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Frequently asked questions from Au pairs

Find the answers to the main questions that our au pairs.

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?
You need to be between 18 and 30 years old, unmarried with no children.

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.

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.

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.

Yes ! However, you should keep in mind that is harder for a male au pair to find a host family, but it is not impossible if you have strong childcare references. 
Most of the embassies do not require French knowledge anymore to be au pair in France. So you can come even if you can only say “Bonjour” and “Merci” ! However, sometimes, to have a better connection with your host kids and make them respect you and the rules, it is better to understand and speak correct level of French. It can help a lot if you are in a multilingual speaking family !

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.

In France, the minimum is 70€ weekly for European Au Pairs and 80€ for non European au pairs. But most of our host families give 90€ or 100€ per week for pocket money. The BUTRFLY Agency requires each host family to give a minimum of 90€ per week.
In France, the flight is at the expense of the au pair. But your host family can offer to pay if they want to.
No, the French classes are at the expense of the au pair. However, some families will offer some financial help to pay for their au pair’s language lessons, especially if the course is expensive (subject to the location).
The au pair has to pay for their visa process (around 135USD for the visa + 60 EUROS to validate your visa once in France). You will also have to to pay for the agency fees. This fee is only charged once you have found your host family.
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!

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.

Preferably, yes. You are here, as an au pair, to share this family’s life. Meals are a very important part of the day, especially in France! It is important to immerse yourself as much as you can, and as the family would like you to.
No, you have to pay for your own products. However, the family provides the au pair with sheets and towels, as well as laundry detergent.
No, as long as you are going as their Au Pair, the family has to take care of that. However, if you have a day-off during this trip/holiday, and you decide to do some sightseeing by yourself and have lunch/dinner on your own, you will be in charge of your own expenses.
Yes. Your host family agrees to welcome you and accommodate you for a certain period of time (hence the contract). Therefore, they cannot ask you to leave when they want or have to go somewhere.
Generally speaking, the matching process takes about 1.5 months from the day you finish all parts of your application to the day you sign your contract with your host family. Plan for extra time to go through the visa process, and to arrive in your new country.
We can’t provide an exact amount of how much you should save. Budget according to how much you would like to travel and how many different activities you would like to while you are an au pair. How much time are you spending abroad? Are you taking language courses? Do you want to participate in extra activities? Generally speaking, 1000€ saved can get you quite far during your year, if you budget wisely. But, it really depends on the type of person you are and what you do!
Your host family pays for your major expenses such as food, accommodation, your transportation, medical insurance and sometimes your SIM card. That said, you can definitely survive on the minimum au pair salary. The legal minimum au pair salary is 80€ a week, but BUTRFLY families pay at least 90€. If you want to travel, eat out often, and you want a bit more flexibility financially, you should start your au pair year with some money saved aside.

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!

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

You can apply to leave if you are still 17 but you must be 18 at the time of the trip. 

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.

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. 


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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. 

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. 

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. 

An agency will provide you with security, support during the procedures to be carried out (visa application, finding a language school) and also during your stay. It is a team of professionals who know the au pair’s stay perfectly. The team is there to answer your questions and to prepare your project as well as possible.
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).
Frederic M
December 15, 2021
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Relevance of matches. We've used Butrfly now for 3 years in a row to find our au pairs, from South Africa, Germany and the USA. Each time, the team was able to find us the rare pearl by listening to our expectations. What a time saver compared to other services! Thank you!!!
February 8, 2022
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Great experience. Butrfly helped us recruit our 1st au pair. We were in an emergency situation and were delighted with the service and support. The profiles selected are really great. I highly recommend Butrfly.
March 3, 2022
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Butrfly was able to understand our expectations and the way our family functioned, so as to offer us the best profile. And the support doesn't stop there, as the team is always available. The principle of videoconferencing between families to discuss our questions is also a real plus!
Laura Dimaiuta
February 3, 2022
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Butrfly saved us! After going through Aupair World and finding the wrong person, Butrfly found us a gem! Highly recommended!
Barbizet Charlotte
March 21, 2022
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Very good experience with Butrfly. We found an Au Pair for next year, and we were very pleasantly assisted in our search.
Florence Rive
March 18, 2023
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We are very happy with our experience. Our au pair is very pleasant, participates in family life and gets on very well with our children. Butterfly manages the introductions efficiently and then follows up on the file.

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