If my au pair gets married, can she still au pair?

by cv harquail on January 23, 2011

What happens if your au pair decides to get married– not just engaged, but actually married — during her year with your family?

We have our first au pair. She is from China and she has been with us since July.

She met a man and is planning on getting married in a few days. She wants to stay in the US and in order to do so she has to get married 6 months before her visa expires.

I thought I read somewhere on this site that au pairs need to be single to maintain their J-1 visa. Is that true? She went to see an immigration lawyer and she told me he called the au pair agency and asked if an au pair needed to be single and the agency said no. She does not want me to tell the agency she is getting married.


Do au pairs need to be single?

Dear Host Mom,

We’ve never had that question before! We’ve heard about au pairs looking for husbands, but never one getting married while still being and still wanting to be an au pair- legally- in the US.

If I were you, I’d start looking for a new au pair, regardless of what the rules say. Here’s why:

First, unless you (and your au pair) are willing and able to dramatically reorganize your interpersonal and working relationships, this looks like a situation that will end poorly.

An au pair whose primary concern is either his or her romantic partner or immigration status is not a person who will necessarily be able to care for your kids with the attention and commitment your kids deserve.

Second, I think I might feel like my family and I were being used, or at the very least ‘taken advantage of’, and this would certainly shake my trust in our au pair. It’s such a violation of the psychological contract that I’d have a hard time knowing whether to trust her again.

Of course, you know your au pair, and you may have a relationship with her that’s so great you’re ready to readjust. Let us know how it goes!

What do you all think?


franzi January 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm

with the marriage your AP will lose it’s J1 visa status. this means she will no longer be able to AP for you. her next steps will be an adjustment of status (because she is moving from a visa to a residency) and while she is doing that she is not allowed to work and her husband is supposed to support her financially.
she can work again for you once she has a legal work permit (but she can’t work as an AP) but until then months will have passed. obviously she doesn’t want you to tell the agency she married because she will be kicked out of the program right away.

that being said you need to look for a new AP asap. your AP is not eligible to work for you anymore and is not covered by her agency when she is married! her visa is void if she gets married (and she darn well knows that).

Pia aupair January 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Well its new to me that she has to get married 6 month before her visa expires. as soon as she gets engaged she gets a new visa. same when she gets married. she wont need/have her J1 anymore. though i am not certain that she will be allowed to work right away with her new visa. otherwise she wouldnt need to aupair for you anymore she could be working as your nanny.

HRHM January 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm

She is either misinformed or lying to you about the need to marry 6 months prior to the expiration of her J-1. In our first cluster, one of the APs got married to a local boy and she did so during the last week of her AP year so that she could finish out the year with her HF. As soon as she marries, her J-1 is invalid and you can no longer employ her legally. As soon as she marries, she is no longer an AP. She will shift to a spouse visa and during that time even if she is allowed to work, you would have to pay her as an American employee, including filing and paying payroll, Social Security and Medicare taxes for her. She would be an hourly employee, subject to minimum wage laws and no longer under the umbrella of your agency (health insurance, liability insurance, etc)

I can see why she doesn’t want the agency to know. I think you need to talk to your LCC immediately. If it comes out that you were hiding her marriage it could void your agency contract. This would mean if she marries they send her home 6 months early they are under no obligation to refund your agency fees.

I agree with CV that this sets off red lights for me. Did she already know this man when she came to the US? If not, 6 months is a pretty quick turn around time for meeting someone and getting married. I know I’ve read about APs on a hunt for a husband, but this is really fast.

I also think she needs to find a better lawyer! All he has to do is read through the State Department’s web site to see that being single is a requirement for obtaining and maintaining a J-1 visa. Any “immigration lawyer” who relies on the agency and their administrative assistant to garner this information is not worth the paper his degree is printed on.

Busy Mom January 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I don’t think that it is accurate that she has to get married 6 mos before her visa expires. My au pair is engaged and will get married right after her year with us ends, during those few weeks that au pairs are allowed to legally stay in the US. She and her fiance seem to have done a lot of research to find out the process and details.

