When Your Au Pair’s Visa Doesn’t Come Through– what to do?

by cv harquail on July 30, 2014

I’m expecting my first au pair to arrive in country on August 11th and to my house on August 15th. My au pair has not received her Visa and forwarded me the below photograph. Have you heard of this?

What should we do? ~FranticSoonToBeHM

apm visa


Kate July 30, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Since emailing you frantically this morning I have leared that the State Department’s computers crashed worldwide creating a massive backlog in issuing visas. This is not a good situation because they have not provided a time frame to rectify the problem.


HRHM July 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I would say you and AP qualify for “urgent need to travel”. Have you or she contacted any of the listed emails?

SwissAuPair July 31, 2014 at 12:06 am

I don’t think so. Its written about “true emergencies of an extraordinary humanitarian nature”. The start of an aupair-year is definitely not an emergency! I would say something like a funeral of a family member, a family member that is about to die, and stuff like that is an emergency. But not the start of a job.

HRHM July 31, 2014 at 11:08 am

A dead person is already dead, so I wouldn’t think a funeral is an emergency. But childcare for a dependant child, that’s an immediate need.

It’s all in the eye of the beholder and the one thing I learned in my many years working for the US government is, if the answer is No, you just haven’t asked the right person yet.

Welcome to the US! LOL

NoVA Twin Mom July 31, 2014 at 11:58 am

And, as another person with extensive federal government experience – the answer is definitely no if you don’t ask. And I guarantee it’s not the case that only people with “true” emergencies are contacting them right now. Chances are everyone with a visa application in considers their situation to be an emergency.

I’m still not sure this rises to emergency level by the Government’s standards (though I definitely agree it does by the host families’ standards), but it’s worth asking.

Though I’ll repeat the advice given elsewhere here – this is what your Senator/Representative’s Constituent Services staff is for. If your au pair is in limbo like these are, call all three (both Senators and your Representative) to see if they can assist. THAT may be the most effective way to get things moving for individual au pairs/families.

Seattle Mom July 31, 2014 at 2:31 pm

I think if you had a genuine emergency (need to get back for medical care, or to take care of your own children, or something of that nature) then you could just contact the State department through the channels laid out in the letter and maybe they would put your visa on the top of the pile.

But I think the Au Pair situation is in a grey area, and the host parents need to get involved and contact their representatives in Congress- it’s definitely worth doing that, the district staff live for that kind of stuff. If left up to the AP it won’t happen, but with HF contacting everyone they can think of (including anyone who will listen to them at the State department) something might happen.

Because an AP starting a job may not be a true emergency, but it should be prioritized over people coming here on vacation. What about people coming here for school or to attend a family member’s wedding? I don’t know which should be priority, but I’m guessing the squeakier wheel with more influential reps in Congress will probably get more grease.

German Au-Pair July 31, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Mhm, depends on how you view it. For a HF a vacation clearly is less important than their need for childcare. However, if you plan a vacation to the US, you have your vacation time plannes for it so you probably can’t move it, you’ve paid flights, the visa fee, maybe a tour etc. I paid around 2000 dollars for my two-week bus tour alone, add flights to that (and maybe a longer tour) and the financial damage might be equal or higher than it would be for a HF trying to find alternative child care for 2 or 3 weeks, wouldn’t it?
It probably really comes down to pulling strings.

4th time lucky?! July 31, 2014 at 7:13 pm

I guess that’s what travel insurance is for when you go on holiday. No insurance option for HF if AP falls through and no possibility to get cost for additional childcare covered…

German Au-Pair August 1, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Yeah, I do see HF’s POV, but if your vacation that you’ve planned for several months falls through and you end up having wasted your vacation time without having vacation, even without the financial issue, for you that’s a big deal. Does a travel insurance pay back everything? Not sure if you can get travel insurance for those guided tours either.
My point is just that everyone feels their case is important and everyone will have to deal with the consequences for themselves. For example, as a student, I have to save a long time to travel to the US and if I planned a vacation, I probably only would find one specific college break for which I’d have to move courses and exams and internships. Meaning if one would fall though, I’d likely not be able to have another next semester so it would be a big deal for me. In the end, neither the need for childcare nor a planned vacation are actual emergencies but more like major inconveniences -for some more than others (on both sides).

