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When Saying Goodbye to Your Beloved Au Pair Causes You to Weep...Can You Help Them Stay?

svlcc2.jpgWe have had the privilege of working with many families over the years who have hired Au Pairs to care for their young children. But then, the working relationship becomes more than that of a mere employee-employer. In fact, the Au Pair becomes a part of the family. At the end of the authorized J-1 Visa work period as an Au Pair, it's time to say goodbye and everyone starts to weep. I mean everyone... the children, the parents and the Au Pair.

Believing there is no way for the Au Pair to remain in the United States; U.S. Citizens desperate for options contact us. The lawyers here at ScottVassell Law Group have successfully navigated the complex J-1 Visa Department of State Rules to help. Specifically, we have helped Au Pairs remain in the U.S. with their "newfound" family through a change of status. If you want to learn how...keep reading!

In order a for J-1 visa Au Pair Nanny to remain in the United States after they have maxed out their stay, the following criteria is required to help your Nanny change status while remaining here:

  1. 2 Year Work Requirement. It is important to check if your Au Pair Nanny has marked on her passport that she is required to return home and work for 2 years as a term of her Visa. If the answer is yes, you would need to speak with a U.S. Immigration lawyer about the Waiver options.

  2. When a Two Waiver is not Needed. If a 2-year work requirement in the Au Pair's home country is not required, an Au Pair is eligible to change status which must be planned well in advance of the visa expiration.

  3. Student Visa. One option is a Student F-1 Visa. A change of status from a J-1 Visa to an F-1 Student Visa is a great option but has the highest risk of denials if the visa is not properly bridged. The Au Pair must 'stack' her change of visa status. In other words, she must pursue an intermediate visa to bridge from J-1 to F-1; literally 'stacking up' the number of visas filed at the same time. At no time may your Au Pair not be in valid active status while awaiting a decision on the F-1 student visa. More than one visa application would need to be filed on top of the F-1 Student Visa Application, such as a B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa. Also, the I-20 may require several updates by the F-1 Student University or College Designated Student Officer.

  4. H-1B Visa. The H-1B Specialty Occupation work visa is an example of another popular change of status. Au Pairs who have the equivalent of a U.S. four year degree, and have a job offer from a U.S. company for a specialized position, may also remain in the United States while changing work visa status from J-1 Visa as an Au-Pair to an H-1B visa specialty occupation. Likewise, the U.S. Employer would need to be evaluated to determine if the job title and job description meet the Department of Labor's standards for H-1B visa employment.

There are many other visa options not discussed here. A skilled and experienced U.S. immigration lawyer would need to carefully review the Au Pair's resume or CV; any degrees or diplomas earned abroad, and prior job experience to determine the correct visa category.

Well I hope that was helpful, and now you know saying good-bye and weeping at the end of the Au-Pair work relationship is of course an option, but certainly NOT your only option. U.S. Immigration laws are constantly changing and are complex. Therefore, always consult with a U.S. Immigration lawyer if you are considering supporting or helping your Au Pair to change status while remaining in the United States.

If you have any questions you may email us at [email protected] or visit us at for our office locations and phone number(s). Our U.S. immigration lawyers are available for an initial free 20 minute in office or video consultation.

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