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Au Pair USA - Fequently Asked Questions PDF Print E-mail

1. I don’t have my drivers license yet, can I register?

Yes, you can attend the interview and complete your application file. If you are accepted, your file can only be sent to the USA once you have passed your driving license. Remember your file needs to be sent at least 2 months before you would like to go.

2. What baby sitting/childcare experience do I need?

You need to have babysat / au paired or worked in some capacity (camps, Sunday school, crèche, nursery school, holiday clubs) with children between 0-12 years.

If you are under 19 or if you do not have 200 hours babysitting experience, you will not be eligible to au pair for babies under the age of 2.

You will be required to have 3 references completed by non-family members, of which 2 need to relate to child care experience.

3. Where will the interview take place?

We will try to conduct the interview as near to you as possible. Presently there are interviewers in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

4. What happens at the interview?

You will take a psychometric test (multiple choice) and be interviewed on your motivation. It is also a chance to get to know you better and to answer all your questions.

5. What is the cost of the program?

A registration fee of R750 due at interview, an acceptance fee of R4200 due on acceptance into the program after submitting your application file, placement fee of R4550 due on placement with a host family (when your departure is certain). You will need to pay approximately R1250 for other costs (visa etc) once you are placed but these are not payable to Calvin-Thomas. Finally, you are advised have approximately R1500 available (credit card or cash passport) for travel and emergencies when you leave.

6. What is the earliest that I can register?

You can apply 1 year before your ideal departure date. Remember that your police clearance and health certificate are only valid for 6 months so these may have to be re-done.

7. When is the latest that I can register?

Your file will need to be sent to the USA at least 2 -3 months before your ideal departure date. Reference letters can take a few days to be completed and then checked and police clearance can take up to 8 weeks. Some elements of your file may need to be improved on or altered slightly as well. You should register at least 5-6 months before you want to depart.

8. Once registered, when can I go?

Depending on your ideal departure date, you will be asked to submit your file on a certain date. If this is done, you will be available for placement for your ideal departure date and onwards. You will need to be available for placement for 3 months from the time that your file is sent to the USA.

9. Can I choose my destination?

No, you increase your chances of departing when you want to by circulating your file across the USA. In this way, families that think that you will fit in well with their lifestyle choose you and they may be located anywhere. The family chooses the au pair and not vice versa so there is no possibility of choosing your destination. Most placements are near large towns and cities as you will be enrolling into a university or college for part time study.

10. Will I have leave/holidays during my year as an au pair?

You have the right to 2 weeks paid leave during your year, you must discuss with your host family as to when you take it. Outside of these two weeks, you will have at least one and a half continuous days off a week and one weekend off a month.

11. What will I earn?

You will be paid $195.75 per week, but remember your housing, your food and laundry is included in that. Your ‘salary’ is regulated by the US Department of State.

12. Can I go with a friend?

You can register at the same time and maybe even leave at the same time but we cannot guarantee that you will be placed in the same region.

13. What happens at the training workshop in NYC? Do I pay for that?

The workshop is an intense course on child education, security and development in the USA. There will also be a multi-cultural evening and a sightseeing visit of New York. For the 5 day workshop, all the costs are paid for (airport transfers, hotel, food…)

14. Can I study? What classes and at what school?

The studies are an essential component of the program – you are required to be signed off at classes. The subjects are required to have a direct link to American culture or civilization or the American approach to a specific subject. At the time of placement, you will be given the names of three educational institutions where you can choose to study; you will discuss with your community counselor which school and which classes will be best for you. You are able to research your own school but you will need to check with your community counselor that your chosen class will pass the requirements. Your host family will pay up to $500 for the classes. (You should not need more than this)

15. Is there someone nearby that I can speak to if I have a problem in the USA?

Every month you will have a meeting with a community counselor and other au pairs in your region. He/she is there to help you with any problems that you may encounter.

16. What do I do if I have a problem?

There is a large network of community counselors (local) and area coordinators (regional) who are there to ensure that au pairs and families both respect their contracts at all times. Never hesitate to contact the EurAupair representatives for help.

17. Who sorts out the visa?

Once you are placed, we will send you all the necessary documents for your visa along with an explanation on the visa application process. Once you have made your appointment with the consulate, you will need to go in person for the interview to the consulate in your area (Cape Town / Durban / Johannesburg).

18. Do I need to have a certain amount of money in my bank account before I go?

You do not need to prove to anyone that you have a certain amount in your account. On the visa forms you will be required to state who is paying for your trip. However EurAupair recommends that you have at least US $200 in cash with you for the journey and preferably a credit card. This money is for emergencies and any expensive you may need to cover during your first 2 weeks. Remember you will have 5 days in NYC and then your first week as an au pair before you receive your first pay check.

19. What medical insurance will I have?

You will receive full insurance as part of the program and will not need to take out any other insurance. The medical insurance gives you unlimited cover for medical and surgical charges, repatriation and civil liability. The reimbursement system is easy and effective.

20. What do I pay towards flights or transportation?

Nothing! You do not need to pay for any tickets, providing that you complete your year as an au pair. All the transport is included in the program fee – your international flight from South Africa (Durban/Joburg or Cape Town) to New York as well as your domestic travel (flight/bus) on to your host family.

21. Do I need an international driving permit?

While this is not a mandatory requirement for departure, we advise you to apply for an IDP. It is quick and easy and will help with conversion of your license when you are in the USA. Contact the Automobile Association (AA) for more info or go into any AA store or Travel Experience Store. You will need to pay a fee (R160) and present your current drivers license, your ID and 2 ID photos.

22. If I am a foreigner living in South Africa can I apply?

If you have a South African residence permit for 1 year or less you need to apply in your home country.

If you have a 10 year residence permit, are a permanent resident or have dual nationality you can apply with us in South Africa.

If you are a citizen of one of the Southern African countries (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland or Mozambique), you will be able to apply however you will need to get to one of the interview locations in South Africa for your personal interview - Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban or Port Elizabeth. You will then apply for your US J1 visa from the US Consulate in your home country.