So you came to work in Germany as Au Pair to learn the German language and culture. However, it allows you to stay in the country for up to 12 months. What to do if the Au pair wishes to stay longer? Can you eventually extend your visa or get another one?
Au Pair visa couldn’t be extended in Germany. It’s only valid for a maximum of 12 months. To extend the stay in Germany, Au Pair can apply for one of the various residence permits within Germany.
Unfortunately, you can be Au Pair in Germany only for up 12 months. To stay longer, foreign Au pairs can apply for different residence permits without the need to leave Germany. In this article, you will learn about your options in Germany after the Au Pair year.
How to Stay After Au Pair Program in Germany?
Congratulations, you finished or almost finished your Au Pair year. What comes next? You loved it here in Germany and would like to extend your stay. Let’s see which option you have.
Since German law doesn’t exclude changing the reason for stay, it’s possible and generally permissible for an Au pair to apply for a different residence permit.
In general, there are five ways you can continue living in Germany after the Au pair program. You can do it by applying for a new residence permit in the immigration office for one of the following reasons:
- Attendance of German language course
- Studies at university
- Participation in Social Year (FSJ, BFD)
- Participation in Apprenticeship (Ausbildung)
- Participation in an Au Pair program in another country
Exceptions: If your home country is one of these: Canada, Australia, Uruguay, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Israel, Argentina, South Korea, and Chile.
You can stay and work as Au Pair in Germany for up to 24 months by coming to Germany on a Working Holiday Visa and, after 12 months applying for an Au Pair visa within the country.
German language course
Maybe learning German for one year was not enough for you, then changing to a residence permit for the German language course can be suitable.
A German language course visa is the type of educational visa issued for foreigners willing to complete an intensive language course (minimum of 18 hours per week) lasting 3 to 12 months.
It’s valid initially for three months, with the possibility of an extension up to your course length. You can’t exchange this visa for a visa for studies in Germany.
Hence, you must leave Germany after your language course is complete and your visa runs out.
With a German language course visa, you can:
- Take an intensive German language course
- Apply for an extension of the visa for up to 12 months, if full-time studies don’t follow the German language courses
With a German language course visa, you can’t:
- Convert it into a student or student applicant visa
- Change it into a work permit
- Undertake any kind of employment
- Start studies at the university
- Apply for university admission
This visa requires significant paperwork and investments, as the course price starts from 200-300 EUR per month. There are no free language courses for this purpose.
Studies at a German university
Another way to prolong your stay in Germany is to start your studies at a German university. It could be a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
Applicants will need to have a high level of German (B2-C1). Check if you meet the following terms:
- Have an admission letter from the university
- Demonstrate available funds of 10,236 EUR (2020) in your bank account
- Have accommodations and health insurance in Germany
Be aware that you need to pass test either TestDaF or DSH-2 to fulfill the language requirements for the university.
Future students in Germany will be required to have health insurance and a blocked bank account when applying for a visa.
For this case, the best health insurance policy is the incoming insurance from Feather, which was particularly made for visa application. Plus, you can get a blocked bank account with Fintiba – a provider for international students in Germany.
Both companies offer great deals for international students.
Participate in Social Year FSJ/BFD
The social year is a volunteer program for young foreign nationals or Germans. Foreigners can spend up to 18 months in Germany by doing voluntary work in the German social sector.
This was my choice after the Au Pair program. It’s also the easiest and most cost-effective way to spend another year in Germany.
My favorites were educational seminars, which lasted for a total of 25 days per year. During these seminars, you meet other participants, exchange experiences, and get advice from social workers and psychologists. We spend a lot of time in nature during these times.
A social year visa doesn’t require you to have either funds or accommodation. Moreover, the institution where you will work pays a salary and sometimes accommodate.
The maximum salary is 402 EUR plus the amount of your rent if the organization doesn’t provide accommodation.
Usual places to work are state organizations like:
- Hospitals, junior sports clubs, services for disabled people, preservation of historical monuments, ambulatory services, integration houses, civil protection and disaster management, church communities, and kindergartens.
Participate in Apprenticeship (Ausbildung)
Ausbildung is theoretical and practical training in the chosen occupation, where you go to school and work simultaneously. It lasts between 2 and 3 years.
The most common jobs are handicrafts, like electrician, plumber, mason, painter or hairdresser, salesperson, or in the health sector, such as nurses, and ambulance workers. But often, you will find an Ausbildung profession in almost all fields and industries.
During the Ausbildung, you will also work practically at the company/factory/firm/shop wherever you applied for, and another part will be spent learning at Berufsschule (professional school).
The advantages of Ausbildung in Germany are apparent – you get free, high-quality education and get paid simultaneously. To apply, you must have at least a B1 level of German.
Related: “How to become a nurse in Germany”
Participate in an Au Pair program in another country
You loved being Au Pair and taking care of the children and the household. Then why not go somewhere else and become Au Pair ones or more times again?
Generally, a person can only work as an Au Pair once in Germany. But one can participate in the Au Pair program an unlimited number of times; so far, your age doesn’t exceed 30.
Germany and the US are the most popular countries to work as an Au Pair. In addition, there are many other options, including France, Norway, Holland, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, or China, and more.
If you are wondering where else you can go, read this article about the best countries in Europe for the Au Pair program.
Each country has special requirements for the age of future Au Pairs. For the USA, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and France, it’s 26 years. For Denmark, Norway, and Sweden – 29.
Another aspect is the language of the country. You can consider being Au Pair in Austria or Switzerland to bring your German to the next level.
To become Au Pair the second time, you will need to apply for a visa in the embassy of the chosen country. It can be done from Germany.
Can an Au Pair change visa status in Germany?
Yes, to continue living in Germany, visa status must be changed. The possible reasons for staying are described above. Your visa will be the same as the purpose of your stay, for example, a student or German language course visa.
Can Au Pairs have other jobs?
No. Au Pairs aren’t allowed to work extra apart from working 30 hours per week in the family. It should be clear that the primary job of an Au Pair is taking care of the host children and helping with light household duties.
They are paid for this job and are provided free meals and accommodation. Consequently, the host family is considered to be the primary employer.
Can Au Pairs change the hosting family?
Yes, you can change the family an unlimited amount of times. Remember that German host families rely on their Au Pair to be committed and stay with them for the entire length agreed on in the contract.