Kate July 30, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I contacted the agency this morning and am waiting to hear back. I have been researching exigent and emergent travel criteria.

ILHostMom July 30, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Oh no! We have an AP arriving around the same time, also coming from Germany. Do you know which embassy she went to? Our incoming AP has all of the sudden gone quiet and I wonder if she received the same message and is freaking out.

Used2BAP July 31, 2014 at 4:34 am

I’m thinking if she applied for (and got) the visa soon enough (before Jul 21?) everything is OK :)

Kate July 31, 2014 at 7:06 am

Sadly she applied on July 22nd.

Kate July 31, 2014 at 7:08 am

Sorry I read this on my phone and didn’t see it was to ILHostMom. I hope your AP applied before 7/21!!!

ILHostMom July 31, 2014 at 10:03 am

Ours applied on July 28th. Ugghhh. What a mess. For Kate and I and others in this situation, has your agency contacted you at all? Mine only reiterated what has already been stated within this thread. Our agency only brings in folks every 2 to 3 weeks and I worry that even if she gets her visa we will have to wait until she can come with the next class.

Kate July 31, 2014 at 10:32 am

My agency brings girls every week thankfully!! My AP was told if she doesn’t receive her visa by 8/8 she’ll have to delay her 8/11 flight to 8/18 but I’m not confident she’ll get it in time for 8/18! What a huge mess!!

Skny July 31, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Not sure it is worth it but if you really need child care you might be able to get a rematch Au pair desperate for an extra week of rematch

Seattle Mom July 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I would contact your agency to see if they can be of help, and what they suggest. At the very least, they should be able to change travel dates and your start date. They need to be made aware of this situation, no matter what happens.

I would also contact your representative in Congress- they might be able to do something, you never know. This is the kind of constituent request they are used to dealing with.

I doubt this would qualify as a “true emergency of humanitarian nature” – no one is dying or going to die if your au pair is a few weeks late. It will be inconvenient and expensive, but not really an emergency.

UKaupair July 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm

There is nothing that can be done, defiently get her to email them and say its an emergency its worth a try! One of the girls I know has been to the embassy today and she leaves on august 18th they said it may take up the 3 weeks and she also got an email from the agency ‘au oair in america’ saying that she may have to fly on a different day! So if she doesnt get her passport back with her visa she will have to arrange another travel date! Hope everything works out for you though and she gets her visa/passport back soon! Defo email them though!

All the best!

Skny July 30, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Just saw on internacional Tv that US embassies around the world are asking people to change travel dates, as visas can’t be given for the next 2 weekx

Kate July 31, 2014 at 12:25 am

This is a very grim situation worldwide! A job delay is not an emergency. I’m guessing that she’s going to be two weeks late. I can not believe that their computers crashed to this magnitude…

Texas5TimeHostMom July 31, 2014 at 10:32 am

This happened to us with our first au pair, too. Her visa was rejected, and we didn’t have time to wait another 6 weeks for another candidate. We selected an au pair out of the rematch pool and had a great experience though it was stressful in the beginning, especially because we were new to the au pair program. Good luck!

HRHM July 31, 2014 at 11:11 am

I would also talk to the agency about giving you a rematch Au Pair as coverage until your next AP can get here. There are often girls who need a rematch family soon or they will be sent home and if they aren’t rematching for egregious reasons, they may be a good stopgap measure to help cover you care, while allowing them a longer window to find a permanent family…

Kate July 31, 2014 at 1:57 pm

My AP found out that her visa was submitted today (7/31) and the “normal” turn around time is one week. She may make her 8/8 deadline to get on her 8/11 flight.

The hits just keep on coming. I called my insurance agent to add my 20 year old German AP with an internation driver’s license onto my policy and it will be an ADDITIONAL $1,600 PER YEAR. Holy, what the what!! I live in New York.

