How to Become an Au Pair: The Visa Process

My working holiday visa

My working holiday visa

Once you’ve found a job as an au pair, you’re halfway there!

Now you need to worry about the flight, when you’re arriving, and any visa requirements to enter the country.

I must point out that all countries have different visa requirements for au pairs. I went to Italy and decided that it would be best for me to get a working holiday visa (I believe this was what it was called) in which the stipulations stated that I could be in Italy for a year, work for 6 months of that year, within that 6 months I needed to work at 2 different jobs (3 months at each), and I needed to get a residents permit when living in Rome within a few days of arriving.

Getting the visa was easy as I just went down to the Italian consulate where they took a few weeks to look at the papers I’d provided them and then granted my my visa. Having that visa in my passport made things a lot easier too. Travelling around Europe for instance – especially in the UK. I wasn’t asked questions at the border regarding how long I’d been in Europe, or what I was doing there. I looked legit and was definitely not overstaying my welcome in Italy or the whole of Europe for that matter.

When I arrived in Italy I didn’t get a residents permit. My host family assured me that it was not necessary. I also didn’t get a proper job – au pairing was my job, I didn’t need anything else! Italy is such a relaxed country that just having the visa in my passport was all I needed to live comfortably in Rome without a hitch.

Planning on becoming an au pair WITHOUT a visa?

Ok, fine, that’s really not too big a deal either. I had many American friends in Italy who were unable to get a visa so they came to Italy without one and overstayed the allotted 3 month tourism time. They didn’t have a problem. I don’t suggest that because for me, as someone who was going to be traveling around in Europe afterwards, I didn’t want my passport to be scanned for a visa by officials only for them to see that I didn’t have one. But it you’re willing to just stay within Italy or your country of choice (although I can’t speak for any other country but Italy)  then maybe you don’t need to fuss with the whole visa thing!

Finally, let me explain the whole Europe visa thing once and for all…

Most countries in Europe are part of the Schengen Area. Look up the country you’re interested in travelling too and most likely they are part of this Schengen thing. Italy is! Travelling to Europe you are allowed to stay within the Schengen Area for up to 3 months. It’s not per country or city or whatever, it is the Schengen Area as a whole. This means that if you want to stay longer in Europe and your country is in the Schengen Area then you must leave Europe as a whole and can then return 3 months later. You are allowed to stay in the Schengen Area for 3 months within a 6 month period. Does this make sense? So chances are that if you’re going to be an au pair in Europe, you will be in the Schengen area thus you NEED a visa. Unless you go fully knowing that you may be deported if you overstay the 3 month tourist period. Click HERE for more info. 



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