British citizens may apply to the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for their residence permits 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 to the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for your residence permit within the first 90 days of your 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. We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment.
Please note that you may only take up your work as au pair once you have been issued a residence permit explicitly authorising such employment. You may also choose to apply for a visa prior to travel, effectively permitting employment 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 your 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. You must stay for a minimum of 6 months. The maximum stay is 12 months. You may not have more than one au pair stay, 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.
Under German law, all residents must have sufficient health insurance cover. Please read our additional information on health insurance requirements.
How to apply for your visa:
1. Complete the VIDEX online application form, print one copy of the form including the barcodes page (page 7) and sign the form on pages 5 and 6. Separate application forms are required for each applicant; all children also require separate forms.
2. Compile your supporting documentation to bring to your appointment:
- Printout of the online application form including barcodes (as under #1)
- Valid passport signed by the holder, issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least six months. The passport needs to have at least 2 consecutive blank pages (i.e. a blank double page spread).
Plus 1 photocopy of the passport biodata page
- Current UK residence permit (BRP)/ visa (non-British applicants only).
Plus 1 photocopy of the permit/ visa
- 2 fully biometric passport photos, size 35 x 45 mm. Consult our FAQs for detailed requirements.
CEFR A1 language test result (if available). The test may not be older than one year. If you have not yet undergone a formal CEFR language test, your language skills will be evaluated during your visa interview.
- Host family’s questionnaire to be completed by the host
- Au pair contract (sample)
- Confirmation that you have read the Government factsheet “Information for au pairs and host families” (sample form)
- Confirmation of health insurance cover (including accident insurance, Unfallversicherung) commensurate with the level of statutory German public health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung)
- Curriculum vitae
- Motivation letter explaining your reasons for taking part in an au-pair programme and what you expect to achieve through this programme
- Prepaid, self-addressed Royal Mail Special Delivery return envelope (up to 500g) in order to return your passport after processing (not applicable for applications submitted to a Visa Application Centre run by our external service provider, TLScontact).
- 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 to your local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for your Electronic Residence Permit. We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment.
Further information on living and working in Germany is available here.