I think you should tell your LCC because the marriage affects her visa status.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 23, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Regardless of the laws, one question you must ask yourself is, “Is this AP capable of maintaining a quality relationship with my children when she is preparing to and getting married?” Has she already moved out of your household to develop a relationship with her husband? If not, do you think she will be reliable in commuting to your house on a daily basis? Will she have a car? Is she a punctual person? If your children are school-age, how likely is this AP to continue working weekend hours (my guess is that she will resist it)? Once she moves into her husband’s home, you hold absolutely not sway over her nor does the AP program because she has a back-up in her new visa status. If anything goes wrong in your relationship, you could be left in the lurch.

I have not faced this situation, although my first AP, who I applied to sponsor as an employer, decided that when she moved out of our home that she did not want to commute to work as early as we had been having her start. The decision was easy, we matched with another AP.

If you absolutely love your AP and you think she will continue to provide quality childcare to your children, then sit down with her and have a discussion. Before you talk, ask her what her expectations are in how your relationship will continue. Learn from her whether or not she expects that you will continue to offer the same “perks” that you offer now (whether it’s a cell phone, access to a car, etc.), what she expects of a schedule.

Second, call an immigration lawyer and ask a couple of questions – hypothetically. Then consider whether you or your husband are in a situation where if your AP’s employment by you is not legal – could it have an impact on your careers? Before you jump into to a changed relationship – be clear what it means to everyone in the family. The bottom line – you always have a back-up – matching with another AP.

Dawn January 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

“She does not want me to tell the agency she is getting married.”

This tells me everything you need to know to make a decision in this matter. If she’s willing to withhold a significant piece of information from the agency to protect her own interests, she’s willing to withhold a significant piece of information about, say, your children and their well-being from you as well.

Game over with this AP. Why is this even a question?

Anne January 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I agree, game over. While there is some gray area about when an AP should no longer be trusted, this one is clearly over the line. She is lying to her agency, to the US government, and to the host parents (because there’s no way her story about the immigration lawyer is true–lawyers look laws up, they don’t call a customer service rep at the regulated business to find out the law!). She asks others to break the law and risk serious consequences by lying for her.
Hmm, how many times has she asked your kids to lie to you for her?

Should be working January 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm

This story looks like it might not end well for the HF-AP relationship, but FYI my husband’s experience with immigration lawyers was lousy when he came here with an H1B and we were getting married. They told him all kinds of things and different ones differed in their advice–the best one emailing him, “Whatever you do, don’t get married!” just after we had gotten married (we were living in Europe). They gave him wildly different timelines for getting the visa settled. They told dire stories of how his situation would work out. In the end my husband dealt directly with the INS and (this will surprise some people perhaps) has become a total enthusiast of the INS. He’s had good service, accurate information and decent response time. And it’s true that everyone we dealt with was businesslike and fine.

I think TaCL’s advice still merits another look, considering the original post didn’t say anything about how the AP was doing and whether the HF was pleased with her. But maybe the AP really has been a great AP and with good legal advice (INS?) could continue, have a good year, and possibly marry at the end of it.

Ami November 12, 2011 at 3:19 am

I don’t agree, here is why, she needs about 5 months to get the new legal paperwork, such a spouse visa, residency, or whatever, it takes time to get them after AP gets married. And if I were you I wouldn’t tell to the agency unless the AP has been bad doing her job, or with you. I also think that time doesn’t matter when you find your love, if she really loves him, just let them be.
And you know, agencies don’t care about AP once she is in a family, AP pay too to came here, and agencies just want the money, they will find another AP to came here easily , a marriage while she is still legal doesn’t affect anyone else more than herself, and in a good way, because is easier to get residency.
I also think that if you love her you should support her!

Gianna January 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I am not a lawyer much less an immigration lawyer but I have heard several stories like this over the years from ” friends of the bride ” and I was always surprized at how fast the turnaround time was said to be : ” she met this guy in the supermarket …”
It was very scary to hear how gleeful the aupairs always were ; these young woman had no idea of the foolishness of marrying a man their girlfriend could not possibly have known well. But I would not be so sure that getting married will cause the aupair to bail. I do not think that marriage – green card. Without a green card, the only work she can get is off the books. Maybe she can find a nanny job off the books for more money than you are paying her but the agency is paying for her insurance. The poster who said that the fact that she doesn’t want the agency to know is a red flag is right on target. This young lady knows the rules. I would call the agency and advise them in writing immediately of her change in status. I have to wonder about this though. Don’t college professors come here on a J1 Visa ? Are they all single ? I would have thought otherwise but I am not an expert.

