(Last Updated On: )

Take your chance now and become an au pair in the USA. Live the American Dream, eat pancakes at IHOP, go to Disney World, walk down the Times Square!

Au Pair in the USA - At A Glance

  • Age: Between 18 and 26 years old
  • Duration of Stay: At least 12 months (plus additional month for traveling if wanted); an extension of 3, 9 or 12 months is possible
  • Working Hours: Up to 45 hours a week but no more than 10 hours a day
  • Holidays: Two weeks of paid vacation per year; at least 1 1/2 days off per week and one full weekend off per month
  • Travel Expenses: Usually, your host family pays for your flight ticket
  • Insurance: Your host family will cover your insurance fees for the time you work as their Au Pair; after that you have to insure yourself at your own expense
  • Pocket Money: $780 per month ($195 per week)
  • Visa Requirements: You need a J-1 Visa to legally work as an au pair in the U.S.; in order to apply for a J-1 Visa, a certified au pair agency is needed!

The program “Au Pair USA” is a good opportunity for everyone who likes to work with children and wants to discover a foreign country and its culture.

The USA offers a great variety of landscapes and climate areas. You can either live on the east cost and experience the city life in New York City or the relaxed life in Washington D.C. Or, you can spend your time walking down the beach of California or go to Seattle at the west coast. You will participate in national holidays like Thanksgiving or go "trick-or-treating" with your host children on Halloween.

The au pair will have the chance to stay up to 12 months or even longer in the USA, to live with a family, get free board and lodge and in return help the family in caring for their children.
This time abroad will bring you many new experiences; you will become more independent, self-confident and be able to improve your language skills.

Can I become an au pair in the USA?

To take part in this program all participants need to fulfill some requirements, such as:

  • You have to be 18 years old and shouldn't be older than 26 years
  • You love spending time with children and caring for them
  • You have to have at least 250 hours experiences in childcare (the more you have, the better)
  • Driver's licence and driving experiences
  • Without any criminal conviction
  • You have to be in good health
  • Good proficiency in English
  • Hold at least an intermediate school certificate
  • Non-smoker
  • Unmarried and no children of your own
  • Apply for a J-1 visa with a certified local au pair agency


Au Pair in the USA with a certified agency

In the USA the whole process to become an au pair or a host family is regulated by the government. The law allows only officially checked young people to work as an au pair in the USA.
They want the au pairs and host families to be checked by an approved local agency, so that they can be sure that the participants are suited to take part in the program.
Only through the placement with an agency the au pair gets the official (J-1) visa and can legally work and stay there for 12 months.

Be aware that you need a placement via an officially accepted agency in order to get the J-1 visa! Otherwise you will be working in the USA illegally!

However, it is possible that you use an online matching agency to find a host family.

What are my duties as an au pair?

Your main task will be to take care of your host children, who should be like a younger brother or  a younger sister to you.

This includes playing with them, going to the park with them, doing crafts with them, help them with their homework and take them to extracurricular activities or play dates. You might also need to help them to get ready in the morning or take them to bed at night. Another one of your tasks might be to prepare light meals or snacks for your host children.

Your working hours per week will be up to 45 hours. However, you should not be working more than 10 hours per day. Please contact your local consultant if your host family asks you to work more than 10 hours per day.

Visa Requirements

If you are not an American citizen or a resident of American territory, you need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa in order to be able to enter the U.S. and work as an au pair in the USA. The visa you need to apply for is a so called J-1 Visa.

Your visa is valid for 12 months. If you stay in the U.S. for more than 12 months, you need to extend your visa. If you plan on arriving before your au pair stay or want to travel afterwards, you can do so. The J-1 visa allows you to stay in the U.S. 90 days before/after your Au Pair stay.

College Courses for au pairs in the USA

As already mentioned above, you need to attend college classes to meet the visa requirements, as the J-1 visa is a student exchange visa.
Make sure that the courses you attend meet the visa requirements. Your local consultant will be able to provide you with information on where you can find appropriate college courses in your area. Often, there is a vast offer of college courses designed especially for au pairs.

Most popular are courses like the "TOEFL preparation course" or language classes. But you are completely free in the decision what courses you want to take, depending on what interests you. These college courses are a great opportunity to meet new Au Pairs in your area.

How much pocket money will I get?

Working Hours per Week Paid Weekly? Pocket Money per Week
No more than 45 hours Yes $195.75

You will get a weekly pocket money of $195.75 when you work as an Au Pair in the USA.
Additionally to your weekly pocket money, your host family will pay for up to $500 of the tuition fees of your college courses.

As your host family provides you with free board and lodge, you are free to spend your entire pocket money on what you wish. Most au pairs decide to save some money throughout their year so that they are able to use their additional month for traveling across the country.

What about the insurance?

Your local agency will cover the fees of your health insurance for your time abroad. Contact them for detailed information on the insurance's benefits and how to obtain your insurance card.
Please note, that your host family only insures you for the 12 months which you work for them. If you plan on traveling across the country after these 12 months, make sure that you have an insurance for the time you travel.

This post is also available in: German