Travel Information

Travel Information for Au Pairs

Below is important information that you need to know if you are travelling during the first year. Also below that is information for 2nd year extension au pairs who wish to travel. Please read very carefully

Au Pairs traveling outside of the US during their first year

Au pairs are allowed to travel outside of the U.S. during their 12 month stay.  In order to assure re-entry into the U.S., the au pair must send in her DS-2019 form to Cultural Care to have the Travel Validation box signed by a Responsible Officer.  The au pair should include a note indicating the dates of departure, as well as a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The au pair should allow 3-4 weeks for processing. If the au pair sends in the DS-2019 form less than 3 weeks before travel, a Federal Express envelope or a self-addressed USPS priority mail envelope should be used. The au pair should also include a pre-paid return Federal Express envelope or USPS priority mail envelope so that the signed DS-2019 form is returned promptly. If no pre-paid envelope is enclosed, there will be a 10USD for sending a DS-2019 form by Federal Express within the US, and 20USD for sending overseas. The au pair may pay by check or credit card.

The DS-2019 form should be sent to:

Cultural Care Au Pair
Attn: Travel Validation
One Education Street
Cambridge, MA 02141

Please note! We do not recommend traveling outside of the US during the last 2 months of the year. While technically the au pair has a valid visa and should not have any problems getting back into the country, sometimes immigration officers question why the au pair traveled outside of the country so close to the expiration date of her visa.

Previously, au pairs did not need to send the DS-2019 form in if they were traveling to Canada or Mexico. While this has not changed, some au pairs have had trouble at the border because the form was not signed. Therefore, it is advisable that all au pairs send in the DS-2019 form, even when traveling to Canada or Mexico. Many Non-Western European au pairs are required to obtain a tourist visa to visit Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Au pairs should contact the closest embassy of their destination country for information and visa applications. Please visit for the closest embassy or consulate. If an au pair travels without the appropriate documents, she may be denied re-entry into the U.S. and may be prohibited from boarding the plane.

It is the responsibility of each au pair to check to see if a tourist visa is required for the country he/she is visiting.

  • Travel to Canada: please follow this link to find out if the au pair needs a tourist visa:
  • Travel to Mexico: please follow this link to find out if the ay pair needs a tourist visa: National Institute of Immigration Mexico
  • For all other countries, please visit for a listing of embassies for various countries. If the au pair travels without the appropriate documents, such as a tourist visa, she/he may be prohibited from boarding the plane and/or denied entry into the country.
  • Travel outside of the U.S. during the au pair’s 13th month is not permitted by the J-1 visa.  If an au pair leaves the continental U.S. during this month, she will not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. Cultural Care has no authority in this case. The only exception to this rule is travel to Hawaii. Au pair may travel to Hawaii in their 13th month

  • Common Situations – Q & A

Q: What if the dates on the au pair’s visa are different than the au pair’s actual arrival into the country?

A: Often the issue date on the visa will be a few weeks earlier/later than the au pair’s actual arrival date into the U.S. This not a problem, as the au pair’s legal stay in the country is determined by the dates on the DS-2019 form (which is stamped with the actual entry date), not the visa. However, travel in and out of the United States is determined by the dates on the visa, not the DS-2019 form.

Q: What if the au pair needs to leave the U.S. immediately due to an emergency?

A: Advise the au pair to overnight the DS-2019 form to Boston with the dates of her trip, as well as her address and telephone number in her home country.  A Responsible Officer will sign the DS form and FedEx it to the au pair in her home country so she has it in time to return to the U.S.

Q: What happens if an au pair travels outside of the U.S. without her/his DS-2019 form?

A: The au pair will most likely be allowed back into the U.S., but her visa status will be changed to a 30-day tourist visa. She will be given the form I-515A by the immigration officer at the port of entry. She will need to complete this form and send it along with her original DS-2019 form and her original I-94 card to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services. This process usually takes approximately 4-6 weeks. The au pair should always contact the Boston office if they traveled without the DS-2019 form and have received the form I-515A.

Information for 2nd year Travel      Extension au pairs will receive a new DS-2019 Form for their extension term. Their progam is extended and they are legally in the US to work as an au pair for another 6, 9 or 12 months.

They will not automatically receive a new J1 visa for their extension term. They will have to apply for it at the US Embassy in their home country. But they do not need a new J1 visa for their extension term to extend. Below please find the 4 most common questions about traveling and visas during the extension term:

If you have any questions concerning this information, please call Cultural Care Au Pair Operations at 1-800-448-5753 or email us at

Extension au pairs may travel to their home country during the second year
Embassy posts around the world have been informed about the second year extension program for au pair participants:

  • An extension au pair wishing to travel to her/his home country and to return to the United States must have her/his J-1 visa renewed while at home before attempting to resume participation in the program in the United States. An au pair who does not renew her/his J-1 visa risks not being allowed to reenter the United States to continue on the program.
  • Au pairs and host families should be aware that it can sometimes take six to eight weeks to obtain an appointment to renew a J-1 visa at U.S. embassies around the world. Au pairs must schedule appointments for J-1 visa renewals well in advance of their travel dates as waiting times for appointments vary greatly depending on time of year and demand at specific U.S. embassy posts. Cultural Care recommends contacting the U.S. embassy no later than six to eight weeks before traveling home. Contact information for U.S. Embassies abroad can be found at
  • Cultural Care Au Pair is not able to book appointments at the U.S. embassy on the au pair’s behalf and has no ability to affect scheduling appointments at the U.S. embassy in any way.
  • Cultural Care Au Pair cannot guarantee the renewal of a J-1 visa. Although an au pair has been approved by the U.S. Department of State to participate in the extension program, the decision to renew the visa is at the discretion of the consular officer who interviews the au pair.

