Information on obtaining a driver's license
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.
What is the Educational Requirement?
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.
For more information on the educational requirement, click here.
For a list of available universities and courses in your area, please visit our state specific resources page.
Finding a School for Au Pair Educational Component
U.S. Department of Education Office of Post-Secondary Education at: ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Search.aspx
Council for Higher Education Accreditation at: chea.org/search/default.asp
Obtaining and verifying your I-94
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.
Au Pairs that have been placed with Agent Au Pair after November 1, 2016 are covered under a Medical Insurance Plan through:
Our Medical Provider Network is through the First Health Network:
TW Lord and Associates
25 Dodd Street
Marietta, Georgia 30060, USA
If you have a question or if a claim needs to be filed, please call:
Free Phone: (800) 633-2360
Phone: (770) 427-2461
To locate a provider in your area, please use this website:
Au Pairs placed by Agent Au Pair prior to November 1, 2016 receive Medical Insurance through Secutive:
To access your complete insurance information, including the general insurance conditions, all important contact information and a VISA letter, please login to your personal MyInsurance area at:
To create your personal account, you will need:
- Your Last Name
- Your First Name
- Certificate Number
- Your Date of Birth
Please note: you can also use Facebook
Attending Monthly Meetings
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 violation.
What is Our Rematch Policy?
We provide one replacement Au Pair after a 60 day grace period along with mediation has occurred. The host family's only responsibility is to provide the transportation for the Au Pair from the Au Pair school to the home.
Social Security Number
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 origional 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
Social Security and Medicare Taxes
Information on Social Security and Medicare taxes
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'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 information useful 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.
Information on Income Tax Withholding
Because au pair wages are paid for domestic service in a private home, they are not subject to mandatory U.S. income tax withholding and reporting on Forms 941 and W-2. However, au pair wages are includible in the gross income of the recipients, and au pairs are required to file U.S. individual income tax returns. At the current wage rate it is likely that the au pair will have an income tax liability on his U.S. individual income tax return because nonresident aliens (with certain exceptions) are not able to claim the Standard Deduction.
For this reason it is recommended that the au pair take one of the following two steps:
- File and pay U.S. estimated income tax payments during the year on Form 1040ES-NR (PDF) if the au pair is is a nonresident alien, or on Form 1040-ES if the au pair is a resident alien
- If both the au pair and the host family agree, file Form W-4 with his host family, indicating on line 6 of such form that the au pair voluntarily wishes a withholding amount of U.S. federal income tax deducted from his weekly au pair wages. The host family will report and pay over this withheld federal income tax on Schedule H of Form 1040. The host family will also issue Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement to the au pair to report his au pair wages and income tax withholding. The host family will need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if it decides to withhold tax and file Form W-2. The au pair will need to apply for a U.S. social security number.
Most au pairs are nonresident aliens, and therefore will be required to file Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ to report their au pair wages. As a nonresident alien, an au pair is not eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Hope Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. An au pair is not really a "student" in the United States, and therefore is not eligible to exclude his au pair wages from gross income under the student article of any U.S. income tax treaty. Please visit irs.gov to obtain the appropriate tax forms or follow the link to the Form 1040NR-EZ:
Travel Do's and Don'ts
Information on traveling
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.
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.
Volunteering in Your Community
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