An au pair stay is possible for young people from 18 to 26 years of age, or from 17 to 30 for au pairs from EU/EEA countries and from Switzerland. It offers many opportunities to get to know a new culture. But you will also have to do your bit and get good information.
As an au pair, you can live with a German host family for a maximum of one year: you are a temporary member of the family! Your job: taking care of the family’s kids and helping with light household duties.
The host family and the organisation will take care of your stay: you will normally get your own room, a monthly allowance and free meals. It will contribute a certain amount to your language school and make sure that you are covered by a health and accident insurance.
This is a very important question! There are various opportunities in Germany for getting a place as au pair with a host family. The services offered differ widely and range from a mere placement to a placement including assistance before, during and after your stay.
Any potential host family in Germany may recruit their own au pair. As au pair agencies assist both au pairs and host families in case of problems and support them in their contacts to authorities, we recommend to use placement programmes with a reliable support service.
In Germany, au pair placements are arranged almost exclusively by non-public placement agents. Au pair agencies registered in Germany may ask you to pay a maximum fee of €150 for a placement with a host family.
There are au pair agencies in almost all German cities and regions. It is important to compare the range of services they offer: at any rate, the agency should fully and clearly inform you right at the start about the schedule and the content of your stay, support you with the formalities of your entry to Germany, be available for you as a contact and at any time during your entire stay. It may be helpful to have an opportunity to regularly share experiences with other au pairs.
It may be especially helpful to turn to an agency, if things get difficult in your host family and in case you would like to continue your stay in a different host family. In such a case, your agency cannot only help you find a new host family, but it can also assist you with the necessary formalities.
In addition to denominational umbrella organisations in Germany such as IN VIA - Katholische Mädchensozialarbeit (Association of Catholic Au Pair Information Centres) and vij - Verein für Internationale Jugendarbeit (Association of Protestant Au Pair Information Centres), who together offer the website www.weaupair.com, there is also the Aupair Society e.V. as an umbrella organisation.
With the participation of these three au pair associations and supported by the Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth another Association was established, the Gütegemeinschaft Au-pair e.V. (Quality Association Au Pair). Its affiliated agencies pledge to offer a safe and high quality au pair programme and are audited regularly. You can recognise them by their ‘Au-pair Incoming’ RAL Quality Seal.
A placement through a RAL-certified agency is free of charge and you will find experienced personnel who are available before and during your stay. They will take care of issues or problems and also offer an attractive leisure programme. Agencies affiliated to Gütegemeinschaft Au pair can be found in almost all major and smaller cities in Germany. They offer multilingual information on their websites. If you have questions, they will be answered quickly.
(*Note: For the purpose of this text our definition of ‘agency’ includes all placement institutions for au pair stays offering assistance and information”.)
It will be easier for you to find a suitable host family with an appropriately prepared and detailed application. The forms are available on the websites of the au pair agencies supporting you in the application and placement process. The agencies will also tell you about the specific documents you need to come to Germany.
The following documents must be included with your application:
a questionnaire with a passport photo and some private photos,
a handwritten letter to the host family with information about you and your family at home, about your hobbies and interests and your motivation to go to Germany as au pair,
a certificate of health, which is not older than three months,
evidence of your knowledge of German (the minimum requirement is Level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference),
if possible, a reference showing your experience in caring for children,
a copy of your passport and driving license, if applicable.
Send your documents either as a scan via email or as copy by mail to your agency in Germany. It will review your application and will normally inform you about the status of the placement process.
As soon as a host family is interested in taking you, the host parents will contact you online or via telephone. You will get more information on the family and you can decide together whether you can imagine living with each other. In the matching process, reliable au pair agencies will take into account your ideas and the ideas of the host family. The agreement on the au pair relationship is then laid down in an au pair contract.