NoVA Twin Mom July 31, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Our 20 year old Swedish au pair with international drivers license only increased our insurance $400 a year (with USAA). We’re just outside DC, which isn’t quite as bad as New York, but still not a cheap market. You might want to shop around for different car insurance.

WarmStateMomma July 31, 2014 at 3:14 pm

We pay an extra $500/yr to add our 25-yr-old AP from China, and we’re in a major city. We have USAA. She had a Chinese license and no US license when we added her.

hOstCDmom July 31, 2014 at 3:51 pm

My Colombian, female, 23 yo AP cost me only $76/YEAR to add to my two cars with USAA! (helps that we have 3 drivers and 2 cars, HD, HM and AP, and AP is not the primary on either of the cars (and truly isn’t in practice either)

Also, I suggest noting to your car ins folks, esp if they don’t ask, if your AP is a good student, or took drivers ed in home country — that lowered the annual cost of our Mexican, male, AP by more than half! (it ended up being only about $350/year)

hOstCDmom July 31, 2014 at 3:51 pm

And we are in Northeast…generally expensive car insurance state.

hOstCDmom July 31, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Said Mexican, male AP was 18yrs…so it wasn’t surprising that his rates were much more than his female and/or older counterparts! But, $350 for the year seemed a bargain! And I concur with others below that you can’t beat USAA for customer service, be it auto, homeowners, life insurance or banking!

Skny July 31, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Check with geico. It only cost me $48 a semester to add mine

Skny July 31, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Oh and I am in ny too, but not NYC. Upstate

Dorsi July 31, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Also, that may change if/when she gets a US license.

Taking a Computer Lunch July 31, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Her enrolling in an actual college to do coursework (as opposed to weekend classes) should also decrease your car insurance. If she receives an A or B, it should go down, again.

HRHM July 31, 2014 at 7:56 pm

We require our AP to get a state license in our home state ASAP upon arrival as this will drop the rate exponentially. It is incentivised by the fact that she may not use the car for personal use until she gets a US license. (Had to do that after an AP just put it off, over and over and over.)

Kate July 31, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Thanks for all of the insurance tips. I’m outside of NYC. I’m going to look into USAA, my Dad is retired military. If not I’ll call Geico. It seems to me that the prices vary depending on the agent that you speak with. These are all of the “little” things that the agency never really explained.

Julie July 31, 2014 at 6:53 pm

USAA is definitely a cheap option and better than most others for our family. If it’s available to you, definitely make the phone call.

Kate July 31, 2014 at 6:58 pm

I’m looking forward to speaking with USAA tomorrow. My Dad enrolled me tonight. Thanks to all that mentioned USAA!!

WarmStateMomma July 31, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Before we had USAA, a guy with USAA hit my car. His agency was actually friendly and helpful; mine (a major national agency) was not.

HRHM July 31, 2014 at 7:58 pm

We are also USAA. Great prices, excellent customer service. AND, they don’t penalize us when our AP gets into an accident nearly anually!

WestMom July 31, 2014 at 4:30 pm

FYI- InterExchange just issued a statement to host families on this. Our AP is arriving in two weeks and does have her visa already, but at least the agency seems to be notifying…

mom2jack July 31, 2014 at 4:42 pm

We too pay more than an extra $1,200/year to add our au pair to car insurance. We live outside of Boston. It’s a function of the au pair having less than 5 years of driving experience vs. age. It seems that the only company in MA that doesn’t penalized “inexperienced” drivers is USAA – but you need to be/have been military or be the child of someone who had USAA thenselves. My father, who passed away, was military but he did not have USAA insurance and because he never had USAA, I cannot get USAA.

HRHM August 1, 2014 at 11:05 am

If your Mom is still alive, she may be able to join and then extend the benefit to you as well…

Kate August 1, 2014 at 7:18 am

My AP’s visa arrived today. Yippee. For a point of reference she applied 7/22 was told it was submitted 7/31 and it arrived today. She’s near Frankfurt, Germany.