2boys2girls January 23, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Yes, visiting profs. do come on a J-1 (I just finished processing some paperwork at my job for this). And just like APs it is for a specific defined position at a particular institution (they can’t change jobs). They can bring their spouses and minor children with them and their spouses and kids come on a J-2 visa. The J-2 visa allows the spouse to work but they must apply for a work permit from within the US. Maybe TMI but I just got through learning about this!

HRHM January 24, 2011 at 2:18 am

There are about 10 different “categories” of J-1 visa (summer camp counselor, HS exchange students, college prof, AP, etc) and although they are all J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas, they are not exactly the same in nature. If you come on one to be a college prof, you can’t switch to be an AP during your year. And APs are NOT authorized to bring a spouse ordependant child on J-2 visa.

Chev January 24, 2011 at 3:33 am

Are you sure she’d be allowed to stay in the country and automatically get a spouse visa when she marries? I’ve known girls who had to go home for 12 months before they could come back and get married, to prove i guess that it wasn’t just a green card marriage.

anonmom January 24, 2011 at 11:23 am

I had an AP who returned home for 12 months before coming back, then she had to get married within 30 days on a spouse visa.

Aupairgal January 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I do know that to get married, you need a certificate saying that you are free to marry. I don’t think you can necessarily get that at your local embassy. Here is the kicker though, once you leave the US you can’t easily get back in just because you “plan” to get married to a particular person and the US (as well as a lot of other countries) don’t automatically recognize a marriage that took place in another country. For example(takes place in Germany but similar principle), a friend of mine married a woman from Vietnam in Vietnam. They are registered as married in Vietnam, but not in Germany. Germany will not accept that marriage because it wasn’t done in Germany. For her to come here to get married, she has to take many classes at a Goethe Institut, pass a language class, come with various documents from her home country(original birth certificate, certificate saying she is free to marry this man…not to mention all if it has to be translated by a professional translator) and also have someone financially vouch for her to get a visa to enter the country.

AnonHM Europe January 24, 2011 at 4:53 am

There is a document called “IAP-66”, to be filled out with the application for the J-1 Visa. The IAP-66 specifies the type of program the applicant wants to join including or refering to the special rules for the program. If you read “J-1” Visa, this means, that the person is participating in some kind of cultural exchange-program (exchange students, exchange professors, AP etc.) I seem to remember that the IAP-66 must be attached to the passport (visa) at all times. It is issued by the organisation (your AP-agency, the Exchange-Program, etc.) and not many “private” organizations are allowed to issue those.

I got married in the US to my European husband (both non-residents in the US) and we were told that we will have to legalize the marriage in our home-country within 6 months after the marriage in the US. Otherwise the marriage would “expire”, since none of us was US-Citizen/Resident. So if she is getting married to a non-US-Citizen, this might be the same?

How will anyone find out, that she got married, if she doesn’t tell? What will happen, if she tells after her last working-day in summer?

HRHM January 24, 2011 at 8:53 am

Both she and the host family will be breaking the law.

NY Hostmom January 24, 2011 at 9:06 am

I’d tell the LCC, the agency, and rematch immediately. I have no tolerance for the “looking for a husband” situation (or in this case the “found the husband” situation). Our family is interested in aupairs who want to be aupairs and not aupairs who are using our family for anything other than a cultural experience.

Former Au Pair D January 24, 2011 at 9:07 am

To work after getting married an imigrant needs a Permission from the Immigration and she can only have that after she applied for her “green card” ( that is not the name for it anymore but even so…) . Only when she goes through payments and interviews with the Immigration that she will be able to have a work permit. Until then she will not be legal to work as an au pair or any other job.

I would look for a new au pair. And you can tell the agency if you Want cause if she is getting married there is nothing they can do, she is not against the law.

