Netherlands AU Pair Visa, Explained

Do au pairs need a visa for the Netherlands? What do families who want to host an au pair need to take care of? All the important information for au pairs and host families on how to organize an au pair stay in the Netherlands with the authorities. This article contains a comprehensive guide to the Dutch residence permit for Au Pairs, the application process, required documents, and FAQs.

Netherlands AU Pair Visa, Explained

An Au Pair visa from the Netherlands grants the holder a one-year visa to reside in the Netherlands. They will receive lodging and meals from a host family while they are there. The applicant is required to perform minor household duties in exchange. To remain in the Netherlands as an au pair, you may need to apply for a residence permit if you are not from the EU/EEA or Switzerland.

Who is an Au Pair?

An au pair is a helper from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family's responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a monetary allowance or stipend for personal use. Au pair arrangements are often subject to government restrictions which specify an age range usually from mid-late teens to mid to late twenties, and may explicitly limit the arrangement to females. The au pair program is considered a form of cultural exchange that gives the family and the au pairs a chance to experience and learn new cultures.

Arrangements differ between Europe, where the concept originated, and North America. In Europe, au pairs are only supposed to work part-time, and they often also study part-time, generally focusing on the language of the host country. Unlike many other types of domestic assistants, the au pair is considered a part of the host family and not merely an employee. In some countries the au pair wears a uniform, but more commonly the au pair only follows the host family's dress code and wears attire appropriate for the work description, typically including a protective apron.

Working as an Au Pair in the Netherlands

Au pairs may only be placed with a host family in the Netherlands through an au pair agency recognized by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) of the Netherlands. Interested au pair candidates must be older than 18 but not yet 31 and interested in learning about Dutch society and culture.

If you are an EU citizen, you do not need a visa to work as an au pair in the Netherlands. After you have been in the Netherlands for three months, you must register with the IND. When you register, you must provide documents to verify the purpose of your stay. After registering, you will receive proof of registration in the form of a sticker, which will be attached to your passport (or other proof of identity).

Requirements for working as an Au Pair in the Netherlands

The au pair must have the following documents and meet the following conditions:

  • A valid passport
  • Health insurance that covers the au pair in the Netherlands
  • Cannot be married
  • Cannot have dependents or be responsible for the care of his/her family members
  • Does not constitute a risk to the public order
  • Must undergo a tuberculosis test in the Netherlands
  • Over 18 but not older than 31
  • Has not previously stayed in the Netherlands on a residence permit
  • Did not previously work for your family abroad
  • Will only carry out light domestic work to assist your family
  • Will work a maximum of 8 hours per day and a maximum of 30 hours per week; you will have 2 days off per week

Working hours for Au Pairs in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the weekly working schedule of an au pair must not exceed a total of 30 hours. He or she may never work more than 8 hours a day or more than 5 days per week. Additional babysitting for the host family or taking on a job on the side is also not allowed. An au pair in the Netherlands is entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks paid holiday per 12 months. He/she and the host family can take this value as a basis for calculating the amount of holiday in case of a shorter placement.

Language course/cultural exchange

An au pair is entitled to attend a language course. The host family assists in finding suitable offers within their area, and contributes 320 euros per year to a language course. The au pair programme in the Netherlands is explicitly designed for a cultural exchange. Therefore, the host family will help the au pair to experience Dutch culture through various cultural activities.

How to Apply for a Netherlands Au Pair Visa

You cannot submit a visa application for an au pair in the Netherlands by yourself. For you, an au pair agency will need to submit an IND application. While you are still in your own country, they carry out this action. You can enter the Netherlands once the IND has granted you a residency permit. Your au pair agency must get all the required paperwork from you before applying. They'll let you know what kinds of documentation you'll require.

The process does, however, differ slightly if you also want a provisional residence permit (MVV), in addition to the residence permit. The agency must submit applications for both the residence permit and the MVV if one is required. Your agency will let you know if you've been given the MVV, and you'll have three months to pick it up at the Dutch embassy in your nation.

You then have 90 days to come to the Netherlands and pick up your residence permit, depending on when your MVV is obtained. The time and location of your pick-up will be disclosed to you by your agency. A non-refundable fee must also be paid by your agency for the IND to process your application. The cost of a visa is subject to fluctuate and is evaluated twice a year.

Where to Find an Au Pair Visa Agency

On the IND's official website, you may get a list of all accredited Au Pair agencies (Immigration and Naturalisation Service). They offer a list of the au pair placement agencies that the IND has approved as sponsors. You can only apply for an au pair visa through recognized sponsors, and the IND only selects reliable organizations.

Your agency is in charge of ensuring that your presence in the Netherlands is authorized. Any modifications to the details of your stay must be reported to the IND as well. This includes adjusting the specifics of a work schedule with your host family, switching host families entirely, or departing the Netherlands.

Requirements for a Netherlands Au Pair Visa

The qualifications and prerequisites for a Dutch au pair visa may go beyond the usual paperwork needed for a Dutch visa.

  • You must be aged 18-30.
  • You have to stay in a host family of at least two people.
  • The host family has sufficient income for a minimum of one year.
  • You cannot have worked for your host family previously.
  • You can do light household chores for a maximum of 8 hours a day; you can work for up to 30 hours a week.
  • You have at least two days off per week.
  • Your host family provides you with food, accomodation, and pocket money.
  • You and your host family have to detail a daily work schedule. This has to include: how many hours the au pair has to work; which of the days they have off; who will be doing the household chores alongside the au pair.
  • Your host family cannot have family relations to you up to the third degree.
  • You cannot pay more than €34 to prepare for your stay in the Netherlands, including registration, fees, intermediary costs or taking a course.
  • You cannot pay any deposit to an au pair agency or intermediary agency (Dutch or foreign).
  • You cannot sign a contract with your host family, au pair agency, or an intermediary agency which obligates you to pay money if you do not comply with the contract.
  • You cannot help take care of people who have special needs and require special skills.

FAQs

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the Netherlands Au Pair Visa.

When on a Dutch au pair visa, can I switch my host family?

You can switch host families while maintaining your Netherlands au pair visa if, for some reason, your current host family is not a good fit for you. If you switch au pair agencies as well, the new agency will act as your sponsor. The IND must also approve of the new au pair agency. You or your sponsor must inform the IND about both changes.

Can I Use My Au Pair Visa to Work in the Netherlands?

No, a Dutch au pair visa only entitles the holder to perform minimal household duties for the host family.