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Information for UN Volunteers, selected candidates and host entity partners

Administrative Guidelines for the Management of UN Volunteers

UNV has developed administrative guidelines for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak containing operational measures for management of UN Volunteers. This document is intended for UNV personnel and host entity partners but may also be of interest to UN Volunteers and selected candidates affected by disruptions caused by COVID-19. 

UN Volunteer Travel

The rapidly changing nature of novel coronavirus COVID-19 has placed significant and increasing restrictions on the freedom of movement of people across the globe, within countries and across borders. Local authorities may also impose health screening measures for travellers. Effective 17 March 2020, all travel of UN Volunteers must be cleared by the host entity before purchasing tickets and start of the travel and must comply with relevant conditions and restrictions set by national and local authorities. Please check with your host entity on processes to obtain such an approval.

UN Volunteer candidates yet to travel to duty station are required to send this host entity clearance to their focal point at UNV for record keeping and clearance to travel.

UN Volunteers remain responsible for their own travel decisions and any consequences resulting from travel not pre-approved by the host entity. Candidates travelling without clearance from the host entity may be held responsible for any additional costs incurred due to cancelled or rebooked travel.

UN Volunteers are advised to request their security clearance in TRIP based on travel itinerary and purchase tickets only once the security clearance is granted by UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS).

Where to find travel restriction information

For reference, the International Air Transport Association has compiled a list of current travel restrictions. This information is only as reported to IATA by the countries and may not reflect the latest information or provide all specific details

Medical Information for Serving UN Volunteers

Descriptions of medical insurance coverage:

Cigna post service coverage for additional six months (IUNV) - EN, FR, ES, RU, AR, CHI

Cigna post service coverage for additional six months (NUNV) - EN, FR, ES, RU, AR, CHI

Cigna - Pharmacy management for USA based volunteers

UNV medical plan manual for Field Units

International SOS flyer on services available to UN Volunteers

Regional contact information for Critical Incident Stress Management Unit (CISMU),United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS).

Roles and Responsibilities of Host Entities – EN

Further information and training on COVID-19

UN system-wide COVID-19 vaccination effort framework

Frequently asked questions for candidates and serving UN Volunteers

What arrangements are available to UN Volunteers for telecommuting?

Telecommuting arrangements shall be in line with UN Host Entity flexible working arrangements as per the international UN Volunteer Conditions of Service section 3.2 or national UN Volunteer Conditions of Service section IV (B).

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

In general, at present, tests for COVID-19 are limited to suspected cases and depend on local laboratory testing recommendations. Please see FAQ from Cigna.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a test for COVID-19?

Medical insurance provider will provide coverage of COVID-19 PCR tests when prescribed by a medical practitioner. When it is impossible to obtain a prescription from a medical practitioner the costs of a COVID-19 PCR test will be the responsibility of the UN Host Entity under the following circumstances only:

  • Authorized entitlement travel (Assignment, Home Visit, Repatriation)
  • Authorized dependant entitlement travel
  • Authorized assignment related travel (medical evacuation, security evacuation)
  • Authorized mission travel
  • Authorized R&R
  • When authorized by the UN Host Entity

Unprescribed COVID-19 PCR tests that are not included in the above list will be borne by the UN Volunteer.

Will my insurance cover the cost of quarantine?
Quarantine for prevention, applies to people that may or may not have been diagnosed with COVID-19 but do not show symptoms and are being quarantined for preventive measures. This is not medical care and therefore not covered
Quarantine/Isolation, applies to people that show symptoms and need to be diagnosed and/or treated. These patients are being hospitalised in isolation or in a single room in order not to contaminate others. This is medical care (inpatient care) and therefore covered. 

Does my insurance cover treatment of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is not excluded from coverage so anyone who gets infected is covered for the required medical treatment as per the plan’s terms and conditions.

If you have questions about COVID-19 that are not answered by the information on this page, please email 

Standard Descriptions of Assignment (DOAs) for UNV's Partners

UNV, in collaboration with UN agencies, has created standard DOAs in various sectors to speed up the time to deploy a UN Volunteer. The examples below are relevant to COVID-19 response and can be editied by any agency to suit their needs. 

List of available Standard DOAs for COVID 19 Response