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Becoming an au pair in France


Under French law only some aspects of the au pair work are regulated. Here is the link to the official page in the French Administration website.

Am I eligible to be an au pair in France?

You are eligible to be an au pair in France if:

  • you are aged between 17 and 30 (you can apply even if older than 30 only if you are about to finish your studies)
  • you have a basic knowledge of French
  • you are single and without children
  • you are able to afford your travel expenses
  • you are enrolled in a French language course for foreigners
  • be a student in your home country or having completed second level exams.
  • be willing to work as an au pair in France for a minimum of 3 months (maximum 24 months)

General information


To look after your host children and help out with light household chores. All duties should be discussed and agreed with your host family before you begin.


Pocket money
Under French law, the host family must pay you pocket money which corresponds to 75-90% of the minimum wage (this sum is re-evaluated each year, in 2016 it amounts to between €264 and €316.80 per month). Your au pair pocket money should be included in your au pair contract.

Board and Lodging
Your own private room and food 7 days per week, even in the case of illness.



Travel expenses
Au pairs should bear the cost of travelling to and from France themselves.

Working hours

Au pairs should not work more than 5 hours a day and 30 hours a week, including babysitting.



Length of stay
You can be an au pair in France from 3 months to a maximum of 2 years.

Free time
At least 1 rest day per week, which should be a Sunday once a month. If you are a non-EU citizen and wish to work for a different employer during your free hours, you are only allowed to work up to 60% of the legal number of working hours defined by the French law (that corresponds to 964 hours per year) and you need to include the number of hours you work for your host family in your calculation.


There is no special regulation regarding that, but it is recommended 2 weeks of holiday every 6 months of employment.

It is recommended that you draw up a contract with your host family. The contract should include au pair pocket money, holidays and duties. Click here for a sample contract.


Language courses
Au pairs should be granted enough time off to attend a language course. Expenses for the language course are on the au pair, but the host family should enrol the au pair. According to the French law, there is no compulsory minimum number of hours per week (non-EU might have to prove participation to a French course of at least 10 hours a week according to their visa requirements).

If your host family requires you to drive in France, they must provide you with a car, pay for your car insurance, ensure that the car is well maintained and provide fuel or give you money to pay for fuel for the car. Holders of a driving licence issued by an EU member state can drive in France as long as their existing driving licence is valid. For more information about driving in France when holding a foreign licence visit the official website of the French Ministry of the Interior.


EU citizens holding a European Health Insurance Card are covered by the French National Health Service. Non-EU citizens should be insured by their host family at the URSSAF (Unions de Recouvrement des cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d'Allocations Familiales) within 8 days upon their arrival.

Documents needed for EU and EFTA states citizens

The following documents will be required:

  • valid passport or identity card
  • health certificate issued no longer than 3 months before departure (translated into French)
  • certified translation of your leaving school certificate
  • your au pair contract signed by both parties
  • a motivation letter written in French

All these documents have to presented by the host family to the DIRECCTE, therefore you should sign 3 copies of your contract and send them to your host family together with the other documents listed above. Once the DIRECCTE has validated the contract, it will send back 2 copies to the host family and the family will send you a copy.

The host family should register you with the local URSSAF (Unions de Recouvrement des cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d'Allocations Familiales) as 'stagiaire aide familial étranger' within the first 8 days upon arrival. You will be registered with Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie (CPAM) for medical insurance and you will be supplied with your Social Security number (your host family pays you social security contributions).


For Croatian citizens only

Croatian citizens can enter France without a visa, but, in addition to the procedure described above, they should also apply for a residence permit. The application should be made within 2 months upon your arrival in France and you should submit it at your nearest prefecture. The documents needed for the application are:

  • your au pair contract approved by the DIRECCTE
  • proof of residence of your host family (a household bill in the name of your family will be enough)
  • a copy of your birth certificate

You are exempt from a residence permit, if you have already completed a Master's Degree in France or an equivalent diploma.

Visa information for non-EU citizens

Non-EU citizens should apply for a long stay visa (visa long séjour mention étudiant) which will be valid for 12 months. It is advisable to apply for it at least 6 months in advance as it may require up to 16 weeks for the approval. You will need to submit the following documents to your local French Embassy or Consulate:

  • all documents listed for the EU citizens
  • confirmation of enrolment in a French language course for foreign citizens (your host family can send it to you)

Your Embassy will give you your visa together with the OFII (Office Français de l'Immigration et de l'Intégration) application form, that you will have to present at your local OFII to carry out other formalities on-site within the first 3 months after your arrival.

As for EU citizens, your host family will need to register you with the local URSSAF as 'stagiaire aide familial étranger' within the first 8 days upon arrival and you will be registered with Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie (CPAM) for medical insurance at your host family's expenses (your host family pays you social security contributions).


For more information about being an au pair in France see