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International UN Volunteer Specialist

International UN Volunteer Specialists serve in a country other than their own and are recruited for specialized inputs to development or humanitarian programmes. International UN Volunteer Specialists bring with them a key commitment to serving and to the cause of volunteerism along with their expertise. Many specialists have international experience and can contribute also with their wide world-view. The contribution of UN Volunteer Specialists is especially great when new skills are needed or when training is required. Often UN Volunteer Specialists can play an important role when the issues are sensitive or when there is a need for a neutral presence.

Eligibility Criteria for International UN Volunteers

a) Nationality and residency status

International UN Volunteers must meet the following criteria:
1. Nationals of a country other than the country of assignment;
2. UNV recognizes only one nationality for a volunteer assignment in a country or territory which is determined at the time of Commencement of Service for the first UN Volunteer assignment. In cases of multiple nationalities, UNV reserves the right to determine the nationality of the individual based on the nationality with which in the opinion of UNV Headquarters the individual is most closely associated. If the individual has previously served the UN as a staff member, UNV will recognize the primary nationality under which he or she was registered under the staff assignment, unless the international UN Volunteer compellingly demonstrates a closer association with another nationality.
3. International UN Volunteers are not permitted to hold the nationality of the country of assignment either as their primary nationality or as one of multiple nationalities.

b) Age limits
1. International UN Volunteers have to be at least 25 years of age.
2. International UN Youth Volunteers have to be between 18 and 29 years of age
3. Well-qualified and suitable older candidates can serve as international UN Volunteers up to an age covered by the life insurance carrier.

  • Volunteers exceeding the age covered by the life insurance carrier may be exceptionally authorized to serve as a UN Volunteer if they can prove they are covered by an equivalent life insurance policy at their own expense.
c) Maximum periods for international UN Volunteering
A person below the applicable UN retirement age may serve for a maximum of 4 years in international UN Volunteer assignments irrespective of time served under other UN Volunteer modalities. Service as an international UN Youth Volunteer does not count towards the maximum service period for other international UN Volunteer assignments.
The period served as an international UN Volunteer will be reset and the person may serve again up to a maximum of 4 years as an international UN Volunteer after a lapse of 10 years after completion of the last international UN Volunteer assignment. The maximum period of international UN Volunteering will only be reset once during a lifetime.
Those older than the applicable UN retirement age or former UN staff who have retired from the United Nations system do not face any maximum service restrictions.

Conditions of Service:

International UN Volunteers are unsalaried professionals who in return for their services receive the following entitlements:

  • Settling-in Grant calculated on the duration of assignment. It is paid at the beginning of the assignment;
  • Monthly Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA) intended to cover basic needs including housing and utilities.
  • International travel (on appointment and at the end of assignment);
  • Life, health and permanent disability insurance;
  • Annual leave at a rate of two and a half working days a month; and
  • Resettlement allowance paid upon satisfactory completion of the assignment.

A copy of the entire 'Conditions of Service for International UN Volunteer Specialists' is available upon request, please contact us.

Information for Vietnamese citizens who wish to become an International UN Volunteer Specialist in other countries

The United Nations Volunteer (UNV) programme is unique in that it aims to facilitate technical cooperation between developing countries. The majority of serving UN Volunteers are from developing countries. By sending those UN Volunteers to other developing countries with similar socio-economic conditions, the volunteers not only share their skills and experience, but they also learn more about the ways in which people in other countries deal with similar development challenges. This knowledge adds to the pool of resources available to their home countries following their return

Besides encouraging Vietnamese nationals to serve as National UN Volunteers in Viet Nam, UNV also provides these highly qualified Vietnamese professionals with opportunities to serve as International UN Volunteers in other countries. UNV assignments usually last for 24 months, although assignments of shorter duration between 3 to 12 months are more and more common.

The requirements and conditions of service for Vietnamese nationals to become an International UN Volunteer are similar to those listed above.

How to apply:

Online applications can be submitted via the UNV Global website.

UNV maintains a global roster of candidates, which allows UNV to respond quickly to requests for volunteers. UNV will respond to all incoming duly completed PHS forms by informing applicants whether or not they have been included on the UNV roster of candidates.

UNV Viet Nam also regularly announces international volunteer vacancies on this website with specific application guidelines for each position. Please visit our volunteer vacancies section for the latest recruitment information.

For more information about this UNV modality or about UN Volunteers please contact us.


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