Visa requirements for au pairs in the UK

What are the entry requirements for au pairs travelling to the UK? Do you need to have an au pair visa? All the important information for both EU and non-EU citizens is available here for au pairs interested in spending time in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.

Young woman with suitcase at the airport

Entry regulations based on the nationality of the au pair

Citizens from the EU and EFTA countries can enter the UK without a visa. They just need a valid ID card or passport. 

For au pairs from other nationalities, there are different possibilities to become an au pair in Great Britain:

Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme


For au pairs from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Monaco and British citizens of the overseas territories or British nationals living overseas.

Ancestry Visa


For au pairs from Commonwealth countries.

General student visa (Tier 4)


For au pairs from all nationalities.

Au pairs can check their eligibility for possible visas using the UK Immigration Point Based System (PBS).

How to apply as au pair for the visa for the UK:

  • Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme

    The Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme makes it possible for young people (aged 18-30) from certain countries to spend a limited time living and working in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.

    Who can apply for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme?

    Young people from the following countries are eligible for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme

    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Hong Kong
    • New Zealand
    • Japan
    • Republic of Korea
    • Taiwan
    • Monaco
    • British citizens of the overseas territories or British nationals living overseas


    For au pairs from the Republic of Korea, your own government will act as your sponsor during your stay in the UK. Bear in mind that the number of places and sponsorship certificates for nationals of these countries is limited. You need to apply for your visa within 3 months upon receipt of your certificate of sponsorship. (Please note: the latter is not a printed document, but a reference number).

    How does it work?

    Under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, points are given for nationality and age. It is crucial for applicants to have enough funds (maintenance) to support themselves for the length of the stay in Britain, and the applicant should provide evidence of having access to at least 1,890 GBP in savings.

    Step 1: Check passport validity

    Au pairs should make ake sure that they have a valid passport before planning a trip.

    Step 2: Sign the au pair contract

    The host family should send the signed au pair contract to the au pair. 

    Step 3: Apply for visa

    The au pair should make the arrangements for the visa, which can applied for online.

    When applying,  the following documents will have to be submitted to the British embassy or consulate in the au pair's home country:

    • a valid passport containing a blank page for the visa
    • a passport photo meeting the necessary requirements
    • a bank statement proving  access to at least GBP 1,890
    • results of a tuberculosis (TB) test if requiredsofern notwendig
    • certified translation of all documents that are not written in either English or Welsh


    It is advisable to check with the British embassy or consulate whether any further documents are required.

    The visa is usually issued to cover a period of 2 years. Therefore, the respective au pairs do not need to contact the UK Visas and Immigration Office after 6 months. The au pair may leave and re-enter the country within this period of time. If an au pair who requires a visa needs to register with the police, this will be noted in his/her passport. In this case, the au pair should register within 7 days of arrival.

    The work permit which the au pair receives under the Youth Mobility Scheme is automatically valid for 24 months.

  • Ancestry visa

    In case the au pair is a Commonwealth citizen, there is also another option he or she may benefit from: the UK Ancestry visa.

    It is a visa being issued to those Commonwealth citizens, who can prove that they have a grandparent born in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man.

    Who is eligible for this programme?

    Au pairs from Commonwealth countries can apply for an UK Ancestry visa, if:

    • they or the relevant parent were adopted, or were born in the UK (please note: you cannot claim UK ancesty through step-parents!)
    • they can pove that they have a grandparent either born in the UK, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, on a British-registered ship or aircraft, or, before 31 March 1922 in what is now the Republic of Ireland
    • they are applying from outside the UK
    • they are able and planning to work in the UK
    • they are at least 17 years old
    • they have enough money and need no help from public funds.


    For detailed information on the visa application and eligibility, please consult the UK Visas and Immigration office.

  • Student visa (Tier 4)

    Students who have been offered a place on a course may be allowed to work a certain number of hours per week (usually up to 20), depending on their course level and sponsor. 

    It should be clarified between the au pair and host family, how many hours of au pair work are expected and how these hours will be scheduled. A full time study course may make it difficult to also accommodate au pair duties for a host family. Keep in mind that the immigration officials at the point of entry always have the right to refuse entry should they believe that the student is in truth intending to work full time. 

    If there are further questions regarding this visa, please check the official information on the General student visa (Tier 4) or contact the British authorities directly.

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.
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