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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)

General information


To look after your host children and help out with light household chores relating to the children. Au pairs should not have sole charge of children under the age of 2 years.


Pocket money
Au pairs should receive between ₤70 (25 hours) and £85 (30 hours) per week. An au pair plus receives £100 (35 hours) per week.

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



Travel expenses
Au pairs should pay their own travel costs to and from the UK themselves.

Working hours
Au pairs should work 25 to 30 hours per week and do up to 2 evenings of babysitting. A maximum of 1 of these should be at the weekend.


Length of stay
You can be an au pair in the UK from 1 month to a maximum of 2 years.

Free time

2 days off per week, and 1 full week-end once a month.



It is recommended 4 weeks of paid holiday for a 12-month stay. These 28 days include public holidays.

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 guaranteed enough time off to attend a language course. The au pair will bear the cost of the language course him/herself.

If your host family requires you to drive in the UK, 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 the UK as long as their existing driving licence is valid. For more information about driving in the UK when holding a foreign licence visit the UK government website.


EU au pairs don't need additional health insurance as they are already entitled to  essential National Health Service treatments. It is recommended that you take out travel insurance to pay for any loss of belongings or if you need to return home due to some unexpected event such as death. Non-EU au pairs are still entitled to receive some health care treatments for free, provided that their country has signed a health care agreement with the UK (here you can find more information for each country).

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 AustraliaCanada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Korea, Taiwan, British Overseas citizensBritish 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 KongKorea 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