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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


2. Voluntary Activities

2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes

On this page
  1. EU programmes
  2. Other Programmes
  3. Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

EU programmes

The European Solidarity Corps funds and supports young people between 18 and 30 to volunteer or work in projects that benefit communities. Young people can volunteer or work, in their own country or abroad, through the Volunteering, Traineeships, Jobs, and Solidarity Projects strands. Its objective is to allow more young people to take part in a wide range of solidarity activities, either by volunteering or through work experience. The European Solidarity Corps is an initiative of the European Union, managed nationally by Léargas. 


Other Programmes

Voluntary Service International (VSI) is a peace and social justice organisation working primarily through volunteering. VSI is a registered charity funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth., the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the European Union under the Erasmus+ programme. 

VSI work with young people aged 18+ and their youth workers to:

  • promote the social inclusion of young people
  • raise young people’s awareness of their rights, peace and social justice, sustainable development, the environment and intercultural understanding
  • foster young people’s active citizenship
  • promote young people’s civic engagement
  • develop young people’s skills and competencies and enhance their employability.


VSI arranges both individual and group volunteer projects, year-round, ranging from 1 week to 12 months in Ireland, Europe and in the Global South. 

Areas of work include social care, community work, human rights, anti-racism, environmental protection, animal welfare, arts and culture. 

VSI provides extra support and funding for many EU-funded projects to enable young people with fewer opportunities to participate.


VSO Ireland 

Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Ireland is an international development organisation that ‘fights poverty and inequality through volunteers in some of the world's poorest communities.’ VSO works with over 500 local organisations in 23 developing countries.

VSO Ireland volunteer placements are aimed at professionals, requiring a qualification and at least three years professional experience.

VSO Ireland core volunteer programmes are:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Livelihoods

VSO has supported more than 70,000 volunteers.


Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

Foreign volunteers are eligible to volunteer in Ireland without a visa if they are over 18 years of age and an EU/EEA citizen, or (due to the Common Travel area) a British citizen.

Foreign volunteers from certain other countries may be eligible to volunteer in Ireland without a visa but will require preclearance to volunteer in Ireland before they arrive in the country.

Foreign volunteers from a visa required country, who want to come to Ireland to volunteer for a period of longer than three months, need a volunteer visa. The volunteer must have a volunteer visa before the volunteer arrives in Ireland. A volunteer visa allows foreign volunteers to volunteer in Ireland for between 12 and 24 months. Volunteers can also choose to split their time into two periods of 12 months.

You are eligible to volunteer in Ireland if: 

  • You are aged 18 or older
  • Have been offered volunteering work by an eligible organisation
  • Can be fully supported financially for the entire duration of your stay by the organisation that is inviting you to Ireland
  • Are qualified and able to do the activities expected of you
  • If you can provide a police clearance certificate or equivalent not more than 3 months old
  • Are cleared to work with children and vulnerable adults (if necessary for your role)
  • Have medical insurance from a company authorised by the Health Insurance Authority of Ireland to cover you for the duration of your stay. 


Please note that the above information is only some of the information about visas, and that this information may change. For the most complete and up to date information please visit the Immigration Service Delivery website.