What is special about the EU and EFTA?
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic organisation that currently brings together 27 European states. One part of the political, social and economic objectives of the Union is the principle of freedom of movement. In accordance with this principle, all 27 states agree to treat each other's citizens as if they were also citizens of their own countries. That means that EU citizens can choose to work, study or live in any other EU state. The same applies for citizens of the EFTA and EEA states.
Which countries belong to the EU and EFTA?
Overview of EU member states
Overview of EFTA member states
And what is the EEA?
The EEA is the European Economic Area. It includes the 27 member states of the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Which European countries are not part of the EU?
The following European countries do not belong to the EU, but some of them are currently involved in the so-called integration process: Albania, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Ukraine, Andorra and San Marino.
What are the concrete benefits that au pairs and host families get from the EU and EFTA?
A big part of the au pair experience for au pairs is getting to know their host country as well as the surrounding area. With the general elimination of border controls between the states of the EU, au pairs have a large area to discover through the free of movement that the EU provides. That means that au pairs who are EU citizens or also au pairs from non-EU states who are in the EU for their au pair experience can move freely through the European Union. For au pairs from non-EU states, however, this freedom of movement in other EU states (the so-called Schengen states) is limited to periods between one and three months. For EU au pairs, there are no restrictions.
Another advantage for au pairs is the fact that most EU member states have the Euro as a single currency. That means that when you travel to another one of these Euro states as an au pair you don't have to worry about currency exchange.
Documents that au pairs need for entering an EU or EFTA country
When you want to have an au pair stay in another EU country as an EU citizen, your normal personal identification card is sufficient as the main document for identification and border crossing purposes. As a non-EU citizen it is necessary to show a passport which will still be valid for at least three months, and which was issued within the last 10 years. In addition, other documents may be required for entry as an au pair such as an invitation letter, a valid return ticket or a visa.
Information about exactly which documents are required for entering specific countries is presented in our section Info Host Countries.
Changes resulting from Great Britain's exit from the EU
The United Kingdom left the European Union officially as of 31 January 2020. This has had an impact on the possibilities for EU nationals to spend time in the EU and for UK nationals to be au pairs in EU countries. In our blog article Au pair in the UK: The new post-Brexit situation in 2021, we provide up-to-date information about the current developments between the EU and Great Britain and outlines possibilities for au pairs in connection with a stay in the UK.
In which European countries are there the best chances to find an au pair or a host family?
AuPairWorld provides the world's largest selection of au pairs and host families. Within Europe it is mainly host families from the UK, France and Germany that are currently searching for au pairs. The largest number of European au pairs currently searching come from the countries Spain, France, Italy and Germany.