Visa and entry requirements for au pairs in Germany

What are the entry requirements for au pairs in Germany? Which au pairs need a visa? What documents should an au pair get ready before departure and what needs to be done once an au pair arrives in Germany? We've collected all the important information for you here.

Au pair at the airport

The requirements for EU citizens and non-EU citizens are different.

EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom

EFTA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

Citizens of all other countries

  • Information for au pairs from the EU and the EFTA

    Au pairs from an EU or EFTA state do not need a visa to enter Germany. However, there are some important points to keep in mind.

    Step 1: An identity card or passport is required

    It is necessary to have a valid identity card or passport to come to Germany. Before leaving, au pairs should check how long their documents will still be valid.

    Step 2: Register at the Residents Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt)

    Upon arrival in Germany, au pairs need to register at the local Residents Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt).

    The following documents are needed for this:

    • Identity card or passport
    • Copy of the au pair contract signed by the au pair and the host family
  • Au pair visa

    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 from the au pair, such as a police clearance certificate or a health certificate. Again, it is advisable for the au pair to inquire directly at the German embassy in his or her country.

    Additional documents may also be requested from the host family, for example a registration certificate, a questionnaire for host families from the Federal Employment Agency, or a letter of committment.

    With the letter of commitment, the host family declares that it is prepared to cover the living costs of the au pair. This commitment remains in force until the au pair has left the country. When the host family has signed such a letter of commitment, it is also advisable to think about implementing an insurance to cover possible deportation costs.

    Step 4: Registration in Germany

    The au pair visa is initially valid for a period of three months and enables the immediate commencement of au pair activities. When the au pair has arrived in Germany, the host family must register the au pair at the Residents' Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt). The residence permit and work permit will first be issued for a period of 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.

  • Working Holiday visa

    What exactly is the Working Holiday programme?

    Under the Working Holiday programme, young persons from specific countries aged between 18 and 30 years may enter Germany to live and work there for a limited period of time. For this purpose, they are issued a Working Holiday visa.

    Please note: Young people who are in Germany with the Working Holiday Maker Visa do not officially have the status of an au pair, but rather that of an employee. As a result, there are other rules regarding the contract with the host family. The Holiday Maker programme focuses on travelling rather than on working. Depending on the au pair's country of origin, it may be the case that the au pair is not allowed to work for the same employer throughout his or her entire stay. More detailed information should be available from the German embassies.

    Who can apply under this programme?

    Young persons from Argentina, Australia, Chile, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, and Uruguay are entitled to apply for this visa with the respective German authorities. For more information please contact the relevant German embassy directly.

    How does it work?

    The Working Holiday visa can be issued only once for a given person. Please note: Under this programme, there is a fixed age limit that may not be exceeded. Au pairs from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan should be at least 18 years of age but not yet have turned 31 at the time of application. For Canadian citizens, there is an age limit of 35 years.

    What documents are needed for the application?

    • a completed visa application form
    • a valid passport; the validity should extend beyond the duration of stay by at least 3 months
    • a recent biometric passport photo (35 x 45 mm)
    • a copy of your return flight ticket or a confirmed flight reservation (round trip)
    • proof of medical insurance
    • proof of sufficient financial resources to afford the planned stay
Kleiner Globus und Reisepass auf Schreibtisch

If your next au pair comes from a country outside of the EU and you'd like to have some support dealing with the visa application, we can help. Take advantage of our many years of experience in the au pair business. With our Visa Service, we provide assistance in completing all the necessary forms - for your family and for your au pair.

More information

We are continually researching and updating our host country information, but cannot guarantee that all material provided is complete and correct. If you notice gaps or inaccuracies, we would like to hear from you.