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Becoming an Au Pair

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Visiting the UK as an Au Pair

This page was last updated 02 January 2014.

You can check here to see if someone can work in the UK.

Please note that we provide information for convenience only and you should always check the current rules and regulations on the UK Home Office website, which can be found at uk-visas-and-immigration.

European Nationals of countries in the European Economic Area and Switzerland

The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Although Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU), their citizens have the same rights as EU citizens to enter, live in and work in the UK. Nationals of Switzerland can also enter, live in and work in the UK.
(source: www.gov.uk/eu-eea)

Apart from the exceptions detailed below, the citizens of these countries can visit the UK and stay as a nanny, au pair or housekeeper, without restriction. Families should take steps to ensure that any worker, employee or au pair has the legal right to stay in the UK.

Exceptions:

Croatian nationals are able to visit the UK but cannot work or stay as an au pair. Please see http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/croatia/ for more information.

Other Nationalities

Youth Mobility Scheme

This is open to young people from participating countries and territories. The following countries are participating at the time of writing:

Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and Taiwan. Applications can also be made by individuals who are a British overseas citizen, a British overseas territories citizen or a British national (overseas). Please see www.gov.uk/tier-5-youth-mobility for more information.

Apart from the categories and nationalities described above, it is unlikely that there will be an appropriate visa category that will allow a visitor to visit the UK as an au pair, nanny or housekeeper.

For more information regarding rates of pay, holidays, terms of employment, etc please click here

Becoming An Au Pair

Becoming an au pair is a fantastic way to experience the culture of a foreign country, develop your language skills, meet new friends, and see the world.

We are here to help you travel as an au pair. You can read what families and au pairs have said about our site in our Testimonials and Survey Results.

Universal Au Pairs offers a service to au pairs looking for families. On this website we have a number of useful pages explaining to a family the way in which the au pair scheme should work. We advise you to read these pages to help you to understand the expectations that a family will have and the things that you can do to make your experience as positive as possible.

Please complete the Au Pair membership Form, and make sure that you complete the Dear Family Letter, and add a 'head and shoulders' photograph. Au pairs with a nicely written Dear Family Letter and a photograph receive around SIX TIMES as many family contacts. Remember that you can come back to your form and add the photograph later, if you need to.

If you are interested in travelling as an au pair we suggest that you take the following steps:

  1. Check that you are able to stay as an au pair in your country of destination, and what the requirements are for visa and work permit, etc. Please see the UK Home Office website for further information.
  2. If possible take some time to speak to friends and colleagues who have had experience of the UK
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  4. Look at information available about your country of destination in newspapers, magazines, other publications, and on websites
  5. Read the information that we provide here for families in order that you understand the lifestyle that you may live as an au pair, paying particular attention to the hours you are likely to work, your free time, your study time, time allowed to attend college courses, the household duties, and how much pocket money you receive. See also Useful Information for further information and links
  6. Read carefully the registration form and think about how you will answer the questions to give any potential family the information they will need in order to invite an au pair that fits in with them and their lifestyle
  7. Get as much of the additional information as you possibly can. You can always add more later, but the more complete the form and information, the more likely that you will be contacted by a number of families
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  9. Be honest. The family will want to check references and will want to interview you over the telephone. If you are not honest in your answers then the way you appear to the family may not be a correct interpretation and they may send you home!
  10. Speak to a number of families to get an idea of the different types of au pair placement available so you can select the one that is best for you
  11. Before starting with a family check the information that is given to you by the family. If they have had a previous au pair ask for contact details so that you can check a reference. If not, ask if you can speak to one of the teachers of the children just to check that the family is genuine
  12. Don?t be nervous that your English is not so good. It will soon improve. Sometimes you will find it easier to communicate your questions by email, and perhaps you will need a friend to help you translate your questions. A good family will be patient with you.
  13. Before travelling ensure that both the family and your parents/relatives in your home country have your travel details and contact telephone numbers. The dialling prefix for the UK is 0044, and delete the first 0 in the UK number
  14. Make sure that you call your parents/relatives once you have arrived safely
  15. Try and make sure that you carry enough money with you to make a return journey if things do not work out
  16. The family should not charge you for anything once you arrive, however you will be expected to pay your own fees and travel costs to attend college. Ask the family to help in arranging the college before you travel.
  17. You will be expected to pay your own travel costs in getting to the family, and also when it is time to return home.
  18. Universal Au Pairs is not able to provide a support service to au pairs. Our service to you is limited to presenting your details to potential families, and providing general information on this web site.
  19. When you agree to come to your new family you will need to ask them to write a Letter of Invitation inviting you as their au pair. The family must send this letter to you before you book and pay for your travel arrangements. If the family do not provide you with a letter of invitation we recommend that you do not continue with that family.
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Very important - please read this: **BEWARE OF SCAMS**

We will help you if we can.

Please feel free to forward any email that you receive, or to ask us any questions about anything of which you feel unsure. We CANNOT VERIFY A FAMILY'S EMAIL, OR GUARANTEE THEIR DETAILS, but if we feel suspicious, we will tell you. Please feel free to email This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it , and allow us 24 business hours to respond. Normally we will be back to you within just a few hours. Please also READ THE FOLLOWING...

We are aware of scam emails inviting au pairs. Normally these tell you that your profile matches the family's requirements. You may then be sent several official looking documents and asked to submit a visa fee via Western Union, or similar, along with lots of personal information and a copy of your passport. We recommend that you never send any money. This should make you very suspicious.

If a family, or someone pretending to be a family:

  • Asks you for money;
  • Introduces you to a third party (a travel agent, for example) who asks you for money;
  • Tells you they will help you with visas and/or work permits but that you will need to deal through a contact of the family, who after doing some 'work' 'for you' then asks you for money;
  • Is unable to provide references that you can check;
  • Seems to make everything happen too quickly, and makes you feel that you are being rushed in to making a decision;
  • Appears to be offering you much more pocket money than you were expecting;
  • Offers working conditions that sound 'too good to be true', such as world-wide travel and a car;
  • Provides incomplete or inconsistent information on their membership form and in further communications, or:
  • Makes you feel at all unsure or uncomfortable.

Then we strongly recommend that you:

Do not send them any money, and


Do not travel to be an au pair with that family.

We always recommend that you check some references for the family by speaking to a previous au pair if possible, and perhaps one of the teachers of the children, for example. You should check that the reference is genuine by, in the case of a teacher for example, telephoning on a number that is published for the school in a directory or on the school's web site. Then you can check that you are speaking to the genuine teacher, and that this teacher knows the family.

If a family introduces you to what they tell you is a 'travel agent' or similar, please be very careful. If the agent is bogus they could disappear with your money. This is why we recommend that you make your own travel arrangements with an agent or airline that you know is genuine.

If you receive an unsolicited email from an au pair/nanny promotion, or anyone else, telling you that you have won some money but need to make a payment to release the funds, we recommend that you do not respond to the email, and do not send any money.

If you become aware of any scam or immoral or illegal behaviour on this or any other site then please let us know by email to This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it , and we will try to update the general guidance that we provide on this site for people wishing to travel as au pairs.

Please see the menu item Fraud

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