Do you have questions? The au pair program is our passion and we are more than happy to answer them! Below you will find a list of questions frequently asked by host families new to the program. (Not a prospective host family? Find out information about becoming an au pair in the United States or becoming an au pair outside the United States!) If you are unable to find an answer to your specific question, or would prefer to speak with a childcare representative, please CONTACT US OR hit the chat button below for immediate assistance during office hours.
To answer your question, YES! The au pair program is a cultural exchange program with a childcare component. Au pair participants are given the unique opportunity to experience everyday life with an American family, while continuing their education at a post-secondary accredited university. Host families are also afforded the benefit of receiving reliable and responsible childcare, from a qualified childcare provider, who often becomes part of their extended family.
Families wishing to host an au pair are required to:
- Pay up to $500 toward the cost of the au pair’s required academic course work
- Provide an appropriate suitable private room and three meals a day for the au pair
- Be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents fluent in spoken English
- Pay a weekly minimum stipend based on the program option selected
- Give the au pair one complete weekend off each month (Friday evening to Monday morning)
- Facilitate the care provider’s requirement to enroll in and attend an accredited post-secondary institution to fulfill his/her educational component requirement
- Provide a minimum of two weeks paid vacation for each 12-month exchange term (prorated for extension periods of six or nine months), in addition to regular weekly/monthly time off
- Include the au pair whenever possible in family meals, outings, holidays, and other events
- Host families and au pairs must sign an agreement detailing the au pair’s obligation to provide child care prior to the au pair’s placement in the host family’s home. In the event of questions regarding refunds or other adjustments, host families and au pairs should refer to their agreements. The Department of State does not have jurisdiction over contractual obligations.
Au Pair International is proud to support host families in most major cities across the United States. For verification of coverage in your area, please Contact Us directly.
While au pair candidates come to us with a wide range of childcare experience, they must each meet the following minimum requirements per Department of State regulations:
- 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
Many of our au pairs are also university graduates, have experience with infants and toddlers, have knowledge in First Aid, and possess a driver's license!
Of course! We work with many host families that have already found their au pair outside of our agency. Your au pair candidate will go through our normal screening and application process, and also receive thorough training and guidance with his/her visa acquisition.
To ensure that both host families and au pairs have a positive experience during the cultural exchange program, it is important to work with an agency who can advocate on both parties’ behalf. Au Pair International has been designated as a sponsor agency by the U.S. Department of State. As a sponsor agency, it is our obligation to:
- Screen and select both host families and au pairs as program participants according to selection criteria stated in the regulations;
- Provide au pairs with training in child development and child safety prior to their placement with a host family; and
- Provide an orientation upon arrival in the United States that includes comprehensive information on life in the United States
- Be transparent about fees, housing, representations and disclosures and provide an itemized list of all fees to be paid and a description of other costs that an au pair will likely incur while in the United States
- Monitor au pair participation throughout the program, including the physical location, progress, and welfare of the au pair
- File a program-specific management review to the State Department, so that the Department can regularly review internal controls and program compliance
Sponsors must also ensure the following:
Eligibility: Must be 18-to-26-years-old, proficient in spoken English and must complete at least six hours of academic credit or its equivalent at an accredited U.S. post-secondary educational institution.
On-Duty Hours: Childcare is limited to no more than 10 hours per day, and to a maximum of 45 hours per week.
Childcare Experience: Provide up to 10 hours a day/45 hours a week of childcare.
We are very fortunate to have partner agencies in over 40 countries, and will try our best to accommodate your specific requests! Whether you have requirements in regard to home country, languages spoken, religion, or childcare experience, we will work with you to find the right au pair to join your family.
Yes! We have both male and female au pair candidates looking for host families. By welcoming a male au pair into your home, your children will gain a big brother and fantastic role model!
Absolutely! In addition to our standard au pair program, we also have many infant qualified candidates available that are able to care for infants and toddlers under the age of 2. In order to be designated as an "infant qualified" au pair, candidates must provide verified references that show a minimum of 200 hours of childcare experience with children under the age of 2.
*Please keep in mind that if your infant is under the age of 3 months, another responsible adult must be present in your home at all times. Regulations prohibit an au pair from being the sole caregiver to an infant if he/she is less than 3-months of age.
To view our Standard, Infant Qualified and Professional program fees, please visit the following link: Program Fees
Our au pair candidates come to us with a variety of childcare experience, including those that have professional teaching experience or the ability to work with special needs children. Our childcare coordinators will be more than happy to discuss your family’s unique situation, and find an au pair to meet your needs.
