The only legal way to be an au pair in the USA on a J-1 visa is through a designated sponsor such as Cultural Care Au Pair.
Cultural Care in the USA has been a designated sponsor since 1989 – and ever since then, our team has ensured that all our program participants follow a strict set of regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of State. These regulations are enforced to ensure that all au pairs have a happy and successful experience on our program.
Our obligations under the U.S. Department of State regulations include:
- Providing au pairs with a minimum of eight hours of training in child development and child safety (at least four of which must teach infant safety).
- Providing au pairs with a minimum of 24 hours of child development instruction before being placed in an American home (at least four of which must relate to children under two years of age).
- Ensuring that each host family be assigned to a Local Childcare Consultant (LCC) who lives within a one-hour drive.
- Requiring LCCs to conduct an orientation with each host family and au pair within 14 days of an au pair’s arrival.
- Requiring LCCs to maintain monthly personal contact with host families and au pairs.
Under the U.S. Department of State regulations, obligations for host families include:
- Providing their au pair with a private bedroom, meals and a minimum weekly stipend of $195.75* (calculated based on federal minimum wage; subject to change).
- Limiting their au pair’s working hours to 45 hours per week (no more than 10 hours in one day).
- Limiting their au pair’s household responsibilities to those related to the care of the children (including meal preparation, laundry and room clean-up).
- Granting their au pair 1.5 days off per week, at least 1 full weekend off each month and 2 weeks of paid vacation.
- Arranging for a parent or responsible adult to remain at home with their au pair for the first three days after arrival.
- Ensuring that another adult is home with their au pair at all times if the family has an infant under the age of 3 months.
- Contributing up to $500 toward the cost of their au pair's completion of their educational requirement.
- Facilitating transportation for their au pair to attend monthly meetings with their LCC as well as educational classes.
For full details of U.S. Department of State Program Guidelines, please click here.
Member of the International Au Pair Association (IAPA)
As a proud member of IAPA, Cultural Care is given a “quality seal of approval” as an American au pair program. IAPA is a worldwide association and highly regarded in the cultural exchange industry. See www.iapa.org for more information.
*Host families and au pairs are free to discuss and agree to compensation higher than the required stipend minimum of $195.75; however, this cannot be in exchange for the au pair exceeding the regulatory limits on working hours (10 hours per day; 45 hours per week) or performing duties beyond childcare-related tasks.