How To: Au Pair Getting Married in USA

Tips and Advice, Tips, Tricks and Resources for Au Pair
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Disclaimer: This post is not about how to marry to stay in USA, and I do not support in any way people who choose to take that path. Information provided here is based on my personal experience and I recommended to everyone who is in situation where important decisions are to be made, please talk to a lawyer, or call USCIS office in your area. This information here is to be used simply as guideline.

Dear Au Pair,

Are you one of the lucky ones that has found a soul mate while being abroad? Are you looking around, asking and reading what to do from legal standpoint? Are you afraid you are making mistake? 

I did it. I got married while being Au Pair. Stick with me and I will guide you through process, but first allow me to share my opinions, my fears and my regrets. 

I am definitely not trying to promote or tell any au pair to get married for a green card. If you feel that can get you an “American dream” and get you out of your country, let me tell you something: “You are going from one prison to another one.”  Green card or marriage will not bring you happiness and it will not be like in movies, especially coming out of Au Pair experience where you shared household, chores and responsibilities with two other adults. Marriage itself is -fu**ing hard-, and being married without love is gonna make your life living hell.


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I got married. Out of love. I came to USA in 2012 and in that point I was so lucky, luckiest girl alive. I have been single for 2 years at that point, and yes, I wanted a boyfriend, I wanted love story. My idea was not to find a husband or stay in US. We met after I was in US for only 3 months and we started dating. Love story, romance, American boy who showed me American dream. I loved him. I loved us. I loved the idea of us, more than I loved us. I see that now.

Oh, by the way. I also got divorced. Next post might be about how to get divorced as an au pair. Awkward..


Long story short, he proposed after few months and I, out of fear to lose him, to lose, what I thought was love, I said yes. We got married one year after we started dating. It was great wedding and amazing day. 

When it came time to file for Green Card, we agreed not to hire lawyer because, people, freaking immigration lawyer charges in between 200$-400$ per hour and we could not afford that, so we decided to do paperwork ourselves.  It sucked. It sucked so bad. I recommend getting lawyer at least in the end, to check your documents and is it all in order, but if you will be like we were, I will tell you what you have to do and what will happen next.


To let you know, once more, I do not recommend getting married for papers, and if you do, you might get discovered through process and it will mess your life so bad. If you desperately want to stay in US, there is so many other ways that I wrote about in post Should you stay or should you go?

Ok, here we go… Steps to take when you are ready to apply for a Permanent Resident Status

The first thing you have to do is get married. 🙂 Process here is the same for Au Pairs just like every other citizen. Check regulations and rules on Government’s website and see what applies for your State and County.

After your wedding day has passed and you got your marriage certificate back, you can start process immediately. Be aware that as of the moment you get married, your J-1 is no longer valid and you can not work. You are not technically illegal because you are in process of getting your marriage-based Green Card, but you are stuck in the house until you get your work permit – Employment Authorization (Form I-765) (it can arrive several weeks before your Green Card if you apply for it, otherwise your Green Card is your work permit, so you can just wait until approved before starting to look for a job).

First you will have to contact your relatives back home to send you birth certificate and proof of criminal history, and you will need someone certified (or not related to you, anyway) to translate it. Person who is eligible to translate those documents needs to be fluent in your native language and English as well.


Here is the list of all documents you will need:

1. Marriage Certificate

– make sure when you are getting original to also get at least 2-3 certified copies to hold on to.

2./3. BIRTH CERTIFICATE and translation / PROOF OF CRIMINAL HISTORY and translation

Please be advised that each of the birth certificates must include all of the following information:

Applicant’s Full Name

Full Date of birth (Month, Day and Year)

Place of birth (City, Province/State if applicable, country)

Full Name of Mother (BOTH First Name and Last Name – maiden or married name.)

Full Name of Father (Both First Name and Last Name.)

(Both first names and last names must be spelled out.)

A Birth Certificate is available from most countries.

-even before you get married (if you want to start process immediately after getting married) you can ask your family home to get you birth certificate and proof of criminal history. In my home country my parents went to Police Department and got it, but it all depends in which country you lived. Basically, its legal document that shows you haven’t been in jail or committed any crime.

-to translate those documents you can hire someone that speaks your native language and English, or have non-related friend to do it and sign it for you. With originals on your native language and copies on English, for both documents you will need to have the certification which format should include the certifier’s name, signature, address, and date of certification. A suggested format is:

Certification by Translator

I [typed name], certify that I am fluent (conversant) in the English and ________ languages, and that the above/attached document is an accurate translation of the document attached entitled ______________________________.

