Step-by-Step Guide: Understanding Au Pair Visa Requirements for the USA

Understanding Au Pair Visa Requirements for the USA

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Au Pair in America participants use the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa to live and work with their host families for a year while providing child care. The program requires that Au Pairs return home at the end of their program participation.


The au pair program is a cultural exchange program for people from other countries. Most au pairs come to the United States on a J-1 Visa. This type of visa is designed explicitly for au pair participants, and it allows them to live with a host family and help with childcare in exchange for a small financial compensation.

As families explore the prospect of hosting an au pair for childcare assistance, understanding the intricacies of the arrangement is crucial; au pair visa requirements in the USA, for instance, play a significant role in the decision-making process, ensuring a smooth and compliant experience for both the host family and the au pair.

The requirements for this type of visa differ slightly depending on the country where the au pair is from. Generally, the person must be 18- to 26 years old and fluent in English. They must also be willing to participate in the au pair program for at least 12 months. The person must have a clean criminal record and be able to provide proof of that. The au pair should also have a private room in the home where they will live during their stay with the host family.

Some au pairs choose to enroll in a college or university in the United States to further their education, which may allow them to get an F-1 Student Visa. Nonimmigrant visas require the au pair to meet educational and program requirements, including classroom hours. Some au pairs decide to continue participating in the program by applying for a second year. To do so, the au pair must satisfy the program’s regulations and requirements and have a valid J-1 visa for a second year. 


All au pairs arrive in the USA on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. Some function as the visa sponsor for au pairs. It guides them through submitting the necessary documents to the U.S. Department of State and obtaining their visa at an Embassy or Consulate. Go Au Pair will confirm the au pair’s education, placement knowledge, training and requirements, and expectations for their program participation one final time before they prepare their official visa application form, Form DS-2019. They will also ensure the au pair has valid travel insurance that meets the embassy’s requirements.

It will receive its visa once the au pair has completed an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This full-page stamp in her passport will indicate that it is a J-1 au pair and includes the issuing post name, visa number, the date of issue, and the date of expiration. The visa will also show whether it is valid for multiple or single entries and if it has been issued in the name of an individual or a family.

The au pair must always carry this visa with them during their stay in the United States, including when traveling outside the country. Having the correct visa is crucial as it prevents them from being unable to return to the USA should their situation change or should it fail to meet the program’s responsibilities.


Young people worldwide participate in the Au Pair program to enrich their lives and those of their Host Families. They help with childcare and household chores and offer a unique cultural exchange opportunity. A host family needs to understand visa requirements and the interview process to make an informed decision about hiring an Au Pair.

Au pairs must undergo a personal interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. The interviewer checks to ensure that au pairs can support themselves during their stay in the United States and will comply with the Au Pair Exchange Visitor Program rules. Applicants must have clean criminal records to receive a visa.

Most programs help prepare Au Pairs for their personal visa interview and have a high success rate. In the last decade, they have averaged a visa approval rate of 96.9%*. They simplify the fee payments, explain visa regulations, and prepare Au Pairs for a successful interview experience.

Video calls are a common way for au pairs and host families to connect before starting the contract. This is a great way to verify that the person you are talking to is who they say they are and to ensure that both parties are on the same page about their expectations. It is also an important step to avoid scams. Scammers rarely agree to meet through a video call, as this will reveal their identity.


Getting an au pair visa is crucial to cultural exchange and personal growth. It is essential, to be honest and transparent throughout the process to avoid any issues that may arise. Falsifying information can lead to a visa denial or future travel restrictions. It is also crucial for au pairs to have a valid passport, which must be suitable for the duration of their stay in the United States.

After a successful interview with the Designated Agency, au pairs will receive their official DS-2019 form. This document is necessary for the visa application and confirms that au pairs meet all requirements. It also includes the details of their program, placement, and expectations with their Host Family.

DS-2019 is a nonimmigrant visa that grants au pairs the legal right to work in the United States for up to 12 months. Once au pairs complete their first year of the program, they can apply to extend their visa for 6, 9, or 12 additional months. Au pairs who wish to stay in the United States beyond their initial 12-month visa program may also consider pursuing an employment-based immigrant visa, such as the EB-3 visa. This requires a sponsor willing to offer them a job and provides an excellent opportunity for au pairs who have developed valuable skills during their time in the U.S.