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I am a U.S. citizen who lives or works abroad for long periods of time. I am traveling to the U.S. temporarily and would like to bring my nanny. Can I do so?

By December 30, 2020Immigration

The Department of State permits “personal employees or domestic workers” (including nannies) of U.S. citizens to accompany them on temporary visits to the U.S., but only if certain conditions are met. If the conditions are met, the nanny would receive a B-1 visa that would allow them to receive payment from the U.S. citizen employer.

For general information on the B-1 visa, see our B-1 visa information page here.

What conditions must be met before a nanny can accompany their U.S. citizen employer on a temporary visit to the U.S.?

In order for a nanny to accompany their U.S. citizen employer on a temporary visit to the U.S., certain requirements must be met by both the U.S. citizen employer and the foreign national nanny. We will cover each in turn.

What conditions apply to the U.S. citizen?

To qualify, the U.S. citizen must 1) have a permanent home in a foreign country, 2) be stationed in a foreign country, or 3) be subject to frequent international assignments that last at least 2 years and be returning to the U.S. for a visit of 6 years or less. See 9 FAM 402.2-5(D)(1) and (2).

What conditions apply to the nanny?

The nanny must be able to show the government that they satisfy a number of requirements in order to qualify for a B-1 visa to accompany their U.S. citizen employer. Specifically, the nanny must:

  1. Have a residence outside the U.S. that they do not intend to abandon (in other words, they must intend to return home at the expiration of their visa);
  2. Have been employed abroad by the U.S. citizen employer as a personal employee or domestic worker for at least 6 months before the date the U.S. citizen enters the United States. If the nanny cannot show this, then the U.S. citizen employer must show that, while abroad, they have regularly employed a domestic worker in the same capacity as the nanny would be working on the visa (for example, as a nanny);
  3. Have at least one year of experience as a personal employee or domestic worker; and
  4. Have an employment contract that is signed by both the U.S. citizen employer and the nanny that contains a number of specific provisions. These provisions are detailed below.

These requirements can be found at 9 FAM 402.2-5(D)(1) and (2).

What specific provisions must be contained in the employment contract that the nanny must provide?

The employment contract, which must be signed by both the U.S. citizen employer and the nanny, must state that, while the nanny is in the United States:

  1. The nanny will only be employed by the U.S. citizen employer;
  2. The U.S. citizen employer will give the nanny free room and board, and round-trip airfare;
  3. The U.S. citizen employer will pay the nanny the greater of the minimum wage or prevailing wage for an 8-hour work day; and
  4. The U.S. citizen employer will give at least two weeks’ notice if they intend to terminate the nanny’s employment. The contract should also state that this obligation does not apply to the nanny – in other words, should the nanny decide to quit, they do not need to provide two weeks’ notice to the U.S. citizen employer.

Finally, the employment contract “must also reflect any other benefits normally required for U.S. domestic workers in the area of employment.”

These requirements can be found at 9 FAM 402.2-5(D)(1) and (2).

Must my nanny apply for work authorization?

Yes. Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations makes clear that personal employees or domestic workers who are accompanying their U.S. citizen employer to the United States must apply for employment authorization in order to work in the U.S. See 8 CFR 274a.12(C)(17)(ii). Keep in mind that this process can take several months after the nanny arrives in the U.S.

It is also recommended that the nanny apply for a social security number, which will assist with reporting of payroll and income taxes incurred through their work as a nanny. It is also important to remember that the nanny will be protected by all local, state, and federal labor and employment laws. For specific questions about employment laws or tax implications, speak with a qualified tax professional or employment lawyer.

Can nannies of lawful permanent residents (“LPR”) also accompany their LPR employer on a temporary visit to the U.S.?

No. As suggested above, one condition that the employer must meet is that they reside outside the U.S. and be visiting the U.S. temporarily. A lawful permanent resident cannot reside outside the U.S., and therefore cannot invite a nanny who is a foreign national to accompany them on a temporary visit to the U.S. See 9 FAM 402.2-5(D)(4).

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