All requests for independent travel must be made to the Team Support Coordinator 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:
- The participant must first obtain approval for independent travel from 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 host-family and volunteers 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 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 host family and volunteers approve the participant's request for travel, volunteers must confirm the plans with AFS-USA.
- Natural parent permission is required for all Independent Travel. The participant is responsible for contacting the Natural Family to inform them of the travel request. The natural family must then make a formal request to the AFS Office in the participant's home country for a Travel Waiver. 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 arrived in the National Service Center. 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.
If you have any questions regarding visits or travel policy, please contact the National Service Center at