Nannies and au pairs are integral members of many families. From assisting parents with full-time jobs to helping care for children with special accommodations, their work is heavily valued. While native citizens of the United States can work as a nanny, often the position is sought out by foreign individuals.
Due to the role nannies and au pairs play in the family, host families may choose to go about sponsoring a nanny for permanent U.S residence. While situations vary for each family, a knowledgeable immigration attorney is a vital resource at all stages of the process.
How Does Sponsoring A Green Card Applicant Work?
There are many options for a caregiver seeking employment within the United States. A host family who is interested in helping a foreign nanny or au pair can do so in a variety of ways depending on the desired time frame and security. For any option, it is crucial for the hosts to be certain in their decision and informed about what will be expected of them throughout the process.
For families seeking to employ a foreign individual as a caregiver in their U.S home, a J-1 visa may be a great avenue to do so. This type of visa is for a year, making it ideal for nannies who would like to visit the United States but are not seeking permanent residency. A host family can join an au pair or exchange program which would allow them to provide employment to an individual. These programs may have additional requirements for participation but are often a great way to get involved.
If the host family is interested in hiring a specific individual, they may choose to go forward with an H-2B visa which is another temporary option. Although, it is important to note this type of visa is limited in quantity, meaning that there is no guarantee your nanny will be able to secure it. The host family must also prove to the Department of Labor that they are outsourcing employment from another country due to the lack of availability of domestic caregivers. In some circumstances, H-2B visa holders can stay up to 3 years, at which point the nanny would have to take an extended leave of at least 3 months in another country in order to be permitted to return.
One benefit to this avenue is that employees with an H2-B are offered protections by the Department of Labor including:
- A guarantee of 35 hours per week with a 75% guarantee of full work hours per the total number of weeks in their stay.
- Wages at least matching the minimum wage for the given location
- Reimbursement of visa-related expenses including travel
- Protection from unfavorable terms, conditions, or threats
If you are not a resident of the U.S but are visiting for an extended period of time and seeking to bring your nanny along, a B-2 visa would need to be obtained. The B-2 visa falls under the tourist category for those wishing to stay up to 6 months in the country. After the six months have passed, it may be able to be renewed in 6 month integrals. These visas may apply to hosts visiting for vacation, social gatherings, medical treatments or other similar endeavors. The nanny will go about the process of securing a B-2 visa the same way the host family members will.
Green Card Sponsorship
For nannies or au pairs who seek permanent residency, a host family may act as a sponsor in the green card process. Again, this process is lengthy and demanding so it is important that the sponsors are comfortable with and committed to helping their caregiver be granted permanent resident status (green card). It is also critical that the host family is not in immediate need as it may take a while for the caregiver to be legally permitted to stay in the United States.
In order for the au pair or nanny to obtain a green card, they will likely need to be petitioned under the employment-based 3rd preference category. This is a category dedicated to both skilled and unskilled workers. The host family must file for a Permanent Labor Certification with the Department of Labor allowing them to outsource full time foreign employment. The petitioner (host family) must also grant a full time job offer to the au pair or nanny, and have the intention to follow through with the offer for the foreseeable future.
After meeting the above criteria, the host family may go forward with the filing of Form I-140 with the USCIS. Throughout this process, the sponsor will need to prove their ability to pay the required wage to their caregiver as well as evidence that their caregiver is qualified to perform the job. This includes presenting the duties and responsibilities of the position, letters from past employers, and other relevant information.
Again, sponsoring an au pair or nanny for permanent U.S residence is a complex process so it is important to consult an employment-based immigration attorney to ensure you fully understand what is expected of you every step of the way.
How Long Does It Take to Sponsor A Person For Their Green Card?
While there is no set time period for the sponsorship process, one should expect it to take a minimum of several months. The process is lengthy due to the requirements and steps that must be taken. Keep in mind that after the Permanent Labor Certification and I-140 process discussed above is completed, it may still take additional time for the au pair or nanny to apply for and be granted their permanent residence.
What Documents Are Required?
A sponsor may be required to submit the following documents:
- An original certified Application for Permanent Employment Certification from the DOL
- Proof you can pay the offered wage
- Tax returns
- Pay stubs
- Financial statements
- An original certified Prevailing Wage Determination (Form ETA 9141)
- Filing fee
- Original job offer letter
- In some cases, documentation from caregiver’s current and former employers as evidence of their skills
How To Sponsor A Live-Out Nanny
Sponsoring a nanny from overseas is not limited to live-in nannies. Regardless of where the caregiver lives, they can be eligible for a temporary visa or their green card if the process is properly completed. If you are sponsoring the nanny yourself and are unsure if their living arrangements or employment status will have an impact on a nanny’s visa or green card, it is advisable to consult an immigration attorney.
Speak To an Employment-Based Immigration Attorney
There are various ways a nanny or au pair can legally provide care in the United States. It is in the best interest of the host family and the caregiver applicant to speak with an employment-based immigration attorney to understand what option is ideal for them.
Reeves Immigration Law Group has over four decades of experience with comprehensive employment-based immigration services for any professional. Our team thoroughly understands the green card and visa processes and will fight relentlessly on your behalf so you do not have to worry about the nuances of the paperwork. Fill out our contact form today to have an in-depth conversation with one of our attorneys regarding your individual circumstances and how to bring an au pair or nanny to the United States.