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How to Become an Au Pair

Below you’ll find detailed steps for how to become an Au Pair:

 AU PAIR minimum requirements:

  • Must enjoy children, have the maturity and demonstrated responsibility to take on a full year of living and working in an American home for the purpose of helping the family with childcare.
  • Be between 18-26 years old
  • Proficient in spoken English; completion of personal interview with our international partner in your home country to evaluate English level and suitability for the program.
  • Take and pass a Psychometric Evaluation.
  • More than 200 hours of documented childcare experience.  Infant Qualified applicants must have 200 hours of documented infant experience for children under the age of 2 years.
  • High school diploma; some university education is preferred
  • Present two non-family Childcare References and at least one non-family Personal Character Reference. Typical references include work with day-care centers, neighbors and schools
  • Present an original criminal background investigation document from local authorities
  • Present evidence of medical examination, demonstrating overall health to participate
  • Willingness to participate in ongoing Cultural Immersion activities while on program in the USA
  • Willingness to complete 6 units of course study at an accredited post learning institution


  • Each Au Pair must be sponsored by a registered Overseas Partner in their home country
  • After completing necessary paperwork and interviews with local agency
  • Complete Au Pair Foundation Application
  • Sign and understand the Au Pair Pledge
  • Read and understand the Department of State Regulations governing the Au Pair Visitor Exchange Program. Also please note the Amendment to Section 62.31.
  • Discuss with your Agency, families, friends to ensure this program is the best program for you

Step 2: Application is reviewed and if approved an on-line profile is activated

  • Au Pair Foundation will review your application, if approved you will be notified and your application will be available for viewing by accepted Host Families.
  • All Host Families are approved and accepted only after completing a full application and verification process., and successfully passing a Criminal Background verification.
  • Host Family’s interest is communicated to Au Pair staff
  • Screened and accepted Host Families gain access to Au Pair application.
  • Host Families interview applicants by telephone. A minimum of two telephone interviews are required before any match can be determined.
  • Au Pair Foundation conducts home visits, interviews and checks references of all selected host family to assure program compatibility.
  • Qualified applicants are usually placed within 3-4 months. However, Au Pair Foundation does not guarantee placement.

Step 3: The match is made! Selected applicants are notified of a family’s interest in hiring them.

  • Visa documents are prepared and sent to Overseas Partner
  • Documents include complete Host Family application, DS-2019 form, insurance information, training itinerary, Local Community Representative information, community profile
  • Additional documents including Au Pair Handbook are also included.

Step 4:  applicant schedules an interview with the US Embassy in  home country

  • To get an idea of the wait time for an interview at your nearest US Embassy, please consult this page.
  • To find the closest US Embassy near you please review here.
  • Once the DS-2019 form arrives, the Overseas Partner schedules an interview with the nearest US Embassy for a J-1 non-immigrant visa.
  • Au Pair and/or Overseas Partner must pay Homeland Security I-901 fee. This $35 USD fee can only be paid on line: http://www.fmjfee.com. Click on the File I-901 Form online and enter the information from the DS-2019 form. You must pay the fee with a credit card and print the receipt after the process is complete. This receipt is presented to the US Embassy at the time of interview.
    Fill out the US Embassy interview forms DS-156, 157 and 158 which can be downloaded at his site.
  • In addition to the SEVIS I-901 $35 fee, there may be additional fees required for the Embassy interview.  Overseas Partner will inform Au Pair of fees
  • The US Embassy decides whether an applicant is issued the J-1 visa or not. Depending on the Embassy, applicants are notified immediately or it could take up to three weeks to inform applicants of the decision.

Step 5: The visa is approved – time for departure and training

  • Complete a Pre-Departure Orientation, given by Representative in Au Pair’s home country
  • Au Pair will complete an intensive 45-hour training of infant/child safety and development
  • Au Pair Foundation will secure Au Pair flight arrangements
  • Dental checkup to take care of any outstanding dental problems, au pair insurance only covers emergency dental treatment
  • Au Pairs will need a minimum of $200 in personal money to cover various expenses upon arrival such as transportation expenses, and spending money

Step 6: The Au Pair meets the Host Family

  • Au Pair will fly directly to the Host Family’s home and an exciting year begins for the Au Pair
  • Local Community Representatives will assist the Au Pair throughout entire stay
  • Participate in Cultural Event with Local Community Representative and Host Family
  • Complete at least six hours of academic credit or equivalent in formal educational settings at an accredited US post-secondary educational institution (Au Pairs received up to $500 toward the cost of required academic course work).
  • Adherence to all rules, regulations and policies of the Au Pair program


Hopefully the above steps clearly explained how to become an Au Pair. If you got further questions, please contact us.

Au Pair Foundation encourages you to contact us if you wish to be an Au Pair.