Unless you are a US citizen or a Green Card holder, you need a visa to live and work in the US.

There are two types of temporary visas available for nannies :

  • The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa (also known as cultural exchange Visa for Au Pairs) which is very expensive but relatively easy to obtain. To qualify for a J-1 visa, you must be under 27 years old and you must be willing to combine education and work. You will not be referred to as a “nanny” but as an “au pair” and you will not get a “nanny” salary but an “au pair” salary (approximately $200-400 per week)…
  • The H-2B visa for unskilled workers. The process to obtain this visa is very long (it can last months or even years!) and it is much more more complicated because you must be able to prove that no other US residents could fill the position. Only Norland qualified nannies can possibly obtain this visa.

These 2 visas are temporary options to work in the US (12 months maximum). J-1 and H-2B visa holders do not have the right to reside in the USA permanently.

US families looking to hire a nanny typically look for candidates who can make a long-term commitment (more than one year) and there are so many qualified and experienced nannies available in the US that families feel there is no need to waste time and money sponsoring someone from abroad for just 12 months… therefore US-based families who want to employ a nanny generally don’t sponsor visas.

US-based families looking to hire a nanny only consider local candidates or candidates who already have the right to live and work in the US.

It is under no circumstances possible to work in the USA with an ESTA, even if the position is temporary or rotating.

Many nannies employed abroad wrongly assume that they can accompany their employers on vacation to the US with an ESTA. When a family wants to travel to the US and bring their nanny for a short period of time, they need to apply for a B-1 visa because the purpose of the visit is to provide assistance and childcare to the employer.

Lots of nanny agencies (in the UK, in Europe and in other worldwide locations) tell their candidates that they can travel with their employer to the US with an ESTA or that they can work less than 3 months in the US with an ESTA. This is absolutely false and it is actually a huge red flag if an agency tells you so!

Nannies can get in big trouble if they accept temporary jobs in the US with an ESTA or if they do not have the appropriate visa to visit the US with their employer. They can get deported upon arrival or they can be banned from the US territory.

Basically, if you do not hold a US passport or a Green Card there is no point in applying for a US-based nanny role, your application will not be considered and you will just waste your time… but you can always try to play the Green Card lottery to obtain the right to live and work in the US!


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