The length of stay for an au pair is between 3 and 24 months. Some au pairs agree with their host families to do short-stay au pairing where they come for 3 months over the summer and provide support when school is out. The latter is especially popular in southern European countries, where they have up to 3 months of summer vacation from school. Other countries require a minimum commitment of 6 months and some require a full-year commitment.
Typically, an au pair can only commit to a maximum of a year-long visa initially. Some countries allow au pairs to extend their stay once they have finished their initial experience for up to 24 months. The length of stay should be agreed upon between the host family and au pair and fall within the country’s regulations. This should be noted in the signed au pair contract. For more country-specific information, select a country below to learn more.
The most common length of stay is 12 months for an au pair. This is somewhat because of the maximum restrictions in many countries, but also in part due to the wishes of the host family. It can be difficult to say goodbye to an au pair, especially for the children, so many host families like to keep their au pair around for the full term to improve the bond between them and the au pair and to keep some more stability for their children.
The full 12 months or even an extension by 3, 6, 9, or 12 months in eligible countries also allows less visa processing and documentation from both parties allowing them to enjoy the au pair program to its fullest for the cultural exchange that it offers.
The length of stay is directly correlated to the length of the visa for the au pair granted by the sponsoring government in the host country. It is essential that au pairs return to their home country as soon as their visa runs up as it is the law and the purpose of the cultural exchange component of the au pair program. The length of stay and departure date should be written explicitly in the au pair contract and communicated to the au pair agency well in advance if anything changes. It is the au pair’s responsibility to report any updates so the agency can inform the host country’s immigration services appropriately.
Below you will find a table about the length of stay for au pairs in different countries.