Travel During Your Program
Do you want to stand on the sunny beaches of California, explore historical sites in Washington, D.C., or go on a ski trip in Colorado? You can! During your au pair year, you can travel throughout the United States. Be sure to discuss your vacation dates with your host family early on in your program year to make the most of your time off. Any independent travel you do during your year is your responsibility and at your own expense.
International Travel During the First Twelve Months
During your first program year you should be able to travel internationally and return to the U.S. without any problem as long as:
- You have a valid, unexpired passport.
- Your J-1 visa is marked with an ‘M’ under ‘Entries’ in your passport, meaning you are allowed multiple entries.
- Your J-1 Visa has not expired.
- Your DS-2019 form is still valid and is signed in the bottom right ‘Travel Validation by Responsible Officer’ section.
- You secure any necessary visas for the country you plan to visit.
- You take your passport, DS-2019 form, and I-94 print-out with you.
- There are no government-issued travel restrictions or other requirements.
International Travel During the Extension Program
If you opt to extend for an additional 6, 9 or 12-months, once your extension is approved, Au Pair USA will issue a new DS-2019 form reflecting your extended program dates. This form represents your legal status to remain in the United States as an au pair. Although your DS-2019 form will be updated, the J-1 Visa in your passport will typically expire at the end of your first 12-month program period. If you leave the United States and your visa has expired, you need to apply for a new J-1 visa before you can re-enter. The only exception is if you travel to countries that participate in Automatic Visa Revalidation.
Automatic Visa Revalidation
Although your J-1 Visa will typically expire at the end of your first year as an au pair, Automatic Visa Revalidation should allow you to travel to Canada, Mexico or one of the Caribbean Islands and re-enter the United States during your extension period, although this decision is ultimately up to the Department of Homeland Security officers at the U.S. border. This decision is ultimately up to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security officers at the border. Please see the complete details about the Automatic Visa Revalidation .
Travel at the End of Your Program: The 30-Day Travel Period
At the end of your au pair program, you will have a travel period of up to 30 days. Both your DS-2019 form and J-1 Visa are expired during this time and you are no longer eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation. If you leave the USA during this travel period, you will not be allowed to re-enter the USA.
Other Important Travel Information
- Always keep your passport up-to-date. You must have at least six months remaining on your passport before it expires in order to re-enter the USA.
- Your J-1 Visa is only valid for entering the United States. If you plan to travel internationally, check to see if a visa is required for the country you plan to visit before you travel.
- When you travel, be sure to take all of your original documents with you. Photocopies are not valid documentation.
- If you lost your passport during your first year and need a replacement, you cannot travel internationally and return to the United States since the replacement passport will not have your J-1 Visa in it. If you are from a visa waiver country and re-enter on a tourist visa, you won’t be able to participate in the Au Pair Program.
- The decision regarding entry into the United States is up to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. There is always a small chance you may not be allowed entry.
- According to the U.S. Department of State, extension au pairs can travel to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean under the Automatic Visa Revalidation system. However, some airlines reserve the right to deny boarding to an au pair whose visa has expired.