British citizens may apply for their residence permits with the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) after arrival in Germany and without having obtained a visa prior to travelling to Germany. Please note that you need to register your new residence (“Anmeldung”) with the authorities (“Meldebehörde”) within 2 weeks of having moved in and apply for your residence permit with the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) within the first 90 days of stay in Germany. This privilege is also extended to citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Korea (Republic) and the United States of America. It is important to note that you may only take up your work as au pair once you have been issued a residence permit explicitly authorising such employment. British and other citizens privileged as above may also choose to apply for a visa prior to travel, effectively permitting employment as au pair from the first day of visa validity.
All other nationalities require a visa prior to travel to Germany.
The aim of an au pair stay is to improve German language skills and to broaden horizons and general knowledge through experience. To work as an au pair in Germany you must be at least 18 years old and not older than 26 years at the time of the application. For your stay, a minimum duration of 6 months is required. The maximum stay is 12 months. An au pair stay is only possible once, even with a different family.
A visa or residence permit will not be granted if the host family and the au pair are related to each other. In general German must be the native tongue spoken in the host family. If German is not spoken as native tongue but as the host family’s usual language of communication, an au pair may not originate from the home country of the host parents. This is to ensure that communication in the family takes place in German and not in the language of the country of origin.
Au pairs must have German language skills minimum level A1 as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Your language skills will be evaluated during your visa interview.
How to apply for your visa:
1. Complete the online application form, print the form including the barcodes twice and sign both copies (application forms are required for each applicant separately; all children require separate forms).
2. Compile your supporting documentation:
- 2 printouts of the online application form including barcodes
- Valid passport signed by the holder, issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least 3 months beyond the validity of the visa applied for. The passport needs to have at least 2 subsequent blank pages.
- 2 photocopies of the passport biodata page
- Current UK residence permit (BRP)/ visa (foreign residents only).
- 2 photocopies of the permit/ visa
- 2 fully biometric passport photos, 35 x 45 mm, no older than three months. Digitally altered passport photos cannot be accepted.
Please ensure that your photo adheres to German biometric requirements and is taken in front of a white/bright background.
- Host family’s questionnaire to be completed by the host family - in 2 copies
- Au pair contract (sample) - in 2 copies
- Confirmation that you have read the Government factsheet “Information for au pairs and host families” (sample form) - original and 1 copy.
- Confirmation of health insurance cover (including accident insurance, “Unfallversicherung”) commensurate with the level of statutory German public health insurance (“gesetzliche Krankenversicherung”) - in 2 copies
- Curriculum vitae – in 2 copies
- Motivation letter – in 2 copies
- Prepaid, self-addressed Royal Mail Special Delivery return envelope (up to 500g) in order to return your passport after processing.
- Visa fees apply
- Processing time: For some visa categories, we will require approval by other German government agencies, such as the Federal Employment Agency (“Bundesagentur für Arbeit”) or the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”). If you have previously lived in Germany this will add to processing times, as the immigration office may need to look into your previous immigration record. Once a decision on your application has been taken, we will contact you.
- In this visa category, based on previous experience most applications will usually be processed within 4 weeks.
- Although we will provide you with a file number, please understand that we cannot respond to questions regarding the status of your visa application. Should we have any questions or should we require additional documentation to process your application, we will contact you.
3. Book an appointment to apply for your visa.
Where to book your appointment/ apply for your visa:
If your application is successful, you will be issued a limited validity entry visa - similar to a UK entry clearance. Once you have arrived in Germany please register your new residence with the local authorities (“Meldebehörde”) within 2 weeks of having moved in and apply for your Electronic Residence Permit with your local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”).
Further information on living and working in Germany is available here.