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Old 15.02.2012, 22:59
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work permits/visa for American au pair in Geneva

Hello, I am in the preliminary phases of trying to become an au pair in the canton of Geneve and have a few questions. I have yet to receive a job offer from a specific family, but am talking to 4 separate ones (via an aupair site and we have skyped) that I believe would be a good fit. (hence why I'm asking these questions here, because I think it'd be really eager to ask these families without an official offer yet, however I am really trying to stay on top of things.

1) I am an American citizen, age 24 so, turning 26 in September 2013. Does this mean that there is no chance I could stay beyond my 26th birthday? I plan to go from summer 2012-up to 18 months. Does this make sense?

2) What does the family have to do to start the visa process? Do they have to send me a letter of invitation, etc and if so, can that be faxed over rather than by mail (just to speed things up)

3) What sort of permit do I need? I think it is a B permit, but what about the work visa since I'll be working? As the Swiss Embassies are far away from where I live in the US, I'd need to fly there for a weekend, what should I bring along with me, like copy of (clean) criminal record here in the states, should I be scheduling a physical with my doctor, etc? What sort of documents? Links please?!

4) One employer mentioned she would pay her au pair's pension. As I don't plan on living and retiring in Switzerland, is this necessary and can it be opted out of?

5) About how much does Swiss health insurance cost, and is it best to get it there or try to work with my current US health insurance company to extend coverage while I'm abroad?

6) What is the cost of a cell phone? What is this "credits" everyone keeps talking about and are they more expensive compared to the US? How does internet work there? Is it rationed by time and usage, unlike in the US we pay a flat fee as long as the use isn't excessively downloading a bunch of crap?

7) This is kind of a princess question, but I am serious... how realistic would it be to get an iPhone and plan while in Switzerland? Would it be super expensive and how are the plans comparable to the US company AT&T? Our family plan is not too expensive and to upgrade to the iPhone 4s I currently have it was only $200. The biggest reason I would want one was for iMessaging with my family and friends in the US, as well as the GPS. Just an idea.

8) The employers are offering between 950-1100 CHF's, plus room and board, bus pass, language courses and a few other perks. As far as money to live on, is this realistic? Can someone describe the prices of things needed while living in Geneva?

9) What is the cost of traveling like to neighboring countries? How has your experience as Americans been in Switzerland? Should I tell everyone I am Canadian instead? partially joking.

10) Any helpful tips about differences. I am living in the northwest of the US. What should I bring, what is extremely different there, what should I know?

11) How did you file your US taxes and keep your finances in order in the US? I have student loans to repay to the US dept of education every month, so I need to figure that out. I'm thinking I'd open a joint account with my sibling with Credit Suisse. As for filing taxes in the US for 2012, moving in the summer, can I just use TurboTax to file because I don't own property or investments or do I really need to hire a professional?

I'd be very grateful for any help on my ignorant/silly questions. Very excited to come to Geneva if I can get this figured out!
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Old 15.02.2012, 23:16
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Re: work permits/visa for American au pair in Geneva

The big problem with au pair work is your employer is often using you as a cheap nanny. (Long hours & low pay) As an au pair they have to give you accommodation, salary, language schooling, a contract, a visa etc etc.

Please search this Forum. Many girls have been badly treated after meeting a family on the Internet. I would strongly recommend only using an agency. You will then be employed and protected by Swiss law, and if things go wrong you have someone to help you!

www.comparis.ch about CHF 350 per month, Swiss health insurance is compulsory!

http://en.comparis.ch/krankenkassen/...-praemien.aspx
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Old 15.02.2012, 23:20
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Re: work permits/visa for American au pair in Geneva

Thank you for your response, I absolutely plan to do everything formally, with a contract, etc. The problem is that I can't find any of these "agencies". I've been using the greataupair.com. Can you link me to some of these agencies?
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Old 16.02.2012, 00:56
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Re: work permits/visa for American au pair in Geneva

3.) Should have to go physically to any embassy unless requested for an interview, which is not common. All correspondence is by mail with the Swiss embassy. They will issue your visa.

4.) Au pair pension? For most jobs and as far as I understand typically if you leave Switzerland, that pension money can be recollected. (I'm pretty sure on this but anyone shoot me down if I'm wrong)

5.) I pay CHF 200 for my accident/health insurance with a large deductable.

6.) Cellphone is expensive. Calls are billed per hour not minute. 90 rappen typically/hour. Cheapest plan for an under 26 at Swisscom with be 19 francs/month plus CHF 50 activation/SIM fee. No internet usage with that, if you want 100 megs the plan goes up to be CHF 29/Month.

7.) Check out Orange and Swisscom websites.

8.) Off the bat you'll be paying 200-300 for healthcare. If you want to buy anything you'll be paying out of your ears for it. Want some new Levi's CHF 120 min. Those cheap dockers pants, 140. A pullover (sweater), well there is a sale this week. They're only 60 francs. Food is quite expensive. Travel is expensive if you want to see the country or get out.

9.) With Easyjet from Basel you can travel to other countries for about CHF 50 roundtrip. I believe Geneva is also a hub for something. Don't you be trying to cheat the system. The only interesting thing I've found for American's is that you can't open an account at UBS. Otherwise your fine.

10.) Read the complaint section haha.

Read the forums and search individual questions you'll find that they were all answered in here at some point. But that should give you a start.
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Old 16.02.2012, 02:58
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Re: work permits/visa for American au pair in Geneva

Quote:
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Thank you for your response, I absolutely plan to do everything formally, with a contract, etc. The problem is that I can't find any of these "agencies". I've been using the greataupair.com. Can you link me to some of these agencies?
http://tel.local.ch/en/d/Geneve/1205...a+%28Region%29

http://tel.local.ch/en/d/Lausanne/10...d+%28Canton%29

http://tel.local.ch/en/d/Spiegel-b.B...n+%28Canton%29
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Old 16.02.2012, 10:32
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Re: work permits/visa for American au pair in Geneva

There are several links to do with au pair work in here.
Salaries in Switzerland - These and other questions answered before you ask!
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