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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. EU programmes
  2. Other Programmes
  3. Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

EU programmes

The European Union manages youth volunteering through its main youth programme launched in 2014, Erasmus+. This programme has launched a series of initiatives amongst which the European Volunteer Service (Servicio Voluntario Europeo (SVE)) stands out. The target group of the program is the people between 18 to 35 years. At the end of the service the volunteer will obtain a certificate proving the participation and describing the developed project, the Youthpass.

Another EU volunteer program in which Spain participates is the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (EUAV). The institutions included in the EUAV in Spain are, at a national level, the Spanish Agency for the International Development Cooperation (Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID)) and, at a regional autonomic level, the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation (Agencia Catalana de Cooperación al Desarrollo). The participants in this projects need to be 18 years or older, EU citizens or long-term residents in a member state.

In Spain, there is mainly a National Agency for the management of the youth programme Erasmus+, called Spanish Service for the Internationalization of the Education (Servicio Español Para la Internacionalización de la Educación (SEPIE)). An institution dependant on the Ministry of Universities (Ministerio de Universidades).

In Spain, the European Solidarity Corps is managed by the Spanish National Agency (ANE). This is composed of the Instituto de la Juventud (INJUVE) in collaboration with the autonomous communities and autonomous cities and the Spanish Youth Council.

In the framework of the programme, some actions are managed by the ANE, such as volunteering projects and solidarity projects, as well as the Quality Label.


Other Programmes

The Youth Exchange Program of the Youth Hostelling Network (Programa de Intercambios Juveniles de la Red Española de Albergues Juveniles (REAJ)) is another Spanish programme for youth volunteering. It is aimed at youth between 18 and 30 years of age from all Autonomous Regions so they can live an experience in an international frame by means of staying in youth hostels abroad (United Kingdom, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia or Portugal, amongst others) with the purpose of improving their knowledge of management in youth hostels. The duration of the programme is between 2 weeks and 3 months per participant. This program covers through the destination hostel the accommodation over the duration of stay and at least half of the pension. At the end of the program the organizers will ease to the participants an evaluation form in order to identify improvements.

The development of the International Voluntary Service (Servicio de Voluntariado Internacional (SVI)) also has to be mentioned, managed by the INJUVE in collaboration with the Autonomous Regions, gives the opportunity, through its Programme Campos de Trabajo (Work Fields), both to Spanish living abroad and to foreigners living in Spain, between 18 and 30 years of age, to participate in volunteering projects for approximately fifteen days in different countries around the world. The organizations involved in the interchange integrated in the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations comprehend the following countries: Germany, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belarus, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, South Korea, Scotland, United States, Estonia, Philippines, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iceland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Morocco, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and Ukraine. The intermediary status of the INJUVE means that the state does not cover any of the expenses of the participants.


Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

For all volunteers, regardless of their nationality, both the Law 45/2015 (Ley 45/2015, de 14 de octubre, del Voluntariado) and the autonomous regulations mentioned earlier are to be applied.

Legal provisions concerning immigration matters are also to be applied. Both the Organic Law 4/2000 on the rights of foreigners in Spain and their social integration(Ley Orgánica 4/2000, sobre derechos y libertades de los extranjeros en España y su integración social) and its regulation approved by Royal Decree 557/2011 (Real Decreto 557/2011, de 20 de abril).

For citizens from a State which is not a member of the EU or the EEA it is compulsory to be in possession of the Authorization of stay for studies, pupil’s mobility, internships or voluntary services (Autorización de estancia por estudios, movilidad de alumnos, prácticas no laborales o servicios de voluntariado) regulated by Article 37 of the Royal Decree 557/2011. Whereby a national visa is required, as well as complete passport. It is also mandatory to have the necessary financial means to live during the period of the volunteering together with medical assurance. If the volunteer is a minor, authorization by the legal tutors is needed. The arrangement with the volunteer organization and liability insurance are also compulsory. And finally in case the service exceeds the six months a medical certification and a criminal record must be provided.