Introduction to the Au Pair Program
*** BEWARE OF SCAM ***
Agent Au Pair wants to make sure that au pairs are protected from fake host families that are trying to commit fraud and misuse our agency name! We’ve noticed that there are people on social media who try to directly reach out to au pairs pretending to be a host family. NEVER pay any money directly to a family – if the situation sounds too good, it’s most likely a scam.
If you have been contacted by a family outside of our matching system, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to verify that they are signed up with us.
Au Pair Program Information
Au Pairs who are starting their program or extension after January 1, 2020 are covered under a Medical Insurance Plan through:
Envisage Global Insurance
Insurance Portal: https://www.envisageglobalinsurance.com/student-zone/agent-aupair/
Au Pairs who started their program before December 31, 2019 are covered under a Medical Insurance Plan through:
TW Lord and Associates
If you have a question or if a claim needs to be filed, please call:
To locate a provider in your area, please use this website:
To file a claim following medical treatment, please complete and submit an Insurance Claim Form.
Au pairs are required to attend a meeting every month to check in with their Local Coordinator about how they’re adjusting to the US and answer any questions they might have. These meetings are part of the program requirements from the U.S. Department of state. If you miss more then one Monthly Meeting you may not be able to extend your program due to being in viola
Can I return to the United States on the Au Pair Program for a second time?
According to the rules and regulation of the Au Pair Program, au pair’s commit to the program for 1 year with the option to extend for an additional 6, 9, or 12 months.
If you have already taken part of the Au Pair Program in the United States, you are able to return to participate in a second au pair program. To apply to the program again, you must have successfully completed your first au pair program and you must have lived outside of the United States for 2+years.
Conflicts can arise between host families and au pairs when needs or expectations aren’t being met. The Agent Au Pair team is here to make sure you have a successful year and will help resolve a conflict if any occur. The first step you should take to resolve the conflict is to sit down and communicate with your host family to express your concerns and needs.
If the conflict continues, you should contact your Local Counselor to assist you in resolving the problem. If the conflict continues, after 30 days, the conflict will be escalated to management to assist and determine the root of the conflict. If you are in a urgent situation, your Local Counselor will contact Management immediately for resolution.
If the conflict cannot be resolved after the mediation period, the au pair can enter rematch only if she is in good standing and attempted to resolve the conflict with their host family.
To travel outside of the country during the first year of your program, au pairs must send their DS form to the Agent Au Pair Office 30 days prior to traveling. Please also include a return envelope with your original DS Form.
Agent Au Pair does not recommend au pairs traveling internationally during their extension year.
You can travel outside the country within your first year if you have your DS2019 signed before you leave the country. You can mail this to: Jodi DiMauro 837 Whalley Ave, New Haven, CT 06515. You should not travel outside the country during your extension year other than to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands.
To travel to other countries during their second year, the only way to guarantee the au pair gets back into the United States if if they return to their home country and renew his/her Visa before re-entering the United States.
As stated in your handbook, many Au Pairs have a driver’s license from their home country, and if they are expected to drive in the USA, they should get a state driver’s license from the state they are living in. This will help ensure they are familiar with the local rules and road signs, and a state driver’s license may be required for the host family insurance. Getting a local state driver’s license within 30 days of arrival is a good idea.
Please check with the Department of Motor Vehicles manual in the respective state regarding laws and requirements for J-1 international cultural exchange visitors, as each state may have a different definition of “visitors” or “residents.” International Driving Permits (also known as International Drivers’ Licenses) are not recognized in most states (including California).
A written test is usually required and can be studied online as a first step. The Au Pair will go into the DMV and take and pass the written test. Then, the Au Pair will have to take a driving test in the car, so it is recommended that the Au Pair be prepared and get lots of experience on the roads and with the car she/he will be driving before taking this portion of the test.
To get started, visit the Department of Motor Vehicles website for your state (e.g. the California site is www.dmv.ca.gov). The “Driver License” section will provide information for study, links to schedule the test, and a list of material to bring to the appointment. The items Au Pairs are required to bring include their social security number, passport with valid visa, and I-94 form (stamped inside the passport). If the passport does not have entry/departure information, you will need to bring your I-94 form.
To obtain your I-94, visit https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov and enter the following:
- Country of issuance
- Birth date
- Most recent date of entry
- Passport number
- Class of admission (i.e. visa type = J1)
You will be able to immediately print/save the I-94 after completing the online form.