ILHostMom August 1, 2014 at 10:10 am

Thank you for providing the details. Our Au Pair said that the interviewer told her she’d have her visa in 5 days, which I find hard to believe given the computer issues. Maybe the interviewer wasn’t aware? Seems unlikely, but you never know. She interviewed in Berlin so hopefully they are just as speedy.

AlwaysHopeful HM August 5, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Kate, when you say she applied on 7/22, was that the date of her appointment? Our au pair has an appointment scheduled on 8/13. I’m just trying to gauge the length of the wait after that.

Kate August 5, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Yes her appointment was on 7/22. A friend’s au pair is scheduled to arrive 8/18 and she got her visa yesterday. She too is German. Our agency will wait until the Friday before the Monday flight for the visa to arrive. If it doesn’t they push arrival back a week.

When did your AP interview and when is she suppose to arrive?

AlwaysHopeful HM August 5, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Our AP will interview on 8/13 in Berlin, and is scheduled to travel on 9/8. I’m hoping that’s enough of a cushion! I’m scraping through a gap now (AP left a week ago), and even waiting until September is killing me!!

AlwaysHopeful HM August 1, 2014 at 9:53 am

That’s great, Kate! What a relief!!

Kate August 1, 2014 at 11:37 am

Just like all of the other HP’s signing the praises of USAA, I too am going to join on that bandwagon. The reduced my auto premium by $400 and it is going to cost $550 to add my “inexperienced” 20yo AP to the policy. Instead of an additional $1,600 that my previous insurance wanted to charge I’m only pyaing an additional $150 per year. What a relief. I also learned that spouses of military may join and then pass it on to children who can then pass it on to their children. If you have Grandparents or Greatgrandparents who are still alive and have been in the military or a spouse of the military you might be able to join. If at any point they were a USAA member (even if they are not current policy holders) their children are able to join. I had my Dad take out a jewelry policy for $25/year which he need not renew and bam I could join. It was super easy and they have great customer service. I’m sooooo relieved Thx for all of the advice this is a great group!!

hOstCDmom August 1, 2014 at 12:12 pm

If USAA would consider being an AP Agency too ;-), I would absolutely switch to them! I am certain they would be the best, cheapest, most responsive AP agency in America!!

So glad to hear that you had a positive experience with them, and that you don’t have to spend an extra $1600/year..!!

Angie host mom August 1, 2014 at 8:57 pm

My Polish au pair just renewed her visa, processing took 3 days, no worries? Maybe it is just new visas?

exaupair August 2, 2014 at 6:46 am

I’m happy for you and her, it’s quite hard for a Polish person to get US visa, however it might be a little bit easier with J-1 visas than regular tourist visas.

WorkingMomX August 2, 2014 at 2:36 pm

The situation with the Department of State database problem is extremely frustrating, but I just had to say that I laughed out loud and in disbelief at the comments of HRHM about a dead person being already dead but childcare is an emergency. You REALLY need to get a grip. I guess nothing truly hideous ever happens to you because it’s pretty clear your frame of reference for what a real crisis would be is minuscule. If your au pair doesn’t arrive on time, hire a sitter. Also, please get over yourself. If this is coming across as harsh, it’s meant to. Your attitude needs major adjustment.

OpinionatedHM August 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Pot. Kettle.

HRHM August 2, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Actually, nothing “hideous” happens to me.

I have plenty of stressors in my life. Dual military, frequently deployed, currently living in geographical separation from my spouse due to orders (going on year 8 of 22 years of marriage living apart, off and on), working a job that requires frequent nights without notice and every third weekend on call, aging, sickly parents who can’t help and living 1000 miles from family, moving 19 times in the past 23 years – including 5 times this past 12 months, etc. And so yes, in my world, losing reliable planned childcare is probably the biggest emergency I can imagine. I don’t have a network of friends or reliable babysitters here, since I moved AGAIN, last month. No family to help, no spouse to help… you get the picture. There are plenty of single, military or otherwise categorized parents on here that would have the same issue if their AP was denied a visa.

