A Kitagutschein is a voucher that provides your child with free childcare in Berlin. A number of factors determine your child’s eligibility for a Kitagutschein. As of 1 August 2018, childcare in a Kita is free for all children. However, you must still apply for a Kitagutschein. You may also need to pay extra costs to the Kita for food, outings, and special events.

Who can get a Kitagutschein?

You can apply for a Kitagutschein for any child that...

  • ...lives in Berlin
  • ...is registered in Berlin
  • ...is not old enough to attend school

Children can spend up to 9 hours per day at the Kita for free. This depends on their age.

  • Children between 8 weeks and 1 year old can attend Kita or have a nanny (Tagesmutter) for a 4-5 hours per day. This is called half days or halbtags childcare. To receive this care, you must prove that your child requires it. You can do this by showing your work contract hours or freelance work commitments. Children living in homeless shelters or collective housing are also entitled to halbtags care.
  • Children over 1 year old are entitled to 7 free hours per day1. This is called part time or teilzeit childcare.
  • Children over 3 years old are entitled to 7-9 free hours per day. This is called full time or ganztags childcare.

If you want your child to spend more hours at the Kita than he is allowed, you must prove that your working hours make it necessary1. If you work situation changes, you can apply for more Kita hours later.

How much does a Kitagutschein cost?

The Kitagutschein is free for everyone. However, some Kitas will charge extra for meals and activities. You can find more details about Kita costs here. Typically, you will pay around 23€ per month for meals, and 60€ to 90€ per month for activities.

When should you apply for a Kitagutschein?

You need to apply for the Kitagutschein from 2 to 9 months before your desired start date1. Your child must be at least 8 weeks old1.

It takes 6 to 8 weeks to get a Kitagutschein. It's only valid for 3 months after you receive it1.

Step 1: Apply online or by mail

There are two ways to apply for a Kitagutschein: online, or by mail.

Applying online

You can apply for a Kitagutschein online on this website. You need a Berlin service account to apply.

When you apply online, you must give the child’s name and birthdate, the date you want them to start Kita from, whether your household is German-speaking, and how many hours you need per day (4-5 hours, 5-7 hours, etc.). You are also required to fill out some information about your work situation, such as whether you are working full time, if you are self-employed, or studying.

Applying by mail

If you can't apply online, you can print the Anmeldung zur Förderung von Kindern form, fill it and mail it to your local Bezirksamt.

Applying with paper forms requires the same information as when you apply online. You must provide these documents1:

  • A scan of your passport or citizenship card
  • A scan of your child's passport or citizenship card
  • A copy of your child's birth certificate
  • A copy of your child's care contract (foster children only)
  • Your Meldebestätigung. Your child's name should also be on it.
  • Your work contract (if you want to prove that you need more Kita hours than allowed)
  • A Vollmacht (if one parent is making the application on behalf of the other)

If you need to translate documents to German, use Lingoking.

Applying at the Jugendamt

You can also apply in person at your local Jugendamt. When you apply in person, they give you a receipt. You can show this receipt to the Kitas until you get a Kitagutschein1.

Step 2: Receive your Kitagutschein

You can choose to receive the Kitagutschein by post or by email. You will receive it 6 to 8 weeks after you apply1. It will be valid for 3 months1. The Kitagutschein states how many hours your child is entitled to, and includes information about the legal basis for the voucher.

Give a copy of your Kitagutschein to the Kita, and they will inform the State that this voucher is being used.

Step 3: Look for a Kita

Once you have your Kitagutschein, you can start looking for a Kita. This is the most difficult part of the process.