participates to the EU Aid Volunteers programme.

Other Programmes

The International Youth Office organises and manages youth cross-border volunteering through the following programmes:

  • “BEl’J” supports volunteering projects between the 3 Communities of Belgium. In 2019, 40 young people have been selected to participate. In 2019, it regards mostly young people aged under 20 years old (93%). 
  • Axe Sud” aims to foster the exchange between groups of youngsters from the French part of Belgium and French-Speaking countries in Africa (Algeria, Benin, Burkina-Faso, Burundi, Morocco, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia). In 2019, 150 young people from the French-speaking Community were supported and 168 african young people have participated. 
  • “Quebec” supports volunteering projects in communication, cultural and social sectors in the region of Quebec in Canada;
  • Citoyens d'Europe (European citizens) supports exchanges and creation projects on the thematic of the European citizenship. 
  • Jeunes Citoyens du Monde” (Young Citizens of the World) brings young people from all over the world together to discuss and think about thematics such as active citizenship, Human’s Rights and solidarity. This programme is the result of a multilateral cooperation with the Council of Europe. 

Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

Young volunteers from some countries taking part to a European Programme (Erasmus +, European Voluntary Service) need to require a visa.

There are two types of visa to access the Belgian territory for a volunteer coming from abroad:

- Short term visa (90 days or less out of 180 days):

Belgium, as part of the Shengen zone, exempts people from some countries to apply for a short-term visa.

Others volunteers must prove their eligibility by submitting the following documents:

A valid passport;

An official document stating that the hosting organisation is financially responsible for the volunteer;

The proof of the return (flight ticket).

-  Long-term visa (90 days or more): to be eligible for this kind of visa, volunteers must submit the following documents:

A valid passport;

An official document stating that the hosting organisation is financially responsible for the volunteer;

A medical certificate (some countries only);

An extract of police record;

The licence fee of 215 euros (this is a new measure implemented in March 2016);

The handling fee of 180 euros.

The International Youth Office points out a major issue regarding the access to the territory for foreign volunteers as part of the European Voluntary Service. For 3 years, Non-European volunteers wanting to volunteer in Belgium as part of the European Voluntary Service have seen their visa application refused. They must now apply for a work visa which complicates and even makes impossible the access to the  territory for these volunteers. The International Youth Office is concerned and tries to unblock the situation in collaboration with the others communities.