The important points before you get started
Going au pair is a project that is built over time! You probably have a lot of questions about how the program works (age/ conditions/ cost…). Here we answer your main questions before you start. If you don’t find the answer to one of your questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
⚠️ Be aware we have other pages where we explain you a lot of information about being an au pair, the condition to become an au pair, the cost of our services, how works au pair Butrfly and how to register. Please check the pages on the menu “for au pairs” if your question is not already answered.
How old should I be to be au pair in France?
Do I have to sign a contract with my future host family ?
Yes, it is mandatory to have a contract with your host family. Your contract includes you and your host family’s rights and duties as well as how many hours you will be working, your living conditions, etc. You need to sign it together with your host parents before you leave your country.
How long can I stay as an au pair in France?
Tu peux être au pair entre 2 mois (pendant l’été) et 24 mois (après le renouvellement de ton visa). La durée maximale pour être au pair en France ne peut pas dépasser 2 ans.
Après l’obtention de ton visa « Jeune Au Pair », ce dernier ne sera valable uniquement un an. Si tu souhaites poursuivre ton expérience au pair, tu peux prolonger ton séjour en France de 1 an seulement.
La plupart des séjours au pair dure entre 6 et 12 mois. C’est le temps suffisant pour pouvoir s’immerger dans la culture du pays, se sentir à l’aise et vraiment progresser dans la langue.
How do I know if I am eligible for the au pair program in France ?
You need to get in contact with the French Embassy or Consulate in your home country to check if you can get a “Jeune Au Pair” visa.
Can I be an au pair if I am a young man ?
Is it mandatory to have a good level of French to be an au pair in France?
Is the driver’s license mandatory to be an au pair in France?
No ! Most of our families live in big and medium sized cities with public transportation. However, having a driver’s license will provide you with more host family options! Keep in mind that your BUTRFLY host family will pay for at least one driving class in France to help you feel more confident.
What is the minimum of pocket money ?
Does my host family pay for my flight?
Does my host family pay for my French classes ?
What do I have to pay for as an au pair in France ?
Your pocket money also helps you pay your French classes. Sometimes your host family can help pay for these. However, given that it is not mandatory, we advise you to arrive with some savings!
What does the host family pay for the au pair ?
It is mandatory that the host family pays for the following :
– housing and food: even if you are in a live-out position – in this case the family can give you extra pocket money to buy your own food if you are not living directly in the same building.
– your own transport: a transport card or a car if you need it for your job or to go to your french classes. Gas for the mentioned uses is paid by the family. However, if you have a car, you will be in charge of filling the tank if you use the car for “personal matters”.
– your health insurance: it will cover your necessary health expenses during your stay in France and it is required by the embassy. Although the embassy requires only a 3 month cover, all BUTRFLY host families pay a health insurance for your whole stay.
– your sim card: some families will provide a phone, but it is not mandatory so it is better if you bring your own unlocked mobile/cell. You should discuss that when you have found your host families.
In France, it is mandatory also for your host family to declare you at URSSAF (public health insurance). Your host family pays about 209€ fees per month towards URSSAF.
Do I have to eat with my host family ?
Does the family provide/pay for personal use products such as shower gel, shampoo, make-up, hygiene products ?
If I go on a trip or holiday with my host family (because they need me), do I have to pay for the excursions we do and my meals ?
Am I allowed to stay home if the family decides to take a trip or has to go somewhere last minute - without needing my services?
When should I start looking for host families and when will I get a match?
How much money should I save before becoming an au pair?
Can you really survive on 90€ a week?
If I stay home while the family is on holiday/weekend, am I getting paid? Do I have to take care of my meals expenses ?
Normally yes, the number of paid leaves is written in the agreement between the family and the au pair. Also, you should not pay for your meals. The family must leave you some money or make sure you have enough food in the house. This is why communication between the au pair and the family is fundamental!
How far in advance do I need to register to find my host family?
Au Pair, it’s getting ready!
To take the time to find the host family that suits you, we advise you to register and start your search between 3 and 6 months before your departure.
Many families in France are looking to host an au pair from September or from January.
How old do I have to be to go abroad as an au pair?
You must be between 18 and 30 years old in most countries (maximum 26 years old in the United States). You can get detailed information on https://blog.butrfly.com/au-pair-a-l-etranger-nos-destinations/
You can apply to leave if you are still 17 but you must be 18 at the time of the trip.
