Travel information for Au Pairs

Au pairs who want to travel outside the U.S. during their initial program year or as extension au pairs must pay close attention to travel restrictions placed on J-1 visitors. Leaving the U.S. often requires action on the part of the au pair before their departure. Please also be aware that while on the program, au pairs are permitted to travel outside the US for no more than 30 days at a time. It is important to keep this restriction in mind when making any travel plans.

Passport:

Au pairs enter the United States with a valid passport issued in their home country. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Au pairs should keep all documents in a safe place and make a copy of the passport, J-1 visa & I-94 record.
  • If the passport is lost, the au pair must contact the home country embassy in the U.S. to find out how to get a new passport. All costs associated with replacing the passport are the au pair’s responsibility. Embassy contact information can be found at http://www.usembassy.gov/.
  • If the passport is stolen and the au pair has extended insurance, it may be possible to get reimbursed for the costs associated with replacing the stolen documents. A police report will need to be filled out and all receipts maintained in order to file an insurance claim.

IMPORTANT! If a passport is lost, the au pair has also lost the J-1 visa stamp which is in the passport. This means that travel outside of the United States is restricted for the rest of the year unless the au pair returns home to have a new visa issued in the new passport. The only way to have a J-1 visa replaced is to go to the U.S. Embassy in the au pair’s home country. All costs associated with replacing the J-1 visa are the au pair’s responsibility.

J-1 Visa:

j-1 visa

The J-1 visa is not the same document as the DS-2019 form. The J-1 visa is the sticker that was pasted into the passport at the U.S. Embassy in the au pair’s home country. It includes information such as the au pair’s program dates, name, city, date of birth, and passport number.

If there is an “M” underneath the heading “Entries” on the visa stamp, this means the J-1 visa is a multiple entry visa. With this type of visa, an au pair can exit and re-enter the U.S. during the 12-month program provided that the required documentation is presented. Please be aware that au pairs may not leave the US for more than 30 consecutive days during their program.

Prior to travel, the au pair must check the expiration date on their J-1 visa, located in the passport. The dates on the visa do not always correspond to the dates of the au pair program. Travel outside the U.S. is restricted by the dates on the J-1 visa.

  • Cultural Care does not recommend traveling outside the U.S. during the last six weeks before the visa expiration date, as the au pair runs a higher risk of being denied re-entry into the U.S.

(Please note that these instructions apply ONLY to au pairs in their first year. If an au pair decides to extend the program, please see travel guidelines for extension au pairs.)

Tourist Visas:

An au pair must always check if a tourist visa is needed before traveling outside of the U.S. The visa regulations are different for all countries and all nationalities. It is important that au pairs consult the national embassy of the country they wish to visit to verify tourist visa requirements.

Though Cultural Care is not a tourist visa expert, we frequently receive questions about international travel and hope the links below can help you on this topic:

If an au pair travels without the appropriate documents, such as a tourist visa, he/she may be prohibited from boarding the plane and/or denied entry into the country.

DS-2019 Form (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status):

ds-2019-2

If an au pair is planning to leave and re-enter the U.S., the DS-2019 form must, in most cases, be sent to the Boston office to be signed by Cultural Care Au Pair.

Please note that the travel validation signature is not required for trips to Canada, Mexico and the adjacent Caribbean islands. The back of the DS-2019 form explains that the travel validation signature is required when returning to the U.S. after a visit to another country “other than a contiguous territory or adjacent island.”

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Travel Validation Process:

  • Send the DS-2019 form (Certificate of Eligibility) to:
    Cultural Care Au Pair Attn. Travel Validation, EF Center,
    One Education Street, Cambridge, MA 02141
    as early as possible but no later than 3-4 weeks before traveling. Include a note with information about the date of departure along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Do NOT send the passport or I-94 card.
  • If the DS-2019 form is sent to Cultural Care less than 3 weeks before travel, please use Federal Express or a priority mail service and include a pre-paid Federal Express envelope to expedite the return mailing. Please do not include a pre-paid return UPS or DHL envelope- we do not use these courier services.
  • To have the DS-2019 form sent back via Fedex, please include a check for $15 (shipment within the US) or $30 (international shipments) or call 800-448-5753 to pay by credit card. Cultural Care will sign the box in the lower right corner titled “Travel Validation by Responsible Officer.” Cultural Care only needs to sign the DS-2019 form ONCE so if there is already a signature in this box (see below), the form does not need to be sent again.

ds-2019-1

Please note that any au pair traveling outside of the U.S. without a signed DS-2019 form runs the risk of being denied re-entry into the country.

Replacement DS form:

Please notify the Cultural Care office if a DS-2019 form is lost or stolen during the au pair program, and we will be happy to issue a replacement form. If an au pair has transitioned to a new host family or is extending for a second year, Cultural Care will automatically send an updated DS-2019 Form.

I-94 Record:

The I-94 is the Department of Homeland Security Arrival/Departure record issued to foreign travelers upon entry to the US. Up until April 2013, all au pair received a physical I-94 card when they arrived to the country to begin their year. As of 04/30/2013, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has automated the Form I-94 at air and sea ports of entry. The paper card will no longer be provided to au pairs upon arrival the US, unless they are arriving through a land port of entry. All au pairs will receive a CBP admission stamp on their passport indicating the date of arrival and class of admission.

In order to obtain a copy of the I-94 record, au pairs must visit this website. This printout is required to apply for a Social Security car or a state driver’s license. To access the record through the website, you will need to enter the following information: passport number, date of birth, class of admission (J-1), date of admission (date of arrival to the US), and full name as written on the J-1 visa.

Travel during the 30 day Grace Period (Additional Month):

Travel outside of the U.S. during the au pair’s 30 day grace period (Additional Month) is not permitted by the J-1 visa.  If an au pair leaves the continental U.S. during this month, re-entry to the U.S. will likely be denied. Cultural Care has no authority in this case. The only exception to this rule is travel to Hawaii. An au pair may travel to Hawaii during the additional month.

Monday, 29 September 2014 2:53 AM

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