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AU Pair Services

AU Pair Services

What is the Au Pair program?

The Au Pair program is an international cultural exchange that gives the possibility to young people to spend some time abroad, learn more about a different culture, improve their skills in a foreign language in exchange for help with duties related to childcare.

The term “au pair” from French means “on equal terms”, signifying that Au Pair and Host Family treat each other as equals.

Who is an Au Pair?
An Au Pair is a young person (female or male) between 17 and 30 years old who stays with a local Host Family, learns their language and culture in exchange for help with childcare responsibilities.

An Au Pair gets accommodation, regular meals and pocket money for personal expenses. Read about the pros and cons of Au Pair experience to find out if it is the right program for you.

What is a Host Family?

A Host Family is a family willing to host an Au Pair under the host country’s official program. Host Families must meet certain requirements in order to join the program.

For instance, they must have a child under 18 years old, the ability to host an Au Pair in their home and respect the Host Family responsibilities during the program.

How does the Au Pair program work?

The Au Pair program is primarily a cultural exchange, thus Host Family and Au Pair need to belong to different nationalities. Initially, Au Pairs and Host Families are looking for a perfect match.

Once they find it, there are several organizational points to consider before moving abroad: visa, insurance, bank account, packing and so on.

To ensure a smooth cooperation between Au Pair and Host Family, they sign an Au Pair contract where they note down all the important details.

How long can an Au Pair stay last?

The duration of the stay depends on Au Pair, Host Family and the host country’s program regulations.

Some countries have set a minimum and a maximum time for an Au Pair stay, which usually varies from 3 up to 12 or 24 months. The program duration is flexible for Au Pairs within the European Union since there are no visa requirements.

Nevertheless, you need to register at the local authorities in your welcoming country and get an official Au Pair status. If the Au Pair needs a visa, in some cases this visa needs to be extended after the Au Pair’s arrival.

This should be done with the Host Family’s support.

Can I cancel the contract?

The Au Pair contract is signed to avoid possible misunderstandings and problems during the stay abroad. You can download the sample Au Pair contract and sign it along with the Host Family before the stay begins.

Nevertheless, emergencies or situations where you will need to terminate the contract might occur. As a rule, there is an official two week notice period before the termination.

Make sure this term is also written down in the contract before you sign it.

What are the duties of an Au Pair?

The Au Pair’s main responsibility is to take care of the Host Family’s children as well as to perform tasks related to childcare.

Au Pairs do not have to cook for the host parents, clean the rooms that are exclusively used by the host parents or take care of someone else’s children, among others.

What are the working hours of an Au Pair?

Depending on the host country, the number of working hours of an Au Pair can vary. In most countries, Au Pairs should work maximum 30 hours per week. In USA, Au Pairs can work up to 45 hours per week.

Both Au Pair and Host Family should agree on a schedule and the way those hours will be split. Host Families should not forget to check the maximum hours per day an Au Pair is entitled to work in their country.

How much pocket money will an Au Pair get?

The official Au Pair program of each country establishes the minimum pocket money amount an Au Pair should earn when working the maximum hours permitted.

We recommend Host Families and Au Pairs to agree on the pocket money. Au Pairs will use their pocket money to cover their own expenses. An Au Pair is not in any case supposed to buy her own food or pay for rent.

Are Au Pairs entitled to free time and holidays?

Au Pairs are usually entitled to 1-2 free days per week (in some countries at least one free day must be on Sunday) and in some cases they will also have the right to enjoy at least a free weekend per month.

In most countries, Au Pairs have up to 4 weeks paid holidays for a 12-month stay.

Au Pair Requirements – Can I become an Au Pair?

Are you looking for an exciting experience abroad, but you are not sure if you are eligible to participate in the Au Pair program? Though each country has specific requirements for participants, there is also some common criteria for participation that can be applied to the majority of Au Pair programs.

You can become an Au Pair if you:

  • are 17 – 30 years old
  • have a good command of English or other language spoken in the host country
  • enjoy working with kids
  • are not married and don’t have kids of your own
  • have at least a high school diploma
  • are healthy without any chronic diseases
  • have a clear criminal record
  • want to spend time abroad

Let’s discuss each requirement in details.

Age
You need to be at least 17 years old and not older than 30 to apply for the program. Check out the specific age requirements for each country.

Language requirements
You need to be able to communicate on a daily basis with your Host Family. If the host country’s requirements don’t state otherwise, usually good command of English or the host country’s official language is more than enough.

The Au Pair program is for you to practice a foreign language, so don’t worry if you are not fluent yet!

If you need a visa to participate in the Au Pair program, you might be required a language certificate proving your knowledge of the target language.

You are also allowed to improve your proficiency by attending a language course in the host country. In some countries, language courses are mandatory.

Family Status

In order to take part in the Au Pair program, you can’t have children of your own. This is also a very important criteria to be entitled to the Au Pair visa. In many countries, you need to be unmarried as well.

Education

You need to have at least a school diploma (depending on the country). Some Host Families might ask for additional certificates or documents proving your experience in childcare.

Visa (if required)

You must fulfill the requirements of the host country’s embassy to be entitled to the Au Pair visa. If you are interested in participating in the Au Pair USA program, check the requirements for the J-1 visa.

Au Pair’s expenses

You must be able to cover the travel expenses required to reach the host country and get back home, unless you have agreed with your future Host Family on different terms. Though we encourage Host Families to support their Au Pairs with travel costs, this is not a mandatory requirement and totally depends on the family’s decision.

Other requirements

You have to be healthy and not a smoker. Although smoking is not an official criteria, the chances to find a Host Family are much higher for non-smoking Au Pairs.

You also need to love spending time with kids. As the Au Pair duties are mainly related to childcare, this experience will be enjoyable for you only if you like taking care of children.

Most Host Families expect their Au Pair to have some kind of experience in childcare. You might have done some babysitting or worked in a kindergarten or another social institution for a while. The more references you can show, the better you can convince a Host Family.