Driving in the host country: Does an au pair need a driving licence?

(Also to be found with keywords Driving licence and Car driving in a foreign country)

Depending on the family many au pair duties are taken care of with a car. This can involve bring children to school or kindergarten as well as driving them to free time activities. For this reason many host families look for an au pair who has a driving licence.

Father and Kid doing a car race

There is no explicit requirement that au pairs have to have a driving licence. Nonetheless, host families often search for an au pair who is able to drive. For many host families there are various errands and activities with the kids which involve using the car. When this is the case, it is also important that the au pair has enough driving experience to safely and confidently drive the children where they need to go.

In countries like the USA where cars have a big role in everyday life, having a driving licence and sufficient driving experience can be seen as an important qualification for au pairs.

Driving on the right vs driving on the left

In countries like Australia, Great Britain, Cyprus, India, Ireland, Japan, Malta, Namibia, New Zealand and South Africa and Thailand, cars drive on the left rather than the right. Au pairs unfamiliar with this need to consider if they will be able to manage driving on the left. 

Doing an au pair stay without a driving licence

For au pairs who don't have a driving licence, we recommend looking for a host family in a medium to large-sized city in your intended host country. In this type of urban setting, it is usually possible to bring the children to school and handle other activities of the children with public transport or on foot.

And there are countries such as the Netherlands, where lots of errands and activities are done with the bicycle.

Driving in the host country: Our tips

Some weeks before departing for the host country the au pair should check with the authorities in the host country if their driving licence will be valid there. If the au pair is using the host family car, it should be clarified how insurance costs for any possible damages will be handled. If the au pair comes from a country where one drives on the other side of the road than in the host country, then host families should make sure that the au pair gets some practice driving in the new situation. Also au pairs should be acquainted with the traffic regulations of the host country.