Governmental Federal Voluntary Service

The Governmental Federal Voluntary Service (in German: Bundesfreiwilligendienst - BFD) is a special voluntary program initiated by the German government, which started in July 2011. For a time period of 6-12 months volunteers work within a non-profit project or organisation. The BFD is open to people of any age, but you have to be at least 18 years old. The program supports activities ranging from social, cultural, environmental and recreational issues. Volunteers will be participate in pedagogical seminars and have a personal mentor.

The BFD is also open to foreigners. 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.

For accredited BFD-projects you can search within a nationwide database. If you have found an interesting organisation, you should send your application directly to the organisation. Since there are no specific application deadlines, it is recommended to prepare a voluntary service as early as possible.

During their service, volunteers do not earn money, but they will receive an allowance of max. 330 €. The exact amount of the allowance as well as board and lodging depends on each organisation. Insurances are covered in full by the host organisation.

After completing your BFD in Germany, you will be entitled to a certificate which serves as a documentation of your volunteer activities. Further information about the Governmental Federal Voluntary Service can be found here (information only in German) and on the websides of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.