General Volunteering Information

Volunteering on VBB Partner Projects - some general information

Please note: some aspects of the below general information changed with the introduction of new project locations as part of the VetMatch program in 2016.

Processing your application to volunteer

Vets Beyond Borders is a small not-for-profit charity staffed mainly by volunteers.  We will try to process your application as quickly as possible but please try to be understanding that this process may take up to four weeks. If your application is urgent for some reason please contact VBB directly at the same time as completing your application form.

To make sure your application is processed in a timely manner, please make sure you have become a member of VBB.

Then please take care when filling in the 'register to volunteer' form to make sure that all the details are correct and that you provide us with as much relevant information as possible. Also please contact your nominated referees to inform them that they will be receiving an email notice to provide a reference for you and that they need to complete this form as soon as possible. They may need to check their spam filters if they do not receive that email within one week of you submitting your application. Generally it is a delayed response from referees that slows the processing of an application.

You will receive an email to inform you that your application has been formally approved. This email will also introduce you to the relevant Project Manager, with whom you will liaise on various aspects of your visit to volunteer. If you are not contacted within a week or so, or have any other concerns or queries, please let us know.

Travel and volunteering

Travelling in Asia is certainly a challenge. In some areas the spectre of widespread human hunger, sickness and suffering is something many visitors will never forget. For many of us, the plight of the animal population is also distressing. Whilst many aid agencies are providing effective humanitarian assistance, not so many attach a high priority to animal welfare. Encouragingly, animal welfare and veterinary projects have become established in the last few years. Your efforts as a volunteer will help in many ways to continue the work of these pioneering programs.

Rabies and preparing for regions where it is present

VBB recommends all volunteers complete the short online training course: Rabies Educator Certificate.
This self-paced course from the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) takes only a few hours to complete and is FREE.  
Note: It is a requirement of people volunteering as part of the VBB Community Training Program - but we recommend it for all volunteers as it provides excellent practical background for dealing with animals and communities in the region you are visiting.
To register for and complete the course please go to the GARC website.    

VISA - please make sure you read these notes

All Vets Beyond Borders' volunteers travelling to India are advised to obtain an Employment Visa though a Tourist Visa is also permissable in some locations. Please note that if you are considering the SIKKIM (SARAH) PROJECT YOU MUST APPLY FOR AN EMPLOYMENT VISA before departure as this is a govenment-run operation in a politically sensitive area of India. VBB provides you with the letters and other support documents you need to complete your Employment Visa application.

Please also note that people travelling on an Employment visa and intend to spend more than 180 days (six months) they must register with authorities as soon as possible after arrival (or within two weeks); re-registration is also necessary before departure at certain Indian offices. SO WE STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU ONLY APPLY FOR A 6-MONTH VISA TO AVOID THESE COMPLICATING CONDITIONS. 

Please also ensure you check the visa in your passport to see if it mentions any special conditions, regardless of the type or duration it was issued for. Also check with the issuing office if you are unsure about any requirements in relation to your visa. This will help avoid any inconveniences and distruption to your departure from India and onward travel, etc.

More details on visa requirements are contained in the volunteer briefing materials we supply you upon registration. We also suggest you check with your local Indian mission on the requirements they have for issuing an Employment Visa, as these can vary according to location of the consulate.

If you have further questions on visas, please make enquiries at a visa issuing office or Indian mission.


Although thousands of foreigners travel safely in Asia every year, sensible precautions should be taken. Vets Beyond Borders cannot accept responsibility for your personal safety should you decide to travel foriegn locations to volunteer - this is one reason why one of the obligations we place on volunteres is to take out appropriate level of travel insurance which also covers you for volunteering with animals and medical evacuation (check on this before you purchase your insurance).

It is also essential that VBB volunteers have appropriate levels of protection against rabies. As such, we will require documented evidence of these vaccinations, plus your currency of travel insurance cover.

Your Government's websites should be visited to obtain up-to-date travel warnings, for example:

Medical Information

Contact your doctor before finalising your trip planning to obtain current advice on appropriate vaccination and medication for the destination, especially rabies, hepatitis and other relevant vaccinations. Please take out comprehensive travel medical insurance that is appopriate for volunteering overseas and for working with animals as there are no other provisions for medical cover when volunteering for VBB.

Heed medical advice for travellers to Asia to minimise the risk of preventable illness, including the old maxim, ‘don’t drink the water’, which is certainly true. We make more suggestions in the volunteer briefing material we will provide when your application is processed.

You will be provided with more detailed information on your particular project, how to get there and local conditions, etc., upon request and/or confirmation of your volunteer placement.

Thank you -  We look forward to you volunteering with us!