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What is EVS

EVS = European Voluntary Service

The Erasmus+ programme offers young Europeans the chance to make a real difference to the world and to their own lives - through the European Voluntary Service.

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) provides young people with the unique chance to express their personal commitment through unpaid and full-time voluntary activities in a foreign country within or outside the EU. In this way, it seeks to develop solidarity, mutual understanding and tolerance among young people, thus contributing to reinforcing social cohesion in the European Union and to promoting young people's active citizenship.

Learning for life!

Open to all young people aged 18 to 30, EVS is a true 'learning service'. Beyond benefiting the local communities, by participating in voluntary activities, young volunteers can develop new skills and, therefore, improve their personal, educational and professional development. Volunteers can benefit from specific training throughout the activity and agree on their expected learning outcomes, processes and methods in advance. Their learning experience is formally recognised through a Youthpass. Participation is free for the volunteers who also get board and lodging, insurance cover and an allowance for the duration of the project. Special conditions apply to encourage the participation of young people with fewer opportunities.


A successful EVS project requires close co-operation among at least three key players: a sending organisation, a host organisation and the volunteer. One of the organisations involved in this partnership also plays the role of coordinating organisation and applies for an EU grant on behalf of the partnership. Organisations perform a number of roles: they identify volunteering opportunities and develop projects that benefit the local community. They also recruit and prepare the volunteers, host them, and ensure follow-up.
EVS activities can be carried out both individually or in group.
The European Voluntary Service has a wide range of areas, such as culture, youth, sports, social care, cultural heritage, the environment, development co-operation, etc.


The EVS has certain core values and quality standards which are laid down in the EVS Charter. In order to protect and uphold these, organisations interested in sending or hosting EVS volunteers or coordinating an EVS project need first to be accredited.
To receive accreditation, organisations submit an 'expression of interest' and, once their application is approved, they sign up to the EVS Charter.

What EVS is not

  • occasional, unstructured, part-time volunteering
  • an internship in an enterprise
  • a paid job; it must not replace paid jobs
  • a recreation or tourist activity
  • a language course
  • exploitation of a cheap workforce
  • a period of study or vocational training abroad

Further information:

EVS charter

EVS Training and Evaluation Cycle

More information can be found in the Erasmus+ programme guide

EVS Database