Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is an Au Pair?
Young adults from overseas that spend a year with an American family providing live-in childcare. The Au Pair program is regulated by the State Department and all Au Pairs are in the US on a J1-Cultural Exchange Visa. Our candidates:

  • Are between the ages of 18 and 26 years old
  • Recent secondary school graduates, some may have completed further university-level work
  • Possess a valid driver’s license (if listed as a driving Au Pair)
  • Interested in improving their English and getting to know the American way of life
  • Proficient in conversational English
  • Have extensive prior babysitting, day care center and sibling care experience
  • Have successfully passed a background investigation including schooling, references, psychometric test and a criminal record check
  • Went through a thorough screening and training process (Screening and Orientation Meeting, Detailed Written Application, Background Screening, Pre-departure Training, Au Pair Training School)

What qualifications do Au Pairs have?
All Au Pair Foundation Au Pairs undergo a thorough screening process including interviews, reference checks as well as a background investigation. All of our Au Pairs have at least 200 hours of documented childcare experience (most have more). Infant qualified applicants must have 200 hours of documented experience with children under the age of 2 years. All Au Pairs have a high school diploma, many even come with some university education. All Au Pairs are tested for their English skills and are proficient in conversational English. Additionally you can use the Au Pair’s application video as well as your phone interview to assess if your requirements are met.

How quickly can I get an Au Pair?
Au Pair Foundation places Au Pairs year round. The time to get an au pair depends on your family’s requirements and availability of Au Pairs that match these requirements. This process typically takes 6 to 10 weeks from the time you apply to the program to the time the Au Pair arrives to your home. If your family needs childcare sooner than that, please call us at 1.866.428.7247.

How long can Au Pairs stay in the U.S.?
Au Pairs can stay up to two years. They arrive with a J-1 cultural exchange visa which allows them to stay with their host family for one year – at the end of that year, they can choose to extend their year with their current family or a new one for 12, 9 or 6 additional months as long as they are in good standing.

Where do the Au Pair Foundation’s Au Pairs come from?
Au Pair Foundation’s au pairs come from Latin America, Asia and Europe.

Do Au Pairs have driver’s licenses?
Many of our Au Pairs do have their driver’s license from their home country and come to the U.S. with an international driver’s permit. Should you require your au pair to drive as part of his or her duties, it is your responsibility to add him or her to your current insurance policy. You might also want to call your Department of Motor Vehicles in case there are state-specific requirements. Having an Au Pair that drives can be a great asset.

I am a single parent, can I host an Au Pair?
Yes, Au Pair Foundation is happy to welcome single parents to the Au Pair program.

Can we share an Au Pair with another family?
This is not possible. Au Pairs can only live with and provide childcare for one family during their year.

Hosting an Au Pair

Can my Au Pair perform housekeeping duties for my family?
Au Pairs can do housework as long as it is related to the children, for example preparing meals, doing their laundry and room pick-up.

Does my Au Pair need their own bedroom? What about car or cell phone?
Per State Department rules, you will need to provide your Au Pair with their own private bedroom (a private bathroom is not required). It is up to you if you wish to provide your Au Pair with a car or cell phone, you are not required to do so.

How will our family’s privacy be affected by having an Au Pair?
Your Au Pair should feel like part of your family so you want to make sure she/he is a good fit. While you include your au pair in family activities and celebrations, you will notice that your au pair will also enjoy spending free time with friends. Au Pairs have a need for their own privacy and social lives.

How many hours can my Au Pair work?
Per State Department regulations an Au Pair cannot work more than 10 hours a day and no more than 45 hours per week, even for additional pay. Families will have to sign an agreement committing to these program requirements before being accepted to the program.

What if we would like our Au Pair to join us on vacation?
It is always a nice gesture to invite your Au Pair to join a family vacation. Eligibility to travel outside the U.S. may depend on her/his home country as well as whether they are in their first or second year as an au pair. Please call us right away at 1.866.428.7247 to make sure your Au Pair will be able to travel with you. You also want to clarify before making the offer if you expect your Au Pair to work during your family vacation or not.

Do I have to pay medical insurance for my Au Pair?
All of our Au Pairs are insured to cover accidents and illness during their program year and have an emergency dental insurance. Host Family needs to add the Au Pair to the family car insurance policy (comprehensive, collision, auto and medical) if the Au Pair is expected or permitted to drive the host family’s vehicle(s). If the Host Family fails to provide such primary insurance, the host family will to be financially responsible for any injury or property damage resulting from the Au Pair’s driving.

What if things don’t work out with our Au Pair?
Welcoming an Au Pair into your family can be a great help but is also an adjustment. Sometimes cultural differences as well as differences in personalities can result in misunderstandings between families and au pairs. Being open-minded and communicating frequently usually helps clear up these misunderstandings. Our Local Childcare Representatives (LCRs) are also there if you need additional help. If things cannot be cleared up, some host families decide to continue the program with a different au pair and we will help them find an appropriate match. In other cases a family may decide to leave the program. Should this happen we will provide them with a pro-rated refund per our host family agreement. These changes are usually rather disruptive for everyone involved and we encourage both au pairs and host families to consider all options before making such decisions. Au Pair Foundation has mediation and support staff dedicated to helping you resolve any miscommunications or issues that may arise in order to ensure that you and your au pair have a strong relationship and successful year together.”


How much does an Au Pair really cost?
The average monthly cost for hosting an au pair is $1,511.46 or $348.80 per week. This cost is regardless of how many children you have. See our cost breakdown. This monthly and weekly cost could be even lower if you take advantage of any current promotions or discounts.

Do I have to pay the $8,100 program fee once I sign up and what does it cover?
You may choose to pay the program fee up front or in installments, see our payment plan. Our program fee covers the recruitment, screening and training of your Au Pair, $400 flight credit each way, our host family and Au Pair orientation meetings, and medical insurance as well as support from both our office staff and your dedicated Local Childcare Representative.

Matching Process

How do I start the process?
Just click here and fill in our 2-minute host family application and we will give you a call to learn more about your family and your requirements. This is no financial obligation to speak to one of our highly qualified matching experts.

What happens next?
Once we know more about you and your family’s specific requirements, we search our extensive database and provide you with personalized au pair matches for your review. Once you are ready to interview a candidate, we provide you with assistance and tips on how to best do so. Be assured – our dedicated matching experts will be with you all the way to make sure you find the best possible match for your family. During this process, you will also be contacted by your Local Childcare Representative (LCR) who will conduct an in-home interview with you. This is a great opportunity for you and your family to learn more about the program.