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Au Pair Matching 101

If you’ve heard of au pairs, you likely know they are young individuals (between the ages of 18 and 26) who come from all over the world to participate in a one- or two-year cultural exchange program, living with American host families and providing full-time childcare during their stay. What you may not be aware of is that when you’re in the au pair matching process, there are many nuances that may affect your decision.

While all au pairs are citizens of other countries, some au pairs may already be living in the United States. The majority of au pairs available are not yet in the country as they may only apply for their J-1 Visa and enter the U.S. once they have a confirmed match with a host family; however, there are some au pairs who have arrived in the U.S. already and—due to any number of reasons—have not been able to complete their programs with their original host families or would like to extend their programs somewhere new. 

Here are some things you can expect depending on the location of your au pair when you match.

If you match with an au pair who is currently overseas…

The majority of families match with au pairs who have not yet arrived on the Au Pair program. These au pairs are seeking their first (and perhaps only) match during their au pair program year. Most of these au pairs have never been to the U.S., so even though they speak English and have passed an English screening as part of their application process, they may be more nervous or wobbly with their words, as the majority are not from countries where they are surrounded by the language daily.

When you match with an overseas au pair, the typical turnaround time for the au pair to arrive in your home is a minimum of six to eight weeks. This is because once you confirm your match, many moving parts need to happen in order for your au pair to arrive on program. Your au pair will need to obtain their J-1 Visa and complete a vigorous au pair training program, in addition to a number of other pre-departure tasks to get ready for a year abroad. Au Pair USA will arrange for your au pair’s travel to your local airport and advise you of their arrival details.

Your au pair commits to spending one year with your family and has the opportunity to extend their stay for an additional six, nine, or 12 months depending on their preference.

If you match with an au pair who is already in the U.S….

Some families do not have the luxury of a six-week timeline to welcome their au pair or may prefer an au pair who already has experience taking care of American children in the U.S. In that case, they may prefer to match with an au pair already living in the U.S.

Available au pairs include au pairs who have decided to extend their au pair program experience for an additional six, nine, or 12 months and would like to have a new experience in a new location with a different family during their extension. While you may need to wait six weeks or more when you match with this au pair (their start date will vary depending on what day their extension program begins), it is possible to find an au pair who’s first available date is sooner than that window. Au pairs who extend often have stellar references from American host families as well as driving experience in the U.S.

As the Au Pair program is centered around people, there are instances where matches do not work out. Au pairs and families may decide to part ways and au pairs who decide to stay on program will be available for immediate placement with families. These au pairs typically must match within two weeks. This is a great solution for families who need to fill an immediate childcare gap. Au Pair USA ensures any au pair who is eligible for rematch has been screened and assessed as childcare safety is our number one priority.

If you’re ready to match with your next au pair, contact us! Au Pair USA’s team of Placement Coordinators are ready to help you find the right au pair for your family, whether they’re currently overseas or already in the U.S.!

Marisa Lonic

Marisa is a lover of all things cultural exchange. She and her family have hosted au pairs from Brazil, Germany, Colombia, Spain, and Ecuador. As a mom of four and the founder of Mama Work It, she helps working moms juggle mom life, work life, spouse life, fill in the blank life through her books, courses and coaching programs.