Date                                             Typed Name

4. Copy of your passport with your visa page exposed
5.  2 passport style photos taken no more than 30 days before submitting paperwork
6. Evidence that you got married in good faith (Mutual apartment lease, joint bank account, mutual car loan, car insurance, phone bill, photos, love letters, emails, letter from one or two adults who witnessed your love story )
7.Medical Examination (USICS Form I-693)

-Print out and bring the most recent version of Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, to your medical exam appointment: Fill out Part 1 of Form I-693 but do not sign until the civil surgeon instructs you to do so. The civil surgeon will use Form I-693 to document the results of your medical exam.

-Form Fee: $0. Note that USCIS does not regulate fees charged by civil surgeons for medical examinations. Fees may vary by physician. (I personally paid 250$)

-on this link you can find location of doctors designated by USCIS to preform exam.

8. Biographic Information Sheet (USCIS Form G-325A)

-you will need copy for you and your spouse

9. Affidavit of Support (USICS Form I- 864)
10.Petition for Alien Relative (USCIS Form I- 130)

-your spouse is filling this form for you

-Fee is 420$

11. Notice of Action (USCIS Form I-797 - you do not file, but after received needs to be sent back with rest of it)
12. Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (USCIS Form I-485)

-Fee is 985$ + 85$ Biometric Fees

13. Application for Employment Authorization (USCIS Form I-765)

Fee: 380$



For all the paperwork you do, make sure you keep a copy for yourself because you will need it later on, for interview, but also to keep record of what and how you did it.

Like I previously noted, I recommend you get a lawyer’s help at least for part of it all, just to remove stress and drama while waiting. It can take from 3 months up to a year to get your Green Card. It took me 6 months since I send papers to receive my permanent resident status. Before that it took us 4 months to collect al the papers.

After submitting documents as stated on USCIS website  (please, take my blog as guidance, not as  your only source of information) you wait for their Notice of Action and it will be explained what your next step is. Sometimes they need more proof or something is not correct and that can prolong process, but just take it slow. It will happen eventually.

Next step is doing biometrics.  You will receive letter with address and date, as well with all the information what to bring and what not.

When preparing for your interview just remember you have nothing to hide. If there is big age difference between you and your spouse or any other trait that can make you look suspicious, make sure to gather as much as extra evidence and bring it to interview. They will ask you normal questions such as where did you meet, how long have you been together, when did you started living together, have you met his family, etc.. unless something is seriously off, no need to fake it, or stress about it. Usually, already on interview you can see and they might tell you how it went and when to expect your Permanent Resident Card.


*Note: Permanent Resident Card is marriage conditioned and valid only for 2 years. Minimum of 90 days before your green card expires you will have to apply for your non-conditional card that will be valid for 10 years.



Everything you need to know when applying for your green card after au pair year #aupair


That is all from me, if you have any questions feel free to ask 🙂

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  • Reply
    June 9, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Hi! Thanks so much, this is very useful since I’m gonna get married. My question is how long before your visa expired did you make the weeding? Also I am pregnant but I will finish my year in 2 months so I’m not planning to tell anybody about it, so that make things a little more complicated.

    thank you and I’ll be waiting your response.

    • Reply
      Funny Nanny
      June 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      Hi Maly123,
      Congratulations on your pregnancy and wedding 🙂 I got married 4 months before my visa expired and I filled for my Green Card one month before it expired (it took us some time to collect all the documents). I can not give you legal advice, so please make sure to check gov website and make sure with the lawyer. If you wait to get married after your J1 expires, It might be more complicated and you might need lawyer to help out with process. As soon as you file for green card and get confirmation letter that they have received it, you are not illegal. You can not work, but you are in process and you are legal to stay in country. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Steven Larsen
    June 28, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Hi there, my name is Steve Larsen. I have been dating a women in this Aupaircare program. She has been approved for a second year here. I would love to propose to this wonderful women but am finding it hard to find information on it. I truly love her and she loves me, so I really am not worried about anything, but do not know what lies ahead. Can you help me understand this whole process a little more.
    Thanks for your time.
    Steve Larsen

    • Reply
      Funny Nanny
      June 28, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      Steve, I am glad you found love. I can not give you any other information than what is written here, since I can share only my personal experience. What do you find difficult to understand? Getting married is equal as you would do it with American citizen, and afterwards there is paperwork as described in this post. It all depends on you and your girlfriend how to proceed and what will happen next. I recommend getting a lawyer if you can afford one. Good luck.

