The term “au pair” comes from the French meaning on par, or equal. Au pairs are exchange visitors from 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 U.S. regulations and agency rules. If accepted and matched with a U.S. host family, Au Pair International will provide you with the official documents needed to apply for a J-1 Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your 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 U.S. Au pairs may return to the U.S. for a second program term as long as they meet the requirements.
HOURS AND STIPEND
As an au pair, you may provide childcare and light childcare related housework for your host family for up to 45 hours per week and up to 10 hours per day.
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 $195.75 per week. The stipend will be paid to you weekly by your host family.
Host families also pay up to $500 per candidate, per year toward the cost of 6 credit hours of required academic course work.
As an au pair you will be 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 childcare. An au pair provides busy parents with a much needed “extra set of hands.” Duties can include childcare and light housekeeping related to childcare, such as doing the children’s laundry and cleaning up after the children.
AU PAIR MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
- 18 to 26 years old.
- Proficient in conversational English.
- Good health.
- High school graduate or equivalent.
- Minimum of 200 hours of documented child care experience.
- Have successfully passed a detailed background investigation.
- Pass a detailed screening process.