All requests for independent travel must be made to the Team Support Coordinator, Liaison, or designated volunteer at least three weeks prior to the participant’s proposed departure date. All of the following steps must be taken before AFS can give its approval for an Independent Travel request. Only after approval has been gained, should the participant begin making any definite travel plans. Learn more about AFS Sanctioned Travel.
- The participant must first obtain approval for independent travel from the host family, Team Support Coordinator or designated volunteer, and AFS Staff. (If the participant is going to miss any school for a trip with Belo Tours, the participant must also obtain approval from the school.) The participant should inform the host family and volunteers of the dates and destinations of the proposed travel, as well as the purpose of the trip. In all cases of participant travel, the participant must provide emergency contact information to an AFS Volunteer or staff person. This contact information should include:
- The participant’s travel plans and itinerary
- How the participant can be contacted in case of emergency
If the host family and Support Coordinator or designated volunteer do not grant permission, then the participant will not be allowed to go on the trip.
- If the host family and volunteers approve the participant's request for travel, volunteers must confirm the plans with AFS-USA. If you are a Team Support Coordinator or Liaison and you are unsure of who to contact to request travel, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Natural parent permission is also required for all Independent Travel. The participant and Host Family are responsible for contacting their Team’s Support Coordinator, Liaison, and/or designated volunteer to provide all details of the trip. The team will then reach out to the AFS Travel Department, who will work with the international partner to secure the signed Travel Waiver from the participant's sending family. A Travel Waiver releases AFS-USA from any costs, arrangements, or responsibility for any actions to or by the participant during the travel period. Participants are not released from the terms and conditions of the AFS Participation Agreement during travel.
- The AFS Office in the participant's home country will forward a signed copy of the Travel Waiver to AFS-USA. Participants may not travel until the signed waiver has been received by AFS-USA staff. When the preceding three steps have been completed, the participant is free to make travel arrangements. A participant may not make travel arrangements until these steps are completed and the travel is approved by all parties.