Yes! One of the many benefits of hosting an au pair is having extra help in transporting children to various activities. Most of our au pair candidates have a full driver’s license, and express a willingness and desire to drive while in the United States. As part of our application process, we interview each au pair regarding his/her driving abilities to include:
- How long they have had their license
- If they have been involved in any car accidents
- How often they currently drive per week
- The types of roads they are accustomed to driving on
- If they are comfortable commuting in winter weather conditions
- If they own a car
Yes, in addition to the initial 12-month program term, your au pair may apply for an extension to her/his visa for an additional 6, 9, or 12 months. Therefore, your au pair could potentially stay with your family for up to 2 years!
Depending on your specific needs, we have several options for arrival. While the match process typically takes 6 weeks, we might have available au pairs in the country that are ready to arrive at your home within a few days. In some cases, we might also be able to expedite the process of bringing a candidate from overseas.
We also understand that our host families lead busy lives, which is why we offer flexible arrival dates for your convenience.
From start to finish, you will have the full support from Au Pair International to help ensure the success of your exchange program. Locally, your family will be assigned to an Area Director who will stay in close contact with you during the duration of your program term. He/she will be there to offer guidance and answer any questions you have along the way. Your Area Director will also plan fun activities for your au pair to attend each month, with the opportunity to meet other participants in the immediate area. You will also have the support of your assigned Regional Director, who will provide further guidance throughout the duration of your program term.
Au Pair International is also proud to offer fun and affordable sightseeing trips for au pair participants to attend. Our trips give au pairs the opportunity to safely explore popular U.S. destinations, while meeting other exchange participants from around the world. Previous destinations have included New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, and the Grand Canyon! For a list of our current upcoming destinations, please visit our Au Pair Destination Trips page.
*As a program participant, you will also be given access to a 24/7 support line for immediate assistance should the need arise.
Host families are required to afford their au pair a weekly stipend, or allowance, in accordance with Department of State regulations. 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 a minimum of $195.75 per week for standard and infant qualified au pairs. For professional au pairs, the minimum weekly stipend is $250.
While Au Pair International is not able to provide specific tax information for au pairs and host families, we are able to outline some general guidelines. We strongly advise that you contact your tax attorney or accountant for in-depth guidance.
For Host Families
As a host family, you may be eligible to take the Dependent and Child Care Credit when filing your Federal Tax Returns. Some employers also offer the benefit of a Dependent Care Flexible Spending account. In both cases, you will need to have your au pair's social security number for filing/reimbursement. Please consult with your tax attorney or accountant for more specific information.
For Au Pairs
As part of your J-1 program, you must file a Federal tax return. As an au pair in the US, you are considered an employee of your
host family for US tax purposes, under IRS (the US Tax Authority) regulations. The stipend you receive is considered an income or
a wage and you will owe tax to the IRS as part of filing your US tax return.
Most au pairs, are considered ‘non-resident aliens’ under IRS regulations. As of January 2018, the rules regarding tax returns for
non-residents in the US have changed. Below is a summary of what the changes mean:
• The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017 has removed the personal exemption of $4,050. In the past, this personal exemption
allowed J-1 participants to earn up to $4,050 tax-free.
• Every J-1 visa holder must still file a Federal tax return. If you plan to return to the US in the future, it is important
you file your tax return correctly. You can read more about the changes and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act here.
**Additional information on au pair taxes can be found by going to www.irs.gov and entering the words “au pair” in the search box.
Note that many online tax software providers such as Turbo Tax are not suitable for non-resident
aliens. TurboTax clearly states that their software is not suitable for non-residents. See: https://intuit.me/2Mb2TyZ &
https://intuit.me/2nBD2BKAu Pair International recommends Sprintax – the only online tax preparation software for non-resident US tax returns. When you set up an account with Sprintax you can easily prepare fully compliant Federal and State tax returns online in minutes.
As our participant, you will receive a $5 discount off the processing fee. The discount code for au pairs can be found in the Resources section of your online account.
In addition to the Program Fee paid to our agency and the weekly stipend for your au pair, please take into consideration these other expenses that may pertain to your family:
- Room and board expenses such as higher utility and food bills. Your au pair will pay for his/her own personal care products/clothing, etc.
- Host families are required to pay up to $500 per candidate/per year toward the cost of the au pair’s required academic course work.
- If your au pair is afforded the use of a family vehicle, take into consideration the cost of adding an additional driver to your car insurance.
- Plan for alternative childcare expenses during your au pair’s vacation time. Each 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). Au pairs also receive a minimum of 1.5 days off per week, and a minimum of one (1) full weekend off per month.
Whether you are new to the program, a seasoned host family, or making the decision to switch agencies, we have some stellar discounts just for you! All of our current program specials can be found on our Discounts and Rewards page.
Yes! If you receive a quote from another au pair agency, please send it our way and we will do our absolute best to match it or even beat it!
At Au Pair International, we have two different payment options for host families. Option 1 is for families who prefer to pay the entire amount of their program fees (for the whole year) prior to their au pair arriving. Option 2 is for families who wish to create a payment plan, and pay their program fees over the course of the year.
Please visit our Payment Options page for details!