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Costs and Expenses for a UN System Internship

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Costs and Expenses for a UN System Internship

March 26, 2020

UN Internships CostsUN Internships Costs

Be selected for a UN Internship Program is a dream for many! Understandably, since working at the UN combines prestigious and a wide range of benefits with meaningful work that can help billions of people around the world. In addition, interning at the UN means developing a global career with a global reach, in a multicultural and pleasant environment; you will be able to construct influential networks and receive encouragement to develop professionally.

In this article, we will take a look at the costs and expenses for a UN System Internship

In pursuit of its mission, the OpenIGO network has prepared a comprehensive eBook (available soon) and support and guidance services, with the aim of highly increasing your chances of success in these competitive processes. These services include revising your UN internships application documents (curriculum vitae/resume and cover letter) and a mock interview, as per the United Nations model. We also offer a range of packages that combine the eBook with different services.

UN Internships – Products & Services

UN Internships Costs and Expenses

Preparing for a UN System internship requires time and investment, both intellectual and financial. You may be thinking: “Will I have to sell everything I own to take an internship?” Not to that extent, but some expenditure is required from participants once appointed in the selection process. This may be a good opportunity to break into your piggy bank!

The most common expenses will be shown below and the alternatives presented by some internship programs, in order to minimize them.

Firstly, it is important to emphasize that the UN does not charge its candidates at any stage of the selection processes. Even in the interviews, there is the possibility that they are held via video-conference or telephone, thereby reducing any travel costs. The UN recommends that candidates are mindful of fake emails that request any type of payment.

The most frequent expenditure that a UN System intern may have is with a visa, insurance cover, accommodation and travel. It should be emphasized that these expenses may be minimized if you receive sponsorship from your government or another institution, such as your university. Some of the expenses involved are explained below:


The payment of certain fees and the presentation of various personal documents are required to attain a visa, which may vary in accordance with the country and type of visa. For internships taken in the United States, such as the IMF and ICSID, an intern is usually requested to obtain a G4 (for employees of International Organizations) or F1 (for international students) visa. Intergovernmental organizations usually provide supplementary documents to facilitate obtaining your visa.


In the majority of programs, the candidate is responsible for taking out insurance. UN System interns are usually required to obtain the following types of insurance (for further information on insurance, see Chapter 8 of our UN Internships eBook).

  • Medical insurance valid for the organization`s region. Medical or health insurance covers expenses with medication, hospital admissions and illnesses during the internship period. In some cases, travel insurance is accepted for this purpose.
  • Life/Accident insurance valid for the organization`s region. Although many people confuse this with medical insurance, this is for cases of permanent disability or death caused by a serious illnesses or accident. Travel insurance can also replace this type of insurance.

In addition to insurance requirements, many organizations require a valid and signed copy of a Medical Certificate of Good Health, which guarantees that the intern has the physical and mental conditions to perform activities at the organization. 


UN System organizations are not usually responsible for the candidate`s accommodation during the internship period. Therefore, the candidate (or sponsoring institution) will be liable for any expenses related to the accommodation required. However, there are some exceptions. The IAEA and CTBTO agencies, for example, offer up to 500 euros in housing assistance for internships in their respective headquarters in Austria (for more information see topic 6: “Payment for UN internships”).


The intern (or sponsoring institution) will be responsible for costs related to travelling to the workplace you are allocated to. Some organizations may offer assistance that covers travel from a selected university to the respective agency unit. This is the case of the IMF, which may pay for a student`s return journey to Washington D.C.

Of course, these expenses do not compare with the advantages of taking a United Nations System internship. In addition, contrary to what you may imagine, there are many paid internship programs in the UN System that minimize this expenditure.

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