Can we bring a PreMatch Au Pair to the US without an agency?

by cv harquail on March 7, 2012

Dear AuPairMom-

We are on a 4 month sabbatical in Cape Town, SA and we have a great local nanny here. We’d like to bring her back with us to our home in Brooklyn, NY in April.

Can this be done?

Can we avoid the agencies/sponsors?5095416259_f2fa702c73_b.jpg

Dear CapeTownHostMom-

Yes, you can bring a caregiver from another country into the US as an au pair, provided that she/he meets the eligibility requirements of the US Dept of State’s Au Pair program.

However, to do this legally, you must use one of the approved Au Pair Agencies.

See: F.A.Q.: Must we use an Au Pair Agency to engage an Au Pair?

Some things to keep in mind when prematching —

  • Agencies require that you and your (potential) au pair fill out all of the paperwork and fulfill all of the screening requirements that are required for the more conventional matching process. As the official facilitators of the US Dept of State program, the Agencies are legally on the hook to evaluate your au pair candidate and your family.
  • Even when you know who you want as your au pair, it still takes time to complete the screening process and for your candidate to get a visa!
  • Agencies usually offer prematch discounts. ¬†You can and should negotiate with the Au Pair agency you choose to get the best discount possible. And, if you have the energy, it’s usually worthwhile to negotiate with more than one Agency and challenge them to beat the other Agency’s offer.
  • You might be able to save money by avoiding the “domestic airfare surcharges”, otherwise known as the air travel from the au pair orientation site to your USA home. (Less likely to be valuable to you because you are in New York and thus near the Long Island and Ct. sites of several agencies’ orientations.) Some agencies (for example, Agent Au Pair) will allow you to arrange and directly pay for your au pair’s air travel to your home. Sometimes (but not always) you can find a ticket that’s less expensive than the tickets the agencies buy in bulk.

The Value of Pre-matching with an Au Pair

People hope that pre-matching will help them save money. After all, you’ve done the hard work of finding the candidate! But still, you much use (and thus pay) an agency to do things legally and protect yourself and you au pair.

Take heart, though, with the other ways that a prematch ‘saves’ your family. You’ll get an au pair you already know, who you already trust, who your kids already adore. Worth its weight in agency fees, I’d say.


See also: What the best way to Pre-Match with an Au Pair, before connecting to an Agency?

Note: The examples of agencies, above, are NOT recommendations. The examples are to nudge you to go look around for the agency that will best meet your needs.


image: Pretty woman,AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike by gwilmore on Flickr


Colorado Mom March 8, 2012 at 10:17 am

We have a local family in our area that did this, but they used an agency. They were living in Germany and had a nanny there. She signed up through EurAupair and was able to come over for two years as an au pair.

Dorsi March 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I thought about doing this the first time (I have family/friends in a country where a lot of young women want to be an Au Pair). I was appalled at how much the agency charges even when you have “done all the hard work.” Having been through the process several times now, I realize the agency does bring quite a bit to the table (in providing the local support in the US, the local screening and paperwork in the home country, etc.). Also, there is not any other choice.

Niksmtn May 5, 2012 at 9:52 pm

We used AuPair in America for our prematch candidate that we met through Great Au Pair. They were helpful and efficient. I tried to go through cultural care because the fees were initially lower on the au Pair’s end (this varies per country) but the service was horrible. We finally had our girl switch agencies and she was with us within the month.

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