HOW TO OBTAIN AN AU PAIR VISA IN GERMANY

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.

IMG 1903 HOW TO OBTAIN AN AU PAIR VISA IN GERMANYWant to hang out with a cute little German boy (and maybe some cute German men, too) for a year? Well, you’ll need a visa first.

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.

eAT Vorderseite HOW TO OBTAIN AN AU PAIR VISA IN GERMANY

This is what your residence permit, or “Aufenthaltstitel”, will look like (except my photo is in color).

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)

  • http://www.jbound.com Julie

    This is so cool! How great that you’ve already had this experience, I definitely wish I had done something like this before grad school.

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      After? Ya never know…

      • Marie

        Heya! I was wondering what rocesses you went through changing your visa status. I want to do the same. Any advice?

        • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

          You will have to decide if you are getting a student visa, in which you are enrolled in classes, or a working visa, where you already have a job. Each has their specifics. Everyone is sort of case-by-case.

    • Marie

      I am considering the working visa. Could you say a bit more of your process? Also, when do you think is best to start the process? Early during the au pair contract or later?

  • http://perceptioniseverything.blogspot.com Janna

    Being an Au Pair sounds so fabulous! Especially in a foreign country :)

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      Changed my life :)

    • Marilyn

      What would the difference be between an Au-Pair and a Youth Mobility/Working Holiday Visa? If I go to Au-pair for 8 months, but then still have 4 months left on the Visa could I travel while working at a restaurant part time? Or would I have to apply for a separate Visa?
      Also, is it possible to Au-pair in Germany for x months, then au pair in another country (and apply for a Visa) before the German Au-pair Visa has expired? I’d like to squeeze a lot of travelling into slightly less than a year.
      I’m Canadian but the Visa requirements look pretty similar, so I thought I’d ask!

      • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

        Americans do not have this youth mobility/working holiday visa, so unfortunately I know nothing about it. You can make your au pair visa shorter than a year in Germany, but a year is the max. Sorry I don’t have more information.

        • kate

          Hi! I’m a little confused about the A1 test. So do you have to know all the German and pass that before you go over there? Or do you take it after you’ve been taking classes and living with your host family for a while? I really want to go but my German is very very poor as of now.

          • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

            They say au pairs are supposed to have an A1 (very basic) knowledge of German, but no au pairs I know have ever had to take the examination. As I explained also here, I would try and get your visa at the end of the 90 days, which means you could have easily acquired the A1 skills then. I did not know any when I got here, but I’ve never had to take a test either.

  • http://tinaingermany.blogspot.com TinainGermany

    Technically, you’re supposed to have an au pair visa on arrival, a three month one that you then extend into the full one. Otherwise, you’re working illegally your first 90 days. Not that it matters and no one will come after you, but my host family was a stickler for being law-abiding citizens. They tested my German at the consulate in New York, sort of. All they did was say “Können Sie mich verstehen?” and I was like “…Ja…” And she was like “Fabulous, have this visa now.” Never got the full visa though, because in between I got EU citizenship. Yay, shamelessly milking your heritage for all it’s worth!

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      This is of course, technically true, and good of you to point out as I kind of leave that out. It’s just really a lot of extra effort that luckily Americans don’t have to go through. That’s really funny that that’s all they asked of you for your German, though. Hilarious.

  • http://stevenglassman.de Steven

    I had no idea that Germany doesn’t allow you to au pair a second time, or for more than a year. I’ve always said that the expat life is a very transient one, and this is yet another example of that. I also didn’t know that you can’t au pair if you’re older than 24- that’s strange.

    My work and residence visas were sponsored by my employer, which made it a great deal easier to get them squared away. In fact, the work visa was approved before I even bought my airfare to move over here- that was necessary though, since I moved over for a three year gig.

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      Yes, they certainly don’t make it easy! And even one lady at the visa office got angry with me when my German wasn’t so great because I lived with a family and I should’ve learned more by then. I told her I spoke English with the family (duh, that’s why I was there) and then she was angry that they were using me for that. The whole system is just odd sometimes.

      I’m sure having work help organize it makes all the difference. I had to get my work permit once here, but it wasn’t too terrible, just a million trips to and from all the million government offices :)

  • http://www.stylishgirlstraveltoo.com Ally

    My best friend really wants to do this so I’ll have to tell her the cut off is 24 yikes! (She’s 23)

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      Ah yes tell her to hop on it! She can be 25 while being an au pair, as long as she signs up at 24 though!

