Which language level do I need to become an au pair?
Improving skills in the language of the host country is one of the major goals of the au pair stay. Even before the start of the stay, au pairs should have a basic knowledge of the host country language. This can be necessary to obtain an au pair visa or work permit and it is also important in avoiding serious communication problems with the host family.
Language skill requirements for the au pair stay
The required language level for an au pair stay differs depending on the host country and also whether a visa is necessary for the stay. A basic knowledge of the host country language is necessary in any case so that the au pair can deal with basic situations in the host country and have a basis for communicating with the host family. For this au pairs should be able to ask and answer basic questions.
Language level required for different host countries
|Country||Language level||Proof required?|
|Australia||No official requirement for subclass 417
Functional English for subclass 462
|For Work & Holiday visa subclass 462 a school record or certificate is required|
|Austria||Basic knowledge of German (at least A1 level)||Yes|
|Belgium||Basic knowledge of German, Dutch or French (depending on region)||No|
|Canada||No official requirement||No|
|Denmark||Basic knowledge of Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English or German||Yes. Proof with school leaving certificate|
|England (United Kingdom)||No official requirement||No|
|Finland||Basic knowledge of Finnish or Swedish||Yes|
|France||Basic knowledge of French (at least A1 level)||Yes|
|Germany||Basic knowledge of German (at least A1 level)||Yes. Often handled with a personal interview at the German embassy or consulate|
|Iceland||No official requirement||No|
|Ireland||No official requirement||No|
|Italy||No official requirement||No|
|Liechtenstein||Basic knowledge of German||Yes|
|Luxembourg||Basic knowledge (at least A1) of Luxembourgish, German, French or English||No|
|Netherlands||No official requirement||No|
|New Zealand||No official requirement||No|
|Norway||No official requirement||No|
|Sweden||Basic knowledge of Swedish or documented interest in the Swedish language||Official document or proof of language skills or interest|
|Spain||No official requirement. Native language of au pair cannot be Spanish||No|
|Switzerland||No official requirement. Native language of au pair cannot be the same as that of the host family||No|
|USA (America)||No official requirement||No|
Why some basic language skills are important even at the beginning of the stay
Even if the au pair and the host family share a language that is not the language of the host country, this is not sufficient to ensure basic safety for all concerned. If the au pair is looking after the children when the host parents are not present, the au pair must be in the position to interact with emergency services in a language that is generally understood in the host country in case this is necessary.
For further information regarding safety aspects of an au pair stay, please see our Safety and security section.
Virtual learning with a language app (special offer)
Many au pairs also use a language learning app to help develop their second language skills. An app cannot replace all the different benefits of in-person language instruction, but it does offer great support for getting ready before the au pair stay and for maintaining language skills after returning home.
AuPairWorld partners with the company Babbel so that au pairs get a 30% discount on subscriptions to the highly rated Babbel app.