When planning to do volunteer work anywhere around the world you need to ensure that whatever you are doing is legal. For it to be legal then you need to obtain the required visa and work permit. The requirement here is confirming the reason and duration of your visit and in some cases where required, gives proof of your financial means in the country, for that duration. We will look at permit and visa requirements within different parts of the world, looking at a single country at a time.
We start off with Kenya in Africa. A volunteer here will first need to obtain a tourist visa, for 50$ upon arrival at the airport, unless you may have attained visa previously before arrival. An application for a Kenyan tourist visa requires that the applicant submit a valid passport, as well as a completed visa application form, a recent passport-sized photo and their travel itinerary.
There are two ways of getting the volunteer work permits. You can apply for the volunteer permit directly to immigration department which is quite costly or getting the work permit via an NGO that you are planning to work with or already work for; this is the cheaper and easier option for a volunteer to take. Appropriate authorization can be obtained by the NGO you are working with through liaising with the Director of Immigration Services prior to engagement in your volunteer work.
To get the work permit or a volunteer visa, then one needs to have; an original passport valid for at least six months, signed in designated place with at least 2 blank pages, an online registration form, a recent passport sized photo, not scanned, which should be 35mm x 45mm with a white or light colored background, neutral expression with mouth closed and no hats or sunglasses. You further need a copy of your travel itinerary with the letter head of a travel company, an invite letter from the volunteer organization in Kenya, with their letter head on it, and a service order form obtained from the embassy.
You can obtain a work permit in Kenya for one to three years; it will take you at least two months to obtain a confirmation of either acceptance or denial of your application. After application, a letter will be sent to the organization you are working with for informing you on how to finalize the arrangements for your permit, if your application has been accepted. When you are going to do this you need to bring with you, your approval letter, your passport, and 2000 KES per year fee for the permit. Your permit will then be issued to you within two weeks, from the immigration office; you will need to bring your receipt with you to pick it up. Along with this you will also be required to obtain an alien registration card; this will cost you 1000 ksh per year, and will be ready for you to pick up within 4 to 6 weeks
For more free information and low cost volunteer programs in Africa visit http://www.volunteercapitalcentre.org/tanzania.aspx
Seeing as the above might be a bit of a long process, volunteers who wish not stay longer than three months in Kenya, may just make use of their tourist visa, which is automatically stamped for 30 days, but can be extended to up to 90 days if requested, with no extra cost to the volunteer. However if you plan to stay longer then you must apply for an extended visa. At this point you may have to apply for your alien registration card at the same time, this will cost you 2200, for both the documents, and will extend your stay for another 90 days. If at the end off six months you have not come to the end of your stay in the country then you may need to leave and start the process all over again, by coming back into the country. You can do this by simply exiting to Uganda or Tanzania, and coming back.