Application

When should I apply?

We can match you with families throughout the year! Please submit your application 3+ months before you’d like to start. We may be able to accept later applications.

What age will the children be?

In most cases, the children will be be elementary school age or younger. You will not be responsible for sole care of an infant. Au pairs working with school-aged children are much like a big brother or sister, and will often care for the children before and after school attending extracurricular activities together and helping with homework. They will often share hobbies with the children, like cultural, musical, arts or sporting interests.

If you’re working with any children 5 and under, the family may also be taking part in a home education program available in New Zealand, with a teacher who visits occasionally and can help you build educational activities into your childcare role.

What kind of childcare experience do I need?

Your child care experience can include any kind of work where you have been responsible for children outside of your family. This can include babysitting, tutoring, coaching, student/assistant teaching, classroom teaching, being a camp counselor or volunteering with kids and must add up to at least 200 hours in total. If you have additional child care related certificates or educational degrees, please highlight this in your application.

Do my references need to be sent directly to your organization?

You may collect your references and upload them directly to your online InterExchange account. If your referrer prefers to email them directly to us, please have them scan and send the form to workabroad@interexchange.org.

If I am not accepted into the program will I receive a refund?

Yes.

Can I make a location request?

Yes! While we can’t guarantee a location, most families are in or near Auckland or other major cities and you get to decide if you’re comfortable with a particular family based on viewing their profile and speaking with them. Your location will partly depend on families available when you apply.

Do I need to be a driver?

Most Kiwi host families seek an au pair who can drive. If you aren’t able to drive, it may take a few weeks longer to find you a family match.

Matching

What are host families like?

Most hosts are middle class families living in the suburbs of Auckland and other cities. All families must apply and be screened by our New Zealand partner agency. A typical New Zealand host family will have 2 or 3 children, most often aged between 1 and 12. New Zealanders are well known as friendly and welcoming hosts.

Be sure to to ask lots of questions before confirming a match. We’ll send you some guiding questions during the matching process.

Can I be placed with or close to a friend?

We can usually place two successful applicants in the same metro area.

Will I have options to choose from during the matching process?

You’ll definitely have the option to ask for other families if you feel the one(s) we’ve presented are not a good fit. Let us know and we’ll be happy to continue looking for another family until you feel like we’ve found the right one! It’s important to us that you feel comfortable with your host family match, and we’ll do all we can to make sure that happens.

Is there Internet access at every household?

The majority of our families have Internet access in their homes.

If I’m placed near a college am I allowed to take classes?

Your visa allows you to take classes for up to 6 months. If you’re certain you’d like to take classes, we recommend having a chat about this with your host family so they’re aware of your plans, and can make additional arrangements for their children if necessary.

How long should I stay?

Placements are for 6 or 12 months. If you like, you can travel after your six-month program on your own. Your visa is good for a full year so there’s plenty of time to explore. It also allows you to take on seasonal jobs, in case you want to try something a little different after your au pair program.

Please note that au pairs who are able to stay for a longer period of time may find it easier to match with host families.

What if issues arise with my host family after I am abroad?

Being an au pair involves a unique working and living relationship with a host family, over an extended length of time. It’s possible that at some point you may experience some form of miscommunication, or even a disagreement.

Typically, with proactive communication and sensitivity, it’s not difficult to resolve these things together with your hosts. However, it’s never a bad idea to contact our partner agency in New Zealand for extra help - they are professionals and love hearing from au pairs, no matter the reason! If things really are not working out, they’ll work with you regarding the possibility of a rematch with a new family, subject to availability.

Logistics

What does the visa process entail?

You’ll apply for the Working Holiday Visa, which allows you to work and travel in New Zealand for up to 12 months. The visa is available for 18 to 30 year olds from select countries. Getting the visa is typically a quick and straightforward online process, but we’ll provide information after you’re matched with a family and if you have questions you can always contact us at workabroad@interexchange.org.

In order to apply for the visa you should have your U.S. passport and a high school diploma, be in reasonably good health, and agree to have travel medical insurance before you travel. Support funds of NZD $4,200 is a visa requirement and you may be asked to upload proof of funds in your visa application. If you have much less than this amount available, you may wish to show that you have at least some support funds, along with a signed letter of support from a parent and/or your au pair agreement, to show that you already have a host who will be covering your room and board.

The best part: the visa is free!

Does InterExchange help me with my visa?

We will provide instructions on how to apply for your Working Holiday Visa; however, you will be the one to actually lodge the application. Keep in mind the application process is very easy because it is entirely conducted online.

Are there resources to help start my program?

You’ll receive an InterExchange Child Care Guide, Activities Guide, and Home Orientation Guide before departing the U.S. Upon arrival into New Zealand, our international partner will provide an orientation going over New Zealand-specific resources on how to approach au pairing and how to adjust to your new environment.

Do I need an international driver’s license?

We recommend you get an International Driver’s License/Permit. You should apply for this at the time of host family placement as it can take a few days/weeks to have it ready.​ There are two State Department-designated international drivers license distributors: the AAA and the AATA. You may use either of these organizations to obtain your International Driving Permit.

Do all families pay in cash?

Many families pay cash, although if there is another way you’d prefer to receive your pay, please simply let your host family know. If you’d like to change your money into U.S. dollars, you should be able to change your money at any large bank. Please remember to take into account exchange rates and transaction fees.

Is there a contract listing my hours and pay?

You will receive what we call an Au Pair/Host Family Agreement and Invitation that lists your host family’s contact information, your stipend, duration of program, and program stipulations. Both parties will be required to electronically sign this document upon successful matching.

Will I have vacation time?

You’re entitled to four weeks of paid vacation if your placement is 12 months. You’ll need to discuss vacation time with your host family in advance. You’ll also receive 11 days of paid leave for public holidays (12-month placements).

Should I bring my U.S. phone with me?

You could simply use your existing phone with a local SIM card purchased in New Zealand (check with your U.S. carrier to make sure your phone allows this), or purchase a relatively inexpensive phone just for your time in-country. In either case, you’ll probably want to set up a local phone plan. If you’re planning to contact people back at home, you could also use your existing device with WiFi for services like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. You can find more information here.

Do I need to buy a roundtrip flight?

It’s not required, but sometimes more cost efficient to book a roundtrip ticket.

Will I be able to connect with other au pairs in New Zealand?

Absolutely. We’ll connect you with other au pairs in New Zealand at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for au pairs in New Zealand. Our Kiwi partner also hosts social events and play dates to help you meet new friends.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation