The Au Pair USA Program remains impacted by a variety of factors including Presidential Proclamation and related litigation, country-specific travel restrictions, and visa processing delays. Below is a summary of the most up-to-date information.
Au Pair USA continues to work closely with the exchange community, including the U.S. Department of State, the Alliance for International Exchange, and our network of International Cooperators to advocate for au pairs and families and track visa issuance in the countries where we operate.
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. These proclamations are due to expire on December 31, 2020, unless extended. 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 9th, 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.
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 11/16/2020, travel restrictions are in effect for individuals who have been in these countries.
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.
As of 11/16/2020, the following au pair recruitment countries do not have specific travel restrictions, however, visa appointment wait times vary and are subject to change.
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.