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Australia

Experience the wonders of Down Under and make a positive impact to Australia's varied ecosystems with a variety of incredible projects spread across the continent. From the rainforest, to the desert, ISV projects help protect a range of habitats and the unique animals that live there.

Australia Frequently Asked Questions

Have any questions for Australia? This section will answer some of the most asked questions.

What's the best sort of luggage for this trip and how much can I bring?

Many participants have found a duffel with wheels to be the easiest and most accessible type of luggage to travel with.  It is also recommended to bring a day pack (small backpack), which can be brought on the plane as carry-on luggage.

All participants on the standard program are required to take domestic flights while in Australia. Therefore, participants need to pack according to the luggage limits of Australian domestic airlines. The Australian domestic checked baggage limit is one piece of luggage weighing no more than 20kg (44 lbs).

So, how do I pack everything I'll need in one bag and then bring a sleeping bag too?

For the international flight, you can check your sleeping bag as a second piece of luggage. For your domestic flight(s), you can carry your sleeping bag on the plane with you (in addition to your daypack, if you have one).

Will I need to have a passport to enter this country?

Yes, all participants are required to have a passport. Participants’ passport must be valid for 6 months past the date of their return date to their home country. If necessary, participants will need to renew their passports prior to departure to meet this requirement. ISV also requires all participants to either scan and email, fax,  or mail a photocopy of their passport photo page.  A copy of your passport photo page is due into the ISV office at least 105 days prior to your departure date.

For more information about passports, please visit the following websites:

Do I need a visa?

A tourist visa is required to enter Australia (for most citizenships). It is the participant's responsibility to arrange any required visas. 

US and Canadian citizens traveling to Australia 

  • An ETA tourist visa is required, and must be arranged prior to entering Australia.
  • If you book your flight with ISV’s partner travel agency, and are a passport holder from one of the countries listed below, then your ETA visa for Australia will be arranged for you and included in your flight booking.
ETA eligible countries:Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Rep. of (South), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, British Nationals Overseas (BNO), USA, Vatican City State, San Marino.
  • If you do not book your flight with ISV’s partner travel agency, then you are responsible to arrange and pay for your own ETA visa – approx. 20 AUD (visit http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/601.aspx for more information).

U.K. and Irish citizens traveling to Australia 
  • A tourist visa is required, and must be arranged prior to entering Australia.
  • If you book your flight with ISV’s partner travel agency, and are a passport holder from one of the countries listed below, then your ETA visa for Australia will be arranged for you and included in your flight booking.
ETA eligible countries:Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Rep. of (South), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, British Nationals Overseas (BNO), USA, Vatican City State, San Marino.
  • If you do not book your flight with ISV’s partner travel agency, then you are responsible to arrange your own eVisitor tourist visa. There is no charge for an eVisitor application. (Visit http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/651- for more information).
eVisitor - eligible passports are citizen passports issued by the following countries: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Republic of San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom – British Citizen, Vatican City.

Citizenships other than U.S., Canada, U.K., or Ireland


You must contact the consulate or embassy of your host countries far in advance of your trip, for information on visa requirements and any other travel documents you may need based on your citizenship, length of stay and your individual travel itinerary. For Australia, visit http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1 for more information.  

Example: A volunteer who is a Chinese citizen living in the United Kingdom will be flying to the United States to take an flight booked by ISV’s partner travel agency to Australia for the volunteer project, the adventure tour and the Fiji Excursion. Is a visa needed for transit through the United States? The volunteer project in Australia? The adventure tour in Australia? The excursion tour in Fiji?  

Make sure you contact the consulates of the countries you will be traveling to far in advance of your trip to learn about the requirements for your travel itinerary. A visa service provider such as VisaHQ, http://www.visahq.com/?a_aid=vaff7983 may be a helpful place for you to start to learn more about your visa requirements. To locate an embassy near you, you can visit http://embassy-finder.com/, or a similar embassy or consulate search page.

How do I obtain traveler's insurance and how important it is for me to have on my trip?

Participants originating from outside the United States and Canada please email your local ISV office for more information on travel isurance.