  • Reply
    Sergio Moraes (@SergioMoraesJ)
    August 2, 2015 at 4:32 am

    How about the two year home-country residence requirement? Did you have any trouble with that?

    • Reply
      Funny Nanny
      August 2, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      Hi Sergio, I heard about that requirement, but I don’t know anything about it. Must be something that either expired or it counts only for some countries. Check on USCIS website who does it apply to. I didn’t have to go home and all paperwork was done as soon as we got our marriage certificate (and money 🙂 )

  • Reply
    September 14, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Hi. I amNicky. thank you so much for this blog. i have some question would like to ask you. you said you met your boyfriend after 3 months in the US so how long after that you guys got married? is the time knowing each other important? i asked because i extended for another year and just be in a relationship recently. its gonna be only 6 months weve been together if i finish my program. what shouls i do? when is the good time to do the paperworks? thank you so much.

    • Reply
      Funny Nanny
      September 15, 2015 at 9:42 am

      I can not say how important time is. We were dating for a year before we got married. Sometimes year is enough, but because of my au pair family, I chose not to live with him until we got married and that made big difference. we didn’t know each other, each other habits, behavior and way of living. I would suggest to you to think it thoroughly. If you already argue, have jealousy issues and can’t find a way to function, think it through. Does he have a job? After marrying, for at least 6 months up until a year you will not be able to work and all those expenses for green card plus life itself will accumulate and create tension, not to mention getting married and starting life together it’s hard and challenging itself, even without adding all those extra au pair drama into it.

      My marriage was a fail for many reasons, but one of them was definitely that I didn’t know what am I getting myself into.
      If you are fearing that it’s too soon, try to get student visa and just date for a while before committing. If you are already 100% it is the best man and person you will spend the rest of your life with, then you can start doing the paperwork as soon as you are married. We started 5 months after wedding. One of my friends is married for a year and still not handling it.
      I would suggest talking to your LCC. I told mine as soon as I found out and she was on mw wedding. Counselor is here to help you, even if she disagrees woth you. It’s in her best interest to do the best for you and family. I finished my program even though I got married 4 months before it was done, and only bc I was open about it to my agency and lcc.

      Good luck!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Funny nanny this post was very helpful so you were really an au pair participant? I am a guy and I have meet someone in the au pair program. Her j1 visa states that she is required to home physical residence. And she does not want to do the program anymore my question is can she come live with me and start we just start the process posted?

    • Reply
      September 16, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Or does she have to finish the program

    • Reply
      Funny Nanny
      September 17, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Joe. I can’t answer those questions for you. I had different experience, and even though I got married 4 months before my year was over, I continued to work for the family and I have finished the program. Rules for return home and her wanting to quit program is something I am not familiar with. Best luck to you!

      • Reply
        September 18, 2015 at 12:25 pm

        Thank you

  • Reply
    September 18, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Hi. Thank you for your reply. i am appreciated about that. yes, my boyfriend has a stable job so we are not worried about life after getting married. what we are worried is the interview for green card. we come to each other with true love, there is nothing to hide but im affraid that they may ask some hard questions and we cant answer. what did they as you guys? do you remember? and did they separated you guys during the interview? thank you again!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Hey, I’d like to ask you a question. I have all my papers ready but I’m not sure if I should send the mutual car lease, apartment lease, photos etc in the package with all the uscis forms. Aren’t you supposed to show these at your interview? Thank you

    • Reply
      Funny Nanny
      September 26, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Marlen, you send all of it, and bring copies to the interview just in case.
      Good luck!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Funny Nanny! I got marry last week actually but some people have told me I should have wait until i finish my au pair year (I’ll finish in 3 months), so I dont know if our notary should send the wedding certificate or not. I have no rush to get a green card and I do want to finish my year. Did you fill your paperwork right away (leaving the program also) or did you finish your year and fill them after, even when u got marry being AP? Thanks!!

    • Reply
      Funny Nanny
      October 12, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      I got married 4 months before and took care of my wedding certificate, changing last name on ssn card and I started collecting all the paperwork for green card process. Since I was finishing the program, I didn’t start green card process until it was 2 weeks before end of my program. I don’t think you made a mistake, as long as your parents and LCC are involved, they know and they can support you. congratulations!

