My pet needs emergency veterinary care and I cannot afford it. Do you provide free services to individuals?
Our programs focus is on international projects that have a community-wide impact. Most of our projects are in areas that have limited or no access to veterinary services. For a list of resources available to help with veterinary care in the U.S. click HERE. We also suggest you contact your local humane society or the United Animal Nations and inquire about their LifeLine Program for assistace.
I run a rescue organization in the United States. Can you provide a veterinary team or supplies?
We receive many requests from rescue groups and other organizations that are doing fantastic work all over the United States. As much as we would like to be able to help all of them, our resources are currently focused on international projects in developing countries. The majority of our work is done in areas that have limited or NO access to veterinary care.
How do I unsubscribe from my World Vets membership?
For your convenience, World Vets membership renews automatically on an annual basis. If you do not wish to stay subscribed to World Vets, please contact or call Toll-Free 877-688-8387 prior to the renewal of your membership.
I have to cancel my participation on a field service project. Can I get a refund? We understand that sometimes unexpected things can happen to stop a volunteer being able to participate in a project. For that reason, we highly recommend that you obtain some form of insurance for your trip. Affordable travelers insurance can be found here, which can also cover trip cancellation in some circumstances and covered reasons. You must read the policy wording to ensure the policy is a fit for your needs. World Vets project fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable (to another person or to another project). We encourage volunteers to make sure the dates of our projects do not conflict with any prior engagements before signing up.
PLEASE NOTE: Be aware, travel insurance policies may have restrictions on cover relating to regions affected by war, terrorism, civil unrest and weather. Make sure you check the travel advice provided by your government’s department of foreign affairs and stay abreast of current events within the mass media while travelling. You must observe any advice provided, as your policy may only cover you if an area is deemed safe to travel by a government’s department of foreign affairs. You may not be covered by your travel insurance if advice is give as “do not travel” or restricted to “all but essential travel” in the region you intend to visit. You may also not be covered if you place yourself at risk or if specific advice was issued prior to purchasing your policy. Please refer to your specific policy wording for more details on any limitations or exclusions to your cover. Should you have any further concerns, please contact WorldNomads.com.
What risk management services do you recommend for volunteers? World Vets has partnered with World Nomads to ensure our volunteers have access to the best insurance designed specifically with volunteers in mind. We highly encourage that you take advantage of these specials, which can cover sudden illness, damaged items or even the volunteer project fee at times (see above question/answer for more details).
World Vets also has a partnership with Global Rescue. A membership with Global Rescue provides volunteers with medical evacuation & advisory services. This is required for all World Vets Disaster Response team members and is highly encouraged for all volunteers (in addition to the World Nomads travelers insurance listed above).
I just signed up for a field service project but would like to switch to another one. Is this possible?
Project fees are nontransferable, meaning they cannot be used and/or applied to another project and/or person. Volunteers should not assume that once they sign up for one specific project that they will be able to switch to any given project of their choice. For that reason, we advise volunteers to select carefully and sign up only for a project in which they wish to participate.
Can I reserve a spot on one of your Field Service Projects?
Positions on our projects are often in very high demand. While we understand volunteers are anxious to secure a position on a project, we are not able to reserve spots. Volunteer positions on the majority of our projects are filled on a first come first serve basis. One way volunteers can improve their chances of getting a position on our projects is to become a member of World Vets ($40 annual fee). Members are given new project information and the opportunity to sign up for projects one week prior to them being posted on our website.
Is it safe in the countries where volunteers travel?
Safety is the number one priority for our teams. We do not plan projects in areas that are at war or have a high threat of terrorist activity. Nevertheless, there is usually more risk involved in traveling abroad then staying home and watching the travel channel in your living room. We make every effort to make our projects safe, but ultimately you are responsible for your own actions. If the U.S. State Department issues a significant travel warning for an area where a project is planned, we may cancel or postpone the trip. You can find up to date international travel safety information on the U.S. State Department website at TRAVEL.STATE.GOV.
What should I bring on my trip?
