Program Rules: An Au Pair must be…

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This information is only related regarding the Au-Pair program in the USA.

There are many rules that host families, au pairs and au pair agencies have to follow. Some agency rules vary, but the core of it, rules set forth by the Department of State, are all the SAME!

It is important to know the basic rules of the program. The information below was taken (copy-pasted) straight from the Department of State website itself (

Au Pairs must be:

  • Proficient in spoken English;
  • A secondary school graduate or equivalent; and
  • Between 18-and-26-years-old.
  • Capable of fully participating in the program as evidenced by the satisfactory completion of a physical.
  • Personally interviewed, in English, by an organizational representative who shall prepare a report of the interview which shall be provided to the host family; and
  • Successful in passing a background investigation that includes verification of school, three, non-family related personal and employment references, a criminal background check or its recognized equivalent and a personality profile. Such personality profile will be based upon a psychometric test designed to measure differences in characteristics among applicants against those characteristics considered most important to successfully participate in the au pair program.


Host Family Stay: Live with a family for 12 months, with the option to extend 6, 9, or 12 more months.

Professional Training: Receive a minimum of 32 hours of childcare training before you start.

Childcare Experience: Provide up to 10 hours a day/45 hours a week of childcare.

School Credit: Complete at least six hours of academic credit or equivalent in formal educational settings at an accredited U.S. post-secondary educational institution.

Financial Value: Receive up to $500 toward the cost of required academic course work. Room and board plus compensation for childcare work.

Limitations/Exceptions for Au Pair work

Au Pairs cannot be placed:

  • With a family that has an infant less than three months old unless a parent or other responsible adult is at home;
  • In homes with children under two years of age unless the Au Pair has at least 200 hours of documented infant childcare experience;
  • In families with a special needs child(ren), as identified by the family, unless the au pair has identified his/her prior experience, skills or training in the care of special needs children and the host family has reviewed and acknowledged the au pair’s prior experience, skills, or training in writing; and
  • In the homes of relatives.

EduCare – Childcare for before and after school

EduCare applies to families that require childcare before and after school. EduCare Au Pairs may not be placed with families that have preschool children except if other, full-time childcare plans have been made.

The EduCare Au Pair may work no more than 10 hours per day, and a maximum of 30 hours per week. Au Pairs participating in the EduCare component receive 75 percent of the weekly rate paid to non-EduCare participants. EduCare Au Pairs must complete a minimum of 12 hours of academic credit or its equivalent during the program year. The host family is required to provide (up to) the first $1,000 toward the cost of the Au Pair’s required academic course work.

Protections for Exchange Visitors

The State Department has activated a helpline to ensure the health and safety of its exchange participants, including au pairs. All participants have a right to be treated fairly and to report abuse without retaliation or threat of program cancellation.  Among other prohibitions, no sponsor may threaten program termination, or otherwise retaliate against an au pair solely because he or she has instituted a complaint or taken action to gain assistance from an outside entity regarding a complaint.  Au pairs can contact the State Department at any time via the hotline 1-866-283-9090 or at

by Sam, Au Pair Buzz. July 4th, 2018.

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