      • Reply
        October 13, 2015 at 2:10 pm

        Thank you so much for share your experience, it was mentally exhausting as you can guess. I told my hf and they support me, but not to the agency since my lcc had the same sit with other APs (they let her know, she told to the agency, they kick them out of the program and cancel the visa), so i probably wont tell my lcc.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    I have a question, i have an amazing supportive family and my Au Pair counsler is also very nice, but how did you end the program?
    How did you tell that you won’t fly back, or how did that part of the business go?

  • Reply
    Mica buresh
    December 7, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Once you submit any documentation for a change of status to DHS, the agency must terminate your record with them otherwise both the aupair/the agency would be breaking the law by not complying with the regulations.

  • Reply
    January 7, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Hi) I just married 2 weeks before and it’s 6 month before my visa expired, I started documents process and so confused cuze friend of my told me that I need to leave usa and aply for immigrant visa in my home country ? Is that true? I have option to wait for my green card not living the country?

    • Reply
      Funny Nanny
      January 8, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Ira, please taken in account I am not a professional, only aupair who did it so check with a lawyer or your LC, but unless you have that 2 year something rule in your visa when you are arriving, you shouldn’t have to go home. I don’t knwo much about that rule, and I never met a girl that had to go home. Good luck!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2016 at 7:07 am

    Hi, I have a question about criminal history. when i came here as an au pair, i brought my criminal history record with me so i dont have to do it again right? thank you.

    • Reply
      Funny Nanny
      January 8, 2016 at 9:38 am

      Hi Nicky! Depends on how long ago was that? I am pretty sure you can email USCIS and check, but it should work. 🙂 Good luck!

  • Reply
    March 8, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Hi I married an Aupair 6 months before end of her program. She stays with me all the time but goes to work as normal. We applied for green are already. She is really worried how to tell her HF and the agency. The immigration lawyer says she is still working legally as an Aupair. But many people online say it’s breaking the law after marrying. Now she is scared to get in trouble because she loves the kids and working for the family and wants to finish her program.
    Do you have advise or experience that helps us?

    • Reply
      August 22, 2017 at 11:26 am

      Hi Jack, I’m an au pair in the US planning to marry a guy here, have you found out if it’s legal or not for her to continue working as an au pair? And how did the green card process go? Thank you in advance.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2016 at 9:36 am

    You’re obviously not active anymore. Too bad

  • Reply
    April 18, 2016 at 5:53 am

    Hey ! Thank you so much for this post ! Im currently Au pair and want to get married with my boyfriend. So your post mean that it’s possible to get married as Aupair. So we plan starting the papers around 6months before the end of my second years. But Im wondering for exemple IF I get the paper for work 2months before the ending of my Aupairs years, can I still work as a Aupair and finish the months left and ger the flight back for free from my Agency ?
    Or, when Im waiting for the paper I can’t work as Aupair anymore ?
    Thank you !

  • Reply
    January 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I am in the United States as an au pair and just like you found love and we are looking to marry. You mentioned the J1 won’t be valid after, but at what point does it expire? Is it when the papers process or by the time of the ceremony or at another point of time during the marriage process? We were thinking we would do as much as we can while I’m working but I want to officially “finish” my year at the time it’s supposed to end so an answer to my question if your able to would be incredibly valuable.

  • Reply
    Funny Nanny
    January 19, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Hi there, NYX, I have taken over the blog so I am not sure what the procedure is, I am sorry. I would suggest you contact an immigration attorney to get all the correct answers. Good luck and all the best!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Hi, Thank you for your informations and help. This article is very interesting.
    On the website USCIS, they say that you can translate yourself or by your relative (sister, spouse etc..) is they sign the Certificat by Translator.
    Where did you see that we can not do it by ourselves or relatives ?

    Thank you !

  • Reply
    September 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Hi! Thanks for your post.
    I was wondering where you’re from and if you had to go back to your home country for a certain period of time and/or to finish your paperwork? I know that when it comes to the US laws sometimes it depends on the country itself, they can be more or less strict depending on what’s your country of residence. I am an au pair too and will finish my program in a few months. Me and my future husband are hoping to get married soon enough so we don’t have to stay apart. Also, would you suggest getting married before my visa expires? I read somewhere that being an au pair my J1 might have a restriction so for some reason it would be better to let it expire first and then get married? I am really confused about that in particular and also about the fact of getting back home, so I would love further explanation if you don’t mind. Any additional advice or tips are greatly appreciated. Thanks! xo

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