Volunteering in Germany : German Voluntary Social year

Most immigration paths to Germany mostly fall under the "Skilled Migration Act" provisions which requires some formal qualification. There's another way though. It's less popular but you could volunteer in Germany as a social worker.

What is German Voluntary Social year ?

It is possible to apply for a volunteering year in Germany (Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr). This program was designed for young people just out of high-school unsure about their next career step to figure out themselves while serving others.

The German Voluntary Social year is a period of time, generally from 6 to 18 months, spent doing voluntary work in the German social sector. One must be under 27 years to be eligible for the program.

Type of work

There are a variety of types of work available to those wishing to participate in a Voluntary Social Year, and all fall under the umbrella of the social sector. Some examples of where assignments can be undertaken include working in nursing homes and hospitals, with ambulatory services and people with disabilities, in youth welfare and kindergartens or with children from difficult family backgrounds.


Remuneration, often referred to as pocket money, is usually given for travel costs and meals, and may complement accommodation. In the event there is no accommodation offered by the institution, financial compensation can be provided.

Rules and regulations of the placement, including the location, hours of work, and remuneration vary and are governed by the actual institution at which you do your year of service.

Read also : Scholarships in Germany.

Health insurance

Health insurance is automatically provided to participants in the program. The program was initially aimed at Germans but is also open to non-Germans.


Non-EU citizens need a visa that allows them both employment and residence in Germany for the duration of their Voluntary Social Year. Often, the institution in which you are undertaking your assignment will assist you in securing the appropriate visa.

It is quite common for people who have spent some time in Germany already, as an Au-pair for example, to continue their stay in Germany by doing a Voluntary Social Year.

This program could be an opportunity for anyone willing to work and live in Germany to move over. However, it is very important to note that good knowledge of German is a prerequisite so keep that in mind.

If you find this interesting and would like to learn more, you can read up on the program here. Volunteering in Germany: Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr

Read also : Step By Step Process Of Applying And Studying In Germany.

There's a lot of information available online to guide your first steps. In case you are interested, here's some additional information for Au-pair program in Germany : Visa regulations for the Au Pair program in Germany