  • Tessa

    Hi! I just read this article, and it’s very helpful because I’m just starting the process of getting an au pair visa for Germany. I graduate from college this June, and I already have a host family that I’m very excited about. But I was concerned because I literally know no German. I’m very excited to learn German and my family is enrolling me in German classes, but hearing about your experience with little knowledge of German not being a problem comforted me. My only question is this: do you get the visa before you go or once you’re there? I know that Americans are allowed to enter Germany as an au pair without a visa, but you do still need to get one right?

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      You will get the visa once you are here. Just enter the country on a tourist visa. You will then obtain the visa with your family from the nearest Ausländerbehörde (foreigner’s office). You will do this after you have registered at your new address.

      All very exciting! What city will you be in? Let me know if you have any more questions.

      • Sim

        May I just say it depends on where you are coming from. For countries which require the visa, the A1 test is needed.

        • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

          As always, I am speaking from an American’s point of view, but thank you for clarifying for others who find this!

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      Also if you want to “beat the system” a bit – register your address a couple months after arrival and make your visa appointment just ahead of the 90 days. The visa only lasts on year and will begin from the day you are registered at your address (at least that’s how it was for me and friends). So, incase you want to stay longer (you never know :) ) – this will give you a couple extra months. You can just tell them you were traveling around up until then. Not completely legal but w/e

      • Tessa

        Haha, thanks for the advice! That’s good to know. I’ll be staying in Cologne. It is so exciting, I can’t wait!!

        • http://kathleenasoflately.wordpress.com kathleen

          hey i know i’ve commented here before but i followed your process and we are having trouble getting my visa they are saying i should have done it while in houston but the consulate did not let me apply for an au pair visa because they don’t issue visas for a year….do you know anyone else who may have had this issue?

          • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

            Who is “they” in this situation? This should not be a problem. You apply with your family through the Ausländerbehörde. Write me an email.

  • Kathleen

    So i go to germany in september and i have been rushing to learn german. i just got my passport, and now im just shopping for warm clothes ( because i live in texas and we never see snow) so ive been stressing about my visa and you truly reassured me. I thank you for that. Is there anyone i should do/buy/be prepared for before my trip?
    I will be going to Bad Hersfeld.

    Thanks for this very informative article!

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      Since I’m from Texas too, the warm clothes are a great idea. I recommend something waterproof that you really like for day/evening and good winter boots. Also, as an au pair, you don’t need to prove financially stable (at least I didn’t…) so unless that is new, it is not necessary. I know they do this for student visas by requiring you to provide a bank statement with at least 6000€. Anyway, very exciting!!

  • Britta

    I have recently found a German family that I love and soon will become their au pair. Do you know if you have to pay any taxes on your wages as an au pair in Germany?

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      No, you will not be paying taxes as it is considered “pocket money”. However, if your family chooses to go a different route and have you as an employee, you will pay taxes on it.

  • Oldenburgisches_Aupair

    So, I did a Google search about this topic, and your blog came up. However, it seems the match was in a comment, and not in something you posted. Which means I can’t find it. Anyway, what I would like to know is what you did in regards to paying taxes in the US while being an au pair. My parents are currently filing my taxes for me and would like to know. Thanks!

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com/ Alex

      I was not earning money in the US, so there were no taxes to be filed as far as I know. But much like you, my mom deals with it.

      • Oldenburgisches_Aupair

        My au pair year started in July. So, I’ve got half a year’s worth of income in the US. I guess I’ll just tell my mom to ignore what I’m making here, then.

  • Oldenburgisches_Aupair

    So, I did a Google search about this topic, and your blog came up. However, it seems the match was in a comment, and not in something you posted. Which means I can’t find it. Anyway, what I would like to know is what you did in regards to paying taxes in the US while being an au pair. My parents are currently filing my taxes for me and would like to know. Thanks!

    • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

      I was not earning money in the US, so there were no taxes to be filed as far as I know. But much like you, my mom deals with it.

      • Oldenburgisches_Aupair

        My au pair year started in July. So, I’ve got half a year’s worth of income in the US. I guess I’ll just tell my mom to ignore what I’m making here, then.

