Extending With Your Au Pair
About 4 months before your au pairs year ends with you, the host family and the au pair receive an email from the sponsor, detailing the option to extend for 6,9 or 12 months with each other. This can be a hard decision as your au pair might want to see a different part of the country, you no longer require the childcare or many other reasons.
As a host and the extension specialist who recently went thru this with our own au pair- my advice would be to really sit down with your au pair and speak frankly with them. Go over all the good things that happened over the year as well as the areas that can be improved on both ends. It is not unusual for the au pair to negotiate a higher stipend or more days off. Its important to keep open channels of communication and not pressure each other to make this decision. It helps the hosts to evaluate their needs for the coming year and offer a fair position to their au pair.
Most responses are due 2 months before their arrival date. This is a firm deadline as the department of state does not guarantee approving an extension. We have found at our agency the best practice to submit all extension documents 60 days before their current year ends. For the extension to be approved, two of the most important pieces are the Educational Component and SEVIS fees of $367. The au pair must complete or be on track to complete their educational requirement before their current year ends. The SEVIS fee can be paid by either the au pair or the hosts, it is due when the decision to extend together is made.
It is also super important that both parties read their extension agreement thoroughly as it reiterates the rules and responsibilities associated with the program that are meant to be continuously followed. The good parts of extending together- the program fees are discounted by $2000! And you get to have another wonderful year with your exchange visitor. We are fortunate to be able to extend with our and are eagerly planning all the birthday and activities that are coming up this year for us.
Until next time!