Pre-Application Information

The following information describes the InterExchange Au Pair USA program. Please read these details before you sign program agreements or pay non-refundable fees. If you have any questions, please contact us directly at aupair@interexchange.org or call +1-917-305-5400.

Program Activities

While living with your American host family, you’ll provide childcare for a maximum of 45 hours per week and 10 hours per day. In return, you will be welcomed as a member of the family, receive a weekly stipend, and have a private bedroom and meals provided by your host family.

During the program, you will be required to complete six-semester hours of education at an accredited post-secondary institution. This will give you an opportunity to meet new people and learn about topics that interest you. Towards the end of your initial 12-month program, you will have an option to extend for an additional 6, 9, or 12-months.

Employment Activities

You will provide childcare and childcare-related activities for your host family. This could include active childcare that occurs while children are awake such as feeding, bathing, changing clothes/diapers, preparing meals for children, getting the children ready for school, assisting in play dates or schoolwork, driving children to school or activities, etc. Your duties could also include passive forms of childcare such as being the responsible adult present while the children are sleeping or studying.

Job Duties

While the specifics of the au pair job will depend on the host family you match with, the job duties will relate to the care of the children. The job duties will not include general housekeeping or cleaning beyond what is related to the children and what is acceptable as a contributing member of the host family.

Number of Hours

The Department of State has set limits on working hours and time off so that your au pair experience includes enough free time to travel, meet local friends, and participate in the cultural exchange aspects of the program outside of the host family’s home.

Your host family should provide you with a written schedule, in advance, so you know when you are expected to work. Your weekly schedule should include:

  • Working no more than 45 hours per week
  • Working no more than 10 hours a day on any single day
  • Having at least one and a half days off per week
  • Having at least one full weekend off per month - this means from early Friday evening until Monday morning

Wages and Compensation

Prior to your arrival, you and the host family will agree upon a weekly stipend amount that meets or exceeds the minimum weekly stipend for the Au Pair Program as announced and published by the U.S. State Department. This amount is calculated based on 45 hours at the U.S. federal minimum wage of $7.25 USD per hour, multiplied by 45 hours. This amount of $326.25 USD is then reduced by 40% as an allowance for the room and board provided by the host family.

You should receive your weekly stipend on a set day each week beginning when you arrive at the host family’s home. You are also entitled to two weeks (11 days) of paid vacation for each 12-month period.

Deductions for Room and Board

As mentioned above, the au pair stipend includes a U.S. Department of State determined deduction of 40% for room and board. That means that your wages will be reduced by $130.50 USD per week to cover room and board. As part of this arrangement, your host family will provide you with a suitable private bedroom that has been inspected by an Au Pair USA representative. Your Host Family will also provide you with the same reasonable access to food as any other adult family member and be sufficient for at least three (3) meals per day on work and non-work days.

Transportation

After you have matched with a host family and have obtained a J-1 visa, Au Pair USA will arrange and pay for a one-way flight from one of Au Pair USA’s designated airports in your home country. You are responsible for the cost of any transportation to the departure airport and baggage fees charged by the airline for your travel.

In order for Au Pair USA to arrange and pay for your return travel, you will need to successfully complete the program in good standing which includes completing the educational requirements of the program. If you leave the program early, you are responsible for the costs of your return travel.

Expected Expenses

The following is a general overview of costs you may incur.

Pre-Arrival Fees
  • Local agency fees, as described on the Fee & Refund Disclosure Form
  • Travel to and from your local agency for your in-person interview and English Evaluation (varies)
  • The cost of obtaining your police report/criminal background check (varies)
  • The cost of a medical exam with a physician for the required application medical report (varies)
  • The J-1 Visa Application Fee ($160 USD, subject to change)
  • Travel to and from the local American Embassy or Consulate (varies)
  • Travel costs to the airport for your Au Pair USA scheduled flight
  • The cost of obtaining an International Driver’s License
  • Any airline baggage fees (varies by airline and number of bags)
  • Optional Au Pair USA insurance plan upgrade
  • Any fees that may be associated with changes to your travel after it has been booked
Fees Paid to Employer

None

Fees for Additional Insurance

Au Pair USA provides you with accident and sickness insurance while you are active on the Au Pair USA program. You have the option of purchasing upgraded accident and sickness insurance before you arrive in the United States for $235 USD. You have ten days from the time you arrive to purchase the insurance upgrade.

If you plan to remain in the USA at the end of your program for the 30-day travel period, you can purchase an additional 30 days of coverage for $65 USD.

SEVIS Fees

The $35 USD SEVIS fee is included in your program. If you decide to extend beyond the original 12-month program with a new host family, the U.S. Department of State Extension Application Fee is $367 USD.

Need for Personal Funds

During your time in the USA, you will be responsible for your personal expenses. Be aware that the $500 USD educational stipend provided by your host family might not be sufficient to cover the costs of the Au Pair Program educational requirements depending upon available courses. You may need to contribute additional money to complete this aspect of the program. Additionally, should you not complete the program, you will be responsible for paying for your flight home and should set aside money for this situation. Au Pair USA suggests bringing at least $500 USD of personal funds with you to cover any unforeseen expenses.

Conditions and Restrictions of Program

You will need to meet the following conditions of participation upon arrival to the US.

  • You are proficient in spoken English, enough to successfully participate in the program and function on a day-to-day basis.
  • You are a secondary school graduate or its recognized equivalent.
  • You are between 18 and 26 years old.
  • You are capable of fully participating in the program as evidenced by the satisfactory completion of a physical exam by a physician.
  • You have been interviewed in person, in English, by an Au Pair USA agency representative.
  • You have successfully passed a background investigation that includes verification of school, three non-family-related personal and employment references, a criminal background check or its recognized equivalent, and a personality profile.
  • You will not be matched with a host family with children less than 2 years of age unless you have at least 200 hours of verified experience with children under two years of age.
  • You will not be matched with a host family with a child with special needs (as indicated by the host family) unless you have relevant experience providing care to individuals with special needs.
  • You must not be the sole responsible adult left in the care of an infant less than three months of age.

Cultural Component of the Au Pair Program

The Au Pair USA program provides many opportunities for cross-cultural engagement. Aside from living with an American host family, you will attend educational classes at a local post-secondary institution giving you an opportunity to meet other people. You may also take part in monthly events organized by Au Pair USA Local Coordinators. These events can be educational, cultural, or social in nature. During a typical program year, you can expect to engage in cultural events on a regular basis.

If you have any questions, please contact us directly at aupair@interexchange.org or call +1-917-305-5400.

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