Federal Voluntary Service in Germany

The Federal Voluntary Service (Bundesfreiwilligendienst - BFD) is a voluntary program initiated by the German Government in 2011. For a time period of 6-12 months, volunteers can work within a non-profit project or organisation. The BFD is open to people of any age, as long as they have fulfilled their compulsory school education. Nevertheless, you should be at least 18 years of age if you want to participate in the programme as a foreigner. If you're still a minor, your hosting organisation would have to accept the position as your supervisor – and most organisations prefer to avoid the extra responsibilities. The programme supports activities ranging from social, cultural, environmental and recreational issues. Volunteers will participate in pedagogical seminars and they will be assigned a personal mentor.

If you would like to take part in the BFD, you will need a residence title for specific purposes. Generally, BFD volunteers will be granted a special residence permit according to §18 of the Residence Act.

Further information can be found on There are several informative documents in English.

In the BFD-Database you can search for accredited projects. If you have found a project, you should apply directly to the organisation. Since there are no general application deadlines, we recommend to plan a voluntary service as early as possible.

During their service, volunteers do not earn money, but they will receive an allowance. The exact amount of the allowance as well as board and lodging depends on the organisation. Insurances are covered in full by the host organisation. Foreign volunteers whose mother tongue is not German and who have not spent 6 months within the last 5 years in Germany, can also apply for the so-called “besondere Förderung” (special support) through their organisation.

After completing your BFD in Germany, you will be entitled to a certificate which serves as a documentation of your volunteer activities.