Learn more about our program.
What kind of support will we receive?
From the moment you apply to become a host family, the staff at Au Pair USA and your Local Coordinator will be there every step of the way to answer your questions, help you prepare for your au pair’s arrival, and offer support and guidance throughout the year. Your Local Coordinator is always available to answer your questions and provide assistance.
Local Coordinator: Your 24-hour local contact
Every au pair agency is required by the U.S. government to have Local Coordinators in the areas they serve. We like to think that Au Pair USA has the best Local Coordinators around! Supportive, warm, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable, our Local Coordinators go above and beyond to make sure that all of our host families and au pairs have a great experience. Many of our Local Coordinators have hosted an au pair, so they can offer you first hand advice and guidance.
Before your au pair arrives, an InterExchange Local Coordinator will come to your house to conduct an in person interview with your family. Your Local Coordinator will be there to offer direction and support throughout the program year. She will also monitor the placement to make sure that you are meeting the host family responsibilities are being met.
Your Local Coordinator will:
- Meet with you at your home after you apply to become a host family.
- Contact you and your au pair within 48 hours of her or his arrival.
- Meet with you and your au pair at your home within two weeks of the au pair’s arrival.
- Check in with you at least once a month.
- Host monthly “cluster activities” for au pairs in your area.
- Organize annual Host Family Day events. Please note that all families are obligated to attend at least one Host Family Day sponsored by InterExchange during the course of the placement year.
- Be your first point of contact in case of an emergency or a problem with your au pair.
Program Specialist: Your in-office contact
Your Program Specialist is the staff member in our New York office who will be there every step of the way to help you to make the perfect match with your au pair, learning about your family and suggesting candidates that meet your needs. Once you have selected the au pair who feels like the best fit for your family, we’ll begin the process of arranging his or her visa. Your Program Specialist will work closely with your Local Coordinator to make sure that your match and arrival goes smoothly.
Charlotte works with families in Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Megan works with families in Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.
When can my au pair arrive?
Once you have made your match with your au pair, she or he can arrive in about 6-8 weeks. Once a match is confirmed, changes to arrival dates are subject to a $250 change fee.
Take a look at our arrival calendar for specific dates. If you are in a rush, we have a limited number of in-country candidates who are available sooner. You will need to submit your application in order to get in touch with them.
Who are our au pairs?
Our au pairs are adventurous young adults from over 30 countries around the world. Being an au pair abroad is a long standing tradition in many European countries and is a growing trend in regions of the world where the concept is still relatively new, such as South America. Across the globe, InterExchange's Au Pair USA program is one of the most popular options available for individuals who want to live and work in the U.S. and learn about American culture.
There are many reasons why our au pairs want to come to the U.S. to live and work with an American host family. Au pairs consistently tell us that the opportunities for cultural exchange, English language improvement, career advancement, child development learning, personal growth, and adventure are among the strongest factors motivating their participation in the program. While each au pair may have different reasons for taking part in the program, they have all expressed a love of working with children and a desire to spend time living as part of an American family.
All of our au pairs are interviewed and screened by our International Cooperators, and must attend an orientation session in New York. The Au Pair USA Orientation and Training program covers intercultural communication, childhood development, first aid, health and safety, and and hands-on infant, child and adult CPR certification.
What type of work can the au pair do?
Au pairs can do any sort of work related to the children. This can include preparing snacks, doing laundry, and of course, supervising play. Au pairs are not housekeepers and cannot do any sort of heavy cleaning, or tasks related to the host parents.
What if something goes wrong?
If you feel something isn't working, the first person to go to is your Local Coordinator. Your Local Coordinator can offer advice and help improve the relationship, and if necessary, will schedule a "three-point meeting." This is an opportunity for all parties to get together and work through any problems with their Local Coordinator as a mediator.
However, sometimes the outcome of this meeting is that the best course of action is to end the relationship, and you go into what we call "Transition." To help with this, we have a department dedicated to making things easier. Portia, our Transitions Manager, works very hard to help qualified host families match with new au pairs, and qualified au pairs to match with new host families. Portia helps everyone move through this process as quickly and smoothly as possible!
Portia Haynes has been working at InterExchange since 2010. Portia has always had a passion for cultural exchange, and has been working in the field since 2000. Portia is compassionate, understanding, and attentive to detail, and these qualities have helped her to work out a solution for many families and au pairs.
Should you not complete your program year, partial refunds may be available for unused weeks. Should your match be cancelled prior to the au pair's arrival, the match is subject to a $500 cancellation fee.
