Cost and how to apply

UNA Exchange Placement Fee and Extra Fees
Applications from volunteers outside UK
Applying for projects
  1. Searching for projects
  2. Viewing project details
  3. Add projects to Your Project Shortlist
  4. Applying for a project (including paragraph about refunds)
Applying by post
Applying online


As a registered charity we try to keep our fees to a minimum, but we do rely on the income from volunteer fees to support our work.  The main costs to join one of our international volunteer projects are given in the table below. These costs are in addition to travel, insurance and visa costs, which you will have to cover yourself.  Food and accommodation are usually provided by our partner organisations free for the duration of the project, although some projects do require an extra fee (normally our partners in developing coutnries, see Extra Fees paragraph below).  There are no fees for volunteers joining the European Voluntary Service (EVS) programme.

UNA Exchange membership fee (optional) - membership lasts for a year

Standard Project - Projects in Europe, North America, Japan & Korea

2nd or 3rd Standard Project 



North/South Project - Projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America

2nd or 3rd North/SouthProject 



Medium & Long term Project

£200  1-3 months           £250  3-6 months           £300  6-12 months

North/South training weekend - for volunteers doing projects in Africa, Asia & Latin America £30
Global Education Training & Training For Trainers £20
Leaders training £30
Project in Wales £50  for UK applicants
Weekend Project £25
Extra fees - payable to our partner organisation running the project (usually paid on arrival at the project)   Variable and only applies to some projects - see project description for details  

UNA Exchange placement fee

The placement fee you pay to UNA Exchange when you apply covers administration, promotion of our volunteer programmes, volunteer support / preparation, and also helps to run our programme of projects in Wales. A percentage of all placement fees is donated to a Solidarity Fund managed by the Co-ordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS), part of UNESCO. This fund supports the participation of volunteers from Southern countries who would otherwise be unable to participate in projects overseas. 

Extra fees 

Extra fees are sometimes required by our partner organisations to support the cost of running the project (volunteer's food and accommodation etc). They are required by organisations in countries where little or no alternative funding exists. A proportion of the extra fees charged also go to support the overall running costs of our partner organisations. Extra fees are paid by volunteers on arrival at the project unless otherwise stated.

Applications from volunteers outside UK

Due to an agreement with our international partners, we can only process applications from volunteers who are resident in the UK.  Nationals of other countries currently living in the UK can apply through us. If you are resident outside UK, you need to contact a volunteer sending organisation in your own country.  You can find a list of organisations in different countries by visiting the CCIVS website or the Partner Information page on our website. If there is no organisation in your home country you can also contact the Asian volunteer network - NVDA, who can help arrange a placement for you. 

Applying for projects

Our website lets you search and apply for projects online, you can add different criteria to your seach (see below). Follow the instructions below to get a place on a project. Don't forget many projects fill up quickly as they are offered on a first come first serve basis so the sooner you apply the more likely your application is to be successful! The information below is for short or medium / long term international volunteer projects. To apply for European Voluntary Service you should go to the EVS pages. To apply for projects in Wales you should contact UNA Exchange.

1. Searching for projects

To join a project overseas you first need to choose a shortlist of projects from our website using the online Project Search. The projects database is regularly updated and we take projects no longer available off the site as quickly as possible. As a rule of thumb - if the project is online then there should be spaces left on it. Because project availability can change so fast we recommend that you put a number of project choices in your application to maximise the chance of a successful placement. You'll be able to put them in order of preference during the online application (see Applying Online point iii)

You can search for projects using a combination of:

  • Country - where the project is running.
  • Project type - the main kind of work on the project.
  • Keyword - put in any word here and search the project description (e.g. putting "festival" in Keyword will bring up all projects involving festivals).
  • Gender - you need to put your gender as our partners try to keep gender balance on projects and sometimes places are only available either female or male volunteers.
  • Age - the majority of projects are available for anyone over 18. However, there are many projects now running for under 18s and some projects have a maximum age limit.
  • Dates you are available - by putting dates in the search you will select only those projects that have a start or end date falling within the range you give. Most projects have a fixed start and end date, however, some projects are more flexible, so make sure you check the project description.

2. Viewing project details

To get more details of any project from the project search - click the code or project title to go to the project details page. The information given in "project details" is a summary given to us by the partner organisation running the project. Understandably English isn't the first language of our partners so don't be suprised if the grammar or wording within the project details isn't quite up to scratch! Please read them carefully though before selecting a project. If you're confirmed on a project, more details (project infosheet) will be sent to you about 30 days before the project starts. The infosheet will contain things like the meeting point for the project, more details about the accommodation / work / location, things to bring and other usefull information. 