No one knows what goes on in anyone else’s life. It’s pretty presumptive to think you know me well enough from that one post to suggest I adjust my attitude.

Au pair August 2, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Don’t get me wrong, I can see that you have a difficult life with all that moving, husband gone etc. but couldn’t you just hire a nanny for the time your au pair isn’t here? (Not even sure if you are in that situation or not) it seems like there are lots of nannies/live in nannies that could cover?

OpinionatedHM August 3, 2014 at 8:56 am

The first thing that popped into my mind when I read the line “lots of nannies/live in nannies that could cover” was the scene in Mary Poppins with all the women waiting in line outside Mr. Banks house, waiting to be interviewed for the nanny position. Sadly, we don’t live in a movie world and there are not mobs of qualified women lining up to be nannies, especially temporary ones! At short notice! Although, you seem very confident there must be, so if you know the secret to locating them please share!
Also, I don’t think HRHM was trying to complain about a difficult life, she was merely trying to illustrate why she felt lack of child care constituted an emergency. In her situation.
Also, a little more respect for our military families please. Given the recent discussion of the wonderful USAA Insurance, I can see that many posters understand the difficulties military families face. Those of you who don’t, please at least try to be respectful in tone when you challenge things you don’t understand.

AlwaysHopeful HM August 3, 2014 at 10:08 am


WarmStateMomma August 4, 2014 at 8:23 am

You can’t hire a nanny on short notice, unless you already know someone and she isn’t working. There are probably some great caregivers on care.com and the like, but you don’t have time to sort out the good from the bad on short notice.

We have zero family in our state and no unemployed friends. If our AP didn’t show up and I had a major trial, HD would be the only person who could care for our toddler. Single parents and parents who recently moved have fewer options.

Maybe it’s not a humanitarian crisis, but having no child care on short notice
could mean losing your job, committing malpractice, or losing a major piece of business. For HPs who are doctors, their patients may have to wait for important treatment or procedures if they can’t get someone reliable to watch the kids.

DCMomof3 August 4, 2014 at 8:08 am

Another military mom offering some support here….While we are not an active duty family, so its not nearly as bad as HRHM’s situation, I would say that when a spouse is deployed and the spouse at home is working, an au pair can indeed be a complete lifesaver. In my 13 years of marriage, my husband (reserve, not even active duty) has deployed to Afghanistan twice (over a year each time) and Iraq once (14 months). The Iraq deployment came 5 weeks after my second son was born. I fell into the severe PPD hole until a loving au pair from Bolivia arrived to provide the care and support that my children needed, which allowed me to recover. Sometimes bad childcare or irregular childcare can be more stressful than none at all, and the unpredictability of military life exacerbates this situation. Military families face constant changes over which we have no control (except getting out of the military) and for some, the only constant which can carry us through is having another adult living in our house to take care of our kids and be a friend to the parents no matter what challenges we face.

Kate August 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

Well said DCMomof3

Should be working August 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Hey CV, I’ve always wanted some guest posts by military HMs. I really can’t even visualize how you do it (apart from hosting APs even). It always humbles me when I read military HP posts and reminds me that my daily complaints are really small potatoes.

WarmStateMomma August 4, 2014 at 12:49 pm

I’d be interested in hearing more about it, too. Does military housing include a room for an AP? Does the military accommodate the HF’s hosting of the AP in any way (seems like they should considering the logistics)?

Having just moved this weekend for the first time in 4 years, I cannot even imagine moving 5 times in 12 months.
With kids.
Without my husband at my side.
With whatever other practical limitations accompany a military move.
While working irregular hours.

It’s amazing that people are willing to sacrifice that much for the rest of us.

HRHM August 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm

We don’t live in base housing (haven’t since we started hosting) but I don’t think that they would give us a bigger house to accomodate. With our family size, we would qualify for a 3 bedroom or bigger, so we would just have to put the kids in one room to make space for an AP in base housing (although at Dh’s rank, we’d likely score a bigger house at most bases). I imagine they would have to make some kind of concession for base access in that event, as she wouldn’t qualify for a military ID. Our APs can get base access with the kids in tow, as they have had IDs since they were infants, so she can bring them to the doctor on base, etc.

