Visa and entry requirements for au pairs in the USA

Au pairs in the USA require a J-1 visa which can only be obtained through one of the officially approved agencies. How that works exactly and what au pairs and host families need to keep in mind is explained step for step here.

Young woman standing with arms outstretched with the sky and an airplane in the background

Young people from almost all countries in the world can become au pairs in the USA. The only exception is for people  from countries which do not maintain a diplomatic relationship with the USA. All persons wanting to be an au pair in the USA must do so through one of the designated US au pair agenciesThe minimum length of an au pair stay as regulated by the J-1 VISA Exchange Visitor Program is 12 months.

This is the procedure when AuPairWorld is used for the search:

Step 1: Register with AuPairWorld and select your agency

We work with trusted partner organisations which you can select as your agency for your au pair experience. Host families and au pairs work directly with one of these organisations to prepare and sponsor the au pair placement.

Step 2: Prepare the au pair stay together with the agency

Various conditions have to be fulfilled in order for the au pair to receive the J-1 visa. The designated agency conducts a personal interview with the au pair and checks at least three written references from non-family sources. In addition, it is necessary for au pairs to submit a medical report showing that they can successfully participate in the au pair program and to undergo a criminal record check. Also au pairs take a psychometric test to determine their psychological fitness for an au pair stay in the USA. 

Step 3: Apply for the J-1 visa

In cooperation with the agency, the au pair or the agency sends a visa application to the American embassy or consulate in the au pair's home country. Before the visa can be issued, the au pair needs to be interviewed at the embassy or consulate. The visa will only be issued when the au pair has a definite placement through the selected agency.

Step 4: Orientation program conducted by the agency

The au pair stay in the USA begins with a five-day orientation program conducted by the agency that is sponsoring the stay. At the end of the orientation the au pair travels to the host family.

Useful links and sources

U.S. Department of State regulations for the au pair program in the USA

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.