How to get a Kitagutschein

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. 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 go to school

Children can go to the Kita for up to 9 hours for free. It depends on their age.

  • Children under 1 year old can go to Kita or have a nanny (Tagesmutter) for a 4 to 5 hours per day. This is called half days or halbtags childcare. You must prove that your child requires it. You can do this by showing your work contract or freelance work commitments. Children who live in homeless shelters or collective housing can also get halbtags care.
  • Children over 1 year old get 5 to 9 free Kita hours per day.1
    • By default, children over 1 year old get 5 to 7 Kita hours per day. This is called part time or teilzeit childcare.
    • If both parents are working, studying or in training, they get 7 to 9 Kita hours per day. This is called full time or ganztags childcare. If only one parent is working, studying or in training, they only get teilzeit childcare.

If you want your child to spend more hours at the Kita than allowed, you must prove that your working hours make it necessary.2 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 date.3 Your child must be at least 8 weeks old.3

It takes 6 to 8 weeks to get a Kitagutschein. It’s valid for 3 months after you sign a contract with the Kita.4

Step 1: Apply online or by post

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

Apply online

You can apply for a Kitagutschein online. It takes less than 30 minutes. You can fill the form online, but you must send it by post.5

When you apply online, you must enter information about your child, your household and your work schedule. The form 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 must also enter information about your work situation, such as whether you are working full time, if you are self-employed, or studying.

Apply by post

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.

You must give the same information as when you apply online. You must include these documents:3

  • 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 applies on behalf of the other parent)

If your documents are not in German, you might need a certified translation. Use Red Tape Translation or Lingoking.

How to mail a letter — from your computer, without a printer

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 Kitagutschein.4

Step 2: Receive your Kitagutschein

You can choose to get the Kitagutschein by post or by email. You will get it 6 to 8 weeks after you apply.3 It will be valid for 3 months.4 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. The Kita will tell the State.

Step 3: Look for a Kita

Start searching as soon as possible. Do not wait for your Kitagutschein to start searching.6 This is the hardest part of the process.

How to find a Kita in Berlin

Need help?

Where to find help

Sources and footnotes