  • Sara

    Hi Alex! I just came across your blog while searching some information about au pair visas etc. I will be moving to Germany (Koblenz) in August to work as an au pair for a year. I am planning on applying once I arrive… I am a little nervous about booking a one-way flight for the trip, because travel agents seem to question it a lot. I’m just wondering if you have any information about this. I’m just worried about booking a one-way flight and trying to enter the country without a visa. Any advice or insight? Thank you!

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com/ Alex

      Hi Sara! I had actually booked a roundtrip when I booked, so I cannot speak from personal experience. I did once have a one-way ticket back in which I was questioned by the airline in the US, to which I showed them my visa. I have not heard of this being an issue before. The travel agent shouldn’t mind, just tell them you are going to be an au pair. If customs questions, I would tell them you are traveling before meeting your au pair family. It might raise questions, but I don’t believe it should actually cause you problems. The Koblenz region is amazing, btw, you are in for a treat!

      • Sara

        Thanks for the reply Alex! :) love your blog, it’s been super helpful and inspiring as I start to really plan my trip

        • http://facebook.com/colleen.veasey Colleen

          Hallo Alex (and basically anyone who can help!)
          I’m looking to start and au pair position in Germany from the US around July 2014; but I will be backpacking around Europe for 32 days from May20-Jun22… This affects my visa situation, i know, but my main concern is passing this dreaded A1 exam. When are you required to show proof? I was thinking of heading to NYC or DC to the German embassy to apply for the visa in-person before I even go backpacking, that way I’ll have all my ducks in a row and can easy my host-family’s concerns that I will actually show up ;-) (they’ve been ditched before.)
          It would be perfect to be able to take the exam AFTER my backpacking trip, because I will have a greater grasp on German and pass the exam with ease… but I’m really concerned that I will have to pass the A1 exam and show proof to the embassy when I go to apply for my visa.

          Any help at all, from anyone, would be great! Thanks for posting this, too, Alex, I think you can see it’s helping us gals everywhere.

          Cheers,
          Colleen

          • http://ifsandsandbutts.com/ Alex

            The problem with the au pair visa is that you will need a letter from your family and also the health insurance they are providing, which is why it’s often easier to do in Germany. From my experience it was SO much easier to let my German family take the reigns on this.

            I still don’t know a single American that has had to take the German A1 exam, but if you are worried, hop on DuoLingo for a month or so and you should be fine :)

          • http://ifsandsandbutts.com/ Alex

            *I should state that I don’t know anyone that had to take the exam while acquiring the visa after already arriving in Germany.

          • http://facebook.com/colleen.veasey Colleen

            Thanks, girl! I’ve been doing Rosetta Stone and dabbling with DuoLingo, so I’m getting more and more comfortable. Here is a bit more information that my host family told me, I figured I’d post it because it might help someone else:
            -The Goethe Institute class and exam is horribly expensive, hard, and legally unnecessary.
            -The people at the aliens office don’t really care what you give them, as long as you have something that says you have a small understanding of German so they can file away a paper. Anything will do, my host-family is friends with a woman who owns a language school and she’s going to write a letter for me to give to the office. Kaboom, it’s that easy.

            Dankeschön, Alex!

          • Julieanna92

            I actually am currently in Germany, and was told that I would be tested at the visa office to see what my level was. They did not require a certificate saying I passed (is around 100 Euro to take the test I believe). I found this out two weeks before my appointment, crammed words into my head, and then the guy only asked me (in German) how long I had been in Germany for, and what I had been doing. That was it. Can’t guarantee it is like that in every case, but I would definitely recommend at least being able to state your name, age, where you’re from, education background, why you want to be an au pair in Germany specifically, etc. I wasted a lot of time on more specific, higher level things that were not necessary. Hope this helps!

    • Simona

      Hi! I am presently working in Cologne and I booked just a one way trip and I was never questioned upon arrival about it so I dont think you have to worry about it.

      • Sara

        Thanks for the info! I also contacted my host mom who told me not to worry about it either as one of her previous au pairs had also booked a one-way without any problems. :)

      • http://ifsandsandbutts.com/ Alex

        Thanks so much for your input, Simona!

  • Sara

    Hi Alex! I just came across your blog while searching some information about au pair visas etc. I will be moving to Germany (Koblenz) in August to work as an au pair for a year. I am planning on applying once I arrive… I am a little nervous about booking a one-way flight for the trip, because travel agents seem to question it a lot. I’m just wondering if you have any information about this. I’m just worried about booking a one-way flight and trying to enter the country without a visa. Any advice or insight? Thank you!

    • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

      Hi Sara! I had actually booked a roundtrip when I booked, so I cannot speak from personal experience. I did once have a one-way ticket back in which I was questioned by the airline in the US, to which I showed them my visa. I have not heard of this being an issue before. The travel agent shouldn’t mind, just tell them you are going to be an au pair. If customs questions, I would tell them you are traveling before meeting your au pair family. It might raise questions, but I don’t believe it should actually cause you problems. The Koblenz region is amazing, btw, you are in for a treat!

      • Sara

        Thanks for the reply Alex! :) love your blog, it’s been super helpful and inspiring as I start to really plan my trip

    • Simona

      Hi! I am presently working in Cologne and I booked just a one way trip and I was never questioned upon arrival about it so I dont think you have to worry about it.

      • Sara

        Thanks for the info! I also contacted my host mom who told me not to worry about it either as one of her previous au pairs had also booked a one-way without any problems. :)

      • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

        Thanks so much for your input, Simona!

    • https://www.facebook.com/greg.webb.3701 Starbuck

      I’ve traveled back and forth between Germany and the US 4 or 5 times with only one way tickets every time and they’ve never said anything. All they ask is why you’re here and how long you’ll stay. They really don’t care.

  • Kelsie

    Hello Alex! I will be an au pair in France in June and then off to Rothenburg in early September. My German host family and I were curious about the visa situation as I will be already in the EU for a little under 80 days before my year in Germany. I was wondering if you had any insight on this. Should I apply for the au pair visa in the US or wait till I arrive in Germany? Thank you!

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com/ Alex

      Hi Kelsie,

      That is a tough one. I would have your au pair family call the Auslaenderbehoerde to see what they think! Hopefully they could schedule an appointment right when you arrive and then avoid any problems.

    • Colleen

      Kelsie,
      I have a very very similar situation! I’m backpacking through Europe for 32 days from May-June, and then (hopefully) starting an au pair position in Germany after that. My host-family and I had the same concerns… can you please let me know what the Auslaenderbehoerde had to say about this? Thanks!
      Colleen

  • Kelsie

    Hello Alex! I will be an au pair in France in June and then off to Rothenburg in early September. My German host family and I were curious about the visa situation as I will be already in the EU for a little under 80 days before my year in Germany. I was wondering if you had any insight on this. Should I apply for the au pair visa in the US or wait till I arrive in Germany? Thank you!

    • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

      Hi Kelsie,

      That is a tough one. I would have your au pair family call the Auslaenderbehoerde to see what they think! Hopefully they could schedule an appointment right when you arrive and then avoid any problems.

    • http://facebook.com/colleen.veasey Colleen

      Kelsie,
      I have a very very similar situation! I’m backpacking through Europe for 32 days from May-June, and then (hopefully) starting an au pair position in Germany after that. My host-family and I had the same concerns… can you please let me know what the Auslaenderbehoerde had to say about this? Thanks!
      Colleen

  • Emma

    Hi Alex! I just had a quick clarifying question. Did you have to apply for a Visa before you left the US or did you do it when you got there already? Thanks!

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com/ Alex

      I applied for mine while already in Germany.

  • Emma

    Hi Alex! I just had a quick clarifying question. Did you have to apply for a Visa before you left the US or did you do it when you got there already? Thanks!

    • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

      I applied for mine while already in Germany.

  • http://facebook.com/colleen.veasey Colleen

    lots of good info here! I’m really nervous about the exam… but I was also pretty excited to hear that a lot of au pairs didn’t get asked for their A1-pass-proof? Is this still true today, or should I start cramming for the exam again? Thanks for all the info, gals!

  • http://facebook.com/colleen.veasey Colleen

    Hallo Alex (and basically anyone who can help!)
    I’m looking to start and au pair position in Germany from the US around July 2014; but I will be backpacking around Europe for 32 days from May20-Jun22… This affects my visa situation, i know, but my main concern is passing this dreaded A1 exam. When are you required to show proof? I was thinking of heading to NYC or DC to the German embassy to apply for the visa in-person before I even go backpacking, that way I’ll have all my ducks in a row and can easy my host-family’s concerns that I will actually show up ;-) (they’ve been ditched before.)
    It would be perfect to be able to take the exam AFTER my backpacking trip, because I will have a greater grasp on German and pass the exam with ease… but I’m really concerned that I will have to pass the A1 exam and show proof to the embassy when I go to apply for my visa.

