November 5, 2021. 
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Au Pair: How do I apply for a J1 visa?

Becoming an Au Pair in the USA is a sure way of experiencing life in the land of dreams. Spend at least 12 months in the host family while taking care of their child(ren). If you have ever wanted to enrich your experience in childcare, the U.S. is the country for you. Additionaly, you can familiarize yourself with life in the United States and think about your prospects there. You need the J1 visa to enter the country as a Cultural Exchange Visitor to work as an Au Pair.

What is the J1 visa?

This visa type gives you temporary access to the country and grants you permission to work. It is a work visa to be used for the same purpose twice if you spend the minimum amount of two years between your first and second entry to the U.S. on the J1 visa. This is a nice advantage of this visa type, as it will allow you to repeat your rewarding experience once again.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

The first requirement is that you are an experienced childcare provider. You’re need to have at least 200 hours of work experience as a childcare provider. A contract with your employer in the United States is a must. A state agency in U.S. connects eligible non-U.S. childcare providers with their future employers. If you're between 18 and 26 and have never worked as an Au Pair in the U.S., you are welcome to apply for the J1 visa. Your English language skills should be sufficient for working as an Au Pair, while your health and driver’s license are other characteristics to be considered during your application period.

What are the host family’s requirements?

In regards to your host family in the U.S., they need to be either U.S. citizens or permanent residents, fluent in English, and able to financially support hosting responsibilities. In addition, their background and experience need to match the requirements for having an Au Pair. It is up to the government agency in charge of the Cultural Exchange Program to check the host family’s fitness for participation in the program. You and your host family need to fulfill the objective conditions and work on your future professional relationship.

What does the visa application process look like?

The first step is filling out the DS2019 form and paying the SEVIS fee which receipt you need to bring to your Embassy interview. DS2019 is essential for the J1 visa application and is issued through the SEVIS system. It features information about you and your exchange visitor program sponsor. Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months after you enter the United States, and your background check needs to be flawless. Filling out the DS160 form is the next step and related to the mandatory $160 government fee. After submitting the documents and scheduling your Embassy interview, you will attend the interview. The Consular Officer will inform you about your visa outcome shortly after the interview takes place.

Will I be able to extend my stay?

If you wish to extend your stay, it is possible to extend it for 3, 6, or 9 more months. After you complete the Au Pair program, you will get one month just to travel across the country as a tourist. During the last month of your stay in the U.S., you mustn't work as an Au Pair.

We hope this short review of the J1 visa requirements and the application process will help you in your Au Pair experience. We recommend booking a consultation with one of our visa consultants who will streamline your case and provide personalized support.

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