The responsibilities of an au pair are generally restricted to child care and or housekeeping duties and are mostly unpaid.
J1 visas are required for working as an au pair and can be secured once you've been confirmed with an exchange program or sponsor family and a have completed IAP66 form. Your visa is valid for 12 months and at the end of the 12 months, you will be allowed to stay for an additional 30 days to visit the country at your leisure. You must then return to your country of origin far a minimum of a year before applying for another visa.
It is illegal to work as an au pair on a tourist visa. There are companies specializing in finding au pair positions but opportunities are at a premium and are immediately filled by girls with prior experience in child care, a drivers licence and a strong command of English. Candidates must be between the ages of 18 and 27 and a Bachelor's degree is a plus.
Au pairs placed with families who have children under 2 years old must have at least 200 hours of child care experience with infants under 2. Au pairs may only be placed in a family with an infant under 3 months old if a parent or other adult caregiver is also home and fully responsible for the infant.
There are 11 agencies designated by the State Department to run the Au Pair Program. Both the host family and potential au pair typically pay these agencies an application fee and a program fee which varies from $4,990 to $6,955, depending on the agency used. Au pairs pay fees which vary depending on the US agency and the home country agency they use (if they do not apply directly to the US agency).
The Au Pair Program is administered by the US Department of State. A typical 12-month program may have fees that resemble these from Au Pair USA:
|Program Fees||Amount||Due||Au Pair USA Services Covered|
|Application Fee |
|$250||With application||Processing of the host family application and program approval|
|Deposit||$2,500||Upon matching with an au pair||Recruitment and screening of au pair, police clearance report, medical history, interview, matching and placement|
|Program Fee Balance||$4,400*||Upon the au pair's arrival or according to payment plan||Au pair's visa, most of the au pair's round trip transportation, year-long support services of a local coordinator, a portion of the au pair's medical insurance and the au pair's training and orientation program|
Basic application criteria vary from agency to agency, but there are a few typical requirements:
It is the families responsibility to choose an agency that offers adequate screening of an au pair's background and mental make-up. The best situations are those in which the family and au pair truly like each other. It is also the families responsibility to be able to offer adequate room, board, and salary for the au pair as they are not a servant, but a valued employee.
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