Visiting Your Sponsored Child
Visiting your sponsored child can be an unforgettable experience that will bless both you and your child. When you visit, you will get to see firsthand how you’re making a difference in your child’s life and in the entire community.
We want to make sure everyone involved in this journey has a memorable experience. We are also committed to ensuring the safety of sponsored children. It takes a lot of time to coordinate and plan a visit to your sponsored child, so visit request applications must be submitted at least 90 days in advance. Sorry, but we can’t approve requests with less than 90 days notice.
We’ll make every effort to arrange a visit with your child. However, sometimes political or family circumstances can prevent visits.
Here’s how to get your adventure to started:
At least three months prior to your trip, fill out and send in the Request to Visit My Sponsored Child Application.
Once we receive the application, we’ll send an email with World Vision’s Protection of Children release form.
Please email your completed application and release form to us at email@example.com or print and mail them to us at:
P.O. Box 70005
Federal Way, WA 98471-0005
2. Background check
Protecting children and keeping them safe is of utmost importance to us. That’s why we require background checks, and why everyone (including minors) requesting a visit with a sponsored child must complete and submit a Protection of Children release form, which we will email to you once you submit your application.
We’ll let you know as soon as your application and background check go through. This usually happens within 30 days, and the background check is good for one year. If you have any questions after looking over the form, please call us at 1.800.678.2168.
Some fees may apply. World Vision is happy to cover the cost of a background check for you (the child’s sponsor) and anyone in your immediate family accompanying you on the trip. However, to keep costs down, we can’t cover background checks for other friends or relatives.
3. Telling your sponsored child you’ll be visiting
Once the visit has been approved, we’ll contact the local staff where your sponsored child lives to confirm details of your visit (i.e. date, time, meeting location, etc.). Then we’ll share the great news with your sponsored child’s family so they can look forward to seeing you!
At this point, we ask that all visit plans become final. A firm commitment to follow through with the visit is very important after having informed your sponsored child.
4. The visit
Once you’re in your sponsored child’s country, notify World Vision’s national office of your arrival. Our staff there will be handling all the arrangements for your visit. Depending on your sponsored child’s individual circumstances, your visit may take place at our main office or at our program office in your child’s community. Regardless of the location, the time spent with your sponsored child is sure to create memories you will cherish forever.
We encourage you to take lots of photos and keep a journal of your trip. Feel free to download and use the Travel Journal we prepared for you, or jot notes in your own notebook.
When you return, we would love to hear all about your trip! Tell us what it was like to meet your sponsored child and share some of your photos with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can my sponsored child visit me in the US?
While we encourage sponsors to meet their child face-to-face with an in-person visit, unfortunately, bringing your sponsored child to the U.S. for a visit is not permitted for several reasons, including:
- The safety and well-being of your child
- The culture shock experienced by your child
- Your child’s readjustment to his or her own lifestyle can be difficult
When can I visit my sponsored child?
We will be more than happy to arrange a visit on your desired travel dates. We do not facilitate visits during the weekends and local holidays in order to allow for staff to spend time with their families. There may be some unforeseen situations, such as political unrest, inclement weather, or natural disasters that cause visits to be cancelled.
Why do I need to give three months advance notice for my trip?
In addition to the time it takes to process your background check, World Vision must also make detailed arrangements for your visit with the national office staff in your sponsored child’s country. Details such as time and place of the visit, arranging for transportation and a translator, and other logistics all take a significant amount of time to plan. Our visit planning team will be sure to keep in contact with you as plans are confirmed.
Will World Vision assist with my travel arrangements?
Sponsors are responsible for their own travel arrangements, such as flights, accommodations, transportation, entry visa, passport and vaccinations. For assistance please contact your local travel agency.
Will my visit incur any expenses?
Depending on your sponsored child’s location and the site of your visit, expenses may arise for things such as meals and travel expenses for yourself, your child, and the World Vision staff member(s) acting as your guide or translator. Visiting sponsors are expected to cover any such costs. We will be able to give an estimate of these costs when the visit application has been approved.
