Coronavirus Updates & FAQs

At Cultural Care we want you to have all the information you need, and are here to support you on your au pair journey!

At Cultural Care we believe that cultural exchange makes the world a better place. With the current time of uncertainty during the COVID-19/Coronavirus development worldwide, there is no better time to think about what really matters, and for us that is bringing global families together.

To help support you, our program participants, we have created this page to keep you updated and informed during this time.

We will share updates as they happen on this page, and have created some frequently asked questions to help you with the information you need.

Please refer back to this page as we will update it with any new developments!



Updates:


Update on mandatory COVID-19 tests before entering the USA

The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that it will be a requirement for people traveling to the USA by air to show a negative COVID-19 test. This new rule will include all au pairs who are travelling after 26th January 2021.

Find out more information and their FAQs on the CDC website here.

If you are traveling soon we recommend you book an appointment for a PCR test 72 hours (about 3 days) before departure so that you get your result in time to make your flight. Keep up to date with the requirements of the airline you are flying with and confirm all the documents they require. If you do not have your test result in time the airline will not allow you to take the flight, so please be prepared.

Don’t forget to talk to your host family about how COVID-19 has impacted the rules in their home and community before travelling so that you are well prepared on arrival!


Update on the extension of the 22nd June Executive Order and the issuing of au pair visas

On 31st December President Trump announced an extension of the Executive Order issued on 22nd June which temporarily suspended the issuance of some visas including the au pair visa from 31st December to 31st March 2021.

Even with the visa issuance suspension the au pair program in the USA is still extremely active, and au pairs are travelling to the USA.

For au pairs who are planning to travel in 2021, you should continue to apply now—so you can start talking to host families and travel later this year!

For au pairs who had been looking at a travel date in January through March and do not yet have a visa, we are investigating the situation further and will be in touch. In the coming weeks and months we are very hopeful that there will be some helpful updates that will allow au pairs and their host families to begin their experience together as soon as possible.

As always at Cultural Care we are here to support you on your au pair journey, and we continue our mission to build global families every day.


Update on court ruling in the USA

An Executive Order issued on 22 June temporarily stopped certain visas, including au pair visas, from being issued. There has been a preliminary court ruling in the USA which found this order unlawful. This ruling is not final and is subject to change based on further proceedings in the lawsuit.

We are reviewing this case carefully and will keep our au pairs up to date as we get more information in the weeks and months ahead. If there are any potential new options available to au pairs given this update, we will contact them directly.


Update on the 22nd June Executive Order and possible exceptions for au pairs

The U.S. State Department has issued information on the ability for some au pairs travelling to host families who meet certain criteria to receive a waiver which will allow them to apply for a J-1 visa during the period of the 22nd June Executive order. The information can be found on their website.

The specific J-1 exceptions for the au pair program are as follows:

  • Travel to provide care for a minor U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, or nonimmigrant in lawful status by an au pair possessing special skills required for a child with particular needs (e.g., medical, special education, or sign language). Childcare services provided for a child with medical issues diagnosed by a qualified medical professional by an individual who possesses skills to care for such child will be considered to be in the national interest.
  • Travel by an au pair that prevents a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other nonimmigrant in lawful status from becoming a public health charge or ward of the state of a medical or other public funded institution.
  • Childcare services provided for a child whose parents are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 or medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19.

We suggest any placed au pairs who had planned to travel during the Executive Order should reach out to their host family to talk about their situation and to see whether they could qualify for one of the exceptions.

We are sending this information to all au pairs who could be impacted.

If a host family’s situation does not allow for the au pair to be part of this waiver, please know that Cultural Care in the USA continues to advocate for an exception for all au pairs and will continue to support them to start their au pair journey.


Previous updates

Update on travel advice for au pairs travelling to the USA

When travelling to the USA please follow these guidelines to keep yourself safe.

We advise all travelling au pairs to follow the advice as outlined by the CDC (check the advice here), or by their own country.

Make sure to follow these tips in particular:

  • Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, especially if you have touched surfaces at the airport. It’s a good idea to carry hand sanitizer with you for when you cannot access soap and water
  • Keep a distance of 2 meters away from other people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Use a face mask, you must use it throughout your entire journey

Update on the Executive Order to suspend the entry of au pair J-1 visas

The President of the United States has issued an Executive Order on 22nd June which suspends the entry of certain visa categories to the U.S. until the end of December 2020. The J-1 visa for au pairs has been included in this order. This order is a temporary measure and people with au pair visas will be able to travel to the USA again after the period of the order ends.

