The standard agreement au pair agreement includes 12 months with a host family. All applicants should be prepared to spend a full year in the US with a host family. Initial agreements for shorter than twelve months are not possible under the J-1 program.
It is possible for an au pair to extend their time in the US for an additional 6, 9 or 12 months following the successful completion of their initial agreement and all program requirements. This extension can be with a new host family or with the same host family.
Agent Au Pair has infant-care au pairs who care for babies up to 24 months. Infant-care au pairs must have 200 hours of caring for children under the age of 2 prior to arriving in the US to qualify for this program. Au pairs are not permitted to care for children less than 3 months old. Individuals who do not qualify or is not interested in caring for children under 2, must have 6 months of childcare experience qualify for the au pair program. This experience can include babysitting, working in a school or day care, or prior au pair/nanny experience.
Agent Au Pair asks for verifiable references from families whose children you have cared for and can attest to the thoughtfulness and quality of your childcare skills. Reference cannot be from family members. References need to list the ages of the children cared for, the dates cared for and the duties performed during these experiences.
What are the Au Pair Duties?
Au pair duties are related to childcare. This means that the au pair can walk or drive the children to school, straighten their rooms, do their laundry, prepare meals, undertake development activities such as playing games, drawing or helping with homework. An au pair is considered a member of the family such as a big sister or brother and is not permitted to do heavy housework, gardening or the parent's laundry.
Au Pair Education and Training
As part of J-1 visa program, au pairs are required to complete at least six semester credits (or least 72 classroom hours) at an accredited post-secondary institution. The host family will provide up to $500 toward completion of this requirement.
Please see our state-specific resources to learn more about available education programs in your area
You can take ESL courses to improve your English skills, test preparation classes to help prepare you for further education, enrichment courses to learn more about American culture and more! Be sure to check with your host family and local rep before enrolling to ensure that your selected program matches with program requirements and does not conflict with other responsibilities.
Upon arriving to the U.S. to spend a year with your new host family, you will first attend Agent Au Pair's Au Pair Training School and Program Orientation in San Francisco, CA or New Haven, Connecticut. During this highly intensive educational training period at the Au Pair Training School, you will meet other au pairs in the region and socialize so that you can keep in touch and get together during the year.
Classes are lead by a team of child development experts who have extensive experience teaching and working with children who teach in a learning and caring capacity. Class training includes lectures, child development instruction, safety with children, videos, tests, and hands-on projects.
Acquiring these new skills will give you confidence when settling-in with your new family. You will also receive an Au Pair Workbook which details the lessons so you can refer to it during your year in America. As required by the Department of State, you will receive a total of 32 hours of training and instruction through course materials, classroom time, hands-on learning, videos, tests and answer sheets. Free time to visit the region is available in the evenings and the staff members often accompany au pairs to dinner and sight-seeing. Lodging and meals are included in the program.
More about the Au Pair Training School can be found here.