AFRICOM Volunteer Internship Program (AVIP)

Program summary

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) offers volunteer opportunities to students enrolled in an accredited trade school, college, or university. While general public law prohibits the federal government from accepting volunteer and unpaid service in most situations, provisions under Title 5 U.S. Code § 3111: “Acceptance of Volunteer Service” allows the ‘employment’ of students to further their educational goals while gaining experience in their field of study with the understanding that pay is waived. 

While enrolled in the AFRICOM Volunteer Internship Program (AVIP) student volunteers are exposed to and learn about the Department of Defense work environment, a culture that promotes high standards of personal and organizational integrity, honesty, and respect for all people. This program is further enriched with the following benefits:

  • Professional career exploration early in academic studies

  • Collaboration with diverse military and civilian communities 

  • Academic credit for research and practicum requirements

  • Department of Defense SECRET clearance for qualified candidates


Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for consideration in this program, you must meet all six criteria*:

  • Students must be a U.S. Citizen with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) status

  • Students must be high school graduates, at least 18 years of age, having completed at least one university-level semester attaining a 3.0 GPA or higher

  • Student must be currently enrolled, at least half-time, in any accredited undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral educational institution degree program

  • Students must obtain and maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

  • Students MUST be available to work a minimum of eight continuous weeks in the program

  • Students must be able to successfully complete a background security investigation leading to a security clearance

    *Preference will be given to those students that already possess a valid and current SECRET or higher personnel clearance.

Once placed in the program, students may extend their volunteer tenure as long as they: 1) meet program eligibility requirements and 2) obtain leadership approval. 

Participants in AVIP must end their internship at the time of university/college graduation or upon withdrawal from the program.


How to apply

The AFRICOM Volunteer Internship Program is a continuous, annual program. Though there are no specific deadlines for submitting applications, it is recommended to apply at least five months prior to the desired internship start date. In all instances, resumes are kept on file for six months from the date the applicant has successfully completed the objective interview. If applicants have not been contacted within that timeframe, they must re-apply with an updated cover letter and resume.

All applicants are required to submit the following documents prior to consideration for an AVIP objective interview:

  • A current resume (no special format required), to include expected graduation date

  • A cover letter identifying the as an applicant for AVIP, to include career interests and dates of availability

  • Unofficial transcripts clearly showing grades/GPA

  • Photocopy of passport photo and signature page

  • Photocopy of SOFA stamp or card

  • Educational Institution Acknowledgement Letter

In order to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII), please observe two possible methods of submitting your applications:

  1. The applicant's sponsor may send the application via NIPR, encrypted, to the program manager (specific email address will be given upon request)

  2. The application may be password-encrypted as a .pdf in Adobe Pro and sent directly to the AVIP organizational mailbox, followed by a phone call to the AVIP program team (Comm: +49-(0)711-7081-5565) to share the password

In general, the organizational email account is monitored by the AVIP team and is the primary method of correspondence. Emails sent to personal accounts of AFRICOM personnel may not be read as they are outside the AVIP administrative process.

Please merge all documents into one Adobe PDF when applying, with the file name formatted with last and first name (e.g. Smith, Jane.pdf).

No hard copy submissions will be accepted.

It should be noted that, under Title 5 U.S. Code § 3111, a student volunteer is not a federal employee for any purposes other than injury compensation and law related to the Tort Claims Act. Student participation in the program is on a voluntary basis, and there is no remuneration or other employee benefits provided. AFRICOM does not provide housing assistance or support. Volunteer service is not credible for leave or any other employee benefits or monetary compensation.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement)?

The international agreement that gives legal status to Americans stationed in Germany. This includes all dependent spouses and adult children, under the age of 23, of Department of Defense, Armed Forces, Appropriated Funds, Non Appropriated Funds, Morale, Welfare, & Recreation and interagency personnel.

Are interns issued a Common Access Card (CAC)?

Yes, interns are issued a logical CAC.

Can unsalaried interns go on official travel?

No, since volunteer students do not receive reimbursement of any kind they are not authorized payment for official travel.

Are unsalaried interns eligible for housing, transportation, or per diem benefits?

No, there are no employee benefits connected with the appointment.

Can the unsalaried intern appointment be extended past the original date?

Yes, coordinate extensions with the AVIP team and immediate supervisors with the new exit date.

Will I require a student VISA?

No, currently AFRICOM is not accepting non-SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) Title 5 USC 3111 candidates. 

Are interns subject to drug testing?

Yes, interns are subject to drug testing as part of the application process and at any time throughout their appointment. Failure to comply with drug testing is grounds for removal from the program.

What if I need to leave early due to extenuating circumstances?

Each situation will be handled appropriately within the context of the circumstance and adjudicated by the appropriate official. In any case the intern’s academic institution will be notified.  

Are interns eligible for AFRICOM sponsorship programs?

Yes, interns may be assigned a sponsor in accordance with the assigned directorate's sponsor program.

Can AFRICOM recommend any places to stay while I'm in Stuttgart?

No, it is assumed that since all candidates have sponsors under the provisions of the Title 5 SOFA agreement, AFRICOM personnel iare prohibited from endorsing any for-profit lodging establishment. 

Will I have access to the base facilities such as the commissary, AAFES exchange, convenience store, or gas station?

No, only DoD ID cardholders and their command sponsored dependents are allowed to utilize these facilities. Non-Common Access Card holders may use fast-food courts and other common-use facilities that do not require a DoD ID card for purchases under the reduced tax provisions of the Status of Forces Agreement.


Contact the AFRICOM VIP Team:

africom.stuttgart.acj5.mbx.avip@mail.mil

DSN: 324.591.5565

Comm:  +49 (0)711.7081.5565

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