American au pair in London?

Question of the week (7 February 2011). John from the USA wishes to travel to London to become an au pair. His question to AuPairWorld: What do I have to bear in mind with regard to visa requirements? And: Is it legal for an American to become an au pair in the UK? 

Hello AuPairWorld!

I am from the USA and I would like to be an au pair in London, UK. What do I have to bear in mind with regard to visa requirements?? One family told me that it was illegal for an American to work as an au pair in London!? Is this true? Thank you very much in advance!

John A. from the USA

The Support Team's Reply

Dear John,

Thank you very much for your email. We contacted the UK Border Agency in order to obtain more information for you. US-citizens are not entitled to legally work as au pairs in the UK.

However, you can enter the UK on a tourist or student visa. In the former case, you could live with a family as their guest, but you would not be allowed to work for them. You would also have to leave the country after three months. In the latter case, you could work as an au pair for a host family, provided that you could prove that you were studying/taking classes in the UK and that your working schedule would not exceed 20 hours per week. However, please bear in mind that the cost involved for the application for a student visa is considerably high.

An au pair in the classical sense would travel to a foreign country where he/she would be able to learn the (foreign) national language. However, this would not be the case for you in the UK, as English is your native language. Therefore, I strongly suggest that you choose a different country where a different language is spoken. You should have a basic knowledge of this language.

I hope we were able to help you with your question.

Kind regards

AuPairWorld Support Team

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