Homestay Policy


Note: This policy is subject to change at any time. Please check all AHN Policies on a regular basis for updates.

Congratulations on choosing to participate in a Homestay organized by the American Homestay Network (AHN). This Homestay Policy sets out the guidelines and expectations for behavior that apply to Guests and Hosts participating in a Homestay, and it should be read together with the AHN Host Agreement and AHN Guest Agreement, as applicable.

All capitalized terms have the same meaning as defined in the agreements, and the terms of the agreements will apply to the extent of any inconsistency with this policy.

Please read through this policy carefully and contact us at if you have any questions.

AHN’s Role

  1. AHN will take reasonable steps to assist Hosts and Guests in the event of an emergency or other issue and will answer any questions you have about AHN’s services. Guests and Hosts have access to 24/7 support through AHN’s after hours’ emergency line – 866 999 9076.
  2. In keeping with the provisions of the agreements, AHN is committed to creating positive outcomes for all Homestay participants and may act to remove a Guest from a Homestay or take any other action it deems to be in the best interests of the Guest, Host or AHN at any time. AHN will make every attempt to assist if emergency accommodation is required.
  3. For more information about AHN Services please see your Guest or Host Agreement (as applicable), visit our website or contact us. For more information on AHN’s Refund Policy, please visit


Both hosts and guests must:

  1. Treat each other and every other person in the Home in a fair, respectful and polite manner. This means being considerate of other peoples’ feelings and needs and includes things like not touching any person or their personal property without their permission, keeping your environment clean and tidy and saying thank you to someone who does something for you.
  2. Understand that your customs or beliefs may be different to those of your Host or Guest.Have an open mind. One of the most important benefits of a Homestay is ‘cultural exchange’ – the chance to learn about someone else’s experiences and values. All participants need to be treated with respect, including when carrying out reasonable cultural or religious practices in the Home. Discrimination of any kind is not acceptable.
  3. Work together to make the Homestay a success.It is very important that both Guests and Hosts make an effort to communicate clearly and effectively about important matters and cooperate to resolve any misunderstandings or issues that might arise. It takes contribution from both sides to create a comfortable and enjoyable environment within the Home. Make sure that you provide your Guest or Host with current contact details and any other important information about you they should know, and be careful not to share any information you receive with anyone else without the Guest or Hosts’ permission.


As an AHN Homestay Guest you must:

  1. Cover certain costs. You should ask your Hosts’ permission before using their telephone or internet services and expect to pay the cost of your telephone calls. You will be expected to cover your own travel, entertainment and medical expenses as well as any other personal costs that come up during your Homestay. If you cause any damage to the Home, you will be expected to pay for repairs.
  2. Comply with any reasonable ‘house rules’ the Host gives you. These may include:

(a) Keeping your room tidy;
(b) Assisting with minor chores;
(c) Following the state and/or federal guidelines for recycling and disposal of waste products
(d) Using resources such as water and electricity responsibly; 
(e) Keeping noise to a minimum; 
(f) Attending meal times promptly and preparing your own breakfast and lunch (if required);
(g) Being polite and considerate at all times; and
(h) Keeping your Host advised of your schedule and activities.

  1. Pay your Homestay Fees by the due date. AHN will send you an invoice at regular intervals to continue in homestay. It is important that your fees are paid by the due date so that there are no delays with paying your Host. Fees are reviewed annually and published on the AHN website. Guests who are in a current placement will be notified of fee increases effective to them. Direct financial transactions associated with accommodations between the Guest and the Host are strictly prohibited. AHN will terminate its relationship with any Host that violates this policy. Any placement that is terminated for this reason will be reported to the educational institution and placement agent.
  2. Be sensible and safe. This means immediately contacting AHN or your Host if you have concerns regarding your health or welfare. You must disclose any illnesses you suffer from before arriving in the USA. Ensure you are up to date with the recommended vaccinations. Store valuables such as money, your passport, airline tickets and other important items in a safe place. Always ask your Host’s permission before inviting any other person to the Host’s Home for any period of time. Ask permission of your Host before taking alcohol into their Home (alcohol is legal only if you are over the age of 21).

(a) If you smoke in the Host’s Home without permission you will be asked to leave the Homestay and may not receive a refund. 
(b) If you are under the age of 21 and you drink alcohol you will be asked to leave the Homestay and will not receive a refund.

(c) International students are subject to United States federal law, which overrides any local or state laws regarding the possession and use of controlled substances such as marijuana and other drugs. If you bring any controlled substance into the Host’s home you will be asked to leave the Homestay and will not receive a refund. Violation of federal law may also lead to fines, arrest, cancelation of your visa, deportation from the USA, and being banned from returning to the USA.

  1. Stay in contact. Log in to your AHN user profile to check any alerts and answer any messages as soon as possible. AHN reserves the right to remove any defamatory or personal information you post in relation to the Homestay. You must also communicate daily with your Host about your activities and notify your Host if you will be away from the Home during a mealtime or overnight. Contact AHN immediately if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in your Homestay environment.
  2. Not violate any copyright laws. It is illegal to download any copyrighted works via unauthorised streaming services or websites. Use of the Host’s internet is strictly for educational purposes only. Use of the internet service in any manner that constitutes an infringement of any copyrighted work is a violation of AHN policy and the internet provider’s acceptable use policy and may result in termination of your placement and the Hosts’ internet service. 


