If French is your au pair's mother tongue or the official language of their home country, it is possible that they are not entitled to enter France as a "stagiaire aide familial étranger". In this case, you should first turn to your local DIRECCTE before signing the au pair contract in vain.
If the au pair does not have a current passport, an application should be made immediately to obtain one. The passport must be valid for the full length of the intended stay in France.
Your au pair is a citizen of an EU member state? In this case, you should have a look at the page How to host an au pair from the EU.
To enter France as an au pair, a non-EU citizen needs a « visa long séjour VLS-TS». Only this type of visa makes it possible to come to France and work as an au pair. The au pair should contact the French Embassy in his/her home country for more detailed information about the necessary documents such as the au pair contract (convention au pair) signed by both parties. 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 the visa is issued.
Once in France the au pair must validate his/her visa online and declare himself/herself to the OFII. The au pair MUST do it within three months of arriving in France. If the au pair fails to do so, he/she will no longer be legally present in France and will be unable to re-enter the Schengen Area. The validation procedure is completely online and the au pair will need to provide:
The OFII (French Office for Immigration and Integration) reserves the right to call the au pair for a meeting to carry out further formalities, have a medical check-up and/or sign an integration contract.
NB: if the au pair wishes to remain in France for longer than the validity period of the VLS-TS, he/she must apply for a residence permit at the local prefecture within the two months prior to the expiry date of his/her long-term visa. For further information, see the website of the local prefecture or contact the Service Public Français.
Within eight days upon the au pair's arrival in France, the host family needs to register him/her with the local URSSAF (Unions de Recouvrement des cotisations de Sécurité sociale et d'allocations familiales) to have him/her covered in case of illness and maternity. The host family will pay the Social Security contributions.
OFII: administrative steps at the OFII
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 competent unités territoriales in France
Department of Foreign Affairs: information on visa
France-Visas: The official visa website for France
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.