Australia - au-info@isvolunteers.org
New Zealand - nz-info@isvolunteers.org
United Kingdom/Europe - gb-info@isvolunteers.org

U.S and Canadian participants see the information below.

Participants are required to have traveler's insurance, which includes insurance for two purposes – coverage for medical treatment, and care while in your host country and travel/trip cancellation coverage. Many insurance carriers package these plans together to include other travel related issues such as lost or stolen items, for example: plane tickets, passports, and personal items. Cancellation insurance is important in the event that a problem arises that prevents you from going on the Program.

Policies do vary depending on the insurance provider, what country you travel to and what is covered, so make sure that you get a policy appropriate for your host country and your needs. Any travel agency should be able to assist you in procuring travel/trip cancellation insurance. Most travel insurance companies require you to purchase travel/trip cancellation insurance within 14 days after submitting your Agreement and paying your non-refundable deposit. The preferred travel insurance carrier for ISV is Travel Guard (U.S. and Canada Only).

Do I need medical insurance?

In addition to travel/trip cancellation insurance (see above), ISV also requires that all participants have medical insurance. Each participant must send a photocopy of proof of both travel/trip cancellation and medical insurance into the ISV office.  Proof of travel/trip cancellation and medical insurance is due into the ISV office at least 90 days prior to departure.

Do I choose a specific volunteer project or project type, or will ISV assign me to a volunteer project?

After your contract and deposit have been received by ISV, you can submit your project preferences through our Project Preference form. We make every attempt to accommodate participants, however many factors influence the project placement ISV will give you. For example, spaces on projects are limited and some projects only operate on certain dates. If you are doing academic credit or independent study, you will need to be assigned to a specific project with other academic credit or independent study participants, and if you are traveling with a friend, this will also affect your placement! Therefore, we cannot guarantee that you will be placed on the projects that you most prefer.

Will I be able to receive academic credit for my participation on the ISV Program?

Details regarding academic credit for the ISV Program are available on the academic credit page of the ISV website. Some students receive credit through independent study.

Are the meals and lodging included in the price?

All lodging is included in the ISV Program cost. Once you arrive at your project location, all meals for the first 2 week Volunteer Project are included. For the 2 week Adventure Tour, at least half of the total meals are included in the ISV Program cost.

I am a vegetarian. Is this going to be a problem?

Vegetarians must advise ISV in advance (on their application or by emailing the ISV office on or before 65 days prior to departure) if they wish to have vegetarian meals available to them during their Program. Participants with very strict dietary requirements may need to supplement meals with additional food at their own expense.

Can friends who do not attend a university or who do not attend a school that ISV has visited apply to your Program?

Friends are welcome to attend the ISV Program and can get an application online. Applicants do not have to be a university or high school student in order to participate on an ISV program. For the ISV University Program, all applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the time their ISV program begins in their host country. For the ISV High School Program, participants must be between 15 and 18 years of age at the time their program begins in their host country.

When exactly is orientation?

An orientation will be held in your host country upon arrival at your 2 week Volunteer Project and prior to beginning your 2 week Adventure Tour.

What is an "INCLUDED" activity?

There are 5 “included” Adventure Tour activities included in the Program cost. The final Adventure Tour itinerary with these included activities will be in your ISV Participant Travel Manual, which will be sent to you approximately 30 days prior to your departure date. ISV reserves the right to change these activities without notice.

What is an "Optional Activity Package" (OAP)?

In addition to the 5 "included" activities in the Adventure Tour, ISV offers participants an exciting Optional Activity Package (OAP), full of additional popular and exciting activities. Each OAP varies by host country in terms of the type of adventure and cultural activities offered, the total number of activities in each package, and the price. Each year around 95-100% of ISV participants choose to purchase the OAP as it adds great value to the overall experience. All activities in the OAP are organized by ISV staff prior to arrival so you won’t miss out due to a lack of availability. All participants have to do is show up and be ready to have an incredible experience. Offered exclusively to ISV participants at a discounted price, you may reserve the OAP package by checking the indicated box on your ISV Travel Options Form. If you have already submitted your Travel Options Form, please send an email to the ISV office indicating your desire to purchase the OAP package.

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