France Au Pair Visa (Bring an Au Pair From US To France)

Working as an Au Pair in France can prove a fantastic opportunity for American young people looking to broaden their horizons, learn another language and travel to Europe. Here, we explain the visa application process and requirements for those looking to do just that.

Total Law can help you hire au pairs from the United States to join your family and help around the house while learning the French language and exploring the country. Call our North American office today on +1 844 290 6312 to find out more.

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    What is an Au Pair?

    The term ‘Au Pair’ means ‘on par’ or ‘on equal terms’ in French. Considered a family member, an Au Pair is a non-related person who joins a family to provide childcare and basic help around the home; usually as the parents work.

    Working as an Au Pair is usually an employment option for a non-native French speaker to help them learn the language through immersion, and the Au Pair lives in the family home for the experience, working 5 or 6 set days a week and enjoying free time for the others.

    An Au Pair will find themselves immersed in a complete cultural exchange as they live, breathe and work French daily life with their host family.

    In the eyes of the French government for the purposes of an Au Pair visa, the Au Pair works for a one-year period with the host family and may extend this up to two.

    While most commonly American Au Pairs hold English as their first language and learn French, there are also opportunities for Spanish speakers throughout France.

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    Requirements For Au Pairs to Work In France

    Those looking to work as an Au Pair in France only need to meet a few criteria in order to qualify, making it a fairly easily accessible visa class to obtain. The individual must:

    • Be aged between 18 and 30
    • Hold a valid US passport that expires no sooner than three months after the intended end date of the Au Pair assignment
    • Have a signed Au Pair contract in place with a host family (this is often called an Au Pair agreement as it is not considered a typical employment contract)
    • Be able to prove basic knowledge of the French language and be able to demonstrate some French language skills (this only needs to be conversational and by no means advanced)
    • Be educated to either a secondary school level or hold equivalent professional qualifications
    • Have a clean criminal record in both their home country and in France.

    There is no requirement in place for formal childcare training or qualifications.

    Employer’s Requirements For Hiring US Au Pairs For Work In France

    Host families looking to hire Au Pairs from overseas must fulfil certain criteria in order to be successful in obtaining the relevant visa. This includes the following requirements and responsibilities:

    • Having a signed and agreed Au Pair contract in place with the individual
    • Having arranged sufficient health insurance cover for the Au Pair valid for the duration of their stay – such costs are to be covered by the host family
    • Having arranged an enrolment for the Au Pair on a language course of French that lasts for a duration of at least three months.

    The host family are also responsible for registering the Au Pair at their local branch of the Foreign Office upon arrival in France. This allows the Au Pair to receive a French residence permit and must be done within three months of their initial arrival into the country.

    The Au Pair Contract

    While Au Pairs may end up feeling like part of the family, it is critical that a proper contract is in place between both parties. Such a contract must be agreed and signed before any visa application process takes place, and must be approved by the DREETS (the relevant Regional Directorate for the Economy, Employment, Labour and Solidarity).

    An Au Pair agreement must set out the following:

    • The expected working hours of the Au Pair
    • The role responsibilities of the Au Pair
    • Any stipulations on the Au Pair’s free time
    • The coverage of the health insurance paid for by the host family
    • Any pocket money allocation.

    There are a variety of templates available for the completion of Au Pair contracts but it is never recommended that host families use a copy-and-paste approach as this can present legal challenges later down the line.

    Instead, consider working with a specialist immigration legal team such as Total Law to formulate an appropriate and legally-binding contract that works for both parties. Call our office on +1 844 290 6312 to talk through your contract requirements.

    Considering hiring an Au Pair from the US to France? Our legal experts are here to guide you through the process. Contact Us

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      How To Bring International Au Pairs Into France: Step By Step Process


      For a US citizen to Au Pair in France, a specific visa (the Stagiaire aide familial etranger visa) must be obtained – and many of the steps in the application process require both the host family and the individual to complete tasks. They are as follows:

      Obtain a valid passport

      The majority of the American population do not hold a passport, but one is required not just for international travel to France but for the successful application of a French visa. If the individual does not already have one, they will need to obtain one – or, if their existing passport is due to expire in the three months following the initial one-year Au Pair tenure, to extend its validity.

      Agree and sign an Au Pair agreement

      The Au Pair agreement must be agreed and signed by both parties before being authorised by DREETS. A copy should be kept and submitted with the visa application form.

      Complete the visa application form

      The relevant visa application form can be obtained from the individual’s local French Embassy. This form should be completed and all appropriate supporting documents submitted with it. This may need to be done in advance of a face-to-face appointment at an Embassy, or on the day during it.

      Attend an appointment at the Embassy of France

      In many cases, the applicant will need to attend an in-person appointment at their local French Embassy or Consulate. During this appointment they may need to present relevant supporting documentation and demonstrate their basic French knowledge.

      Receive a decision

      An Au Pair visa holds a fairly streamlined processing period and in most cases a decision will be granted within a month. If declined, appeal routes may be available but most find such processes not to be cost-effective. For more guidance regarding a rejected application contact Total Law on +1 844 290 6312.

      Travel to France

      Once the visa has been granted, the newly appointed Au Pair is free to travel to France and commence their placement! Travel arrangements are usually agreed ahead of time and in most instances, the host family will cover such costs.

      Register at the Foreign Office

      The host family are responsible for taking their Au Pair to their local branch of the Foreign Office in order to register them for a residence permit. This must be done within three months of their initial arrival into France and allows for them to reside legally in the country.

      Extending / Renewing France Au Pair Visa

      An Au Pair visa is valid for an initial period of one year but may be extended to two. An extension can be applied for by the host family no sooner than the last two months of the initial one year period. If granted, the visa holder must also obtain a new residence permit to cover them for the second year duration.

      Our team of experts is ready to streamline the process for hosting a US Au Pair in France. Contact us today. Contact Us

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        How Total Law Can Help

        Total Law specialise in international immigration law and our team of solicitors and legal executives help host families bring in the best possible Au Pairs for their homes from the United States and further afield. We’re able to help guide and advise on the formulation of bespoke Au Pair agreements, the completion of the application process and the residence permit requirements thereafter.

        The Total Law team are available for a free chat with no obligation on +1 844 290 6312. Give us a call to discuss how an American Au Pair can benefit your family and how to efficiently gain the permissions to legally enter France.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  There is one Embassy of France in the US and 10 Consulate Generals, each serving different states for full coverage of American citizens. The Embassy can be found at 4101 Reservoir Rd NW, Washington, DC 20007 and Consulate Generals in Atlanta, GA; Massachusetts, MA; NW Washington; New York, NY; Houston, TX; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; New Orleans, LA; Los Angeles, CA; and Miami, FL.

                  American citizens require a valid passport for international travel and for any international visa applications ahead of travel.

                  A prospective Au Pair may apply for the appropriate visa aged no more than 30.

                  Au Pairs from non-EU countries (such as the United States) can work for no more than 25 hours per week, including informal babysitting duties.

                  Foreign Au Pairs working in France are expected to use their stay in the country to learn French. This includes attendance at a formal French language class course for at least three months.