Some projects require an extra fee and this is given at the end of the project details page. If there is an extra fee, this will be paid directly to the partner organisation when you arrive at the project (see Extra Fee above for more details).

If a project details page states that a Motivation Letter should accompany the application form then you'll need to email it accross to us when you apply ([email protected]). We won't be able to proceed with your application until we receive all the necessary details from you.The Motivation Letter doesn't need to be too formal, it should be about an A4 page long and just give details of why you want to do the project, what you feel you can bring to it, what you feel you can get out of it, previous experiences both paid and unpaid. It shouldn't just be about your travelling experiences though!

3. Add projects to Your Project Shortlist

You can add as many projects as you like to your short list. You will then be asked to order them in priority during the online application process. You can put down 5 choices for online applications or 8 choices for applications by post. Click on view shortlist to see which projects you have chosen and remove any from the list.

4. Applying for a project

When you have made a short list of projects you can now choose whether to apply by post or online. Please not that we are unable to start placing you on your project until we recieve payment. Once we have recieved payment we will do our best to get you placed on your first choice project. If you have put more than one choice down in your application and your first choice isn't available then we will work our way through your choices until you are placed. 

If you have only put one project down in your application and we weren't able to place you (or if you'd included a shortlist in your application but we were unable to place you on any of them) then we will contact you to offer a full refund. If you would prefer to try and be placed on a new project then just let us know the code of the project and we'll do the rest for you. Again if we're unable to place you, we'll offer you a full refund. Please see our Terms and Conditions before applying as it contain important information about cancellations and refunds and when they apply.

Applying by post

To apply by post you need to download an application form (for the Main project) or an application form (for a N/S project). If you'd also like to become a member you can download the form here. Member ship is optional. Just return the form(s) and cheque (made payable to UNA Exchange) for the appropriate fee to us. The address to send it to is on the back of the form. Please make sure you read the terms and conditions of application on the back of the application form.

Applying online

To apply online click on the link from the project shortlist page and follow the process outlined here:

(i) You will be prompted to give your membership status. See membership page for more details. At this stage you can add the UNA Exchange membership fee to your basket. Membership fee for one year is £12. If you are already a member of UNA Exchange you should have a membership number, please contact us if you haven't got one. You don't have to become a member to apply though!

(ii) You then need to enter you personal details and information necessary for your application such as previous experience of volunteering and motivation. We also need to take details of an emergency contact for you and any information on health issues / special needs. These details will be sent to our partner organisations to apply for a project so please enter them in carefully. You can use the last field "General Remarks" to let us know if you are planning to apply together with another person, or if someone else will be paying for your placement fee. It is possible to apply with one other person but usually we can't place more than two volunteers on any project. Contact us if you want to apply with more than one other volunteer.

(iii) You will now be asked to rank your choices in order of preference. We suggest you enter a few options in case your first choice is unavailable. This way we can make sure you get the project that is best for you. Please see '4. Applying for a Project' (above) about what happens with regards to refunds if you're not placed on a project. Make sure that you definitely want to do all of your project choices before applying as you won't be able to change the choice later without incurring another placement fee (see terms and conditions). You should also make sure that you can organise travel to and from the project within your budget and that you have time to organise visas (if required).

If you want to apply for more than two projects we can make a £ 50 discount on the placement fees. To do that you'll need to go through the application process separately for each project - you'll need to pay a separate placement fee for each project that is. The reason for this is because our payment system cannot add the discount for multiple applications - we will need to refund you the discount ourselves.  The discount only applies if you're applying for the projects at the same time. If you apply for one and then decide at a later date that you'll like to apply for another then the discount won't apply.

(iv) You will also be told at this stage if you need to attend a training course before you go on a project. For a number of countries (mainly those in the developing world / global South), you will need to come to the UNA Exchange North South Orientation weekend before you join the project. It is possible to apply for a project before you join the training. If you have already done a North South Orientation weekend with UNA Exchange (within the last two years) then you can indicate this here. If you apply to join the North South weekend you will be contacted within a few days with more details. You can see more details of the weekend on our receiving training page.

(v) You are then asked to review your details and read our terms and conditions. It is very important that you read these before applying as they contain important information about cancellations and refunds. By clicking in the terms and conditions box on this page you are confirming that you have read and accept these conditions.

(vi) Finally you will need to click the 'proceed to payment' button to be forwarded to our secure payment area (we use Paypal) where you can pay by debit or credit card for the placement, membership and training fees. You do not need a Paypal account to pay - you can just use your credit or debit as you would with any other shopping site.

However if you have created a PayPal account in the past and you still have the cookie on your computer then you will be asked to enter the user name and password which you registered with them to proceed - the normal debit / credit card option will not be available for you.

If you have any questions about applications and payments, please review the FAQ or contact UNA Exchange.