    Any help at all, from anyone, would be great! Thanks for posting this, too, Alex, I think you can see it’s helping us gals everywhere.

    Cheers,
    Colleen

    • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

      The problem with the au pair visa is that you will need a letter from your family and also the health insurance they are providing, which is why it’s often easier to do in Germany. From my experience it was SO much easier to let my German family take the reigns on this.

      I still don’t know a single American that has had to take the German A1 exam, but if you are worried, hop on DuoLingo for a month or so and you should be fine :)

      • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

        *I should state that I don’t know anyone that had to take the exam while acquiring the visa after already arriving in Germany.

        • http://facebook.com/colleen.veasey Colleen

          Thanks, girl! I’ve been doing Rosetta Stone and dabbling with DuoLingo, so I’m getting more and more comfortable. Here is a bit more information that my host family told me, I figured I’d post it because it might help someone else:
          -The Goethe Institute class and exam is horribly expensive, hard, and legally unnecessary.
          -The people at the aliens office don’t really care what you give them, as long as you have something that says you have a small understanding of German so they can file away a paper. Anything will do, my host-family is friends with a woman who owns a language school and she’s going to write a letter for me to give to the office. Kaboom, it’s that easy.

          Dankeschön, Alex!

          • Julieanna92

            I actually am currently in Germany, and was told that I would be tested at the visa office to see what my level was. They did not require a certificate saying I passed (is around 100 Euro to take the test I believe). I found this out two weeks before my appointment, crammed words into my head, and then the guy only asked me (in German) how long I had been in Germany for, and what I had been doing. That was it. Can’t guarantee it is like that in every case, but I would definitely recommend at least being able to state your name, age, where you’re from, education background, why you want to be an au pair in Germany specifically, etc. I wasted a lot of time on more specific, higher level things that were not necessary. Hope this helps!

  • Lisha

    Hi just wanna ask regarding the visa approval. Im from the Philippines ive been waiting for a month now. Do you have an idea how long would it take?

    Thanks.

    • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

      Hi Lisha, I do not know anything about visa approval as I am not an authority and as an American, I did mine once in Germany. Good luck with everything!

    • Michelle

      Hi.. how was your visa application? i hope you could tell me, I’d like to know.

  • Jordyn Wagner

    Hey, so I’m from the US and just got matched with a family. I was wondering how long it takes for your visa to be granted after applying for it in Germany? Were you able to work before it was granted? Thanks!

  • Danielle Young

    My au pair story is realllllllllly messed up. Well the visa situation is. I au paired in Germany from June 2010 to Feb. 2011 and before I left, I went to the German consulate in Chicago and it was a horrible experience. I understand when German is being spoken to me, but I have a hard time speaking directly back. I’m not a conversationalist. The lady behind the counter freaked out and almost told me to leave (she would have kept my money and application, too), until her supervisor came over and started asking me questions to which I just replied in English. He told me he knew that I was understanding what he was asking so I could just get on with the appointment. After that, I left for a Germany a few weeks later. And it took until July for the Germans from the Stadt to come check my place of residence, etc. After that I thought I would get paperwork and my visa issued because I still had heard nothing from either my German city or Chicago and I was getting nervous. September is when I got an email from Chicago telling me to mail in my passport so they could get everything together. Which I didn’t do. Because your passport is the only form of identification that is acceptable and I wasn’t about to send it back to a place that had taken almost 5 months getting back to me. No thank you. I tried calling the American embassy in Berlin, just make sure I would be able to get home, but that was a dead end. I ended up leaving Germany at the end of February, still with no visa. To me, it’s just so messed up. But aside from all that drama, I had the absolute best time. Made amazing friends. Seen amazing places. I truly do recommend having an au pair experience. I just hope you have more luck than I did when it came to sorting out the paperwork!

    • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

      Wow! That is a horror story. Thank you for sharing. These stories are worlds of help to potential au pairs. I don’t think my residence was ever checked out by the authorities in Germany!

