COVID-19, Visa, and Travel Updates

The Au Pair USA Program remains impacted by a variety of factors including Presidential Proclamations and related litigation, country-specific travel restrictions, and visa processing delays. Below is a summary of the most up-to-date information.

Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States

As of January 26, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is requiring that all travelers to the United States show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Below are the specific details related to this new requirement.

  • The COVID-19 test must be performed during the three days preceding departure.
    • For example, if a traveler is scheduled to fly to the U.S. on June 30th, then they must have the COVID-19 test performed on either June 27th, 28th, or 29th.
    • They will need to bring the printed proof of the negative test result when they go to the airport on the 30th.
  • Travelers will have to provide a COVID-19 test result document to the airline when they check-in for their flight.
  • Travelers must also keep the test result document available throughout their travel and show it to any U.S. Government official who requests it.
  • The COVID-19 test must be a viral test, either an “antigen test” or “NAAT”.
  • The COVID-19 test will need to be the “rapid result” variety with the results likely determined in the testing facility rather than being sent to a laboratory.

Travelers who have had a positive COVID-19 viral test in the past 3 months, and have met the criteria to end isolation, may travel instead with documentation of the positive viral test results and a letter from a healthcare provider or a public health official that states they have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”

Au pairs who already know their travel date should find a testing facility and schedule a test appointment as soon as possible. Au pairs are responsible for scheduling and paying for their COVID-19 test.

This new requirement applies to all au pairs seeking to enter the U.S. regardless of whether they are entering for the first time or returning to continue their program after traveling internationally.

For more information about this recent order, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control’s Frequently Asked Questions .

Au Pair Visa Restrictions

Presidential Proclamation 10014 and 10052, which took effect on June 24, 2020, suspends and limits the entry of au pairs outside the U.S. who do not have a valid J-1 Visa. This temporary suspension was set to expire on December 31, 2020 but has been extended through March 31, 2021. The proclamations do not affect au pairs currently on the program in the U.S. but could affect their ability to reenter the U.S. should they exit.

A National Interest Exception allows certain families to request an exception to the travel ban. Additionally, a lawsuit filed by the US Chamber of Commerce and others challenging the validity of the Presidential Proclamation resulted in an injunction on these proclamations. However, the degree of adherence to these developments appears to vary among embassies and consulates. See details for each below.

National Interest Exceptions (NIE): The Presidential Proclamations include provisions for exceptions that are deemed to be in the national interest of the United States. Families will provide their matched au pair with proof of meeting at least one of the categories of exceptions below. If granted, au pairs will have 30 days to utilize the exception to the ban of arrival. Au pairs will not be able to leave the U.S. and return during their participation.

Special Needs: You need childcare services for a minor by an au pair possessing the special skills required for a child with particular needs (e.g., medical, special education, or sign language).

COVID Medical Worker: You need childcare services provided for a child whose parents are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 or medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19.

Court Ordered Injunction in National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Homeland Security (NAM): On October 9, 2020, an injunction was granted by a federal district court stating that the plaintiffs, including the US Chamber of Commerce (of which InterExchange is a member), were no longer subject to the Presidential Proclamation 10014 and 10052, suspending entry of au pairs.

Many au pairs who have applied for a J-1 visa under the NAM Injunction are being placed into “Administrative Processing”. This does not mean the au pair’s visa is denied, rather, the consulate is putting their request on hold. We have been told that this is so that they can check their request for special NAM related consideration. We expect that this processing period can last anywhere from a couple days to several weeks.

Travel Restrictions

There are several country-specific travel bans that need to be considered. These restrictions apply according to whether an individual, of any nationality, has been present in the restricted country in the previous 14 days. The restriction is not based on whether they are a resident of that country. Au pairs who are on a valid visa in the U.S., and travel to one of these countries, will be prevented from returning to the U.S. As of January 26, 2021, travel restrictions are in effect for individuals who have been in these countries.

  • South Africa: No entry to the United States (beginning January 30, 2021)
  • Brazil: No entry to the United States
  • China: No entry to the United States
  • U.K. & Ireland: No entry to the United States
  • Schengen Area of 26 European Countries: No entry to the United States

Schengen area Includes Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Does an arriving au pair need to be quarantined?

Host families welcoming their au pair from outside of the U.S. or from another U.S. state are responsible for knowing and complying with all local and state guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including any quarantine requirements.

Center for Disease Control

Travel Restriction Resources

Au Pair USA Au Pair USA