Au pairs from non-EU countries need a visa in order to enter Germany. It is important to start the visa application process sufficiently early as it can take some time to complete.
Step 1: Check passport validity
Au pairs need to be certain that they have a valid passport before planning their trip.
Step 2: Invitation letter and contract
The future host family sends the au pair the signed au pair contract and an invitation letter by post. The au pair needs these documents for the visa application. It is therefore important that they be sent well in advance of the au pair stay. Here it is possible to download templates for the invitation letter and contract.
Important: Depending on the German embassy in the au pair's home country, processing times for applications can sometimes be quite lengthy. We therefore advise au pairs to apply for an appointment for a visa application at the relevant diplomatic mission as soon as possible after they have made definite arrangements with a host family. While waiting for an appointment to be available, the au pair can get the contract with the host family signed and and start making sure that all the necessary documents are ready.
Step 3: Apply for visa
1. The German Embassy examines the au pair's basic knowledge of German. The individual embassies define what knowledge level will be considered adequate. Therefore, it makes sense for the au pair to inquire at the local embassy in advance to find out what level of language proficiency is deemed sufficient for an au pair visa.
2. In Germany, there is an age limit for au pairs. An au pair cannot be older than 26 years of age when the visa application is made.
3. The au pair needs the following documents when applying for a visa at the Germany embassy in her or his home country.
- the au pair contract signed by the host family (original)
- the invitation letter from the host family (original)
- a valid passport
- the insurance confirmation from the host family (the host family commits to taking out insurance when signing the invitation letter)
- a statement of motivation indicating how the au pair stay fits together with the au pair's specific plans
According to the au pair contract, the au pair stay should start within 6 months after the application for the visa has been made. The duration of the au pair placement must be for at least 6 months.
As soon as the visa has been issued, the au pair may travel to Germany. The processing time required for the visa application can vary from 6 weeks up to 3 months time. For more detailed information, contact the respective German Embassy and inquire.
Further documents can sometimes be required, such as a police clearance certificate or a health certificate. Again, it is advisable to inquire directly at the German embassy in your country.
For issuing an au pair visa, the Foreigner's Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde in German) may ask the host family to sign a letter of committment. In Hamburg, this document costs 25 euros. Families that sign a letter of commitment in order to employ a non-European au pair, may want to consider taking an insurance you should not forget to take out insurance to cover potential deportation costs.
Step 4: Registration in Germany
Upon your arrival in Germany, the host family must register the au pair at the Residents' Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) and the Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde). The residence permit will first be issued for 3 months and must be extended thereafter.
As of 1 September 2011, au pairs in Germany need to apply for an electronic residence title, the so-called "eAufenthaltstitel", at their local Immigration Office. For this purpose, a biometric passport photograph is required. Costs vary depending on the duration of the period of residence. A residence permit which is valid for up to one year costs 100 euros. Based on current experiences, it may take 3 to 4 weeks until the residence permit is issued. Therefore, it is advisable to contact the local Immigration Office in good time regarding this matter.
Special regulations for specific countries
1. Citizens from Argentina, Australia, Chile, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan or Uruguay may be able to apply for a Working Holiday Maker visa. Please contact the responsible German consulate representatives for more information.
2. Visa exemption on entry: Au pairs from Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, South Korea and the USA may travel to Germany without a visa. Please note, however: It is necessary to apply for a residence title at the local Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde) within three months after arrival and before the au pair placement starts. It is not allowed to start working before the residence title and work permit are granted by the authorities. Also important: Au pairs need to prove a basic knowledge of German at the A1 level in the European Framework of Reference for Languages at the local Immigration Office in order to receive the residence title.
Secondary employment not allowed
Au pairs who enter Germany on a visa may only carry out the job for which the visa was issued. According to the Immigration Office in Berlin, a secondary employment (part-time job) is not allowed.