Au Pair in America has been designated by the U.S. Government as an Exchange Visitor Program, enabling participants to use the J-1 visa.
The J-1 visa permits Au Pair in America participants to reside legally in the United States for 12 months while caring for children in a program-approved host family. Au pairs and companions in good standing may apply for an extension of stay to continue participation in the program for an additional 6, 9 or 12 months.
J-1 visa conditions state that the au pair or companion must meet her responsibilities to the host family, not accept paid employment beyond the hours and duties specified by the program, and return home at the end of her program participation. Providing child care assistance for an American family beyond the 12-month or extended duration of stay is illegal.
Au pairs or companions who have successfully completed the program in the past, have resided outside of the U.S. for at least two years and are between 18 and 26 and a half, may return on the Au Pair in America program for a second time on a J-1 visa.
Participants who leave the program early and remain in the United States are in breach of visa regulations. If this happens, Au Pair in America notifies the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and The Department of State.
The DHS allows J-1 visa holders to take an additional month at the conclusion of the exchange to travel in the United States. During that time, participants are free to travel within the United States independently of the program. They are not permitted to provide child care during their travel month in the United States.