Our Au Pairs: Frequently Asked Questions
|Australia||Austria||Belgium||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Croatia||Czech Republic||Ecuador||El Salvador|
Yes. All au pair applicants must speak English. InterExchange verifies each applicant’s English skills during our screening and interviewing process. You will also have the opportunity to interview potential au pairs over the phone to make sure you are comfortable with their English abilities.
Most au pair applicants have a valid driver's license. If an au pair is a driver, she or he will be required to obtain an international driver's license prior to their arrival. During your interview, you may ask the au pair about the extent of his or her driving experience. Once you select an au pair, you should also be sure to contact your car insurance company about how to insure your au pair.
All au pairs are on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa, which is a non-immigrant visa granted by the U.S. Department of State. InterExchange Au Pair USA serves as the visa sponsor for the au pair and will make all the arrangements for the au pair to receive the visa from his or her nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
Because tax requirements vary according to state and according to your family’s situation, InterExchange recommends that you consult a tax advisor for specific information about your tax situation.
Au pairs are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes. An au pair’s income is considered “wages” and is subject to Federal income tax. However, depending on what time of the year your au pair arrives, it is possible that he or she will make below the minimum amount required for taxation in that year.
The IRS considers your au pair to be a household “employee” and the host family to be the “employer.” However, host families are not required to withhold taxes unless the au pair requests that taxes be withheld and the host family agrees to do so. Your au pair is responsible for declaring his or her own income and paying taxes at the end of the year.
Host family fees paid to InterExchange Au Pair USA and the weekly stipend paid to your au pair may qualify as a deductible child care expense. (Please consult a professional tax advisor for an opinion.)
If you wish to take the child care credit on your Federal Income Tax Return or if you wish to take reimbursement from a flexible spending program, be sure that your au pair has a Social Security number. Each au pair must acquire her or his Social Security number individually. InterExchange provides au pairs with a letter during orientation in New York to assist them in obtaining a Social Security number.
Great! If you’ve already found an au pair, we call that a “Pre-Match.” As long as the person you’ve selected meets the requirements to be an au pair, InterExchange can provide J-1 Visa sponsorship and support throughout the program. Plus, if you have a pre-matched candidate, you will save $300 on your program fees.
InterExchange has a thorough and comprehensive screening process. Initial screening is conducted in your au pair’s home country by a representative known as an international cooperator. The cooperator personally interviews each au pair applicant and obtains a confidential medical history report. The cooperator also gathers a police clearance report, personal references, two child care references, proof of secondary education and a personal essay.
Yes. You'll be glad to know that au pairs must meet even more stringent requirements in order to care for very young children. Specifically, they must provide references proving that they have had at least 200 hours of experience caring for a child under the age of two.
You are welcome to request an au pair from a specific country. Just be aware that it may take longer to match you with an au pair from your desired country, depending on how many qualified candidates are available at the time of your application.
Absolutely! Simply be aware that the matching process may take longer depending on the amount of qualified candidates that meet your language preference.
After you match with your au pair, the au pair completes an interactive online course that covers all aspects of the au pair program, including rules and regulations, arrival, life as an au pair, Local Coordinator information, how to mitigate problems, and how to be a successful au pair. They also complete an extensive Child Development Training course.
Au pairs also attend an orientation session in New York City. Orientation and Training provides an overview of the au pair program, intercultural communication, childhood development, first aid, basic health and safety, and hands-on infant, child and adult CPR certification. When au pairs finish this course, they are CPR certified for 2 years by the American Heart Association.
Every au pair uses rescue dummies at orientation – some of our au pairs have even used CPR when host parents did not know how to do so! Read more about Orientation and Training on our blog!
Host families are required to provide their au pair with a private bedroom. It is not required that your au pair have her or his own bathroom or car. That’s up to you.
While au pairs often help teach children words or phrases from their own language, they should primarily speak English in the household. The cultural exchange aspect of the au pair program is meant to benefit both the host family and your au pair. Many au pairs join the program in hopes of improving their English skills.
Certainly! If you are traveling to another country, just be sure that your au pair is in compliance with the specific visa rules and regulations of the destination country prior to departure. Also, be aware that your au pair must carry her or his DS-2019 form at all times when traveling abroad. Read more about vacationing with your au pair on our blog!
While au pairs can accommodate some flexibility in their schedules, they are not permitted to be home alone with children overnight, and never while parents are out of town.