How long can I stay as an au pair?
Tu peux être au pair entre 2 mois et 12 mois.
La plupart des séjours au pair dure entre 6 et 12 mois. C’est le temps suffisant pour pouvoir s’immerger dans la culture du pays, se sentir à l’aise et vraiment progresser dans la langue. Pour les États-Unis, la durée minimum est de 12 mois.
Si tu souhaites partir pour moins de temps (entre 1 mois et 3 mois), il faut plutôt envisager de partir au pair l’été et plutôt en Europe.
How far in advance do I have to go to go as an au pair?
It is important to anticipate the preparation of your project, this will allow you to be more serene when you leave.
For a summer project, we advise you to start preparing your application in April.
For a long-stay project, it is better to plan at least 4 months in advance to have time to choose the right family.
In general, from the moment you register on our website to your departure, it can take 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the destination (if there is a visa procedure or not) and the speed with which you meet the different host families proposed.
The more proactive you are, the quicker you will be able to leave.
Can I go to a country if I don't master the language?
Unfortunately, this is going to be complicated. It is important to master the basics of the language of the country you want to go to (or have a good level of English for non-English speaking countries).
Again, it is important to be able to interact with your host family, this means being able to understand and carry on a basic conversation with them.
Is a driver's license required to be an au pair?
No driving licence is not required for the majority of destinations. But it is a plus to have more choices in your host families.
For the United States, it is mandatory.
What level of experience do I need to have with children to be an au pair?
As an au pair, you will take care of the family’s children between 25 and 35 hours a week (45 hours in the USA). It’s better to love children and to want to take care of them.
The BAFA is not obligatory but is a serious advantage for your application.
Otherwise, you must have at least 2 significant experiences (regular baby sittings, training for a sports team, scouting…) outside your family. For any application, we will ask you for 2 letters of reference.
For some countries (United States, New Zealand), you must have at least 200 hours of childcare.
How much pocket money do we get each week?
This varies according to the au pair programme in each country.
The number of working hours related to children can vary between 25 and 45 hours.
The pocket money you will receive is therefore depending on the regulations of the country and the cost of living in that country.
It can vary from 80€ per week in Spain to the equivalent of 180€ per week in New Zealand or the United States.
Does my host family pay for my plane ticket?
No, the ride’s on you. Some families may be able to offer to contribute to the costs, but this is quite rare.
Depending on the destination, it is therefore necessary to plan a more or less important travel budget.
What do I have to pay to go abroad as an au pair?
The au pair has to pay for his/her visa (the cost of which varies according to the destination), travel insurance (obligatory to go abroad even in Europe), air or train ticket and agency fees (registration and placement).
The pocket money you will receive will also help you pay for your language courses (although sometimes the host family can help you, it is not compulsory, so it is better if you also have some savings).
What happens once I'm in the country if things don't work out with my host family?
Despite all the precautions and exchanges before your departure, it is possible that it may not necessarily fit in terms of personality between you and your host family.
In this case, you can of course contact us to talk to us about it or contact our local partner who will propose solutions.
Our goal is to accompany you throughout your stay: before and during your stay.
What is the best time to go as an au pair in my school curriculum?
There is no right or wrong time to go au pair. Going on an au pair placement allows you to take a step back from your professional project, beyond the learning of a language.
One often goes as an au pair during a transition period (after the baccalaureate before committing oneself, after a bachelor’s degree before continuing or not in a master’s degree, before committing oneself in one’s first job…).
Being an au pair is also a way not to lose a semester or a year if you realize that the course you have chosen does not suit you.
If you leave for a long period, it is certain in any case that you will come back fluent in the language of the country.
Are language courses compulsory in the host country?
No language courses are not obligatory but we strongly advise you to take one in order to be able to certify your level at the end of your stay.
This is also a way to meet other young people.
The courses are generally at your own expense and your pocket money will be used to pay for them.
Why is it better to go through an agency to go abroad as an au pair?
Going through an agency will ensure that you will be placed with a family where a certain number of criteria have been checked (the host family’s reception conditions and motivations, the respect of the au pair’s tasks, the respect of the volume of working hours and the associated pocket money for example).
Are you ready ?
Let’s go !