In addition to meeting your childcare needs, the Au Pair Program provides a wonderful opportunity for your children to learn about foreign cultures and languages.
Strict regulations facilitate the safety and comfort of your children and the au pair, and have made it the highest quality au pair childcare program in the world.
“Au pair” means equal (on par). Au pairs are exchange visitors from a overseas who travel to the US on a J-1 Visitor Exchange Visa to acquire a better understanding and appreciation of American culture and life while living with an American family and caring for their young children. In order to participate in the au pair program, candidates must apply through a designated agency like Au Pair International, meet a set of minimum requirements and adhere to US regulations and agency rules. If accepted and matched with a US host family, Au Pair International will provide the au pair with the official documents needed to apply for a J-1 Visa at a US Embassy or Consulate in the au pair’s home country.
Au pairs come to the US on a 12 month J-1 Visa with the opportunity to extend for 6, 9, or 12 months once they have successfully completed their first program year. After their program, (whether they complete 12, 18, 21, or 24 months) they have a 30 day grace period that permits the au pair to stay or travel in the US. Au pairs may return to the US for new terms as an au pair participant as long as they meet the requirements.
Hours and Stipend
Au pairs may provide childcare and light childcare related housework for the host family for up to 45 hours per week and up to 10 hour per day. Au pairs offer live-in childcare and therefore have more flexibility to care for your children at the times that accommodate your family's schedule.
The minimum weekly stipend is established based on a formula which calculates the federal minimum wage less an allowance for room and board. The current stipend for the Au Pair Program is currently a minimum of $195.75 per week or a minimum of $225 per week dependant on the au pairs qualification. The stipend is paid to the au pair weekly.
Host families also pay up to $500 per candidate per year toward the cost of the au pair's required academic course work.
The au pair is entitled to a minimum of two (2) weeks paid vacation for each 12 month exchange term (prorated for periods shorter than 12 months), in addition to the regular minimum 1.5 days off per week and minimum one (1) full weekend off per month.
Au pairs may have a wide range of responsibilities related to your children. An au pair provides busy parents with a much needed “extra set of hands” and duties can include childcare and light housekeeping related to childcare such as doing the children’s laundry and cleaning up after the children.
Au pairs should not be expected to run an entire household. The responsibility for raising the children and the welfare of the children always remains with the parents/guardians.
Au Pair Minimum Requirements
- 18 to 26 years old.
- Proficient in conversational English.
- In good health.
- High school graduate or equivalent.
- Minimum of 200 hours of documented child care experience.
- Have successfully passed a detailed background investigation. (see application)
- Pass a detailed screening process.
A “Typical“ Au Pair
Au pairs are young women and men that enjoy and have a genuine interest in working with children. They represent diverse cultural, social, economic, and educational backgrounds and hold a common interest in living with an American family to expand their cultural awareness.
During our interview and admissions process, we select caring, responsible and mature young adults of good character and with a strong desire to work with children. Many au pairs possess a valid driver's license and International Driver’s license. Some candidates are students taking a "gap year" from their university studies, others have been employed or are entering the work force and others want the au pair experience before they decide on a professional career.
Host Family Qualifications
A host family must be committed to include the au pair as a family member, to a successful cultural exchange and meet these requirements:
- U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident fluent in spoken English.
- Room and Board: provide the au pair with meals and an appropriate private bedroom (bathroom may be shared).
- Submit a completed host family application including references and complete an in-home consultation with an Au Pair International representative.
- Adhere to the program’s Host Family Agreement and U.S. Regulations.
- Include the au pair as part of the family and whenever possible in family outings, holidays and other events.
- Live in one of the areas serviced by Au Pair International. Please call us at 1-888-649-2876 or contact us for details.
It is at the host family’s discretion to provide other privileges, to assist the au pair with childcare duties and allow the au pair to have an active and ongoing social life. Although many families require driving as part of the program, providing the au pair with the use of a car is not a requirement. The au pair should take part in the host family’s meals as an equal family member.
Au Pair Matching
Please see program information for more details regarding host family responsibilities.
Au Pair Selection: Host Families must review au pair applications and interview the au pair by phone before a match can take place.
Newborn children: An au pair cannot have the sole responsibility for an infant younger than three months of age. A parent or other responsible adult must always be present.
Children under two years of age: Au pairs who are to be placed with a family with a child younger than 2 years of age must have at least 200 hours of documented infant childcare experience. Please see our Infant Specialized Au Pair Program.
Special Needs: As the care for special needs children varies, the host family must describe the special needs of the child and any special care needed, and have reviewed the au pair’s experience, skills and/or training and acknowledge this as suitable for the care of their special needs child.
Program in Progress
Host family must facilitate and assist the au pair in fulfilling program responsibilities, including the educational requirement and monthly meetings/contacts. Please see program regulations for details.
Equal family member: Include the au pair as an equal and allow her/him to have an active and ongoing social life throughout the program. This principle is the foundation for the au pair program and the main factor for the program’s success and growth.
After arrival: Your local representative will call you and your au pair within 48 hours of arrival and meet with you and your au pair within two weeks. The first three days after arrival, a responsible adult must be present in the home. This can be the parents or other adults. These are required by regulations so you may plan the arrival date with these in mind.
Schedule: Present au pair with a written schedule with up to 10 hours per day and up to 45 hours per week.
Insurance: Basic health insurance is provided for the au pair. The host family must include the au pair under their automobile insurance if the au pair is allowed to use their motor vehicle.
Educational requirement: Each au pair participant must register and attend classes offered by an accredited U.S. post secondary educational institution for not less than six (6) semester hours of "academic credit, or the equivalent" during his/her 12-month au pair program. The host family contributes up to $500 towards the au pair’s education requirement (up to $250 towards a 6 month extension).
Program in progress: A local representative will maintain contact once per month with the host family and facilitate a host family gathering a minimum of once per year.