First, I must thank y’all for the overwhelming sympathy I received after my wisdom teeth surgery. I think is potentially my most commented on post ever. I am a baby chipmunk and I need all the attention I can get – coming through in the clutch, like always. You guys are the best. I am healing well but still not eating solid foods and still constantly aware of the post-wisdom-teeth-senstation (not sure how else to refer to this). I will get my stitches removed Friday and hoping to be 100% then.
Ok, onto today’s business. I get a whole lot of emails about how to get an au pair visa in Germany. It is an important question because it is extremely important to be living in the country legally (Do not let your au pair family tell you it is ok – it’s not and you will need a visa). After responding to a ton of emails individually individually, I’d like to address this on my blog so I have a source with all my links together to direct y’all to. I know this does not apply to many of my daily readers, but since it’s Google-d and inquired about frequently, I figured it’s time.
Editors Note: This process only applies to citizens of The United States of America. Since I am one, it is the only experience I can speak of. Additionally, laws change all the time, so please check other resources and make sure your host family understands the process.
How long can I stay without a visa?
Citizens of the USA can stay in the Schengen Area (which Germany is a part of) on a tourist visa for 90 days. Therefore, if you are doing a short au pair stay, you will not need a visa. Upon arrival, just tell them you are here to travel.
Who can get an au pair visa in Germany?
- You must have a valid passport.
- You must be between ages 18-24 when applying for your visa.
- Visas are granted for a minimum of 6 months up to a year.
- Au Pairs must have a German understanding of the A2 level (so able to pass the A1 test).*
How do I obtain my au pair visa?
When you move to Germany, you will have to register at your new address at the registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt). Whatever day you register is the day your one year au pair visa will begin on. Thus, I suggest registering later and saying you traveled in the beginning if you want to stay as long as possible. You can always leave early but you sure can’t overstay your welcome (at least I don’t suggest it).
Once registered, have your host family call and schedule an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde (this date should be before your 90 days is up) to avoid a long wait to get your visa. Show up at this appointment with the required items. If you bring everything, you should be set!
Wait for a letter to come in the mail with your electronic pin number. Bring this letter with you the the Ausländerbehörde to pick up your new Aufenthaltstitel and leaf with with working/living restrictions. No appointment is required.
How long does my au pair visa last?
The au pair visa can be set for 6 months to 1 year and is nonrenewable (you cannot au pair again in Germany).
What do I bring to the visa office/foreigner’s department (Ausländerbehörde)?
- au pair contract signed by you and your host family
- valid passport
- biometric photo (no smiling allowed)
- proof of insurance
- application form (also should be available at the Ausländerbehörde)
- Money (around 100€)
- Not required, but: I would bring your host mother or father with you. That way, they can do all the talking and forms to avoid frustrations and misunderstandings.
*Do I have to be able to speak German?
The by-the-books answer here is yes. You are supposed to have a basic knowledge of the German language (as stated above). However, through my au pair friends I met during my au pair time and all of the wonderful people I’ve met via my blog, not a single one has had to take the test. So, that’s that. Of course, I strongly recommend learning German during your stay, but I would not stress about it for the visa process specifically.
What was your experience getting an au pair visa?
(Don’t get me started on my work visa – WAY more difficult)