Anonnypair January 24, 2011 at 9:15 am

I guess all this bring us to think about au pairs who wants to get married in order to stay in the USA. I have read here you HM saying that you dont want a girl who is “using your family to get married”. I have known girls that way. They come to US to marry and live here. But that doesn’t mean they are bad Au Pairs and most of the girls I’ve known had fininished theyr AP Years before they married. I think as long as they follow what was agreed with the HF it’s no one’s business the reasons why these girls marry or not.

In this particular case it seems the AP is not being honest to her HM. Which is bad and will cause problems to this family once they need and applied for child care for a whole year.

There are also another situation: some girls really fall in love and don’t want to leave their boyfriends so they marry. I have also seen AP who went back to their homecountries and once the relationship survived a year distance they came back to US and got married. So, Assuming that all APs who get marry just do it to stay in USA is the same that saying that all Americans are Cold and MEan. There all kinds of people and situation in the world and each case is a different case.

Former Brazilian Au Pair January 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Well put! I absolutely agree with you.
Generalizing is not right.

My two cents…

It is NOT TRUE that she has to get married 6 months before she leaves to her country. She can wait until the end of the program, then she has 30 days to get married and start the Residency process. And She will NOT get a fiance Visa (as someone stated before), that only happens if she is in her own country planning to marry her husband here. But since she is already here, once she gets married she will start the Residency (Green Card) process right after she gets married.
If she does get married before she finishes her Au Pair year and start her Green Card process she won’t be able to work as an Au Pair anymore, unless you do it “under the table”, but this would be against the law.

The Au Pair Agencies’ contracts specifically state that girls cannot be married in order to be Au Pairs, and if they get married they can no longer work as Au Pairs. As simple as that.

Kamila May 9, 2011 at 8:01 am

But how about if an au pair gets married and does not start her Green Card process right away but waits until she finishes the AP program? That way she does not adjust her status righ? Would she be able to stay here as an au pair and finish the program in this case?

Kamila May 9, 2011 at 8:18 am

I mean if she does not file I-130 and I-485 forms right away, which would mean she would have to be waiting for a work permit and working as an au pair would be illeagal…

HRHM May 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

But, as was stated previously, if she married while an AP she would be in violation of her agency contract. If the family helped her hide it from the LCC/agency, they would risk being kicked out of the program. And if the LCC knew then the AP would be sent home immediately as being in violation of her contract.

CO Host Mom January 24, 2011 at 11:00 am

We went through this with a previous AP. The answer was, as said above, that she could not get married and still AP. She had to wait until her travel month, which she did. She is now able to live legally in the U.S., but she can’t work until her working papers have been processed. She has been in that process for about four months now, and unfortunately, is unable to work or get a driver’s license until that has been resolved.

Melissa January 24, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I don’t have much to contribute regarding the visa or agency issues, but I would be hesitant to move forward or offer any support in this situation. As others have said, it seems unlikely that she will be able to continue to give her best to her role as an au pair after she is married. I would also have a very hard time with the fact that she wants to keep this hidden from the agency and is putting you in a very difficult position. And I fully agree with HRHM about the ‘lawyer’ she is working with. An attorney who specializes in immigration who has to call up an au pair agency to find out what the law says is comical, to say the least. Same goes for the agency rep who told him that au pairs do not need to be single to be in compliance with the program (I would wonder if the AP is being truthful here, particularly since she still doesn’t want the agency to know that she is getting married).

Melissa January 24, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I don’t have much to contribute regarding the visa or agency issues, but I would be hesitant to move forward or offer any support in this situation. As others have said, it seems unlikely that she will be able to continue to give her best to her role as an au pair after she is married. I would also have a very hard time with the fact that she wants to keep this hidden from the agency and is putting you in a very difficult position. And I fully agree with HRHM about the ‘lawyer’ she is working with. An attorney who specializes in immigration who has to call up an au pair agency to find out what the law says is comical, to say the least. Same goes for the agency rep who told him that au pairs do not need to be single to be in compliance with the program (I would wonder if the AP is being truthful here, particularly since she still doesn’t want the agency to know that she is getting married).

