Freedom of movement

Opening Europe for Youth!


The European Youth Forum strives for the free movement of all young people. Mobility is the freedom to move across borders, and while doing so, to both experience cultural difference and feel a sense of unity with young people from around the world. There are still obstacles to achieving this – as you can see in our ‘Story Telling’ section.

The European Youth Forum is convinced that mobility of young people is a vital contribution to intercultural understanding both in Europe and internationally and can contribute to European integration and growth. At a time of global change, young people from outside the European Union have a key role in creating social, cultural and economic links between their countries/regions and the EU. This includes countries in Europe’s neighborhood and beyond- spending time in the EU can allow young people to acquire, and also exchange knowledge and skills, which can lead to cooperation and links between the EU and third countries.

As a result, the European Youth Forum promotes the rights to mobility for young people through sustained advocacy on the topic of visa and residence permit liberalisation – you can learn more in our ‘Get Informed’ section.

Latest News

European Policies

Two key pieces of European legislation are currently being revised. These will have a decisive impact on how accessible the EU will be for young people. 


Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Conditions of Entry of Third-Country Nationals for the Purposes of Research, Studies, Pupil Exchange, Remunerated and Unremunerated Training, Voluntary Service and Au-Pairing.



Revision of the Council Directive 2004/114/EC and Council Directive 2005/71/EC which set the conditions for how non-EU nationals can come into the European Union for research, studies, pupil exchange, training, volunteering or au-pairing.


The Youth Forum considers this Directive significant because the mobility of young Europeans, be it through exchanges, for training, or for volunteering, is crucial for creating intercultural understanding in Europe, and building both on European integration and the personal development of young Europeans.

The Youth Forum has followed the process of the revision of the Directive closely, contributing to the Open Consultation, and reacting to the Proposal from the Commission, the Report of the European Parliament and the position of the EU Council (See all positions below). We call now for negotiations on the Directive to take into account the needs and demands of youth organisations , and includes ALL target groups including volunteers and pupils.

Commission Proposal

Report of the European Parliament



Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on Visas (Visa Code).



Revision of Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 which sets the conditions for how non-EU nationals can come into the European Union for periods of less than 3 months.


The Youth Forum considers this regulation significant because the mobility of young Europeans is crucial for creating intercultural understanding in Europe, and building both on European integration and the personal development of young Europeans.

Commission Proposal 



Postions: what the Youth Forum has to say


Further resources

NEW!! Fact Sheet – Why should the Visa Directive cover pupils and volunteers, European Youth Forum, 2015

Resolution on Easing Access to Visas for More Youth Mobility, European Youth Forum, 2014

Research Study on Visas and Residence Permits,  European Student Network, 2013

The Impact of EU Visa Liberalisation on Youth Mobility in the Republic of Moldova, National Youth Council of Moldova, CNTM, 2013

Visa campaign of Woodcraft Folk and IFM-SEI, Woodcraft and IFM-SEI

Study on Mobility Developments in School Education, Vocational Education and Training, Adult Education and Youth Exchanges, European Commission, 2012

Council Recommendation ‘Youth on the Move’: Promoting the Learning Mobility of Young People, European Commission

Green Paper on Learning Mobility 2009, European Commission

Position Paper, European Platform for Learning Mobility, 2014



Story Telling


The European Youth Forum is collecting stories of young people that have faced issues in obtaining Visas and Residence Permits to show that youth mobility is being hindered by administrative obstacles that must be changed!

If you are a young person that has faced such difficulties, SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US. Fill in this form and your story will be displayed in a postcard on the website’s  ‘News’ page. The more stories we collect, the more evidence we have that freedom of movement for young people is not accessible, and showing policy-makers that Visa regulation has to change to stop this.

Story Telling

Filter by :

  • All
  • Waiting times
  • Fees
  • Documents
  • Information
  • Resident permit
  • equal
  • chances
  • waiting times

Samia Barud

Last year, I was selected to intern at a big project in Germany and I could not take part of it since I needed to get a special visa and the waiting t... Read more

Merve P

After several attempts to apply for a Visa to volunteer in Belgium, I decided to apply one last time. A few days later they called me to inform me tha... Read more

Mo L

I study in Turkey in a French high school. As part of my education I had to go to a conference in France so I applied for a visa. They asked me for a ... Read more

Anon. A

Bosnia and Herzegovina
I come from Bosnia. I have always been drawn to the UK and wanted to visit London, to do some volunteering there. Unfortunately a few weeks after I su... Read more

Arturas P

I live in Lithuania, which is bordering Belarus. I tried to go there to participate in EU projects but the process it is always complicated. The proce... Read more

Maria P

I had just started my EVS project in Slovakia when I had to go back to Georgia to fix some problems with my visa. I love to be a volunteer. It feel... Read more

Dasha T

I got accepted for two weeks intensive language course in the UK and because I am from Russia that meant that I had to apply for a visa. The process c... Read more
Read more stories

European Youth Forum AISBL

Rue de l’Industrie 10, 1000 Brussels

Tel.: +32 2 793 75 20
Fax : +32 2 893 25 80

With the support of
The European Commission
The European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe