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Application FAQs

Couples

  • I’m married - can my spouse and I serve as Peace Corps Volunteers?

    Yes. If you and your spouse wish to serve together both of you must apply and be qualified for assignments in the same country. The Peace Corps will only consider you as a couple, and will look for suitable assignments in the same country and site in that country. Please be aware that the opportunities to place couples are more limited than those for individual applicants. For example, if both spouses are qualified to teach, a village may still only need one Peace Corps teacher, and there may not be any other Peace Corps assignment available near that site for which the other spouse is qualified. Both you and your spouse must apply at the same time and qualify for available assignments in the same country. Peace Corps’ experience is that couples who have been committed for at least a year before they begin service are better able to adapt to the challenges of the Peace Corps. Married applicants will have to submit a marriage certificate as part of their applications, and unmarried individuals seeking to serve as a couple must execute an Affidavit attesting to their committed domestic partner relationship as part of their applications.

  • I’m in a same-sex marriage. Does the Peace Corps accept same-sex couples?

    Yes. The Peace Corps accepts married applicants without regard to their sex. If you and your spouse wish to serve together both of you must apply and be qualified for assignments in the same country. The Peace Corps will only consider you as a couple, and will look for suitable assignments in the same country and site in that country. Please be aware that the opportunities to place couples are more limited than those for individual applicants. For example, if both spouses are qualified to teach, a village may still only need one Peace Corps teacher, and there may not be any other Peace Corps assignment available near that site for which the other spouse is qualified. Both you and your spouse must apply at the same time and qualify for available assignments in the same country. Peace Corps’s experience is that couples who have been together for at least a year before they begin service are better able to adapt to the challenges of the Peace Corps. Married applicants will have to submit a marriage certificate as part of their applications. 

  • We’re not legally married but want to serve as a same-sex couple. Can we do so?

    Yes. The Peace Corps will consider unmarried same-sex individuals who have been in a committed domestic partnership and wish to serve in the same country. The Peace Corps will only consider you as a couple, and will look for suitable assignments in the same country and site in that country. Please be aware that the opportunities to place couples are more limited than those for individual applicants. For example, if both partners are qualified to teach, a village may still only need one Peace Corps teacher, and there may not be any other Peace Corps assignment available near that site for which the other partner is qualified. Both you and your partner must apply at the same time and qualify for available assignments in the same country. Peace Corps’ experience is that couples who have been committed for at least a year before they begin service are better able to adapt to the challenges of the Peace Corps. Unmarried individuals seeking to serve as a couple must execute an Affidavit attesting to their committed domestic partner relationship as part of their applications.

  • We’re not legally married but want to serve as an opposite-sex couple. Can we do so?

    Yes. The Peace Corps will consider unmarried opposite-sex individuals who have been in a committed domestic partnership and wish to serve in the same country. The Peace Corps will only consider you as a couple, and will look for suitable assignments in the same country and site in that country. Please be aware that the opportunities to place couples are more limited than those for individual applicants. For example, if both spouses are qualified to teach, a village may still only need one Peace Corps teacher, and there may not be any other Peace Corps assignment available near that site for which the other spouse is qualified. Both you and your spouse must apply at the same time and qualify for available assignments in the same country. Peace Corps’ experience is that couples who have been committed for at least a year before they begin service are better able to adapt to the challenges of the Peace Corps. Unmarried individuals seeking to serve as a couple must execute an Affidavit attesting to their committed domestic partner relationship as part of their applications.

  • We’re not a romantic couple, but my friend and I want to serve together. Can we?

    Friends who wish to serve in the same country should apply to Peace Corps at the same time and request assignment to the same country. Each applicant must apply separately and will be considered and invited individually. The Peace Corps cannot guarantee that both friends would be accepted, or that they would necessarily be invited to the same program or country.

  • Our recruiter told us there are no openings for couples with our particular skill sets. Why is this?

    When recruiters look at available openings for all applicants, they match the skill level of the applicant with requests from our host country partners. Applying to the Peace Corps is competitive, and because couples placement requires matching the skill sets of both individuals, there are fewer assignments available for couples than for single applicants. Currently, less than 10 percent of all assignments are filled by couples.

  • Will same-sex couples receive the same benefits as heterosexual married couples?

    Yes, the benefits provided by the Peace Corps will be the same for all couples.

  • Will same-sex couples be able to live together overseas?

    In some posts, couples are separated during training (usually 8–12 weeks) for programmatic and language training reasons. However, couples live together after training at their permanent sites. At some posts, Volunteers (including couples) are required to live with host families for all or part of service at their permanent sites.

  • Will same-sex couples be allowed to serve openly, and will their host communities be prepared in advance?

    Since communities in different countries respond differently to same-sex couples, the Peace Corps will provide country-specific information once applicants are invited to serve, and Peace Corps staff will provide additional information and training once you arrive in-country. For a better understanding of the different types of experiences LGBT Volunteers have, we suggest you review some of the alumni stories and articles on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Peace Corps Alumni's website prior to accepting an invitation.

  • If my domestic partner or someone in his or her immediate family has a terminal illness or dies during service, will I be able to accompany them back to the United States?

    Emergency leave may be authorized if a member of the Volunteer’s immediate family (a parent, spouse, sibling, child, or grandchild related to the Volunteer by blood, marriage/civil union/domestic partnership, or adoption) has a terminal illness or dies while the Volunteer is in service. A country director may authorize a Volunteer domestic partner to accompany a Volunteer who is authorized to take emergency leave.

  • How will Peace Corps support same-sex couples?

    Once Volunteers are in-country, Peace Corps staff will provide them with guidance for maintaining their safety and well-being as appropriate. To ensure productive, healthy, and safe experiences for Volunteers, the Peace Corps reviews work and housing sites in advance, collaborates on project development with local communities, and develops and tests plans for responding to emergencies. Field staff will also receive training to support same-sex couples that addresses safety and security issues, host family preparation, job assignments, and resources for same-sex couples (including host country LGBT organizations where available). Volunteers also often create formal and informal support groups at their post. Currently, many posts have support groups for LGBT Volunteers, women, and Volunteers of color.

  • Can you put me in touch with currently serving LGBT Volunteers and married couples?

    Yes. The LGBT Peace Corps Association offers resources for applicants and prospective Volunteers, including a mentor program, an email list and a quarterly e-newsletter. Recruiters can also put applicants in touch with married couples.
     

  • Why does it take longer to place couples?

    Placing couples can sometimes take longer because there are more factors to consider. Overseas posts determine the number of couples they can receive in each training class, the acceptable combinations of couples' skill sets (including language ability), and which medical needs (if any) they can accommodate. These factors are beyond the control of the Placement Office. Therefore, placing couples is not just a matter of identifying two individual requests for Volunteers; Placement must also make sure each couple has an appropriate skills combination, is invited to a training class that has not yet reached its maximum number of couples, and that any medical needs identified in the medical clearance process can be supported by the Post.

Last updated Jul 15 2014

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