This will impact the departure of some au pairs to the USA, as they will not be able to travel to the USA until after 31st December 2020.

Cultural Care in the USA are reaching out to the US State Department for clarity, and we will update this page if there is any additional information.

Au pairs who already have a visa will be able to travel to the USA, as long as they are not limited by travel restrictions.

Through this week we will be reaching out to all au pairs who are impacted.

We are dedicated to get all our au pairs to the USA to start their au pair adventure as soon as possible once the order is over!

Cultural Care in the USA will continue its efforts to advocate to the Presidential Administration and Members of Congress for the exemption of au pairs from the Executive order. They will keep advocating for the opportunity for host families and au pairs to experience life changing cultural exchanges together.

Update we’re here for you online!

We’re here to support you online to make sure your au pair dreams a reality. In this time of crisis our teams are working from home to continue our mission of making the world a better place through cultural exchange. Reach out to us by phone, email, Facebook or Instagram, our team are waiting to hear from you!

Update on the US Government announcement on travel restrictions for EU/Schengen area individuals

On 11 March, the US Government announced that they would increase travel restrictions to include those who were in or had traveled to the Schengen area. The restriction was put in place for from Friday 13 March until further notice.

This has impacted some of our au pairs who we are in contact with while we try to rearrange their departure date.

Update to the Training School

We will be moving the Training School online from March 23! This is a temporary measure for the coming months to limit concerns about transmission of the virus and to keep our au pairs and host families as safe as possible.

Our Online Training School gives you the chance to complete your au pair training in the comfort of your own home, while still receiving a world class training experience. You’ll have the chance to connect with au pairs arriving in the USA at the same time as you—and interact in real time with our teachers during the sessions.

Check out our FAQs:

I am due to travel in the coming months

I already have my visa can I travel to the USA before the Executive Order is over?

Yes, you will be able to travel if you already have a visa for as long as that visa is valid! You will still need to wait for any travel restrictions to be lifted, but we aim to get you to the USA as soon as you are able.

Can I still travel to the USA while the Executive Order from 22nd June is in place?

If you already have your visa you will still be able to travel to the USA during the period of the Executive Order as long as your visa is valid and we are working hard so you can travel as soon as possible when travel bans are lifted.

If you do not have a visa we will reach out to find another travel date that works for you, and to discuss your options.

We are dedicated to get you to the USA to start your au pair adventure as soon as possible!

What happens to my visa if my travel date changes?

In the case of the visa every au pair’s experience is different. The impact on your visa depends on your new departure date, the appointment availability at your embassy and your travel plans during your au pair experience. Please contact us to talk more about your individual situation.

My visa appointment got cancelled, what now?

Follow the guidelines provided by the embassy to book a new appointment. Please reach out to your local office with the new appointment date.

My host family decided to break the match with me, what does that mean?

This doesn’t stop you from making your au pair dreams come true. There are still a lot of amazing host families out there looking for an au pair. Reach out to your local team who will support you in finding another great family that can welcome you.

How should I protect myself while I travel?

When you travel to the USA we recommend that you follow these guidelines to protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, especially if you have touched surfaces at the airport. It’s a good idea to carry hand sanitizer with you for when you cannot access soap and water
  • Keep a distance of 2 meters away from other people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Wear a face mask–make sure to use it throughout your journey

What is the online Training School?

Due to the COVID-19/Coronavirus and social distancing developments worldwide we have moved our Training School experience online in order to better guarantee the safety of our au pairs and host families.

Our online Training School is a fun and interactive way to complete your au pair training. You will have interactive classes with our teachers, CPR training and one on one skills assessment, as well as virtual socials to connect with au pairs who will arrive to the USA at the same time as you.

What can I expect in terms of social distancing when I arrive to my host family?

Every host family will have their own response to social distancing–which is why you should talk to them before you travel. When you are picked up at the airport, you may not be greeted by the whole family, but don’t worry your host family will still be excited that you have arrived! Different states have different social distancing rules that your family will need to follow. Also be aware that some families may expect you to have a period of self-isolation when you first arrive whether in their home or at a hotel. We encourage you to ask your host family about their plan for self-isolation so you can prepare.

Can my host family ask me not to take vacation before arriving in the US?

No, however remember that the host family is concerned about your wellbeing and that this is an unexpected and unusual situation for everyone. Whilst they are still very happy to welcome you, they probably have some concerns about their children's health.

Can my host family ask me not to take vacation while in the US?

No, however remember that the host family is concerned about your wellbeing and that this is an unexpected and unusual situation for everyone, and they will have some concerns about their children's health. Keep an open communication with your host family and bear in mind that the situation will most likely change while you are in the US.