      Readers: take a lesson from this. I got my visa once already in Germany and have not heard any problematic stories that way yet…

  • Ashley Abroad

    Wow, this is way more strict than the French visa. I had no idea they were such different processes! In France you can be up to 30 years old, and I’m pretty sure you can renew the au pair contract as well.

  • http://itmustbewanderlust.blogspot.com Stacie

    I go on Thursday for the A1 test and next week for the visa application! Thanks for the extra info and reassurance about the language test – hopefully they go easy :)

  • http://pinkparliament.wordpress.com pinkparliament

    Through the office in Erding, I did not have to take the test, BUT I did have to have proof that I was enrolled in the language class and it was already paid for.. which I just started. I may steal this idea, if you don’t mind for my blog at a later date. Because, I also get tons of questions about the visa. The visa and the entire aupair process/ paperwork/ contract. Good idea to put it in link form!!

  • http://itsalyx.com Alyx Garner (@adodds)

    Dude. You’re a pro. I’m pretty sure that I now want to be an au pair. And mike can be an au pair…er? lol!

  • http://svenja-happybluebird.blogspot.com/ Svenja Schoening

    I am sure this is great information for others willing to immigrate!

  • http://confuzzledom.wordpress.com bevchen

    I’m SO glad I didn’t need a visa to come to Germany! Being in the EU has its advantages ;-)

  • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

    Oh my gosh, that is 100x better – Germany seriously needs to lighten up! You can repeat if you’re from the EU I think, but yeah they don’t make it easy for us Americans!

  • Mikaela

    the french visa is so much easier to get! i agree! no clue it was so different

  • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

    Oh wow, you’ll have to let me know if you actually have to take it, and if so, best of luck! I’m sure they will go easy on you!

  • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

    Interesting! We actually brought a thing where I signed up but we hadn’t paid and I had no real intention of taking the class, but my host mom just thought that’d be good back up in case they tried to make me take a test. It’s certainly a huge question on everyone’s mind before coming, that’s for sure!

  • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

    You’re about to BE a lifetime au pair! You could even speak German to your little girl! :P But in fact, you and Mike could BOTH be au pairs as I’m pretty sure you’re allowed to be married in Germany AND males can certainly be au pairs, too :D

  • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

    I ENVY you.

  • http://therealfoodrunner.blogspot.com/ Katherine
  • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

    Gah seriously?!! I wish Germany would just lighten up for me ;)

  • http://mustforwanderlust.blogspot.ca Jacquie @ Must for Wanderlust

    Just discovered your blog, been reading at work (hence why I’m commenting on a post this old!) but I au paired previously in France & the visa was ridiculously easy. I am now au pairing in Northern Ireland come this September & oh my lord I have been stressing. There’s no particular au pair visa so I’ll be going on the Youth Mobility Scheme & I must prove that I have over 3 grand in my bank account, which of course at this very moment I do not, but will have when I leave! Fingers crossed I still get approved, if not looks like I may be coming to Germany :) Anyway, love your blog, xxx

  • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

    Oh wow – that is stressful!! Best of luck with that – so crazy all the visa stuff from country to country.

  • http://gravatar.com/foodfortheheartandsoul foodfortheheartandsoul

    Hi there! I found your blog while trying to look up information for the A1 exam. I’m from Nebraska, and am going to be an au pair in Cologne starting in May! :) Do you have any information on the A1 test? My family said that I need to take it, so I’m scheduled to in April… but I’ve been worrying so much about passing! Any advice?

  • Sim

    I am au-pairing in Cologne now (10 days so far!). I did the A1 test. It wasn’t that bad. I had used Rosetta Stone and the sample exams and practiced for 3 weeks before taking the exam and I passed! If you google sample exams you will have an idea of how the exam is and what areas you need to practice. They also have videos of the speaking component of the exam on the goethe website. It isn’t that bad. I passed every are and I still cannot tell you what was said in the listening component, I just learned the trick that the correct answer is said twice :D
    I hope you love Cologne as much as I do now!

  • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

    Thanks so much Sim for this helpful comment! Glad someone could share their experience about taking the A1 test for a visa.

  • http://facebook.com/colleen.veasey Colleen

    lots of good info here! I’m really nervous about the exam… but I was also pretty excited to hear that a lot of au pairs didn’t get asked for their A1-pass-proof? Is this still true today, or should I start cramming for the exam again? Thanks for all the info, gals!