Volunteer abroad: Conditions of Service
Last update: 09 December 2019
International UN Volunteers are entitled to certain allowances so they can sustain a modest and secure standard of living at the duty station. Allowances are in no way to be understood as a reward or salary in exchange for the volunteer work. Below is a summary of the Conditions of Service.
Duration of the assignment
International UN Volunteer assignments are usually an initial contract of 6 to 12 months, sometimes with a possibility to extend for one to two years. Short-term assignments of three months or less are also requested from time to time by our partners.
- A person younger than the United Nations retirement age may serve for a maximum of four years under the international UN Volunteer modality, irrespective of the time served under other UN Volunteer modalities.
- If ten years have lapsed since completion of the last international UN Volunteer assignment, a person may serve again (once) for another maximum of four years.
- Those older than the United Nations retirement age and retired United Nations staff do not face any maximum service restrictions.
The purpose of allowances is to enable international UN Volunteers to sustain a modest and secure standard of living at the duty station. The allowances are in no way to be understood as a compensation, reward or salary in exchange for the volunteer work.
Allowances provided are:
- volunteer living allowance: a monthly allowance intended to cover basic living expenses (this is not a salary)
- travel expenses: for travel to duty station upon appointment and for repatriation at the end of the assignment
- settling-in-grant: a grant calculated on the duration of assignment, paid at the beginning of the assignment
- insurances: life, health and permanent disability insurance. The description of insurance benefits for international UN Volunteers is available here
- annual leave
- resettlement allowance: calculated based on the duration of assignment, paid upon satisfactory completion of the assignment.
Living conditions vary from stable environments to very changing and dynamic ones. Be aware that many UN Volunteers work in remote, isolated duty stations where basic comforts may be limited. Many other UN Volunteers work under routine conditions, such as capital cities, with all modern conveniences available. Our assignments are categorized as “family” or “non-family” duty stations, depending on the nature of the assignment and the security context.