What is an Au Pair? How Do I Become a Host Family?
We are a designated agency. You may check our designation with the US Department of State.
An au pair is a young adult who lives with a host family and provides childcare services for that family. Au pairs enter the United States legally on J-1 visas, and stay for one year. There is a one-time option to extend an au pair's stay in the US for up to a year. Become a host family and give your children the gift of a global perspective.
The term "au pair" means "on par", and this reflects the ideals of the program. The best way to have the most valuable cultural experience is to treat your au pair as a member of your family. You will then have a chance to experience another culture in depth. Your children will have a chance to learn about people in other nations, and about how they view the world.
Your children will learn the basics of another language -- or if you choose an English speaking au pair, they will learn new words, and maybe be able to imitate another accent. They will make a friend they will remember for the rest of their lives. All these things will prepare your children at an early age for a world in which cross-cultural competence is essential to success. That being said, hiring a live-in au pair is an excellent long-term investment in your child's future.
Live-in Au Pair Childcare Services - How it Works
Of course, your au pair will also be your employee. Your au pair's immigration status will allow them to work for and provide childcare services only to you. Because of the nature of the au pair relationship, au pairs are generally more flexible than other childcare services -- however, au pairs must be paid at least $195.75 per week, and must not work more than 45 hours per week.
As with any employee, pre-screening is important to us. We verify that they have no criminal record, that they are proficient in English, and that they are physically well. We perform a psychometric test and unlike other au pair agencies, we conduct an in-person interview overseas, and we check that the references provided are accurate. We reject au pair candidates often, but that being said, we don't force you to take any specific au pair.
As the cost of childcare services and nannies continue to grow, the au pair option is becoming a good short-term financial decision as well. The total cost to each host family of our program is around $320 per week, and in many cases part of this cost is tax-deductible. If you are looking to become an au pair host family, feel free to call us at 727-388-3472, between 9am and 5pm Eastern. You can also reach us by fax at 727-231-8256. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you have.
What is the Law?
The U.S. au pair program is carefully regulated by the Department of State. A full listing of the law can be found at 22 CFR 62 here.