Many families want to hire nannies and/or childcare providers from other countries, whether it’s for temporary help or to have a permanent nanny. Since there is no visa designed specifically for childcare workers, there are several different visa options available that allow nannies and childcare providers to enter the U.S. and work. Read on to learn more about the visa options for nannies and childcare providers!

J-1 Visa for Foreign Au Pairs

The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa has an option called the “au pair program.” Nannies are referred to as “au pairs,” and they must be pre-approved for the program by the Department of State. This option is incredibly popular and one of the most common ways that childcare providers come to the United States. To obtain a J-1 visa, au pairs must undergo trainings and background checks, as well as meet the following requirements:

  1. Be between the ages of 18 and 26 years old;
  2. Be a graduate of a secondary school or equivalent;
  3. Be proficient in English;
  4. Have satisfactory completion of a physical examination;
  5. Be interviewed personally, in English, by an organizational representative; and
  6. Have passed an extensive background check.

Because of these requirements, au pairs are a great option for strong candidates. The family must also work with a designated sponsor from the Department of State to assist with the application process. The J-1 visa is valid for 12 months and can be extended if the host family requests it. 

H-2B Visa for Unskilled Workers

If you already know the nanny or childcare provider you would like to bring to the United States and you would like to bring them over temporarily, the H-2B visa provides a straightforward option that doesn’t require a Department of State sponsor or formalized training like the J-1 au pair program. The H-2B visa is for employers who seek intermittent or seasonal workers to meet temporary demand during periods when there are not enough U.S. Citizen workers to do so. It is important to understand that the H-2B visa is only available to individuals in countries with treaties with the United States, so be sure to check the list of eligible countries before applying.

Nannies who enter the U.S. under an H-2B visa must work for 12 months or less with no potential for the visa to be extended and be paid the prevailing wage set by the Department of Labor. To apply for the H-2B visa, the family must petition directly for the employee, and they must be able to demonstrate that there are not enough U.S. workers available for the job. If you plan to bring a nanny or childcare worker over for a year or less during a time of the year when there are not many nannies available, this may be the option for you. Keep in mind that this is not an option for everyone. H-2B visas are only an option for citizens of countries that have been designated as eligible to participate in the H-2B program. You can learn more about the countries here.

B-1 Visa to Accompany Visitors to the U.S.

Childcare workers are eligible to apply for a B-1 visitor visa as domestic workers who intend to accompany U.S. citizens, green card holders, or foreign nationals during a temporary stay in the U.S. To get this type of visa, both parties must sign a contract agreeing on pay and benefits similar to what a U.S. worker would receive, and the employer must meet certain requirements. The B-1 visa for accompanying domestic help is valid for six months but can be extended. This might be a good alternative to the H-2B visa if you are concerned that you will not be able to demonstrate a shortage of U.S. workers but seek temporary help. 

EB-3 Visa, Pathway to Permanent Residence

If you would like to explore a more long-term option than the H-2B or B-1 visas, the EB-3 visa might be right for you. To obtain the EB-3 visa, employers must go through the PERM labor certification process, where families seeking childcare providers from other countries can recruit and petition for a nanny to receive certification with the Department of Labor (DOL). Once the DOL approves the PERM application for the worker, the family can file an I-140 petition with USCIS. Unlike the temporary certification that H-2B visa holders get, PERM provides certification that can enable the childcare worker to eventually seek Lawful Permanent Resident status. The next part of the process, after the I-140 petition is approved, is getting a visa for the nanny. EB-3 visas are designed for “unskilled workers” who typically have less than 2 years of training and experience, and nannies qualify under this category. 

One of the primary benefits to the EB-3 visa option for nannies and childcare workers is that it comes with a pathway to obtaining an employment-based Green Card. If the childcare provider is already in the United States legally, they can file the I-485 Adjustment of Status form. If the childcare provider is outside of the United States, they will need to submit an Immigrant Visa Application and undergo consular processing at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Once the application has been processed, the worker will attend an interview with either USCIS or the U.S. embassy or consulate they are applying through and get the visa to come to the US. After entering the U.S., they will get the Green Card

If you would like to learn more about the options to bring a nanny or childcare provider to the United States and are interested in applying, contact us for an assessment. We are happy to help you apply for any of the above immigration benefits to obtain the childcare help you need. 

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