Frequently Asked Questions

We’re here to answer all of your questions about the program. Just call us at 1-800-287-2477 for more information. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions.

How long does it take to match with an au pair?

Depending on your family’s needs and timing, it can take as little as a few days to find a match once you start the interviewing process. Our selection of qualified, pre-screened au pairs are ready to interview and new au pairs become available regularly. We’d be happy to speak with you about your needs and timing to help you find your ideal candidate.

What’s the best way to interview an au pair?

We are here to help guide you through the interview process so that you can find an au pair that you are excited about hosting who has the necessary skills to care for your children. Our Interview Guide makes the process easy and straightforward.

How soon can my au pair arrive?

If you match with an au pair who is outside of the U.S., it will take between 4-6 weeks for your au pair to arrive and we handle all of the pre-arrival details such as flights and assisting with the visa process. We also have au pairs already in the U.S. who have varying available start dates. Contact us to learn more about available in-country au pairs.

How do you screen au pairs?

We are very selective about who is accepted into our program. Every au pair completes an extensive application and undergoes a thorough background check and in-person interview. This information is available to families during the matching process.

Do all au pairs speak English?

Yes, in order to qualify for the program au pairs must speak conversational English. InterExchange verifies each applicant’s English abilities during the application process. You will also have the opportunity to interview potential au pairs to make sure you are comfortable with their English abilities. You will be surprised at how quickly an au pair’s English improves once in the U.S.

Can au pairs care for infants?

Yes, many of our au pairs are qualified and enjoy caring for infants. Au pairs may not be the sole caregiver until the child is at least three months old.

Do you have au pairs who are qualified to care for children with special needs?

Yes, we do have au pairs who are experienced caring for a variety of special needs situations. Please contact us to discuss your care needs and inquire about au pair availability.

Do you place male au pairs?

Yes, male au pairs are a great option for some families. Families choosing a male au pair often have boys and are looking for a big brother to join the family.

Do au pairs drive?

Most au pair applicants have a valid driver’s license. If an au pair is a driver, they will be required to obtain an international driver’s license prior to their arrival to the U.S. During your interview, you may ask the au pair about the extent of his or her driving experience. If the au pair will be driving your car, be sure to contact your auto insurance company to add the au pair to your auto insurance policy. Additionally, many states require the au pair to obtain a license from the local DMV.

Where do InterExchange au pairs come from?

InterExchange is proud to sponsor amazing au pairs from over 25 countries. Aged 18 to 26, our au pairs are motivated by their love of working with children and their desire to experience living in the United States. We source au pairs directly through our network of international partners who specialize in travel and cultural exchange programs. Every au pair goes through an extensive application, interview, and background check process in order to qualify for the program.

Why do au pairs participate in the program?

The Au Pair USA program allows au pairs to provide childcare to host families while earning money and participating in a true cultural exchange experience. Our au pairs are excited to travel to the U.S., improve their English and experience American culture.

How are au pairs trained?

Our au pairs already have the experience and motivation they need to be successful on the program. Still, we build on this in order to prepare them as thoroughly as possible. Prior to arrival, au pairs complete a comprehensive Child Development Training program online. Upon arrival, au pairs attend our Orientation and Training Program in New York City, where they earn their CPR Certification and learn additional skills that will help them during the program. We make a point to work closely with each au pair during the Orientation and Training program and make sure they have an exciting start to their year-long adventure.

Who pays for the au pair flights?

InterExchange arranges and pays for au pairs to travel from their home country to New York City to take part in the Au Pair USA Orientation and Training Program. InterExchange will then arrange the domestic travel from New York for au pairs who are not being picked up directly from the Orientation and Training Program location. See Domestic Travel Service for destinations and fees. Families who match with an au pair who is already in the U.S. are responsible for arranging and paying for the au pair’s travel to their home. Upon successful completion of the au pair’s program, InterExchange will coordinate the au pair’s travel home.

What type of visa do au pairs need?

All au pairs come to the U.S. on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa, which is a non-immigrant visa granted by the U.S. Department of State. InterExchange functions as the visa sponsor for the au pair and will make all the arrangements for the au pair to receive the visa from their nearest American Embassy or Consulate.

How long can an au pair stay in the United States?

Au pairs initially come to the U.S. on a 12-month J-1 au pair visa and can extend for an additional 6, 9 or 12-months, allowing a family to benefit from up to two years of live-in childcare from the same au pair. At the end of their program, au pairs have a 30-day travel grace period in which they can remain in the U.S. (They are not permitted to work during this time.)

Do au pairs pay a fee to participate in the program?

Yes, au pairs usually pay a fee to participate in the program. Program fees vary depending on the au pair’s country of origin. The au pair program is generally considered an affordable cultural exchange option since the au pair earns a weekly stipend and receives room and board from the host family.

Do au pairs have health insurance while on the program?

All InterExchange au pairs have accident and sickness insurance that meets the U.S. Department of State’s requirements for the program. Au pairs have access to a network of physicians and medical providers while on the program. Coverage and exclusion details are outlined in the insurance materials provided to the au pair. Au pairs have an option to upgrade their insurance coverage for an additional fee at the start of their program.

What is the educational component of the program?

During their time in the U.S., au pairs are required to complete six semester hours of classroom credit at an accredited post-secondary institution. (Online courses do not count.) Host families agree to provide au pairs with up to $500 towards completing the educational requirements of the program. Your Local Coordinator can assist the au pair with finding classes that will meet these requirements.

What if something goes wrong?

Our incredible network of caring Local Coordinators are committed to cultural exchange and helping our families and au pairs have a successful experience. If you feel something isn’t working or have a problem, please contact your Local Coordinator for advice and assistance. In many instances, issues between families and au pairs can be resolved by talking through a situation. If a situation isn’t able to be resolved, our team will work closely with you and your au pair.

Can we share an au pair’s services with another family?

No, the program is designed for an au pair to live with and care for one family’s children. Au pairs are not permitted to have employment outside of their host family.

Can we travel with our au pair?

Au pairs love to travel and explore new places while on the program. They can be a big help to traveling families. You’ll need to ensure that your au pair has private accommodations during your travels and that the au pair’s visa allows her/him to leave and re-enter the U.S. if traveling internationally. Au pairs should check the visa requirements of the countries being visited.

Do I need to pay taxes for my au pair?

Au pairs are generally non-resident aliens, and therefore their host families would be exempt from paying federal unemployment taxes on their au pair wages. However, in extremely rare cases, an au pair who had previously been in the United States as a student, teacher, trainee or researcher in F, J, M or Q non-immigrant status might be considered a resident alien during their current stay in the United States. If this is the case you should consult with a tax professional to determine your reporting and withholding obligations.

Do I need to have Workers’ Compensation insurance for my au pair?

The answer depends upon the state in which you reside. Due to the fact that an employee-employer relationship exists between the host family and au pair, the family is responsible for determining whether Workers’ Compensation insurance or any other insurance is mandatory under federal, state and/or local laws. Your homeowner’s insurance company may be able to assist you in answering this question.

What if there is an emergency?

An InterExchange staff member is always on call to assist with emergency situations involving the health, safety, and welfare of our participants. Call 1-917-373-0717 and follow the instructions for assistance.

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