As an AHN Homestay Host you must:

  1. Make yourself and your Home available to your Guest. You must be a permanent resident of the Home and be available to your Guest on a reasonably frequent basis. You must specifically be present at the Home when your Guest first arrives or arrange for a trusted friend or family member with a current background check to be present. The Guest should have internal access to the Home at all times, meaning you must provide a key, security code or other means of entry in case you are not present at the Home at any time. Your Guest should also be able to contact you within reasonable hours. You must notify AHN if you are hosting more than two guests at any one time.
  2. Help your Guest settle into a comfortable and safe Home.This means providing a structurally sound, clean, private, single occupancy bedroom accessible from within the Home, with a secure door, and which is comfortably cool/warm depending on the season. Your Guest must have a suitable bed, bed linen, desk, desk chair, lamp and proper hanging space for clothing with drawers. The Guest must have access to laundry facilities and lockable bathroom and toilet facilities. Make your Guest aware of the layout of the Home, any instructions (for household appliances or amenities such as a pool) and household rules. Your Home must be fitted with working smoke detectors and comply with all local codes and regulations. Always ensure that you respect the privacy of your Guest and never engage in any physical contact under any circumstances.

It is your responsibility as the Host (as well as any other applicant named on your application form and registered by AHN as a Host) to ensure all residents in your Home abide by the obligations outlined in this Policy. This includes residents under the age of 18.

3. Provide healthy food for your Guest. This means preparing adequate healthy meals in accordance with the agreed meal plan detailed in the placement report, with at least one meal per day consisting of meat/other protein, vegetables and rice/noodles. Ensure you have adequate grocery items for any meals (breakfast or lunch) that your Guest may be required to prepare themselves and take the time to show them what to do. 

4. Help your guest to access or organize important services. This means showing your Guest how to use your telephone and internet services, or helping them to sign up for short-term services in their own name. You should also help your guest open a bank account or set up online banking if necessary.

5.  Show your Guest around the community. Help your Guest to understand the route to and from their Education Provider. If this involves public transport, show them how to buy transport tickets. Make your Guest aware of places of interest within the community such as shops, parks and important services such as banks, post offices and local police stations. Also ensure they know the emergency contact number is 911.

6. Include your Guest in normal activities and help them to learn. Your Guest’s privacy is important but you should make a genuine effort to involve them in your Home and community. Be flexible, sensitive and patient when communicating with your Guest and use clear, understandable English.

7. Assist your Guest to seek medical or dental attention as necessary. If your Guest is sick you must assist them with seeking medical treatment, including arranging appointments and transportation if required. Also assist your Guest in notifying their Education Provider of the dates and times of any leave required to attend appointments, and help them obtain any required medical certificate. If necessary, call 911 for urgent medical attention. While we ask Guests to disclose information regarding illnesses prior to arrival, we cannot guarantee they are up to date with the recommended vaccinations. We suggest contacting your Guest prior to arrival if you are concerned about health risks. 

8. Maintain valid clearances and notify AHN of any changes to residents. 

All Hosts must provide their Social Security number and date of birth when applying to join AHN. Any persons over the age of 18 residing in a Host’s home must also agree to a criminal background check prior to any Guest being placed with the Host. AHN will conduct periodic criminal background checks for Hosts biennially (i.e. every two years) if the Host offers standard homestay services or annually (i.e. every year) if hosting younger students participating in the AHN High School Program. The cost is $20.00USD per person.

If you are hosting an international student directly or from another homestay provider they are not required to obtain clearances, however, you must sight their visa for validity and let AHN know immediately if you have any concerns.

Hosts must notify AHN, in advance, of any short-term visitors or new residents so that appropriate checks can be arranged.

9. Understand the extra responsibilities of hosting Guests in high school or younger. This means:
a) Only hosting other Guests, or students of any institution, that are the same gender as your Guest.
b) Ensuring the Guest is not travelling by public transport late at night. Hosts should pick Guests up from late-night school events or encourage them to take a taxi. 
c) Notifying the Education Provider if your Guest will be absent for the day and notifying AHN if you believe there has been excessive non-attendance at the Education Provider.
d) Keeping AHN informed of any issues or concerns relating to the Guest.
e) Never leaving your Guest alone at Home overnight or without an approved adult who has a current background check and notifying AHN immediately of any overnight visitors who are not permanent residents with the appropriate checks.
f) Always providing AHN with at least two weeks’ notice if you will be going on holidays without your Guest so that a suitable temporary homestay can be arranged.
g) Immediately notifying AHN of any incident or allegation of child abuse.
h) Adhering to all additional responsibilities required by AHN and / or the school when hosting a Guest under the Full Year High School Program.

10. Help AHN make the Homestay as enjoyable as possible. This means regularly logging in to your AHN user profile and responding to messages as soon as possible. You must update AHN immediately with any changes to your Home, your capacity to provide a safe and supportive environment for your Guest, or any concerns you have about your Guest. You may be asked to assist AHN in reminding your Guest to make payments to AHN at the time and by the method set out in their AHN Guest Agreement. AHN does not permit Hosts to collect funds directly from your Guest. If a Host should enter into a private arrangement with a Guest, they will no longer be eligible to host for AHN.

Updated August 2019