Entry requirements for au pairs

Important information about entry regulations for au pairs in the United Kingdom (UK) can be found here.

The Quick Check for au pairs tells you which criteria your au pair should fulfil.

Becoming a host family in the UK

Who can work as an au pair for your family?

EU & EFTA countries

If your au pair is an EU or EFTA citizen, they can enter the UK on a valid passport or identity card. No entry visa is needed, as freedom of movement applies to all EU and EFTA citizens. There are no restrictions with regard to the duration of stay or residence. Citizens of these countries may also live and work in the UK if they have already done so in the past.

Tier 5 states

If your au pair is neither from the EU nor from an EFTA state, they can probably become an au pair in your family under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme. The following persons may apply:

  • citizens of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan
  • British overseas citizens, British overseas territories citizens or British nationals (overseas).

For applicants of Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan, the local governments act as sponsors. There is, however, a limited number of places and sponsorship certificates for each country. Au pairs must apply for their visa within 3 months upon receipt of their certificate of sponsorship (please note: the latter is not a printed document, but a reference number).


Au pairs can apply for their Tier 5 visa online. The Tier 5 visa is usually issued for a period of 2 years. Additionally, the work permit au pairs receive under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme is automatically valid for 24 months.

Au pairs entering the UK on a visa need to register with the police within the first 7 days upon their arrival. This will be noted in their passports.

The webpage of the Home Office* will provide you with all necessary information about visa applications in the context of the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme.

*Please note: The 'UK Border Agency' has been replaced. 'UK Visas and Immigration' is now carrying out formalities for applicants wishing to visit, work, study or settle in the UK.

All applicants need to demonstrate that they can afford their stay in the UK. 

Student visa

Students from outside the EU / EFTA who have been offered a place on a course may be allowed to work a certain number of hours per week (usually up to 20), depending on their course level and sponsor. Bear in mind, however, that most host families wish their au pairs to work 30 hours per week.

Clarify with your au pair in advance how many hours per week they are expected to work and how their individual work schedule will look like. A full time study course may make it difficult for both of you to coordinate the au pair's working hours with their course schedule. Keep in mind that the immigration officials at the point of entry always have the right to refuse entry should they believe that the student is in truth intending to work full time.

Please turn directly to the UK government if you have any further questions concerning the student visa for the UK.

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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