A Host Mom January 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm

She will not be able to work as an AP because of her status change AND her agency will be notified immediately of her status change since they sponsored her. A friend of my last au pair did this, she never called the agency because she knew it all and one week after her wedding, she received a call from the agency telling her to kiss the kids goodbye since she could no longer be an au pair. Not surprising, she continued to work with that family illegally and who knows what happened to her after that. So, my advice is to start looking for another au pair pronto.

Jasmine January 25, 2011 at 1:01 am

Thanks everyone for the comments. Let me tell you what’s happened since the original post. It was on Saturday so the agency office was closed and I didn’t want to talk to the LLC so I called the emergency number and got the program director. She said she didn’t know the answer to whether ap could be married and still au pair but she doubted it was ok. She said she would contact the State Dept and find out on Monday. Au pair was at her boyfriend’s house who, by the way, she met on Craigslist. On Sunday I called her and said I wanted to talk to her and the boyfriend so they came over I asked her why she didn’t want me to tell the agency if it was ok. She said it was ok to tell the agency and then I told her I did and they doubted it was ok.

Then the boyfriend got really huffy with me and said this is a non-issue. I said this certainly is not a non-issue. AP is here to take care of my kid and that should be her top priority. They left to go out to dinner. On Monday agency said it is most certainly not ok top get married and stay in the program. The agency called her if she got married they would terminate her visa and she would have to go back to China. She said in that case I will not get married. Then I went home for lunch and she told me she still wanted to get married and no one has to no. I said absolutely not. When I got home from work she had a new plan. She wanted to know if I could help her and renew her so she could apply for a student visa and that takes time. I told her she would just be using us. I am a single mom and my daughter is 3 with mild autism and ap is great with her. I said I’d think about but I was not even considering it.

Tomorrow morning I am going to tell her that 2 months ago I asked her if she wanted to renew and she didn’t want to because she was getting married at the end of the year. I requested some more ap files from the agency and I have every intention of sending her back to China before 7/31 which is when her year is up. I just bought a new house and it is not a good time for a transition.

The program director said if an immigration lawyer called he would have talked to her and he never called. I told ap that and then we figured out he called the number on her visa and she doesn’t even know who it’s for. She gave him that number because she thought it was for the agency.

NoVA Host Mom January 25, 2011 at 2:12 am

Well, then I guess you have your answer — she used the program to get into the US (it happens, not with all APs, but it did with our first), and she wants to keep the visa she knows is valid for as long as she can until she can feel like she will certainly get a green card (BTW, she will still have to apply and there is no guarantee she actually gets one, just based on what is in the State Department’s web site). Keep in mind if you allow this girl to continue working for you when you know there is a strong likelihood she is in violation of the visa, you no longer have the protections of the agency or the resources of the LCC, etc. She will no longer have the health insurance provided through the agency, and she can be ordered to leave the country as soon as the J-1 visa is yanked (if they think something is afoot and they pull it before she has actually married a US citizen).

Your third paragraph was a bit confusing for me, so I am not sure if you are considering allowing her to stay on illegally or not. But… as it is tax season, you cannot deduct child care when the care is provided illegally. Just another thought.

To me, any way you try to look at this, it is a bad situation and one that you should stay away from (Craigslist? Really? Words do not describe!).

Jasmine January 25, 2011 at 9:51 am

No, I am absolutely not considering keeping her on illegally. That is not an option.

VA Au Pair February 3, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I met my actual boyfriend in a dating page as well, we wrote e-mails for about 4 months and we met after that, now is been 6 months that we had been together (10 in total). He already asked me to marry him, and he is getting a lawer to help us with the papers. If we decide to get marry when I am still in the US, I will wait to my 13 month (if the lawer says is a good idea) because I will not put in risk leave my host kids. If not we will start my visa paper when I am back to my country. Yeah, dating on internet, can be tricky, but not always is a set up to stay here.

My advice is to get a new AP!

Momof4 January 25, 2011 at 9:31 am

I would get rid of her. Her intentions for coming were wrong. Been there and not right.

formeraupair January 25, 2011 at 10:21 am

This girl did not come to the USA to take care of your kids. She is here to get a better life for herself.
And who wants to say NO to that. Who knows how her life looks like in China. If there are any chances for her to live a good life and offer her kids a great future.

As long as she does not hurt anyone (!!!), how can it be a bad thing?

