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 16 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.

When AuPairWorld is used to bring an au pair and a family in the USA together, the process works as follows: 

Step 1: Search for and find an au pairing partner 

The au pair and host family make contact on the AuPairWorld platform.

Step 2: Select an agency

The host family and au pair agree on which of the the 16 officially authorized US au pair agencies they will use.

Step 3: Contact the agency

The au pair and host family contact the selected agency and present themselves as a so-called "pre-match". The ageny will then be responsible for the subsequent legal and official matters involved in the au pair placement.

Step 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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.

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