Can the US State Department extension program impact my travel?

Due to the extension program currently being offered to au pairs and host families in the USA, you may wonder if your departure will be affected.

We have sent an email and are reaching out to all au pairs whose host family have this option - if we are not in touch with you it means your travel plans are not impacted.

For those impacted, we recommend to talk to your host family to see what they are planning with their current au pair. Some host families may use this option to bridge the gap between your ability to arrive due to your own visa or travel restrictions.

If your match would cancel, we would support you matching with another great host family.

We will be in touch with you soon if you are impacted, but if you have questions, please contact us.

I am currently in matching

Am I still able to match with a host family due to the current Executive Order in place to restrict J-1 visa entry into the USA?

Yes! We still have many families looking for an au pair! Our host families plan ahead, so you can start talking to them already for a departure in the future.

Starting matching early means you have more chance to find a family that best suits you, and you can get to know them before you depart. We encourage all au pairs to match as early as they can!

Due to the current situation, can I move my requested earliest departure to a later date?

Yes, if you feel uncertain about your earliest departure date, please contact us to update your application.

What should I do if I am close to matching with a host family, but they don’t want to make a decision yet due to the current situation?

Keep in close contact with us at this time and continue communicating with your host family connections. This is an uncertain time for everyone so please be patient and spend the extra time getting to know each other better!

My exams have been postponed due to my school closing – can I still match with a host family?

Yes, if you are planning to join a host family after your rescheduled exams take place. Please be aware that it’s a US State Department requirement that all au pairs have graduated high school before joining their host family, so keep us updated regarding your new exam dates.

I am applying to be an au pair

Can I still apply as an au pair?

Yes you can! There are a lot of amazing host families out there looking for an au pair. We are still accepting applications and we will support you to make your au pair dream come true.

Are you still running information meetings?

Yes! We run online information meetings on a regular basis and you can check out the next dates on our website. We’re looking forward to talking with you!

My exams have been postponed due to my school closing – can I still send in my application?

Yes, if you are planning to join a host family after your rescheduled exams take place, please continue working on your application and keep us updated regarding your new exam dates. Take this extra time to work on your application, add a few more photos, or make an even better video!

Can I still apply even though my driver’s license test has been postponed?

Yes, please reach out to your local office and let them know about your new test date. Continue to work on your application while you wait, take the extra time to work on an even better video for your application!

I can’t get a medical note because my doctor is not available – what do I do?

Please continue to work on your application while you wait for the doctor to have an available appointment. Add a few more photos, or take all this extra time you have and work on an even better video for your application!

I am a parent

My daughter or son is travelling in the coming months, I have questions.

Please refer to the section above called I am due to travel in the coming months.

My daughter or son is currently in the US, I have questions!

We understand this is an uncertain time for you and your child. Cultural Care US is reaching out to all au pairs in the US to support them. This is information that has been provided to our au pairs in the USA:

Travel

We strongly discourage travel at this time. As you may be aware travel advisories and restrictions continue to be issued and updated, therefore, areas that are possible to travel to today may not be in the days and weeks ahead. In addition, please note that if you travel to an affected area (even with host family support) you may be subjected to new restrictions or conditions upon your return that could affect your ability to re-enter the country and successfully complete your program term. We encourage you to continue to monitor the websites below for up to date information.

Most importantly, speak with your host family about any travel plans you are considering. Discuss together if there are any considerations and risks that traveling would present including the inability to re-enter the U.S. It is also important to remember that your host family may have additional concerns and your decision to travel may have implications on having you continue to be their au pair.

Educational Requirement

We know that many educational courses already in progress will likely transition from classroom to online and that you should continue to attend the online classes and complete the course. If you successfully complete the course, it will count towards your educational requirement. It will temporarily be allowed for you to enroll in online classes if there are no other options available to you in your community. Please note that this is NOT a permanent change in policy on the educational component but is merely a temporary modification until such time as classroom offerings resume.

Monthly Meetings

Monthly meetings are a great opportunity to connect, ask questions, and get out into the community. However, should you or your host family have any concerns due to COVID-19, personal monthly contact may be conducted outside of your regular monthly meeting. This means that instead of meeting with your group, your LCC may offer video chats or phone calls. We encourage you to speak with your LCC if you have any questions or concerns.

Does my child's travel insurance cover medical costs associated with the Coronavirus?

With coverage from Erika Travel Insurance, our au pairs medical costs are covered. Please ask your child to reach out to Aetna directly with any specific coverage questions – they can find the details on Au Pair Help.