What will the day of my visit be like?
On the day of your visit, you will be met by your World Vision host, who will accompany you during your visit and will go over the visit guidelines. The visit may vary from a couple of hours to an entire day, depending on the culture, language barriers, and other factors. Activities for the visit may include a lunch or light snack, a time to exchange gifts, and an opportunity to learn about the community’s accomplishments. The location of the visit may take place at the Area Development Project office, community center, or another designated location. Visits cannot occur over multiple days.
Can a friend or relative visit my sponsored child?
If you have a friend or relative traveling to your sponsored child’s country and they would like to visit your sponsored child on your behalf, they will need to follow the same three required steps, including submitting an application and completing a background check.
Can I volunteer with World Vision during my visit?
Although we appreciate your desire to volunteer your skills, knowledge, and time to help those in need, World Vision does not have a program for visiting volunteers. Our development projects are managed and operated in partnership with the local community, and we recruit qualified, local volunteers because they speak the same language and understand the culture of their people. This also provides local volunteers the opportunity to develop skills which will enable the community to become self-sufficient.
Can I take gifts for my sponsored child and family?
We welcome you to bring a gift for your sponsored child and their family. Some gift ideas for your sponsored child are school supplies, hygiene items, a soccer ball or volleyball (with an air pump), candy, or souvenirs. Gift for the family may include cooking utensils, pot holders, local groceries and other small treats that can be shared with the family. We do ask you to be sensitive to the child’s economic situation and to avoid items that may seem too expensive or lavish.
Please refrain from giving monetary funds to your sponsored child, their family or other community members during your visit. For privacy and child protection reasons, we ask that you do not give your mailing address, email or phone number to your sponsored child, their family or other community members.
Can I take photographs or video?
In most cases, taking photographs of your sponsored child and his or her surroundings is perfectly acceptable. However, some countries do have restrictions about photography. It’s always a good idea to check with the local staff and the sponsored child’s family before taking any photographs or video.
Can I post about visiting my sponsored child on social media?
You may post on social media about your visit to your sponsored child but you will have to comply with the following restrictions from our child protection policy. We kindly request you do not post:
- Photos, videos or comments that mention the sponsored child’s last name or specific location
- Photos, videos or comments that portray children in a disrespectful or immodest way
- Photos, videos or comments that contain geotags
- Photos and videos of children from the following countries (due to laws in these countries): China, Jerusalem/West Bank/Gaza, Lebanon, Myanmar, Mauritania, Philippines and Vietnam
Who should I contact once I arrive in my sponsored child’s country?
Before you depart, we will provide you with the contact information of the World Vision staff in the country. We kindly ask that you contact the local staff prior to your visit to reconfirm your visit plans. If you are not able to reach the local staff please contact us at 253.815.5864 or email us at email@example.com and we’ll follow up with the staff on your behalf.
What should I wear?
Pack comfortable walking shoes and clothing suitable for the climate. However, please err on the side of modesty and refrain from extreme styles that may be offensive in some cultures. Shorts should be avoided by both men and women, and shirts should cover the shoulders.
What should I do if I have to cancel my visit?
Sponsored children and community members celebrate sponsorship visits. This significant event is highly valued in the communities and cancelling a visit should be avoided if possible. If you must cancel your sponsorship visit, please contact World Vision and we can provide you with instruction on how to send a gift packet or special monetary gift to your sponsored child.
Are there any countries or sponsorship communities that wouldn't allow a visit?
For your own safety, the following countries either do not allow visits from sponsors, or have restrictions on visits. We also recommend that sponsors visit Travel.State.Gov for the latest travel advisories.
- Gaza (174680 – Rafah ADP)
- Jerusalem and West Bank: Only sponsors and immediate family members are allowed to visit; no friends, extended family, etc. Because of high tensions in the area, and for the security reasons, the visit might be cancelled any time.
- Haiti (173882- GONAVE HOPE ADP)
- Mozambique (Nyaterre, Sabe, Derre, and Nhamarraua ADPs)
Still have questions? Give us a call at 1-888-511-6548.