If French is your mother tongue or the official language of your home country, it is possible that you are not entitled to enter France as a "stagiaire aide familial étranger". In this case, you should turn to your host family's local DIRECCTE before taking any further steps.
If you do not have a valid passport, you should apply for one as soon as possible. It must be valid for your entire stay in France.
To obtain your visa and be covered by the French Social Security, your au pair contract needs to be validated by the DIRECCTE. For this purpose, you need a health certificate issued no more than 3 months prior to your departure and proving that you are in good health. Therefore, you should make an appointment with your doctor. All documents you hand in to the DIRECCTE must be translated into French. Your school leaving certificate (A-levels, diploma, etc.) must furthermore be translated into French by an agreed translator. You will find a list of agreed translators at the French Embassy or Consulate of your country.
Your host family needs to present the documents to the DIRECCTE to have the contract validated. You should first of all come to an agreement with regard to your terms of contract. Then you should sign the 4 copies of the contract and send them to your host family along with further documents which will form the set of documents to be presented to the DIRECCTE:
Please note: The validation of your contract by the DIRECCTE can take some time. Furthermore, it is possible that you will be asked to hand in more documents. Your host family should contact their local DIRECCTE for more information.
Once your contract has been validated, your host family will send you two copies and the confirmation of enrolment into the French course for foreign citizens. You will keep one copy of the contract for yourself. You will need the other one and the confirmation of enrolment into the French course to apply for your visa.
To be able to enter France to work as an au pair, you need a « visa long séjour mention étudiant ». This is the only visa which allows you to enter France to work as an au pair. It is not possible to apply for a visa Vacances-Travail for this purpose. Please contact the French Embassy in your home country for more information. The au pair contract validated by the DIRECCTE and the confirmation of enrolment into the French course form important documents. However, it is possible that you need to present additional documents. Au pairs who need a visa must have a basic knowledge of the French language (A1/A2). Please note: it may take some time until your visa is issued.
The embassy will give you your visa and the OFII certification application form (Office Français de l'Immigration et de l'Intégration) which it will have validated. The long term visa will serve as your residence title for one year after you have carried out the formalities at the OFII on-site.
Within eight days upon your arrival in France, your host family needs to register you with the local URSSAF (Unions de Recouvrement des cotisations de Sécurité sociale et d'allocations familiales) as a "stagiaire aide familial étranger". Furthermore, it is compulsory that they register you with the insurance institution Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie to have you covered in case of illness and maternity. Your host family will pay your Social Security contributions.
Within the first 3 months of your arrival at your host family's home, you need to present the OFII certification application form (Office Français de l'Immigration et de l'Intégration) which you have received from the embassy to the OFII close to your host family's home. You will then receive a writ of summons from the OFII to process your formalities for registration (the validation of your visa, your medical certificate, your payment of administrative charges and presentation of your information concerning your personal data and your host parents' place of residence in France). For the formalities you will need your host parents' certificate of residency. Please read the information provided by the OFII to find out more.
Service-Public.fr: Official site informing on the steps which need to be taken to become an au pair in France
DIRECCTE: List of the various regional units in France
OFII: Formalities for registration with the OFII
French Foreign Ministry: Information on visa
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.