HRHM January 25, 2011 at 11:30 am

It’s not that we begrudge an AP the chance to better her circumstances in principal. If this young woman wants to stay in the US via legal means I know that most host families would encourage that and help if at all possible. I think what disturbs most of us is that the young woman is DESPARATE to stay here regardless of the way she does it. First she commits to marrying a man she met on Craig’s List and has only know a few months. When she realizes that won’t work out to her advantage, she tries to convert to a student visa so she can stay.

It is obvious that entry into the US is her main priority now. We are a country struggling with immigration issues constantly. We know that this is a great place to live and work. We don’t want to see the AP program become a way for people to gain illegal entry into the country on a regular basis, because once it does, it will be shut down as being a source of illegal immigrants.
And really, your fist line said it all “This girl did not come to the USA to take care of your kids” You’re right and that’s the real problem.

AFHostmom January 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm

“And really, your fist line said it all “This girl did not come to the USA to take care of your kids” You’re right and that’s the real problem.”

I am aout as compassionate and sympathetic toward immigration as they come–I contribute to human rights orgs and do pro bono work for immigrants and asylees, and I’ve adopted a child from a foreign country–and I absolutely, totally agree with this.
It is NOT about the AP’s life in this case. It is about the child she committed to care for and the host mom who will suffer because of this betrayal of trust.
Living near an Army base I am keenly aware that if we get a single (as in not dating, not unmarried)AP, she may very well meet someone and fall in love, and that is a different story, and a bridge we would cross when we got to it (please, let’s never get to it). This situation seems very calculated, it’s pretty clear the AP is now using the program as a means to an end, and I’m sorry for the difficulty (and extra work) it’s causing the HM.

Gianna January 25, 2011 at 11:47 am

The purpose of these programs is for someone to come to this country to study ,make friends and then return home where he or she will share what she has learned here. This is a fine ideal. Not everyone can afford to do this without making some economic concessions. Not just anyone can afford to take a year to study and travel. Not every family in the US can afford to house, feed and entertain a student from abroad. So these programs offer a nice alternative : you will help us take care of our children and we will show you our country and people. There are other programs that ” rescue ” people and I, personally, am a big supporter of those programs. People who use the aupair program to some other purpose are 1. breaking the law & 2. not cooperating with the spirit of cultural exchange. Yes, I know there are families who just want cheap childcare and they are a problem, too. There is no chance for these programs to achieve their ideal if people enter the program under false pretenses.

Anna January 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I agree in parts. Because if you are an au pair and if you really fall in love with a guy and date him for a year and get married it doesnt mean you are using AU PAIR program just to stay in USA.

Also this idea that ALL au pairs are poor and WANT USA because there is a better life there is not totally true (specially because the economy is bad now). My real family is way more wealthy than the family I au paired for. But I chose the AU Pair Program because of my age ( which did not allow me to go as an exchange student anymore) and because I wanted to experience a new culture, meet new people and have the experience with children.

families need to know that it costs a lot of money to go to USA, even as an au pair you pay alot. When I was AP the dolar was high as 2,49 compared to my country’s currency. Not everyone can afford going as an au pair. Also you have to prove to the Visa Immigration that you have enough money to go. I finished my year, came back to my country and had my exchange experience. But I have lots of friends who got married because they were in love.

On this au pair problem above: She is not doing anything ilegal so far. If you think she is not a good au pair than rematch her, also because she wont be taking care of your kids. But getting married is her problem and not ilegal at all.

Some comments just sound like prejudice to me….

NoVA Host Mom January 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Actually, the issue that the AP is wanting to be married and continue working as an AP is illegal, which is what the AP is asking to do (that and lie to the agency to try to keep her J1 visa which was obtained when she was single and employable).

I don’t agree that ALL APs are coming on false pretenses, and yes, I have seen the “real marriage” thing as well as the “anything for a green card marriage” thing, not to mention the tons of APs who come for the experience and then go home after it’s done. But the point of this one is that should this AP choose to enter into a false marriage (her problem, not the HF’s), then she is no longer eligible to be employed as her visa status would have immediately changed. I really don’t think that any of us have a true “all or nothing” view on any of this. If we did, it is likely we would not be participating in the program at all. But we do recognize that it happens. In all directions it happens. And to pretend it doesn’t is naive.