We recommend that you pack your belongings in a travel backpack rather than a suitcase. If it is small enough to take as a carry-on that is even better. We don’t have restrictions on how much you bring, but be aware that you are responsible for carrying it and some hopper flights have more strict baggage restrictions than major airlines. Keep an eye out for the general packing list, which is included in your volunteer kit. You may also want to check out these 10 Rules of Packing.
How old do I have to be to volunteer on an international project?
As a general rule you must be at least 18 years old as well as be comfortable traveling alone internationally.
Do I need to get special vaccines to participate?
It is your responsibility to get the appropriate vaccines. Please check with your primary doctor or local county health department for recommendations for each particular location. You usually need to get your vaccines several weeks and sometimes months prior to travel so please plan ahead. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is another great source for traveler’s health recommendations.
Do I need a passport or visa?
Yes, you will definitely need a passport. Only some countries require a visa. It is your responsibility to make sure you have the appropriate travel documents. If you do not have a passport, be aware that it can take weeks to months to receive one after your application is filed. Please plan ahead. For U.S. volunteers, you can find more information regarding passports at TRAVEL.STATE.GOV
Can I bring a spouse, friend or children?
Yes, we welcome spouses and/or friends to come along on field service projects when space allows. The project fee is the same for each person. We require that all participants help with the project. Children must be at least 18 years or older to participate.
Can I stay somewhere other than the planned accommodations for the team?
Yes, but we don’t recommend it. The project fee is the same even if you get your own accommodations elsewhere. If you are staying away from the team you may also be responsible for your own local transportation.
Are my trip expenses tax deductible?
Trip/project fees are not considered a tax-deductible donation to charity; however, IRS Publication 526 details deductions that can be taken for “out of pocket expenses in giving services” which include things like meals, lodging and travel, which are things your trip fee covers. The publication outlines how and where to report this on your tax return. World Vets cannot give tax advice so we recommend that you consult with the above listed publication and/or your tax advisor to make sure you are claiming any deductions correctly.
Do I need experience to volunteer?
Not necessarily. Our “assistant” positions require no prior experience, just a willingness to learn! You can check out this article where one our assistant volunteers shares her experience with World Vets here. Other volunteer positions do require veterinary experience. Read more about volunteer descriptions here.
Can I get college credit for volunteering on a project?
In some cases, yes. It depends on your school. You would need to inquire and set up the details. We will sign off on appropriate paperwork and evaluations after successful completion of the program. Students looking to complete an externship on a World Vets trip should not assume they have a guaranteed position until they complete the online registration for the project.
Can I get letters of recommendation for veterinary school?
Many of our Pre-Vet students have received letters of recommendation from the veterinarians they work with on the project. It is up to each student to ask and up to each veterinarian to decide. Most veterinarians are happy to provide a letter of support to students who show promise and have a good attitude during the project.
I am a veterinarian. Do I need a current license in order to volunteer?
In most cases, yes. Many of the countries where we work require temporary veterinary licenses and/or for copies of veterinary licenses to be submitted. We take care of all of the paperwork and fees in most cases. If you do not have a current license, please inquire.
I live outside of the United States. Can I still volunteer?
Yes! We not only work worldwide, but encourage those living in other countries to volunteer with us too! As with all of our volunteers, those living outside of the United States are responsible for their own international airfare and country visas (if needed).
How is my trip fee used? Our volunteer projects have a standard trip fee which is usually about $1100 to $1250 which helps cover the necessary expenses of operating the program. Trip fees help cover costs for things such as: project development, pre-departure coordination and support, accommodations, airport transfers, meals, ground transportation, support from World Vets staff before and during your trip, scrub top, volunteer kit, group activity, drivers, translators, project administration costs, licenses and permits, registration processing, etc.
Specifics vary by trip (i.e. meals, accommodations etc) so if you are are interested in volunteering please refer to each trip description for more complete details on what’s included.
I do not have the funds to take part in a World Vets project. Can you recommend ways to fundraise for my trip? There are many websites that offer online fundraising options for individuals. Click HERE for online fundraising tips!
Is there anything else I should know about volunteering? Yes! Please check out our list of 9 Things You Need to Know About Volunteering with World Vets.