nanny Visa
October 9, 2009 8:16 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I live outside the United States. We are both U.S. citizens. We currently employee a full-time nanny for our daughter. Our nanny is from the Philippines and she is awesome. She is not a U.S. citizen. Eventually we will be moving back to the U.S. What is the likelihood that we could take our nanny with us when we move back? What would we have to do to make this possible?
posted by jasondigitized to Work & Money (10 answers total)
(I am not a lawyer. I am a foreigner in the US on a temporary work visa.)

Green cards are hard to come by; so are work visas with immigrant intent. Essentially, unless you have a family member who is a US citizen or permanent resident, or are a skilled worker, you're screwed. this cartoon is a pretty good description of the different ways to get a green card, and how they all suck.

On the other hand, for a brief period, a J-1 "exchange" visa allows workers to come to the US for a few months to do all sorts of things, including au-pair work. Unfortunately, these can't be renewed and last a very short time.

So I'd say you're probably out of luck.
posted by goingonit at 8:22 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]

Is she between 18 and 26, proficient in English and a high school graduate? If so she could qualify for a J-1 visa as an au pair. I believe these are limited to 12 months.
posted by IanMorr at 8:23 AM on October 9, 2009

Mod note: few comments removed - can we keep total speculation out of here, thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:23 AM on October 9, 2009

Datapoint here:
I wanted SO BADLY to bring my housekeeper and her children to the States with us when we moved here (she was more than a housekeeper, she and her kids were part of our family). I talked to a very well placed friend, then another, then another who all worked for the American Consulate where I resided abroad, then I talked to a lawyer. I cannot recall exactly what the particulars are, and I am no lawyer, but basically the answer was a definitive "no", no way, not gonna happen, no how. We were heartbroken, but it was simply impossible to do.
It had something to do with both visa restrictions (not limited by country of origin) and the fact that she wouldn't qualify as skilled labor, which is to say, there are plenty of people who could do her job already in the United States who are taxpaying citizens, and my personal relationship to her didn't mean shit as far as the government was concerned.
posted by msali at 9:38 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Here are the possibilities I can think of, some of them not very morally correct, but there you go:

H2B, which is a visa for skilled workers. If you, or someone you know have a business, you can pull the strings and have her hired as a skilled worker. You have to prove you cannot fill her position by posting an add on the newspaper and having no responses, or interviewing the applicants and showing (reasonably) that you are not satisfied with any of them, Once you have proved that she is perfect for the position, you can start paperwork for an H2B.

You can also get her a H1B, but that would involve getting her a proper job that is related closely to either her degree (if she has one) or her work experience. with an H1B she can actually get a Green card an eventually become a citizen. these visas, mind you, are nearly impossible to get! I mean, there are barely any jobs for American professionals, let alone foreign ones!

The J1 visa is a temporary solution. You will be able to get her here as an au pair for the space of 4 months, with a window of a month for traveling about (no work permit in this last month). You could simply bring her here and she could decide to stay, but that would make her an illegal immigrant and in the (very unlikely) event that she is discovered and deported, she will be banned from the USA for at least 10 years.

I also met a guy who actually paid a girl to marry him so they could do the papers together. In the end, they fell in love and they are still married (almost like a movie), but these situations can result in very, very nasty incidents. I wouldn't advice this.

As it is, paperwork is always overwhelming, but never too difficult. I got one of the most difficult visas possible: the fiancee visa(K1). And absolutely everybody had the disposition of the people above me (you'll never get it! or the you're using your boyfriend! type of deal) Granted, I have had a tourist visa for nearly all of my life, given that my family is pretty wealthy, but in the end they never asked me for bank statements or anything of the sort, they just asked me why I wanted to marry my husband, and they asked to see pictures of us. It is never as difficult as people make it sound! It just requires determination and organization.

I am sure I had something else to add, but i have totally forgotten. I'll add it up when I can retrieve the thought!
posted by Tarumba at 9:50 AM on October 9, 2009

B-1 visa is a possibility, depending on your circumstances. According to Dept of State section on Business Visitor Visas (B-1):

Personal or Domestic Employees: Under immigration law, visitor visas are limited to the following circumstances, for personal or domestic employee purposes of travel to the U.S. A visitor (B-1) visa is appropriate when all eligibility requirements are met, for a personal or domestic employee who accompanies or follow to join: 1) A U.S. citizen employer having a permanent home or is stationed in a foreign country, who is visiting or is assigned to the United States temporarily; OR 2) A foreign citizen employer in the United States in B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, or Q nonimmigrant visa status. Important Notice: Recent changes to U.S. law relate to the legal rights of employment-based nonimmigrants under Federal immigration, labor, and employment laws. As a personal or domestic employee seeking to come to the U.S. temporarily (on a B-1 Visitor Visa), before your interview, it is important that you review the Nonimmigrant Rights, Protections and Resources pamphlet on our webpage.

The main issue will be proving that your nanny intends to remain in the US TEMPORARILY and not stay indefinitely as an immigrant. I would contact your local US Embassy/ Consulate for more information on the B-1 and/or an immigration lawyer.

Also it is likely your nanny will come under pretty heavy scrutiny throughout the process as the Philippines is known as a country with a high level of visa fraud.
posted by kitkatcathy at 9:52 AM on October 9, 2009

Agree with kitkatcatchy, now i think about it, I have heard of Peruvian nannies and maids coming to the US with a visitor visa!
posted by Tarumba at 10:02 AM on October 9, 2009

Oops sorry, I should have added an emphasis. The B-1 will only apply to your nanny if your return to the United States is also temporary (I believe up to a max of 4 years).

"Note: It is not possible to qualify for a B-1 visa if the United States citizen will reside permanently in the United States, even if the individual concerned has previously been in the United States citizen's employ abroad. "

This is presumably to support the non-immigrant nature of the nanny's status in the US. If your return to the US is intended to be permanent, the only recourse for your nanny is through the regular immigrant green-card process which, as msali points out, is v difficult.
posted by kitkatcathy at 10:20 AM on October 9, 2009

Weighing back in to say that the LEGALLY OBTAINED visas cited above are temporary in nature, and are not a good long-term solution, so said my immigration lawyer. Your nanny has to be specialized skilled labor, and specializing in your children and their upbringing is not considered skilled by the American government.
posted by msali at 10:22 AM on October 9, 2009

You could always divorce your wife and marry the au pair. A slightly drastic solution, obviously, but she'd then be able to live and work in the United States.
posted by almostwitty at 10:53 AM on October 24, 2009

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