Exchange Visitor Program-Au Pair Requirements
As a component of its Public Diplomacy and people to people exchanges, the Department of State oversees the Au pair Program whereby foreign nationals are afforded the opportunity to live with an American host family and participate directly in the home life of the host family. All au pair participants provide child care services to the host family and attend a U.S. post-secondary educational institution. Au pair participants provide up to forty-five hours of child care services per week and pursue not less than six semester hours of academic credit or its equivalent during their year of program participation. Some au pairs participate in the EduCare program. These au pairs provide up to thirty hours of child care services per week and pursue not less than twelve semester hours of academic credit or its equivalent during their year of program participation. Approximately 15,000 foreign nationals begin participation in this program each year. In February 2004, the Department announced a pilot program whereby Department designated au pair sponsors could request the extension of program participation beyond the original 12-month maximum period afforded au pair participants. In June of 2006, following a review of the two-year pilot program, the Department amended program regulations to permit designated sponsors to submit requests to the Department for consideration of program extensions for six, nine or 12 month durations for first-year au pair participants beyond the maximum duration of participation allowed under the existing regulations. As the au pair program enters its twentieth year of operation, the Department has been asked to consider amending the age eligibility requirement for au pair participants by increasing the age limitation from 26 to 30. Further, the Department has been asked to consider permitting foreign nationals who previously participated in the au pair program to repeat program participation. The Department hereby solicits comments from the general public and other interested parties regarding these two issues. This certification will be published in the Federal Register.