USA visas and au pairs

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Rambo Chick, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. Rambo Chick

    Rambo Chick Member

    A french friend asked me to look over an email she'd received in response to an application she sent to work as an au pair in the USA. The email was to say the least terrible english i.e. written by a foreigner in my opinion and stated that on receiving a payment amounting to nearly $2000 she would then be sent all documents necessary to work in the USA. The company in question is Moonshine travel and gives an address based in San Francisco, CA.

    Now i deeply distrust this email. Does anyone know about USA visas. Am i right to think this is a bit dodgy so to speak?especially with the pigeon english.

    any help on this would be great thanks.
  2. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Sounds enormously dodgy to me, no-one should be asking for that much money up front - or indeed any money up front.

    I'm pretty sure that UK citizens can get a working visa for the US if they have an offer of work simply by applying to the US Embassy and paying the necessary fee. AFAIK it's not legal to go to the US and work while posing as a tourist (British citizens don't need a visa to get in as tourists), and the INS are extremely strict about it, so your friend needs a working visa. More info from the US Embassy here
  3. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    I would be very careful. We found the Visa process very complicated and that was just for a non working Visa (J1) I think the process took about 4 months, we did have to pay an upfront charge and a SEVIS fee but i'm pretty sure that was direct to the US embassy? (the uni payed it for us) and we had to go to the US embassy in london (and spend all day waiting) just to be "interviewed" for 5 minutes. We were asked loads of questions at Bristol airport, and even more questions on entering the US- so i would be careful and make sure you do it properly! :)
  4. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Especially in these post 9/11 times US immigration rules are extremely strict. If I were to go and work in the states then everything would be done by the book through the US embassy.

    Do anything dodgy and at best you'd be sent back home and at worst get an all expenses paid holiday in Cuba for a few months. :)
  5. Nikki T

    Nikki T Member

    Having been an au pair myself in the USA I would say your friend should not hand a penny (or cent) over to these people who definitely sound dodgy. The US has a huge problem with au pairs not being registered through government run plans and thus you run the likelyhood of deportment, not to mention insurance issues on driving the children around etc.
    A J1 (once in a lifetime visa) is indeed required for work in the US as an au pair as part of the requirement is also completion of an education course, if you wish to remain an au pair after your 13 month J1 visa has expired then you need to apply for a 'green card', which your US family can assist with.
    I would recommend your friend seeks advice from or applies via a reputable company such as Au Pair in America
    There are fees to pay upfront but not as much as your friend has been asked for and you get some returned when you complete your year. At least when going through a large company you have government backing, au pair support and meeting groups just incase you end up with a family you are not happy with.
    To finish I would say my year in the USA was fantastic, ten years on I am still in contact with my host mother and have visited then on holiday, don't be put off, it's a superb opportunity for a year of fun and hard work.
  6. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    We had to get the J1 because we were not going to be paid for the work we are doing in America, it was tricky cos we're not full time students over here and at the same time were not working for money. I was lead to believe that we would of needed a different VISA if we would be recieving any "pay" while in america and that would have more up front costs? (maybe somewhere in the region of 800 quid/ (theres no pound sign on american keyboards!)

    It was all very tricky and i lost a few nights sleep worrying if i had the right paperwork! still- we got here, now we just have to see if they let us back in the country!
  7. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    I remember a guy at work tried the 'going over to Canada to get his passport re-stamped' and thereby extending his stay on a tourist visa. They wouldn't let him back into the US and he ended up stranded in Canada with only the clothes he was wearing.

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