Being military and being a surgeon both have many rewards and I wouldn’t trade the experience for all the staid predictibility in the world. I have loved taking care of my brothers and sisters in arms and it’s been my privelege to have seen so much of our wonderful planet. I’ve also learned that no matter how crappy our government and our country can seem, you ain’t seen nothin’! This move was my last move, as I have transitioned to reserves. Hopefully next summer’s orders for DH will move him to my time zone, if not my zipcode! LOL Regardless, I’m proud he’s still serving and we are lucky that we have the opportunity and the finances for him to fly “home” every other weekend. Lots of military families don’t. Overall, I’m grateful for my crazy life and know that many people have it tougher than me. This crap is temporary, first world stuff.

I really appreciate all the support and encouragement I get from my APMom community. It means a lot to me! :)

Skny August 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Off topic, Being a physical therapist I started the recruiting process with the Navy last year (but stopped when I discovered I was pregnant again…). Just got a call from the recruiter about it, but must say it is somewhat intimidating… Obviously I could not pass the physical at this point and am not ready to leave the kids for those weeks required for boot camp (although recruiter says it is close to a year to even get to this point)…
However I wonder how hard is military life for health care providers?
The recruiter gave the indication that I would never really be deployed as a PT

Pre-med student and former au pair August 5, 2014 at 11:36 pm

HRHM, I am just very curious, because I am planning on going to Medschool,
What kind of surgon are you, and do you still work in this profession? Also, were you deployed as a surgon? How was it to work in a different country etc? I hope it’s ok if I ask that, I am just very interested on going to school here in the states or in the domenican republic and then work with/for the military in my own country.

HRHM August 6, 2014 at 2:46 pm

All recruiters lie (sorry but it’s true). You will be in deployable status and you WILL get deployed. Probably not as a physical therapist, but as a general dury corpsman or some other “admin” type position. NO ONE IS EXEMPT. The deployment schedule varies, but it’s generally every two years. For surgeons, we only go for 6 months at a time (training adds another 2 months, so away from family for 8 mos) almost everyone else goes a year or more (ships are now doing 18 months at at time at sea). My advice for any woman with a family interested in joining the military is to look at the Air Force, not the Navy or Army or Marines. But, regardless, when you sign up with any of them, you do so knowing that you are deployable and most of the time you’ll be deployed within the first 6-12 months of reporting for duty. After all, all the folks already there have gone before and they’re just waiting for the “fresh meat” to show up so they don’t have to go again. Newbies move to the head of the line… Pregnant women get a pass until one year after the baby is born.

I am trained as a general surgeon with specialty training in Bariatric (weight loss) surgery. I did both in the Navy and now do pretty much only Bariatric surgery in my civilian job. When I deployed, it was as a general surgeon. In the US military, we multitask :) so I would be expected to do c-sections, set bones, drill craniotomies, fix blood vessels, treat trauma, etc while deployed. Same goes for my colleagues who were gyns, plastic surgeons and ortho surgeons back home. I never “worked in a different country” because we bring everything with us – set up our own hospitals with our own equipment and our own personell. America and it’s military are pretty unique so I can’t even begin to guess how it would be in your country’s military as a medical provider. I have one friend who was prepping to enter the UK army as a physician and their system is nothing like the US.

Julia August 2, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Just my two Cents. My friend married an American here in Germany and they took the regular road on applying for a visa and her hubby returned to the u.s to get it all figured out. And he was in a car accident and died and due to the computer problem she had to wait 4 days to finally fly to the us. She applied for the emergency visa on the day the accident was and it took 4 days for the visa to be issued and she was high priority and her husband had died 3 days after the accident. Just don’t get me wrong but childcare problems are not an emergency. Just imagine your au pair decided during training school to go back home and it happens often. Don’t apply for emergency visas if it is not an emergency and au pairs are told in advance that they should apply as early as possible for their visa in case of any kinds of problems

Repeataupair August 2, 2014 at 7:31 pm

We are told to apply in advance but keep in mind many au pairs match last minute + we don’t get any day to go to the ambassy, there are few spots available, it also depends on how to get there, it can be expensive depending on how far we live from it.

