How Long Does It Take to Get an Au Pair? An Introductory Guide

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Freebie: 100 Au Pair Interview Questions & Tips

If you’re considering hiring an au pair to help with childcare, you may wonder how long it takes to find and hire one.

The answer to this question can vary depending on several factors:

These will including your location, the Au Pair agency you work with, and what you’re looking for in an au pair.

In general, the process of finding and hiring an au pair can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.


Simply put, are several steps in the process, and many will be beyond your control.

These include: finding a reputable agency, completing an application and interview process, and selecting an au pair who aligns with your needs and preferences (so you don’t have to rematch).

Hiring an au pair is a significant decision!

While the process may take some time, in the long run it’s worth it.

So it’s important to take the time to find the right fit for your family.

A thorough search and matching process will go a long way to ensure that you have a reliable and trustworthy caregiver for your children.

Let’s assume you’ve already committed to that.

Since you know it’s not going to happen overnight, let’s next unpack the phases of finding and matching an au pair.

So to begin, let’s talk a bit about the au Pair program generally.

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Understanding the Au Pair Program

The Au Pair program is a cultural exchange program that brings young adults from different countries to live with a host family in a foreign country while taking care of their children.

This program is overseen by the U.S. Department of State, which has specific requirements, including things a host family must provide for an au pair.


One of the main benefits of the Au Pair program is the opportunity for cultural exchange.

The au pair gets to experience life in a new country while sharing their own culture with the host family and their children.


The host family gets to learn about a new culture and language while receiving affordable childcare.

To participate in the Au Pair program, both the host family and the au pair must meet certain requirements.

The host family must provide:

A private bedroom, meals, and a weekly stipend for the au pair.

The process of finding and matching with an au pair can take several weeks to several months.

The host family must first apply to a designated Au Pair agency and complete an application, background check, and home inspection.

Once approved, the agency will provide a list of potential au pairs for the family to review.

The family can then interview and select an au pair that meets their specific needs and preferences.

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Selecting an Au Pair Agency

One of the most popular ways to find an au pair is through an au pair agency.

These organizations, or “agencies” are responsible for matching families with au pairs who meet their specific needs and requirements.

The dedicated staff at au pair agencies work hard to match au pairs with suitable host families, provide training and support to the au pairs before and during their stay, and ensure a positive experience for all involved.

The au pair agency also provides support to both the au pair and the host family during the au pair year.

Here are some steps to follow when looking for an au pair agency:

  • Do your research: Look for reputable agencies that have been in business for several years and have positive reviews from other families. Don’t just rely on the reviews on their sites. Look for actual reviews and recommendations from real people.
  • Check their screening process: Make sure the agency conducts thorough background checks and interviews with potential au pairs. Some sort of suitability screening or assessment process is valuable too.
  • Compare fees: Different agencies charge different fees, so make sure to compare prices and find one that fits your budget.
  • Consider their support services: Look for agencies that offer ongoing support to both the family and the au pair throughout the placement.

Once you have found a few agencies that meet your criteria, the first step is to contact them and ask questions to ensure they are the right fit for your family.

Here are some questions you may want to ask them initially:

  • What is your process for matching families with au pairs?
  • What kind of support do you offer during the placement?
  • What is your policy if the placement doesn’t work out?
  • What kind of training do you provide for au pairs?
  • What is your fee structure? Do host families pay it all upfront or in payments?

By following these steps and asking the right questions, you can find an au pair agency that will help you find an excellent au pair for your family.

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The Application Process

Applying for an au pair can be a lengthy process. The good news is there are key steps you can take to set your family up for success.

The first step is to find a reputable agency or website that specializes in au pair placements.

Be sure to research the agency and read reviews from previous families to ensure that they have a good track record.

Once a suitable agency has been found, the application process can begin.

The application – for both au pair and host family – typically involves filling out a detailed form with personal information, education, work experience, and childcare experience.

Some agencies may also require a background check, and there may be medical requirements for the au pair.

After the application is submitted, the agency will review it and determine if the applicant meets their requirements.

If the applicant is approved, they will be approved to create a profile with the au pair agency so they can connect with potential host families and set up an interview.

This interview is an important step in the process! It allows both the au pair and the host family to get to know each other and ensure that they are a good match.

Once a match has been made, the agency will help the au pair obtain the necessary documents, such as a visa and travel arrangements.

The entire application process can take several weeks to several months, depending on the agency and the availability of host families.

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Visa And Arrival Process

Once you have found an au pair and agreed on the terms of the arrangement, the next step is to apply for a visa.

The visa process can vary depending on the country of origin of the au pair and the host family.

In general, the visa application process will involve providing documentation such as passports, birth certificates, and proof of insurance.

The host family may also need to provide evidence of their financial ability to support the au pair during their stay.

This will likely need to be provided to the au pair agency.


Make sure to allow plenty of time for the visa application process, as it can take several weeks or even months to complete.

Once the visa is approved, the au pair will need to make travel arrangements to the host country.

Usually, the au pair agency will have an orientation of sorts for the au pair when they arrive…

Our au pair was from Brazil, and she had attended an orientation of sorts in New York City before she was matched and started with her first host family.

The host family should be prepared to assist with travel planning and logistics, such as arranging airport transportation and helping the au pair get settled into their new home.

It is also important to be aware of the immigration laws in the host country!

Some countries may require the au pair to register with local authorities upon arrival or may have other specific requirements that must be met.

Host families should research the immigration laws in their country and ensure that they comply with all regulations.

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Preparing for Your Au Pair’s Arrival

Once you have found an au pair and they have been approved for your family, it’s time to start preparing for their arrival.

Here are a few things you should do to ensure a smooth transition:

  • Communicate: Before your au pair arrives, make sure to communicate with them about your family’s needs and expectations. This will help them feel more comfortable and prepared when they arrive.
  • Prepare the living space: Make sure your au pair has a comfortable and private living space. This can include a bedroom, bathroom, and access to common areas of the house.
  • Stock up on essentials: Make sure your au pair has access to essentials like toiletries, bedding, and towels. You can also stock the kitchen with some of their favorite foods to make them feel welcome.
  • Set a schedule: Work with your au pair to set a schedule for their first few weeks. This can include training, orientation, and time to get acclimated to their new surroundings.

By taking these steps, you can help ensure a smooth transition for your au pair and your family.

Remember to be patient and understanding as your au pair adjusts to their new environment!


Getting an au pair can be a great option for families looking for affordable and flexible childcare!

However, the process of finding and hiring an au pair can take some time and effort!

First, you’ve got to find an au pair agency you like and are comfortable with…

…and go through the application process, which can take several weeks. Then, they must wait for potential au pairs to apply and go through the selection process, which can take several more weeks.

Once an au pair is selected, the au pair must go through the legal process of obtaining a visa and arranging travel, all of which can take several more weeks.

Overall, the time it takes to get an au pair can vary depending onseveralf factors, including the family’s location, the agency they choose, and the availability of potential au pairs.

So keep this in mind and plan accordingly!

And know this:

AT the end of the day?

It’s worth it!

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