Can I Help My Nanny Obtain a Visa?

April 10, 2019

Pennsylvania visa petition lawyers help clients resolve immigration matters for nannies.If you are interested in hiring a foreign national as a nanny, you will need to understand the immigration restrictions that apply. A number of different visa applications are possible. However, it is important to note that these are not available to immigrants who have entered the United States illegally.

J1 Visas for Au Pairs

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) administers a program specifically designed for bringing trained English-speaking nannies into the country. It grants temporary J1 visas for one year to qualified applicants. The DOS works directly with foreign sponsor organizations that have pre-screened applicants called au pairs.

Each of the au pairs is between 18 and 26 years old, has graduated from high school or equivalent, is proficient in spoken English, has completed training in child care, and has passed a physical exam. The process for qualifying the au pairs also involves performing a background check and interviewing the au pair in English.

The cost to participate in this program is between $7,500 and $12,500. The host family is given a list of pre-selected au pairs from which to select. The au pair must be paid from around $250 to $450 per week. The J1 visa may be extended for another year if requested by the host family.

H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas

An alternative approach is available for bringing a nanny into the United States. An H-2B visa allows a U.S. citizen to directly sponsor a nanny. The sponsor must interact with a number of different governmental agencies to process the H-2B visa.

The sponsor must first apply to the Internal Revenue Service for an Employer ID Number (EID) and provide this number to both the Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to get a Temporary Employment Certification from the DOL. Next, the sponsor files a petition (I-129) with USCIS for approval. Once the I-129 is approved, it goes to the U.S. consulate in the nanny’s home country, where the nanny gets the H-2B visa. If the nanny is already in the U.S. legally, then they can qualify for a change of status through the USCIS.

The H-2B visa is only available if there are no U.S. workers that can fill the position. The employer needs to make a labor certification utilizing the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM). This involves taking steps to hire U.S. workers first, through advertising in newspapers, as well as obtaining a prevailing wage determination from the DOL before they can seek foreign national employees.

Once hired, the nanny must be paid the prevailing wage in the sponsor’s area. If the sponsor terminates the visa early, they must pay the cost of the nanny’s expenses to return home.

Some countries are not allowed to participate in this program. Also, only a limited number of H-2B visas are issued each year. Applying late in the year risks losing the opportunity to hire a nanny, even if the I-129 is approved.

EB-3 Visa for Unskilled Workers (Green Cards)

This process involves bringing a nanny into the country permanently. The sponsor begins by attempting to recruit U.S. workers for the position and failing to find a willing and qualified candidate. Then they file a PERM application (ETA Form 9089) with the DOL.

If approved, the sponsor files an I-140 petition with USCIS. Only a limited number of these visas are issued each year.

Pennsylvania Visa Petition Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Help Clients Resolve Immigration Matters

If you plan to sponsor a nanny or have other immigration issues, our team of experienced Pennsylvania visa petition lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC can help. Contact us at 215-496-0690 or complete an online form for a free consultation. From our Center City, Philadelphia offices we serve clients in Pennsylvania, the tri-state area, New Jersey, and nationally.