WarmStateMomma August 4, 2014 at 8:28 am

My AP’s agency told her to wait several weeks to apply for her visa – something about the validity period. She arrived 4 months ago and wasn’t caught up in this recent mess, thankfully.

WarmStateMomma August 4, 2014 at 10:47 am

And it’s truly awful that your friend had to wait so long and missed the chance to say goodbye to her fiancĂ©. I can’t imagine how terrible that must have been for her.

Seattle Mom August 4, 2014 at 11:44 am

Thanks for the sobering reminder of what a true emergency is. Sorry that it happened to your friend- what an awful thing to go through.

Taking a Computer Lunch August 3, 2014 at 9:25 am

My agency reminds HF that their match candidate is not guaranteed a visa. In fact, this happened with AP #3. Her visa was denied the first time because she lived in a South American country from which a lot of immigrants arrived in the U.S. illegally (or legally and then stayed illegally). Fortunately, for us, she was wealthy and willing enough to travel to the city in which the consulate was, to apply again – armed with a letter from us and coached by the agency and received her visa.

All APs are not treated equally. European APs can, and do, go home and reapply for a second visa which allows them to come and go from the U.S. during their extension year.

I know that summer and early fall are the most active AP switch-out times of the year. Many families, like mine, prefer to do training in the late summer, as the summer camp season ends and the start of school looms. The timing of this snafu has wide repercussions for hundreds of HF, even if child-care workers are not ranked high on the U.S. priority list.

I hope everyone’s AP arrives in a timely fashion. AP #10 for my family lands in NY this afternoon.

Seattle Mom August 4, 2014 at 11:52 am

On another (but related) note, my last AP just let me know that she got a k-1 visa approved. I had to look it up because I didn’t really know that one, and it’s a non-immigrant fiance visa. Woohoo! What a way to tell me that she’s engaged (I guess?).

We’re all excited because this means we’ll likely see her again.. the kids miss her terribly. I would love to hire her in some capacity for childcare but I’m sure that’s a no-no on her visa.

TexasHM August 4, 2014 at 4:39 pm

She can’t work on a K1 legally, she’s got 90 days to get married once she arrives and then can apply for her green card which seems to take anywhere from 4-5mos (fast tracked more $ and no bumps) to 14mos. She could legally work for you after she gets her green card. Props to her for completing the program and doing things right, she might even get her green card faster since she did the K1 paperwork already!

Seattle Mom August 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Thanks.. I checked the State and CBP websites and it looks like she could apply for some kind of work permit while she’s on the K1, and before she gets married… But I didn’t look too closely. I didn’t think that was the case because I have a colleague who had been working here as an unpaid intern while on her K1 and after getting married because she still didn’t have the documentation to work for pay. She only recently got the right documentation, about a year after first getting her K1. And now she has a paid position in my office.

Skny August 4, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Ok… Not “legal” but I had a former loved Au pair come to save us when we ended up without anyone 2 months or so before I gave birth to child number 4. So although it was not in the rules we flew her in with a tourist visa, and paid her cash.
I also worked as a nanny while I waited for my green card after I married my husband.

L. August 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm

I am an immigration attorney so I have been dealing with a lot of people’s visa delays. An au pair applying for a J-1 visa is not an emergency. Your au pair is not going to paroled in like someone scheduled for life-saving heart surgery or someone whose travel is truly important to a lot of people (like a huge celebrity coming to give a performance). Contacting your Congressman is not going to expedite it. Congress can’t do anything to help speed up visa delays caused by technical problems. Happily, so far my clients are still getting visas issued with a delay of a week or so (as opposed to normal processing time of about 2 days). This technical crash is totally unprecedented at least in the 6 years I have been in the field, and visa issuance was substantially less interconnected and integrated prior to the creation of this particular crashed database.

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