Volunteeting IconMany students are interested in enhancing their London experience by volunteering - which is awesome! However, volunteering and voluntary work are taken very seriously by the UK Home Office and violating the conditions of your visa could be problematic. Read on to find out if you can volunteer and where to look for opportunities. 

VolunteeringCan I volunteer or do voluntary work?

  • Students on a Short-Term Study Visa can volunteer, BUT cannot do voluntary ("unpaid") work
  • Students on Short-Term Study Visas cannot undertake any kind of work (paid or unpaid) in the UK
  • Students on Tier 4 visas cannot undertake any kind of work (paid or unpaid) in the UK, apart from their FIE program internship or service learning placement  


Difference between a Volunteer and a Voluntary Worker

  • Volunteers
  • do not have any kind of contract of employment, even informal
  • must not take the place of an employee
  • help a charity or voluntary or public sector organization
  • must not receive payment in kind
  • reimbursement for reasonable travel/subsistence expenses is allowed


  • Voluntary Workers
  • usually remunerated in kind
  • often have a contract with their employer
  • this means the employer must provide the work and the voluntary worker must attend at particular times and carry out specific tasks

If you have questions about your visa and whether you can volunteer/undertake voluntary work, please contact FIE’s Immigration and Compliance Officer


Volunteering Databases


Community Connections – Imperial College Union*

Community Connections is the Union's program that enables and empowers you to take action on social issues that you feel passionately about, via volunteering or student led social enterprises

Do It

The UK’s national volunteering database, Do-it.org makes it easy for anyone to volunteer in their community

Team London

Encourages all Londoners to become active citizens and to give their time to make the capital a better place


The nation's leading youth volunteering charity providing young people with opportunities to gain new experiences and skills for life by taking action on causes they care about 

Volunteer Centre Kensington & Chelsea

Volunteer Centre K&C’s mission is to build the capacity of local people and organizations by empowering the community to

realize their potential through volunteering


*FIE provides Imperial College Union associate membership for Spring, Fall and Winter programs only – if you’re on a Summer program and would like to purchase an associate membership card, enquire directly at the Imperial College Union reception