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Visa Options for Bringing a Nanny to the U.S.

What are the options Available?


We are often asked about how a family can hire a foreign nanny. If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and you are looking to hire a foreign nanny, you will need to obtain a visa for the nanny. There are several different types of visas that may be available, depending on your specific circumstances.

J-1 Au Pair Visa

The J-1 Au Pair Visa is a popular option for families who are looking for a foreign nanny. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of State and allows families to host foreign nationals who are between the ages of 18 and 26. Au pairs must be proficient in English, have a high school diploma or equivalent, undergo background checks, and be willing to complete a training program.

Au pairs are typically paid between $250 and $450 per week and they are provided with room and board, as well as health insurance. They also need to complete at least six hours of academic credit at an accredited U.S. post-secondary educational institution.

Au pairs live with their host family for up to 12 months with the ability to extend their stay for 6, 9, or 12 more months.They are allowed to provide childcare for up to 10 hours a day/45 hours a week.

H-2B Nonimmigrant Visa

The H-2B nonimmigrant visa is another option for families who are looking to hire a foreign nanny. This visa is for temporary or seasonal workers who are not available in the U.S. The H-2B visa is a more complicated process than the J-1 Au Pair Visa as it requires paying a wage set by the U.S. Department of Labor and attempting to recruit a U.S. worker for the position before being able to sponsor a foreign national. However, it may be a good option for families who are looking for a nanny with specific skills or experience for a limited period of time.

H-2B nonimmigrant visas are subject to an annual cap of 66,000 visas with 33,000 visas for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) and 33,000 visas for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30). The demand for H-2B nonimmigrant visas have exceeded the annual cap, which means you may go through the entire process only to have your application rejected because all visas have been allocated. 

B-1 Visa for Accompanying Domestic Help

The B-1 nonimmigrant visa for accompanying domestic help is another option for families who are looking to bring a foreign nanny to the U.S. This visa is for domestic workers who are accompanying their employers to the U.S. for a temporary stay. This option is only available to domestic workers employed by a U.S. citizen who are traveling to the United States temporarily and who have a permanent home abroad or who are stationed in a foreign country. To be eligible, the following criteria must be met:

  • The foreign national must have a permanent residence abroad which he/she has no intention of abandoning;
  • The employee must have been employed by the U.S. citizen abroad as a domestic worker either for at least 6 months prior to their employer’s admission to the United States or was employed regularly by the U.S. citizen while abroad as a domestic worker in the same capacity that he/she will be working in B-1 status;
  • The employee can demonstrate that he/she has at least 1 year of experience as a domestic worker; and
  • The employee has a contract that has been signed and dated by both the employee and employer to present at the port of entry. This contract must include specific provisions regarding the terms of the employment.

The B-1 nonimmigrant visa is a relatively simple process, but it is important to note that the nanny’s stay in the U.S. will be limited to the duration of their employer’s stay.

Permanent Residency

If you are looking for a long-term solution, you may want to consider sponsoring your nanny for permanent residency. This process can be complex and time-consuming, but it can ultimately allow your nanny to live and work in the U.S. permanently. The process will require you to offer a minimum salary as set by the U.S. Department of Labor. It will also require you to attempt to recruit a qualified U.S.worker for the position. 

Important Considerations

With limited exceptions, you will not be able to sponsor a foreign nanny if she has been unlawfully present in the United States for 6 months or more in the past three years or who has worked in the United States while on a B-1/B-2 nonimmigrant visa. 

If you are considering hiring a foreign nanny, it is important to speak with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss your specific options. An attorney can help you determine which visa is right for you and your family and they can guide you through the application process.


Not sure which option is right for you? Request a confidential consultation today.