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Au Pair Alternatives and Differences

Through you can apply for different kind of programs. Find out the what the differences among Au Pairs, Granny Au Pairs, Nanny, Caregivers for Elderly and Live-in help.

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au pair alternatives is the most reliable online matching agency that gives you the chance to apply for jobs as an Au Pair, nanny, elderly caregiver, Live-in help and Granny Au Pair. Each position has different characteristics that will be explained in the following article.

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We have also provided with an overview table to look at the different criteria:

  Au Pair Nanny Caregiver for Elderly Granny Au Pair Live-in help
Age 18-30 Any Any 50+ Any
Married with children allowed No Yes Yes Yes No
Working hours 18-45 hours/week Regulated by labor law Regulated by labor law Few Few
Cultural exchange Yes  No No Yes No
Wages Pocket Money Salary  Salary Reimbursement of expenses No
Language course Possible or mandatory Not requested Not requested Not requested Not requested
Relation with family As a family member As an employee As an employee As a family member As a room mate
Contract Au Pair contract Work contract Work contract Private stay Private stay
Visa and work permit (non-EU citizen) Visa Visa + Work Permit Visa + Work Permit Tourist Visa No official visa
Duties and responsibilities Childcare and light domestic work Childcare and domestic work, on agreement Eldercare and domestic work, on agreement Flexible, on agreement Help in everyday life

Au Pair

General requirements

The requirements of the Au Pair program vary depending on the Host Country, but usually the age of an Au Pair is between 18 and 30. Many Host Countries require the Au Pair to have a minimum knowledge of the language or a minimum level of education. Please check if you can become an Au Pair and the specific requirements of the different Host Countries.

Wages and costs

Au Pairs get monthly pocket money, in addition to full board and accommodation. Some Host Families can also pay for language courses, according to the regulations of each Host Country. Travel costs, on the other hand, should be covered almost always - except for few Host Countries - by the Au Pair.
The Au Pair is usually responsible for the insurance that should cover her whole stay. Depending on the Host Country, law regulations in this matter may be different, but purchasing a private insurance is generally the best option. Find more information about insurance for Au Pairs from non-EU countries or the European Health Insurance Card for EU-citizens.


If there is any need for an Au Pair to get a visa to enter the Host Country, the embassy of the Host Country is usually the best source of information. To submit the visa application, the Au Pair contract needs to be signed by both parties. The letter of invitation, written by the Host Family, may also be necessary. More detailed information can be obtained from the embassy.
If you want to be an Au Pair in the USA, you will need to contact a full-service Au Pair agency in your country and ask for further guidance., as an online matching agency, offers you only a so-called “pre-match”. Read more about US sponsor organizations and J-1 visa.

Nanny and Caregiver for elderly

Live-in nanny and elderly caregiver are not cultural exchange programs and you would be considered an employee of your future match. These job positions only differ by duties and responsibilities, which mainly depend on the agreement between you and your employer. 

General requirements

Both a Nanny and a Caregiver for elderly have no age limits, they do not need to attend a language course and they are officially perceived as employees. In fact, they need to be employed and to sign a contract.

Wages and costs

Nannies and elderly caregivers receive a salary according to the minimum limits set by local law. In countries with a public health system, health insurance is provided with a legal contract. An accident and liability insurance is always suggested anyway. In terms of travel costs, these details need to be discussed directly with the Host Family, as there are no clear regulations on the matter. 


Non-EU citizens coming in the EU need to apply for a visa and a work permit. For information about the visa, you need to contact the host country's embassy in your homeland and ask for the requirements.

Granny Au Pair

The Granny Au Pair is a social project, in which elderly people can have a chance to become Au Pairs.

General requirements

This project is dedicated to over 50 year-old women who still want to live abroad and experience foreign cultures. The only requirements are to love children and have previous experience in childcare and housekeeping. 

Wages and costs

Granny Au Pairs, as volunteers, do not receive pocket money or salary, otherwise they must be employed according to the law, signing a contract as nanny. The Host Family should provide the Granny Au Pair with accommodation, full board and should cover the costs of travel, private insurance, language courses and the Granny’s full board.
If the Granny Au Pair is an EU citizen, the European Health Insurance Card will ensure her medical service. The Granny can also consider additional private insurance, which is necessary for Granny Au Pairs coming from non-EU countries or European Grannies in non EU-countries. 


There is no special visa for Granny Au Pairs. To find out which visa you will need to apply for, get in touch directly with the embassy of your Host Country in your Home Country.

Live-in help

The Live-in help is a social project, in which usually young people who are looking for affordable living space help out seniors or people who need support in their everyday life.

General requirements

This program is rather for young people, mostly students or young professionals, who would like to live in a certain country. In exchange for their help, the host does not require any payment for rent. 

Wages and costs

Live-in help, just like Granny Au Pairs, is seen as volunteering and therefore does not require pocket money or salary. If the candidates want to earn money taking care of a senior, they should apply for a position as a Senior Caregiver and signing a proper working contract as an employée. The senior should provide the candidate with a room in his or her house or apartment. The candidate however, needs to cover the costs for the flight, the visa (if needed) and the insurance.
If the Live-in help is an EU citizen, the European Health Insurance Card will ensure medical service in case the target country belongs to the EU. Otherwise the applicants would need to pay for a private insurance. 


Since the Live-in help program is not known in many countries, there is no official visa yet. We recommend this project to those people who do not need a visa to live in the desired country. If you need a visa, please contact the embassy of your host country in your home country directly. Please note, that you can also do this program in your own home country. 

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