As part of the J-1 visa program, au pairs are required to complete an educational component at an accredited post-secondary university:
- Au Pairs are required to take at least 6 semester credits or 72 hours at an accredited post-secondary university.
- TutorCare Au Pairs are required to take 12 credits or approximately 160 hours at an accredited post-secondary university.
- Credit Course: Generally any course that is offered to a full-time student for which a school has assigned a set credit value that the student will receive upon completion. We will count the credits that the school assigned to the course.
- Non-Credit Course: A non-credit course is a course that a school has not assigned a set credit value to. These are usually offered through the community or continuing education departments of colleges and universities. We will count the classroom hours of the course since no credits are assigned to the course and go by the educational standard that 12 hours = 1 credit. A noncredit course might also be offered for continuing education units (CEU1). We will count 1 CEU = 1 credit if it is offered through a post-secondary accredited institution.
Au Pairs must complete their educational hours 30 days prior to the end of their program, and will have to send their transcripts to the Agent Au Pair office.
An I-94 is an arrival/departure card. It is a record of when you entered the U.S., and when you are expected to depart.
It is recommended that au pairs apply for a Social Security Number at the beginning of their program. Social Security Numbers are needed for au pairs to obtain a driver’s license in most states, apply for classes, open a bank account, and file taxes. To obtain a Social Security Number, au pairs can visit the Social Security Administration website at www.ssa.gov and select “Get or replace a Social Security card” for instructions.
In order to get a Social Security Number, the SSA must be able to verify the au pair’s visa status. Au pairs should wait at least 10 days after they entered the United States before applying for a Social Security Number. The SSA needs to verify the au pair’s status with the Department of Homeland Security, and cannot do that until the au pair is in the United States for at least 10 days. If the au pair cannot be verified, they should ask to have their status verified through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Au pairs will have to fill out and complete the Social Security application form, which they can find at SSA offices in their areas. If the au pair wants to go to the SSA office to apply for a Social Security Number, they can visit the SSA website to enter their host family’s zip code to find the closest office location.
Information on obtaining a social security card
Au pairs can obtain a Social Security Number in two ways:
1) Download, print, and mail the application (including mailing original documents)
2) Go into a Social Security office to complete the process
To apply for a Social Security Number, au pairs must have the original documentation below (no copies are accepted):
1) Passport (with visa)
2) DS-2019 form
3) Agent Au Pair Program Participation Letter
4.) I-94 card
Au pair wages are not usually subject to social security and Medicare taxes because of the au pair’s status as a J-1 no-nimmigrant and as a nonresident alien. However, if the au pair had previously been in the United States as a student, teacher, trainee, or researcher in F, J, M, or Q non-immigrant status, then the au pair might be a resident alien during his current stay in the United States, and might be subject to social security and Medicare taxes if his annual au pair wages exceed the applicable dollar threshold found in Publication 926. Please refer to Alien Liability for Social Security and Medicare Tax. If the au pair is a resident alien and his annual au pair wages exceed the applicable dollar threshold, then the host family must withhold social security and Medicare taxes and report them on Schedule H, Household Employment Taxes (PDF), of Form 1040 and on Form W-2 (PDF). The host family will need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if it is required to withhold tax and file Form W-2. The au pair will need to apply for a U.S. social security number.
Agent Au Pair advises that au pairs and host families to speak with a tax professional to discuss specific tax information as tax laws differ in every state. We are happy to share general guidelines regarding host family and au pair taxes.
Agent Au Pair’s Tax ID: 94-3407180
Au pairs receive a Workbook during the Au Pair School informing them of their responsibility to pay taxes. Agent Au Pair recommends that au pairs save up to 2 weeks’ stipend in case they owe taxes. Below is useful links for au pairs when filing taxes. Taxes are due April 15th for the prior year’s earnings.
Tax laws differ in every state, Agent Au Pair advises that au pairs and host families to speak with a tax professional to answer any specific tax questions that they may have.
The Benefits of Volunteering During your Au Pair Year
Volunteering is a great way to get the most out of your experience in the U.S.A. while making new friends and helping others. Here is some information to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to get started in your community! Helping other can provide you with a sense of purpose. It doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment; volunteering for a few hours a week or month is a great way to enjoy volunteering instead of it feeling like a chore.
Benefits of Volunteering:
- Connects you to others in the community who share your interests
- Brings fun and fulfillment to your life and allows you to volunteer for something you believe in
- Allows you to work on your English Language and Cross-Cultural Communication Skills