Becoming an au pair in the UK
There are no official regulations concerning au pairs in the UK, however the information below are the generally accepted guidelines.
Am I eligible to be an au pair in the UK?
You are eligible to be an au pair in the UK if:
- you are aged between 18 and 27 years (EU citizens can be older than 27)
- you have a basic knowledge of English
- you are single and without children
- you are able to afford your travel expenses
- you are from the EU or are entitled to apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa or a Student visa (for non-EU)
Board and Lodging
Length of stay
2 days off per week, and 1 full week-end once a month.
Documents needed for EU and EFTA states citizens
Citizens from EU or EFTA countries only need a valid passport or national ID to enter the UK.
For Croatian citizens only:
- work permit
- au pair contract submission to the British immigration authorities before entering the UK (this means you should find a host family before you arrive in the UK)
Croatian citizens already studying in the UK and who would like to work part-time or full-time during their holiday don't need a work permit, but should get a registration certificate from the Home Office to prove that they are enrolled in a university course in the UK.
Visa information for non-EU citizens
Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme
Citizens from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Korea, Taiwan, British Overseas citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens and British nationals can apply for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme. In order to apply for this visa you should be able to prove that you have access to at least £1,890 and have already a copy of your au pair contract signed by you host family.
The visa issued covers a period of 2 years and au pairs may leave and re-enter the country within this period of time. If a registration at the local authorities is needed, this will be noted in your passport. If so, you should register within 7 days upon your arrival.
Citizens from Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan need to have a certificate of sponsorship issued by their government. It's important that you request it in advance as the number of places and sponsorship certificates is limited. After receiving the certificate you need to apply for your visa within 3 months.
Please note that you cannot apply for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility scheme if you are already in the UK or if you have already participated in the Youth Mobility scheme or in the Working Holiday Maker scheme before.
For more detailed information about the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, please visit the Home Office website.
Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
Non-EU au pairs who are not entitled to apply for a Tier 5 visa might be able to apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa. Basic requirement to apply for it is that you are enrolled in an English course of at least 15 hours per week and leading to a qualification at NQF level 3 and that you can prove you can afford your stay in the UK.
Please note that the minimum length of stay is 11 months and that you should apply for this visa at least 3 months before the start of the au pair placement and language course. The cost of the visa is ₤310.
For more detailed information about the Tier 4 (General) Student visa, please visit the Home Office website.
For more information regarding being an au pair in the UK see www.baapa.org.uk.