Here is a to-do-list to help get you settled:
Focus on Getting to know your Family. Your first, and most important job in the next 30 days is to understand your family’s needs and interests. Spend as much time talking to the children and parents as you can, even though you will struggle with the language barrier. You NEED to build a relationship of trust as soon as you can!
Get your Cell Phone ready. Host Families need to provide a cell phone to their au pairs, so they can communicate with them (Voice and Text). If you bring your own cell phone, then talk to your host family about how to activate it.
Open a bank account. It is very easy to open a bank account in the USA. Just bring the following documents to the nearest Bank (for example, Bank of America, Citizens Bank, Wells Fargo):
- Your passport,
- DS-2019 form
- “Letter of Program Participation” (The Social Security Letter) from your families’ account at culturalcare.com
- social security card (If you don’t have your social security card yet, don’t worry. Some banks open the account without the social security card, just tell the bank representative that you are an international student).
Plan to pay taxes. Every Au Pair has to pay taxes between January 1 and April 15 every year. If you open a savings account along with your checking account and deposit $5.75 into it every week, you should have enough to cover the tax payment when you need it. Best Practice? Save at least $25 a week. You will also need money to cover the rest of your classes (after your Host Family spends $500) and any medical emergencies that come up.
Schedule your Monthly mandatory (you HAVE to go) Au Pair meetings. These are listed under the “Local Events” section of this website. (http://sadams.aupairnews.com/events/list/) I will also send out reminder emails. PLAN AHEAD to attend all meetings, and remind your family!
REMEMBER: you can only skip a meeting if you are sick, have to work, are in school or on vacation. Failure to attend at least 10 monthly meetings per year means you have not fulfilled your requirements. This is my way of contacting you every month and making sure that things are going smooth with your family. As you get to know the other Au Pairs you will find that the meetings are fun! If you cannot attend a meeting, please let me know ahead of time so I can help you with your options.
Get a Social Security number, but wait 10 days first. The Social Security Administration (SSA) cannot verify an au pair’s status with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until at least 10 days after the date of entry (though it is sometimes in the system earlier). Bring with you:
- A completed application for a social security number (form SS-5). This form is available at www.ssa.gov or you can get it at the SSA office.
- I-94 card (Au pairs no longer receive an I-94 card stapled in their passport. Instructions on how to print out their I-94 information are from the website www.cbp.gov/I94.)
- DS-2019 form
- Social security Letter – This letter can be printed from your host family’s extranet account—located under “My Au Pair.” Look under “Related Documents” and you’ll see “Letter of Program Participation”.
As SOON as you have your SSN, schedule time to get your Drivers License. You have 60 days in which to get a drivers’ license or there may be legal trouble. (Emphatic NOTE: Before you get your driving license, you MUST get a social security card.)
- You can first sign up for your permit here: http://www.dmv.org/nj-new-jersey/drivers-permits.php
- Here is the link for the New Jersey study book: http://www.dmv.org/nj-new-jersey/driver-license-prep-course.php (in English and Spanish). You can also stop by a driver’s license office and pick up a book. I urge you to study it and get very familiar with our state’s driving laws. It is a requirement of New Jersey for you to take a written and driving test in order to obtain your license.
- Bring ALL of your paperwork. Anything you can imagine they could possibly ask you for. Your SSN card, your Visa (Passport), your bank statement (proof you are employed as an Au Pair) the letter from your Host Family’s account, any travel documents like the DS2019 form or I-95 form. Credit cards, and a drivers license from your home country.
Look into classes you may like to take: Talk to other Au Pairs about classes they are taking/have enjoyed. Talk to your host family to find out what their expectations are. Look at the Educational links on my “helpful links” page to check out your choices.
Get your DS2019 form signed. It is best to get this signed early in the year. If you decide to travel out of the United States, for example, if there is an emergency at home, it is best to be prepared and not have to deal with the stress and expense of Overnight Mail to Boston. Send DS-2019 form, including possible dates of travel to: Cultural Care Au Pair, Attn. Travel Validation, 8 Education St. Cambridge, MA 02141.
Thursday, 13 July 2017 2:36 PM