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Au Pair USA vs. Au Pair Europe

by Sammy-JoReading time: 2 min.
Au Pair USA vs. Au Pair Europe
Deciding on a country for your Au Pair stay can be hard. If you’re an EU citizen and don’t know whether you would like to stay in Europe or travel to the USA, read on. 

Length of stay

If you’re planning an Au Pair stay you might already know how long you want it to be. Do you want to live abroad for 3 months or over a year? Choosing a time frame should be the first step to choosing a Host Country. 
For EU citizens who want to be Au Pairs in Europe, there is no predetermined time period they have to stick to. An Au Pair stay can be as short or as long as you want. Technically. You should consider that most Host Families prefer Au Pairs who’ll stay longer than six months, though. If you want to be an Au Pair for only three months, you can try finding a job as a Summer Au Pair.
Au Pairs in the US, however, have to stay for at least a year. If you’re enjoying your time abroad you can extend your stay to two years. 


Depending on where you want to go you might need a visa. Visa requirements are different for every nationality, but for EU citizens the following is usually true.
If you want to become an Au Pair in the EU, you won’t need a visa. Your EU citizenship allows you to travel and work freely all over Europe. EU countries often don’t have official Au Pair programs, so you would usually be considered an employee. The most important thing for the Au Pair Europe program is to sign a contract. In this contract, all the Au Pair duties should be stated clearly.
The US however, have a very specific Au Pair program. In order to participate, you will have to work with an Agency, for example our partner Agent Au Pair. The visa you need to become an Au Pair in the US is called a J-1 visa. Working as an Au Pair in the USA without it is illegal. Remember: It’s not allowed to participate on a Tourist Visa or ESTA form!

Legal age

If you grew up in Europe, it’s probably normal for you to be able to buy drinks and enter clubs as soon as you turn 18. Try this in the US and you might get arrested. You are still considered underage at 18. If partying on the weekends is important to you, you might want to reconsider becoming an Au Pair in the USA. Otherwise there will be no drinking, club or casino visits until you’re 21 years old.


While you have to wait to party in the USA, you can get your American driver’s licence sooner than your European one. For you as an Au Pair it doesn’t matter though, since you have to be 18 in order to participate anyway. 
As an EU citizen you won’t need anything but your driver’s licence in order to be allowed to drive as an Au Pair in Europe. As an Au Pair in the US, you will need an additional international driver’s licence. You should also be prepared to drive really big cars
Of course there are even more differences between the Au Pair USA and the Au Pair Europe programs. If you want to know more, be sure to check out our Country Pages!
Culture Shock as an Au Pair in the USby Sammy-Jo on 28 May, 2019Read More »
My schedule as an Au Pair in New Yorkby Sammy-Jo on 11 Jun, 2019Read More »
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