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.
In order to obtain their visa and to be officially recognized as an au pair in France, you need to have the au pair contract be validated by the la DIRECCTE and supply supporting documents. First of all, you need to agree upon the working conditions with your au pair and include them in your au pair contract. You should then sign 4 copies and send them to your au pair. The au pair will sign the copies and send them back to you along with further documents:
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.
You need to enrol your au pair in a French course for foreign citizens for the entire duration of the stay at your home. Please do not forget to ask for a confirmation of enrolment.
Before your au pair arrives at your home, you need to present a set of documents to your local competent unité territoriale des DIRECCTE, allowing your au pair to achieve his/her official status as "stagiaire aide familial étranger". This set of documents includes above all the 4 signed copies of the au pair contract, the written confirmation of enrolment in the French course and the 4 documents your au pair will have sent you. The DIRECCTE will check the contract and return 3 validated copies to you. You will send one of them back to your au pair.
Please note: this stage may take some time. Please contact your competent unité territoriale des DIRECCTE for more detailed information on processing times and additional documents which may need to be handed in.
As soon as your future au pair has received the contract checked by the competent unité territoriale of the DIRECCTE and the confirmation of enrolment in the French course, they need to contact the French Embassy in their home country to apply for a "visa long séjour mention étudiant" (long-stay visa for au pairs). This is the only visa which allows them to work as an au pair in France. Au pairs who need a visa must have a basic knowledge of the French language (A1/A2). Please note that the issuing of the visa may take some time. The consulate will issue the visa and give a OFII certification application form to your au pair, which they should double-check. The long stay visa will serve as a residence title for one year once the au pair has taken the necessary steps at the OFII on site. Once they have received the visa, the au pair can enter France.
Within the first 8 days of their arrival at your home, you need to register your au pair as "stagiaire aide familial étranger" at the URSSAF. This will allow you to pay the employers' contributions and your au pair to receive Social Security benefits. You will find more details concerning this topic on our page Contract, insurance, driving licence & Co.
Upon arrival at your home, your au pair should send the certification application form of the French Immigration Office (Office Français de l'Immigration et de l'Intégration (OFII)) checked by the consulate at your local OFII. They will receive a writ of summons by mail in order to process the registration formalities (validation of visa, medical check up, payment of administrative charges and presentation of information concerning the au pairs personal data and marital status, as well as address in France). Therefore, your au pair will need a proof of address from you. This formality is compulsory for your au pair to be able to legally reside in France and should be carried out within three months upon the au pairs arrival in France.
OFII: administrative steps at the OFII
Service-public.fr: status of "stagiaire aide familial étranger"
DIRECCTE: list of the competent unités territoriales in France
Department of Foreign Affairs: 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.