Au pairs who are matched with families who fall under one of the three exception categories, can apply for an emergency visa under the National Interest Exception (NIE). API will work with the au pair to submit for review to the consular, who will determine if the waiver and the visa will be approved. If approved, the au pair will need to travel within 30 days of the visa issue date. The National Interest Waiver will allow au pairs to enter the U.S., even if there is an active travel ban from their country. Please note that entry to the U.S. is always subject to the discretion of U.S. Customs & Border Protection officials.
Exceptions for the Au Pair Program include:
- Travel to provide care for a minor U.S. citizen, LPR, or nonimmigrant in lawful status by an au pair possessing special skills required for a child with particular needs (e.g., medical, special education, or sign language). Childcare services provided for a child with medical issues diagnosed by a qualified medical professional by an individual who possesses skills to care for such child will be considered to be in the national interest.
- Travel by an au pair that prevents a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other nonimmigrant in lawful status from becoming a public health charge or ward of the state of a medical or other public funded institution. We have received confirmation that this category refers to a family who would face losing their job if their au pair would be unable to arrive prior to December 31st, which would result in filing for unemployment or other publicly funded benefits.
- Childcare services provided for a child whose parents are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 or medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19.
- Critical foreign policy objectives: This only includes programs where an exchange visitor participating in an exchange program that fulfills critical and time-sensitive foreign policy objectives.