Extension au pairs must have all necessary documentation and paperwork to renew J-1 visas
In order to renew the J-1 visa, an extension au pair must bring the proper documentation with her/him to the U.S. embassy in her/his home country.

  • An extension au pair wishing to renew the J-1 visa must bring her/his passport and the original copy of the DS-2019 form renewed by Cultural Care Au Pair at the time of enrollment in the second year extension program. The DS-2019 form will reflect the dates of the au pair’s second year. Cultural Care Au Pair will also provide the au pair with a letter of good standing. The au pair can also download and print the “Letter of Program Participation” from their online account.
  • In addition, au pairs will need to complete and bring forms DS156 and DS158. Male au pairs have to complete a third form as well; form DS157. Form DS156 can be filled out online and then printed. It is available at Forms DS157 and DS158 are available to be downloaded and printed at
  • There is a non-refundable fee of USD131 to apply for the second J-1 visa. The fee is paid directly to the embassy and the au pair is responsible for covering this cost.
  • It is the au pair’s responsibility to inquire with the U.S .Embassy in their home country to see if other forms are needed. It may be necessary for the au pair to bring a copy of her/his host family application, school diplomas or bank statements.

Cultural Care will not be responsible for any costs incurred by a visa denial or visa delay, and host families could be subject to breaks in childcare due to the renewal process.

Travel advisory for second year extension au pairs and host families

  • International travel to countries other than an extension au pair’s home country is limited unless the extension au pair completes the J-1 visa renewal process in her/his home country first. If an au pair fails to complete the J-1 visa renewal process before traveling internationally to a country other than her/his home country, she/he will most likely be denied reentry to the United States. An exception for this requirement exists for Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands. Please see the section below on travel to those countries.
  • Au pairs traveling to their home countries at the end of their first year may experience difficulty in returning to the United States. The airlines carefully review visas and visa expiration dates for U.S. bound passengers, and airline officials will not take any risks as they may be penalized with substantial fines if they allow someone to fly to the U.S. who does not have a proper visa. Consequently, even if the visa dates in the au pairs’ passport are still valid, airlines are likely to deny boarding to anyone whose visa is close to expiring. To address this, Cultural Care Au Pair advises all extension au pairs returning home within 30 days of the end of their first year to complete the J-1 visa renewal process before attempting to return to the au pair program in the United States.

Travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean in the second year
Travel to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean (except Cuba) for fewer than thirty days is allowed, even with an expired J-1 visa in your passport. This is known as “visa revalidation.” The following conditions must apply in order for you to travel to these countries:

  • You must have an unexpired I-94 card indicating your J-1 status in your passport when you enter the U.S. Do not surrender the I-94 card when you leave the U.S. If you do, you will not be eligible for visa revalidation.
  • You must have your DS-2019 form with your extension program dates.
  • You must have a passport valid at least six months into the future on the day you return to the U.S.
  • You should contact the Cultural Care Operations Department for a copy of the visa revalidation regulation.
  • You can travel only to one of the destinations named above and for fewer than thirty days. For example, you cannot use automatic revalidation to enter Canada, depart to another country, return to Canada, and then return to the U.S. within 30 days.
  • ·You cannot apply to renew your J-1 visa while in Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. If you apply for the J-1 visa during your visit to one of these destinations, you must wait for it to be issued before you return. If your visa application is denied by the American consulate, you are not allowed to use automatic revalidation to return to the U.S. You will be required to travel to your country of citizenship to apply for a new visa.
  • You must have a J-1 visa (expired or valid) in your passport. If you lost your passport during your first year and had it replaced, you will not have the J-1 visa in that new passport and therefore cannot take advantage of travel to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean.
  • If you are a citizen of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, North Korea, Cuba, or Libya you are not eligible for visa revalidation. If you are a national of one of the above countries, you must always have a valid visa in your passport to enter the United States.
  • You may be required to have a tourist visa to enter a foreign country. The visa you have for the United States does not automatically grant entry into these countries. We recommend that you check with the consulate of the country you are visiting before you travel. Below are the commonly requested Canadian and Mexican consulate website: (click on visas/tourist visa and information will be in English)
  • The decision to allow an au pair back into the U.S. is at the discretion of the immigration officer at the port of entry. Cultural Care cannot guarantee reentry into the United States and will not be responsible for any costs incurred due to reentry problems

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 9:11 PM


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