Frequently Asked Questions

Are you considering joining one of World Vets’ field service projects but have questions about registrations, trip fees, volunteer requirements, etc.? Or do you simply have general questions about World Vets’ projects? Please read below for the most up-to-date project and volunteer information for 2022 and 2023.


I see a project “coming soon” on the upcoming trips page. How soon will I be able to register? If you see a project that is “coming soon,” it means that early registration links have gone out (or will go out soon) to World Vets members first and that registration will open to everyone else within 1-2 weeks. If you are a member, please look for an email from World Vets with trip information and a link to sign up before the project is released on the website. We welcome you to sign up for a World Vets membership (or renew a lapsed membership) to ensure that you receive early notification emails for upcoming projects.

Will more projects be posted to the website? Yes, we are working on plans for more projects for 2023, and those will be announced when they become available. As we revamp our volunteer trips post-Covid, we do appreciate your patience.

What project locations are you planning for the near future? We support several international partners and provide aid for animals around the globe throughout the year; however volunteer opportunities for 2022 and 2023 will be focused on the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador. Upcoming volunteer projects, including potential new trip locations, will be announced through e-newsletters, member emails, social media, and/or posted to our website.

Are you organizing any equine or livestock projects for 2023? We are not planning any large animal projects for the upcoming year. Our field service projects for 2023 will be focused on spay-and-neuter and health consultation clinics for small animals.

Are you organizing any marine mammal or wildlife projects for 2023? We anticipate future marine mammal or wildlife projects in the Galapagos, and they will be announced later. No details will be shared before the project is posted to the website.

Do you have any volunteer or internship opportunities with your marine mammal program in the Pacific Northwest? No, we do not have an openings for volunteers or student internships with our marine mammal program at this time.

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.

I am an individual or organization wanting to help animals in a specific location/country. Can World Vets help set up a project there? World Vets receives many requests for assistance from all over the world. Our ability to help each one is limited, but we do welcome inquiries and the potential to establish new partnerships for the benefit of animal health and welfare.  We are not a grant-making organization; we support local partners in organizing free veterinary campaigns and bringing veterinary supplies and volunteers for these campaigns. We generally review new project requests once or twice a year. If you would like to be considered during our next review period for 2024, please learn more about our selection criteria and how to apply here and here. We generally do not respond to inquiries until it is time to review all applications.

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. We suggest you contact your local humane society and inquire about their LifeLine Program for assistance. Otherwise, a local veterinarian may have a list of resources available to help with veterinary care in the U.S.


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. Any individual who wishes to volunteer for a project must become a member of World Vets ($40 annual fee). Current members are given new project information and the opportunity to sign up for projects one week prior to them being released on our website.

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.

If a project roster is already full, can I get on a waitlist? There are instances when we have a last-minute opening on a team due to a volunteer cancellation. You may request to be on a waitlist for a project that is already full by emailing If you are on a waitlist, we encourage you to have your passport ready and to be able to set up travel arrangements on short notice. Full trips fees will be expected for anyone registering as a replacement volunteer.

Do you allow large volunteer groups to sign up together? While registrations are on a first come, first serve basis, we do have groups or pairs of friends that sign up together – it simply depends on what spots are still open on the roster when they sign up.

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.

I have signed up to volunteer with a friend/spouse. Can we room together? Roommate requests can be submitted at the time of registration in the “Other Comments” section. If you need to make a request after you’ve already signed up, please email While not guaranteed, we do our best to honor these requests.

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 via Global Rescue, 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 traveling. Please refer to your specific policy wording for more details on any limitations or exclusions to your coverage.


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.

What is a typical team size? Most volunteer trips that we post to our website have open availability for an estimated 6 vets, 9 techs/students (3 or more licensed techs), and a couple of assistants.

Do I need experience to volunteer?
Not necessarily. We accept all levels of veterinary experience, whether new graduates, seasoned professionals, unlicensed or licensed techs, and students. Our “assistant” positions require no prior experience, just a willingness to learn! You can check out this article where one of our assistant volunteers shares her experience  with World Vets here. Our lead vet (field service veterinarian) for each project is responsible for placing volunteers where their skills are best utilized by the team, but you can also request for a specific skill area. To learn more about volunteer roles on our trips, please visit our page: volunteer descriptions.

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’m a licensed veterinary professional, but I don’t have a lot of clinical experience and/or I am not confident/comfortable in certain skills. How can I contribute to the team? We accept many volunteers with wide and varying degrees of experience and skill level, and we do adjust our expected surgery numbers for each project based on the makeup of the team. We also try to accommodate special requests as best we can when it pertains to a surgeon’s or veterinarian’s level of comfort with certain procedures. If you want to sign up, but still have a concern about volunteer expectations, simply make a note on your registration form.

I am an unlicensed veterinary technician. Will that affect my duties on the team? Whenever you register for a trip, the sign-up form will ask about your animal/technical experience and how you’d like us to classify your position – whether licensed or unlicensed. This classification does not affect your ability to volunteer, but it does give the lead veterinarian insight into where they can place volunteers to best utilize their skills on the team.

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 $1975 (although they can sometimes  range higher or lower depending on the trip), which is the same for each volunteer regardless of position. These charges help cover the necessary expenses that are vital to 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, veterinary supplies, etc. They do not generally cover volunteer airfare, or meals on “free” days. You may read through the trips page for each particular project to see what’s included, and what’s not.

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.

Can I come early before or stay later after the project dates? Yes! You may choose to come before the project starts or stay after the project has finished if you wish include more vacation or tourist time. Please note that volunteers who decide to extend their travels must arrange and cover expenses for their own accommodations, meals, and transportation outside the official project dates. For some locations (such as Galapagos), World Vets will require your actual travel dates for volunteer permits.

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.

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!


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.

Does World Vets require COVID-19 vaccination? World Vets does not require COVID vaccination unless the specific country does. Some places (like Ecuador) allow the choice between a vaccination OR a PCR test.

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.

What risk management services do you recommend for volunteers?
World Vets has partnered 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). 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).


I am vet/pre-vet/vet tech student seeking to improve my skills. Do you offer any training programs for students? If you are looking to participate in personalized surgery or veterinary training sessions (e.g., IVM), we are sorry to say that we do not have any offerings for these programs at this time. We do have field service projects for student volunteers to contribute to high-volume, spay/neuter campaigns. If this is something that might interest you, please check our upcoming trips page..

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.


What recommendations do you have for booking international flights? You may search Google or other third-party websites for flight options. Select flights based on your personal airline preferences, flight prices, layover times, and other relevant airline policies. We do suggest booking directly through the airline website, as their cancellation/refund and flight delay policies are better. We also suggest a 3 to 4-hour layover time for any international arrivals to give yourself enough time to get through customs before any connecting flights.

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. This is also included on your session’s “packing list” tab on our website.  You may also want to check out these 10 Rules of Packing.

Can I bring donations with me for the project? World Vets is grateful for the support of our volunteers and donors. We do welcome donations of various items, including unexpired medications and veterinary supplies, pet collars/leashes/harnesses, e-collars, used hand and bath towels for recovering patients, etc. Some project locations have specific regulations or import requirements, so please check with us first before bringing donations. Most times we will request a list of potential donations to be submitted to us 6 to 8 weeks in advance of a project.

If your question is not answered on this page, please reach out to our team by emailing us at