Sandra Newman January 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I am a former au pair, i ddnt come to the u.s. thinking about living here but i found out someone who i love and now he’s my husband, just like every other woman that has a husband here. and when i have my children i will be just as a mom as every mom here.

this girl just wants to get married, she’s even very honest to the hm by letting her know what’s going on because she could be doing everything hidden.

fact is she’s very navy and probably doesn’t understand anything so she’s letting herself to be guide by the agency that doesn’t want anyone to be here as A IMMIGRANT. the U.S. DOESN’T WANT IMMIGRANTS and everybody knows it! if she knew just a little bit how things work, she would stay till her year is over then get married and apply for her green card. that wouldn’t do any harm for hm nor au pair and everybody would live happy!

formeraupair January 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I am on your side “Sandra Newman”!!!

I am sorry that my statement before was kinda confusing. I dont think its okay to “sneak” into a country and use the people there!!!
I just feel a bit sorry for the girl who sounds like a very desperate person.

germanchickx January 26, 2011 at 8:31 pm

um…I kinda disagree with the statement that the US doesn’t want immigrants. If they didn’t, they would have canned the Green Card Lottery years ago, which is how I got my Green Card after being an Au Pair.
Clearly, they don’t want illegal immigrants, but they are not nearly as tough on them as they should be.
I went literally through hell to stay here legally and have no understanding for illegals. She should really do some research and do it right.

I agree though, definitely look for another Au Pair. This one is unpredictable and you might find yourself without childcare sooner rather than later.
I can understand how desperate she might be to stay here, but she would do better to work with her host family and maybe have some support than work against everyone who might have cared about her on some point.

Angie January 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Au pair #2 got married in her extra month. It’s what I think most girls who happen to fall in love during their au pair year do.

Somebody is giving her bad advice and she’s listening to it. Frankly, if she’s good with your daughter and will wait til her year is up and then get married you can all get along fine.

azmom January 25, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Perhaps this is a separte post down the way (??) – should we keep a mediocre or just passing au pair when we know the reason they came to the US had nothing to do with taking care of kids? Our last AP left and we knew she didn’t come for the right reasons (posting on facebook with her friends how it is easier to get citizenship in Canada by getting pregnant by a Canadian, etc) and is now apparently looking for family #3 in 5 months and is working on changing her visa to a student visa (not sure which school doesn’t require a TOEFL for admission for her master’s, as I doubt she’d pass). Had I known all of this in the beginning I surely wouldn’t have tried as long as I did to make things work when she wasn’t doing anything stellar and barely mediocre at times.

(Note: We are extremely happy that we stuck around, our new au pair is phenomenal and the exact reason we entered the program and fits our family perfectly!)

Taking a Computer Lunch January 25, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I assume you considered your former AP to be “mediocre” across the board. However, in my experience, most APs excel in some areas and are mediocre in others, and it is that balance from which the HF must choose. Last year we hosted an AP who seemingly tried hard but could never quite pull off learning to drive well and mastering English in order to communicate what she knew (the perennial B student if you will). Her attempt to interact with my typically developing child was passive at best. However, in caring for my special needs child, she excelled, and for this reason alone my DH pressed to keep her in the household despite my advanced case of agita.

There does come a point, when APs rub us the wrong way, that we reach an impasse and the best thing to do is rematch. I’ve had a few APs who had a mind to stay in the US indefinitely (only one actually has), and that desire did not prevent ANY of them from doing a good job. Nevertheless, there are certain events/states of being: marriage, pregnancy, and a party girl with a sense of entitlement foremost among them, that preclude continuing a HF/AP relationship.

azmom January 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Definitely – most APs will have in which they something excel. What i thought was exceling while she was here (First AP), I later found was probably mediocre at best. She was on time in the morning – so I guess she excelled there. She’s not changin her visa because she was not eligible to rematch again. She had experience with kids, but hates Americans. Finds the other APs (not of her culture) to be immature. Wanted to live in a bigger city (basically mid-town Manhattan) and didn’t think she should have to play with my 2 year old (refused to get dirty/messy). I put a lot on language while she was here, but I think it was me hoping things would get better. Our last straw meeting basically wasn’t about care, I could some-what deal with mediocre care (as long as the kids were safe) was just asking her to either make a friend or watch some TV even so she could at least get something cultural…. she refused any of those things. She truly, really, had no interest in being an AP at all and was really here to get out of her country.

