Working as an Au Pair offers incredible opportunities to travel, immerse yourself in new environments, build lasting relationships, and expand your personal, cultural, and professional horizons.
But before you get to all the fun and fulfilling parts of Au Pair life, you’ll need to get your paperwork and visa in order. That includes filing a DS-2019 Form. The process can feel a little overwhelming, but don’t panic. The Go Au Pair team is on hand with everything you need to know.
What is the DS-2019 Form?
Form DS-2019 plays a pivotal role in the process of becoming an Au Pair in the United States. It is a vital document that serves as an official invitation to individuals worldwide to join American families as Au Pairs.
Also known as the Certificate of Eligibility, DS forms allow Au Pairs to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for their J-1 Visa. Issued by the Center for International Career Development (CICD), submitting a DS-2019 identifies you in SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).
How to Obtain a Form DS-2019
You can preview a DS-2019 sample on various government websites, but original copies are unavailable to download from the Internet. Each DS-2019 Form is generated by an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) as part of the application process, which has two main steps:
1. Apply through a Designated Sponsor
Designated sponsor organizations like Go Au Pair are officially recognized by the U.S. Department of State, serving as reliable partners in guiding applicants through the application process. At Go Au Pair, we create comprehensive profiles highlighting your skills, experience, and preferences. So, while we cannot grant J-1 visas and have no control over visa results, we can do everything in our power to ensure a good match and that all relevant documentation is completed so that your application runs as smoothly as possible.
Au Pair (AP) Form DS-2019 Checklist
The DS-2019 completion checklist of actions and documentation from each Au Pair applicant are as follows:
- Signed Child Care Services Agreement (CCSA)
- Payment verification form
- Training verification form
- Proof of multi-media training completion
- Program fees received
Host Family (HF) Form DS-2019 Checklist
Actions and paperwork from the Host Family that are required to generate a DS-2019 Form are:
- Host Family Agreement (HFA)
- Appendix A Agreement
- Child Care Services Agreement (CCSA)
- Match fee paid
- In-home interview completed
- Non-family references confirmed
- Employment verification received
The documents and actions listed above are the last that Go Au Pair has control over before moving forward to the visa process, where an ARO enters the Au Pair and Host Family information into SEVIS to generate the DS-2019 Form.
2. Get Approval through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Before issuing a Visa type J-1, DS-2019 applications are scrutinized by the American embassy or consulate office. It’s essential to note that DS-2019 travel validation is entirely discretionary. That means that even if you have already been accepted into an exchange program and have received your DS-2019, consular officers have complete authority in deciding whether to issue a J-1 Visa.
Consider Electronic Transmission
The U.S. Department of State is streamlining its processes by introducing electronic transmission for Form DS-2019. This is an exciting development, particularly for organizations like Go Au Pair. In the past, Form DS-2019 required physical signatures and had to be mailed, often taking several days or weeks to reach its destination. This was incredibly cumbersome for newly matched Au Pairs still in their home countries, who eagerly awaited the arrival of this document to begin their visa application process.
Now, Go Au Pair can digitally sign and electronically transmit Form DS-2019, making the entire process significantly faster and more efficient. Whether it’s an initial issue DS-2019, arrival date modification, transition placement, or even replacing forms lost or stolen, all these can be expedited electronically. However, there are a few crucial points to remember: the electronically transmitted DS is not valid until it’s printed on paper bearing the ARO signature, signed by the Au Pair, and for the initial DS, also signed by the consular from the U.S. Embassy in their home country.
This electronic shift is a win for efficiency and sustainability. Fewer forms being physically mailed means reduced paper use and less strain on mail and courier services. However, the true winners are Au Pairs and their Host Families. No longer will they need to anxiously wait by their mailbox or worry about forms getting lost in transit. Instead, they can focus on the exciting journey ahead, with the assurance that their documentation process is now swifter and more reliable than ever.
DS-2019 Form: After Approval
Once you’ve successfully obtained your DS-2019 Form, J-1 Visa, and embarked on your journey, here is a list of important aspects to consider:
Eligibility for Employment
Remember, your primary role is to provide childcare and participate in cultural exchange. As such, DS forms only authorize Au Pairs to work for their designated Host Family. The terms on your DS-2019 form should include all relevant details about your placement duration and location.
Your DS-2019 should be presented to a Customs and Border Protection agent along with your passport and J-1 visa upon entry/reentry. Within the US, your DS-2019 serves as a primary identification document and proof of your legal status. So you’ll need to keep the original form with you at all times and ensure it remains in pristine condition — no lamination, tears, or stains are acceptable.
Your DS-2019 Form has a specific end date, marking the conclusion of your authorized stay as an Au Pair. The travel signature on DS-2019 forms is typically valid for one calendar year. However, it’s essential to note that sponsorship dates will unlikely match the expiration date on your J-1 visa:
- Your visa expiration is typically one year from the date the U.S. embassy approved it.
- The dates on your DS-2019 are the actual sponsorship dates reflecting your arrival with the Host Family and your time in the program.
After completing your program, you have a 30-day grace period to depart the United States.
Find Jobs Abroad with Go Au Pair
Your extraordinary experience awaits, so why not take the first step today?
Discover how to become an Au Pair and find jobs abroad with Go Au Pair today. Simply complete the online registration form, and one of our specialists will connect you with one of our international partners to help you kickstart your application process. Get started today!