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About Us — Frequently Asked Questions

What does "Servas" mean? Servas is an Esperanto word meaning "to serve."

What's the purpose of Servas? The overarching and long-term vision of Servas International is a more peaceful world, and the mission is to contribute to the progress towards this goal. Servas International is a federation of Servas National Groups. US Servas is one of those national groups, and fully supports this vision and mission. At the bottom of each website page you'll find this link about our organization's Ethical Code.

How long does the application process take to be a Friend of US Servas? On average, it takes between 3 and 10 days to become a Friend of US Servas. The time varies on many things including how long it takes an applicant to complete the online application including payment (some credit card companies process faster than others). We ask for patience during the process; please remember, we are an all-volunteer organization. If an applicant has not heard from us in 10 days, they should check their spam email folder to see if our message is there. If not, please Contact Us. Please note: this is the timeframe to become a Friend; there are additional steps to be taken for those who want to be a Host/Traveler.

How long does it take to become a Host/Traveler with Servas? Once we approve an applicant as a Friend of US Servas, the Friend has the option to apply as a Host/Traveler. There are four steps to reach that level of membership: (1) submit letters of reference, (2) have an interview, (3) attend a virtual orientation, (4) complete a Servas International Host/Traveler profile. For motivated members it may only take a few days if they can get quick responses on references, and be available for an interview and orientation. For others, it may take weeks or months. Do not wait until the last minute to apply to be a Host/Traveler. We recommend allowing three months for the entire process before any planned travel. Many hosts can be contacted a month or more in advance. Our hard-working VOLUNTEERS handle all administrative processes, so we appreciate your patience.

How much does membership cost? The nonrefundable membership fee is $33 per year, per person.

Are there really multiple steps to becoming a Host/Traveler with Servas? Yes, traveling or hosting with Servas takes more than a click of a button. Our organization is about meaningful impactful travel -- to do that should take more than just a click. We start with all people joining as a Friend of US Servas. Afterwhich, people can complete the Host/Traveler form. For more information, visit Join Us.

Can I join outside of my home country? People should join in their country of residence. Americans, even if traveling abroad, should join US Servas unless living abroad for more than a year; in which case, they should join in the country in which they reside. Non-US citizens living in America for a significant period of time (over a year) can join US Servas. When they return to their home country, their Servas membership can be transferred.

Where is personal information stored and how secure is it? The US Servas website ( stores only basic contact and membership information, for example: name, email, phone number, address, interview, and membership history. The Servas International website ( stores the information contained in a Host/Traveler profile. Only persons who have been interviewed and approved can access the International website. Credit card information is not stored on either the US Servas or Servas International website. It is kept and safeguarded by Affinipay, an international payment processing company.

What are the Wild Apricot (website) Terms and Conditions? Our website provider, Wild Apricot, requires that all members agree to their terms of use before they can access their account. Our analysis is that the terms are pretty standard things like, you won't do anything illegal, you won't do anything that damages their system (like sending out a zillion spam emails, etc.). Click Here if you'd like to see our synopsis of their terms.

Is Servas the right group for me? Great question! Please visit our JOIN US page to see if Servas is the right group for you.

I'm not ready to host travelers in my home. What options are there? You can be a day host! You'd arrange to meet a traveler in or near your city for a few hours or any timeframe that works for both of you. A day host experience may involve you meeting for coffee, going to a cultural event, showing a traveler around your area, or anything else of interest to you both. If there's a cost for any activity, each person is responsible for their share. Please discuss this before meeting.

What can I expect from a Servas hosting/traveling experience? Every Servas stay is unique. Stays normally include opportunities for conversations which allow members to learn about different cultures, ways of life, paths to peace, and each other. Please review the Servas Host/Traveler Responsibility document, which covers what is expected from hosts/day hosts/travelers.

Hosts may have time to show a traveler around their area. But if they have jobs or other commitments, they may just make suggestions of what you can see/do in their area when you stay with them. It is also typical for Hosts, Day Hosts and Travelers to share some meals together, as food is a wonderful cultural ice-breaker; however, it is not required. If you are a Host and cannot have any meals with a Traveler who requests a stay, do let them know ahead of time.

What assistance is available to Servas travelers on the road? Servas is not a travel agency. Travelers coordinate their own stays when traveling using the Servas International website. Advanced planning is recommended. There are wonderful Servas stories of how local members have been able to help Servas Travelers when they have issues while in a foreign country. This is not a guarantee of our organization, but it is great to hear how our network has been able to respond to Travelers on how to handle unexpected situations when abroad.

What is the Servas connection to the United Nations? Since 1973 Servas has had consultative status as an international non governmental organization with the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations. Learn more on our About Servas page.

What is Auto Renewal? Auto renewal means a member does not have to reapply every year. This is great because it saves time for members and volunteers. A member renews at their current membership level (e.g. Friend or Host/Traveler). Maintaining continuous membership allows people to retain membership benefits without having to repeat the joining process. Membership fees also support US Servas and our mission of peace. If a member does not want to renew, they should simply turn off automatic recurring payments in their US Servas membership account. Automatic Recurring Payments is a separate topic. Click here to read the details.

What is Automatic Recurring Payments? Automatic recurring payments make it easy for members to have continuous membership since credit cards on file are automatically charged the yearly nonrefundable membership fee. That means no additional steps to keep membership active. Members are notified by email of renewal before renewal date. Yearly fees are nonrefundable, so if someone does not want to renew, they must turn off automatic recurring payments before their credit card is charged. To turn off automatic recurring payment, read instructions here. Payment received on your renewal date is a nonrefundable membership fee. Credit card information is NOT stored on the US Servas website. It is stored by AffiniPay, a secure, international credit card processing company.

I plan to stay in hotels when traveling, but I'd still like to meet local Servas members to learn about the culture. Is this possible? Yes! A Servas visit isn't restricted to home stays. Day Hosts are happy to meet Servas members for cultural exchange. When you're contacting and corresponding with a Day Host, the two of you can decide how to spend time together (e.g. cup of coffee, walk around area, cultural event, dinner, etc.). If there is a cost for any activity, each person is responsible for their share. Please discuss this before meeting.

Once a Friend of US Servas, how do I become a Host/Traveler with Servas? This is explained on our Join Us page.

As a host, am I required to accept every traveler who contacts me and requests a visit? No. If it isn't a convenient time for you to welcome a traveler, you can decline the request. On the other hand, as Servas promotes trust, tolerance, and respect, you shouldn't decline a request on the basis of race, nationality, language, age, religion, or sexual orientation. Whether accepting or declining a request, please respond promptly. Remember, Servas exchanges aren't limited to home stays, so consider acting as a Day Host if you'd still like to meet with travelers but for any reason can't host in your home. If you know there's a period when you won't be able to welcome travelers at all, indicate that in your profile and then update it after that period is over (e.g. "I'm unable to host during December and January. Starting in February I'd welcome Day Host and/or home stay visits, and weekends are usually best for me.")

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