That, to me, is just absolutely meant there was no chance that it would have worked out, and knowing that I interviewed (this time around) more than a handful who had such excitement and joy who weren’t being picked (some I still email with) makes me upset that we have those out there who “dupe” host families and waste our time (and money).

AFHostMom January 27, 2011 at 7:46 pm

We are definitely involved in a staying-together-for-the-kids relationship with our AP. She excels at the laundry, and English. Top notch in both, and I appreciate it. She loves the kids, but her version of and vision for loving them is different than ours. She is very austere and even when on the ground playing with them I feel like she has a hard time loosening up. They love her too, and they’ve had enough change in the last year to last them a lifetime. I won’t get into the annoyances, because they are irrelevant, but they are sufficient enough that we’ve seriously considered rematch more times than I can count. At the end of the day though, rather than spin the wheel and take our chances with rematch, we’re sticking the year out.
I wish there was a 6 month option with a DIFFERENT AP–not an extension, another girl altogether. A year is a long time to commit to someone about whom you’re ambivalent. Especially when your kids are little and you don’t want to wish any time away, but you find yourself doing it to get past the AP frustration.

HRHM January 28, 2011 at 1:35 am


There are APs who extend for only 6 months but are looking for a different family. Talk to your LCC and PD and see if they have anyone available.

momof4 January 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm

It’s okay to fall in love and get married. I don’t think anybody is begrudging that. But what bothers me the most is when a young lady uses the “au pair system” just to get in the country. That is not okay with me. We are paying for childcare not looking to help ap’s out of their own country! My ap had a friend that was due to leave in January. Since the summer she was desperately trying to find anyone to marry her. She realized that she didn’t want to go home when her 2nd year was up. Some ap’s are truly amazing. But the ones that are looking to snag a husband? I really wouldn’t want in my home.

aupair agencies January 31, 2011 at 7:24 am

aupairs can be married, there is no law on this

Gianna January 31, 2011 at 9:23 am

I was happy to learn about ” Aupair Agencies ” so I checked it out. This is a European agency . I believe that the whole area of aupair placement and management is very different in the USA so I am not sure that the operating policies of this agency ( which looks very nice ) applies to the USA and the visas issued by our government. As a US citizen and resident , I am concerned with the laws of the US government and stateside agencies since those laws are the ones I must live with. Thanks for telling us about your agency. I appreciate learning about it.

MommyMia April 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Yes, good point, Gianna. In the US, APs absolutely CANNOT be married if they are legally participating in the J-1 Visa program. Europe is obviously different. And D.SA, of course sometimes girls do fall in love while here, just as some of my friends did while studying abroad. But I also personally know some APs who came here expressly looking for a husband so that they could marry and obtain legal resident status. Each case is different.

D.SA April 18, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Is so sad the way you guys think about APS that way, sometimes girls just fall in love and can get married, coming here is not just about the money.. is about your kids and a life that you will have here for 1 year or more! i personally know a couple APS that got married being in the agency and that didn’t affect anything, even the relationship with her host kids or her families!

azmom April 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Of course love happens, but when you see your AP posting things like “in Canada you can get legal status to stay if you get pregnant by a Canadian” and they don’t seem to care about getting to know any other au pairs, etc, etc. it does make host families wonder – after all we are HOSTING the au pair while they are coming here on a J-1 temporary visa.

kitty August 18, 2011 at 5:03 am

Hi! My Thai au pair got married to a guy a few months before her visa expired. She was on her second year with us and terrific with the kids — so I let her. She ultimately moved in with her husband and commuted to our house. Often the schedule began at 6 a.m. in the morning and she’d be there always on time. It worked for us, but again, you need a level of trust….

We’ve had some horrible experiences before and the one who got married was one of our best…. but, again, this was at the end of her SECOND year and I would have felt used if this had started at the beginning of the program….she earned her trust with us and street cred before then….

Good luck!

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