What Kind of Visa Do You Need to Be an Au Pair in the U.S. - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

The U.S. government’s exchange visitor program allows for foreign nationals to join a host family in the U.S. and work as au pairs. Au pairs working in the U.S. can continue their education and experience everyday life with an American family. In order to become an au pair, you must have a sponsor located in the U.S. and the appropriate visa. For many people, that means working with a Milwaukee immigration attorney during the application process.

U.S. Visas for Au Pairs

You need a J visa to become an au pair in the United States. The first step you have to take is to apply for – and be accepted into – an exchange visitor program through a designated sponsoring organization here, in the U.S.

You must be:

  • Proficient in English
  • A graduate of at least a secondary school
  • Between 18 years old and 26 years old
  • Physically capable of providing child care
  • Personally interviewed
  • Able to pass a background investigation that includes your education, personal and employment references, and a criminal background check
  • Willing to take a personality profile test

As an au pair, you’ll live with a host family for 12 months and have the option to extend for up to another year. You must be professionally trained and willing to provide child care for up to 45 hours per week (and no more than 10 per day). You must also complete at least six hours of academic credit at an accredited institution.

If you’re accepted by a sponsoring institution and meet all the criteria, you can then apply for a J visa. Many people choose to work with a U.S.-based immigration attorney during the process, which can be time-consuming and, in some cases, complicated.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Getting an Exchange Visa?

Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney. We can answer your questions about exchange visas and the steps necessary to getting one, including scheduling an interview at your local embassy or U.S. consulate. If it’s easier, you can also contact us online for more information.

Carlos Gamino