I am a new au pair mom this year. I love my au pair, we have a lot in common and she loves the kids. I was very happy to hear that she is interested in extending for 6 months, maybe even a year. But there ‘s a little bit of a glitch: She just found out that her Taiwan visa will not renew, so she will not be able to leave the U.S. during her extension.
Can anyone tell me:
— Is she technically illegal to be in the States (working or not working) if her home country visa is not renewed?
–is there any way to extend her visa so she can travel (since we may travel to Europe during her extension and would like to take her with us)?
Any advice that AuPairMom readers have would be great.
Extension Au Pairs, Visas and Travel
Regarding legality, as long as your au pair’s extension has been approved through an official agency (one of the 12), s/he is legal to stay and ‘work’ for you until the end of her or his extension. From the standpoint of the US of A, she’s legal if we say she’s legal.
However, to travel outside the US with the ability to return to the US, your au pair has to have a legal visa issued by her own country. If her home country visa expires before the end of her extension year (which it likely does) she will probably not be able to travel outside the US and then return.
Travel: Visas and Extension au pairs
If you have been granted a program extension for 6, 9 or 12 months, this means that you are legally allowed to remain in the United States for up to an additional 12 months to continue on the Au Pair in America program. An extension of stay is for continued participation in the au pair program. However, the J-1 visa in your passport is at most a one-year visa. This means that during your program extension, it is likely that your visa will have expired. For the most part, you need a valid visa to enter the United States, and you therefore should not travel outside the country during your extension year.
Both sites advise that, although an extension au pair can travel to her home country, get a visa, and then return for her / his remaining (extension) time, there is no guarantee that her or his home country will extend the visa. If your au pair travels home and can’t renew her visa– you lose out.
Your au pair can go home while her current home country visa is valid, apply for an extension, and return with or without a home country extension as long as her current home country visa is valid. That means, she can travel home during month 10 to try to get an early renewal, and still be able to come back (supposedly).
Remember, our advice here is based on experience– don’t count on this advice being completely accurate and timely.
Call your agency for the full details before you decide.
Readers, any additional advice to share?