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South Africans in Germany

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Family and Pets

Raising a family in Germany can be a wonderful experience, but with any new adventure, it’s important to be aware of the cultural, legal, financial, and emotional differences you may encounter. Although there are similarities between raising a family in Germany and South Africa, there’s no doubt that you will face new challenges and opportunities that come with living in a new country. You may find that the German education system, housing policies, and healthcare system differ from what you’re accustomed to and it’s important to educate yourself on these differences before making the journey. Additionally, navigating the legal and financial systems can be challenging even for native Germans, let alone someone new to the country. Therefore, it’s essential to do your research and seek out support to make the transition smoother for you and your family. Remember, this is an exciting chapter in your lives, and with the right preparation, it can be a rewarding and enriching experience for all.

 Having a baby in Germany.

Having a baby in Germany can be a very fulfilling experience for parents-to-be. The country is known for its excellent healthcare system, which provides quality care for both mother and baby. Maternity and paternity leave are also very generous, allowing parents to bond with their child for an extended period of time. Furthermore, there are numerous resources available to new parents, such as support groups and classes, that can help ease the transition into parenthood. Additionally, Germany has a strong emphasis on family values, making it a welcoming place for families with children. From top-notch medical care to a supportive community, having a baby in Germany can be a wonderful journey for those who embark upon it.

Registering your child at birth

Your new baby needs to be registered at the registry office (Standesamt) within seven days of the birth in order to receive a birth certificate

Having a baby in Germany

Thinking of starting or expanding your family in Germany? Luckily the standard of German healthcare is very high and Germany has great maternity and paternity

Parental leave (Elternzeit)

Parental leave is an important benefit in Germany that aims to support new parents during what can be a challenging and demanding period in their lives. It is designed to give mothers and fathers the necessary time off work to bond with their newborn child, as well as to manage the many responsibilities that come with being a parent. Parental leave is an essential component of Germany’s labor laws and reflects the government’s commitment to supporting families and helping them achieve a healthy work-life balance.

  • Parental Leave – Very informative page from the Make it in Germany Website
  •  Elternzeit – Handbook Germany
  • Pamflet from the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs

Parental allowances

The following websites offer detailed information about Family benefits:

Parental allowance in Germany (Elterngeld)

As new parents, both you and your partner are entitled to Germany’s generous parental allowance. If you or your partner has recently had a child, you may be eligible to receive parental allowance (Elterngeld). This benefit, funded by the German social security system, is given to all new parents to cushion the loss of earnings caused by the birth of a child. To encourage both parents to spend time with their new baby, the German federal government has adopted a Scandinavian-style policy whereby the entitlement to parental allowance can be shared between the child’s parents. The benefit therefore enables both



Kita is a German abbreviation for “Kindertagesstätte,” which translates to “daycare centre” in English. In Germany, Kita is a term used to refer to preschool


As a concerned parent, it is vital to grasp a clear understanding of the German school system and how your child will navigate through it. It is important to keep in mind that every educational system varies and it can be overwhelming if you are not aware of the differences. Understanding the variations in teaching methods, grading systems, and school organization can help your child succeed in their academic journey in Germany. Apart from academic adjustments, your child may face cultural differences, language barriers, and social integration challenges that must be tackled head-on to ensure their smooth transition. Being familiarized with these differences will assist you in guiding your child academically and providing them with the support they need to achieve their goals in the German education system. See the referenced page below for more information.

School Information

The German School system is quite unique and distinguishes itself from the South African models in a number of ways Types of schools There are different types of schools to choose from in Germany. The main system is Public schooling, but if  There are different types of schools to choose from in Germany. The German public school system is renowned for its comprehensive approach to education. Students from all backgrounds have access to free education. Other options are:  Montessori  Waldorf schools, based on Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophical human studies. They are state-approved or state recognised independent schools. Jenaplan-Schulen The Catholic church also runs

Parental rights and responsibilities

As a foreign parent residing in Germany, it is important to understand your parental rights and responsibilities. You have the right to raise your child and make decisions about their well-being, including their education, healthcare, and general upbringing. You are also responsible for providing for your child financially, which includes covering the cost of their basic needs such as food, clothing, and housing. Additionally, you may be required to cooperate with the German legal system and comply with any court orders related to your child, such as custody arrangements or child support payments. You must familiarize yourself with Germany’s laws regarding parental rights and responsibilities to ensure that you are meeting all of your obligations and protecting the best interests of your child.

The following websites offer valuable information:


The vaccination schedule from the RKI (Robert Koch Institut) is available on this website

Measles vaccinations in Germany are now required when you register your child at school.
Parents can be fined thousands of euros if they violate the law


Regular check-ups are intended to help identify illnesses and developmental problems in children at an early stage. If necessary, support options or treatments can also be recommended. 
Ten free “U-Untersuchengen” are offered for each child. They begin immediately after birth and last until the child is six. Many health insurance companies also pay for further examinations during childhood and adolescence.

In Baden-Württemberg, Bayern and Hessen, the U1 to U9 examinations are mandatory by law.

Where to buy formula and baby food

The following companies are highly recommended.

Müller,  Rossman and DM sell baby products and food. When you are expecting, you can register at baby clubs at companies like Kaufland, Lidl, Rossman and DM to receive discounts and baby welcome packages.

Dressing you child correctly for the weather

If you’re struggling to dress your baby or toddler for the weather, look no further than This fantastic website is packed with tips, tricks, and advice on how to ensure your little one is always snug and comfortable, no matter what the forecast may be.

Support groups

Expat pregnancy & babies support group and website – Gravidaminga

Social and sport

Looking for a fun and safe place for your kids to play in Germany? Check out Spielplatztreff! Their extensive database includes thousands of playgrounds nationwide with reviews, photos, and amenities.


The following website has a list of resources for your children to read or watch entertainment in Afrikaans

All grown up

What are the citizen options for my child who grew up in Germany with South African parents. This section will be updated soon


Maternity Terminology

We created a searchable table to help you look up the German words you might need during and after your pregnancy.

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Women’s Health

Contraception Contraception is a vital aspect of reproductive healthcare, and it is readily available at pharmacies. However, to obtain birth control pills, IUDs, and diaphragms,

Visiting a doctor

When I first came to Germany, I was fortunate to still frequently travel back to SA, so I did all my check-ups there and tried

Learning German

There are several approaches to learn German, all of which can help you achieve your language learning goals. You can opt for convenient online sites

Here are some shared experiences by our Facebook members.  If you would like to add your experience to our website, please submit it via our contact form

December 2022

I did DIY from Pretoria to Jhb to Cape Town to Frankfurt on 24 December. Both dogs were in the cargo hold for both flights.
DIY can only be done from CPT airport, which is why that flight was added. It means your dogs fly as excess baggage on your flight ticket. There is no pet travel agent involved. It saves a lot of money but does add a lot of stress so be well prepared. I heavily relied on the Facebook group, EMBARK: South Africans Emigrating With Pets.

Dogs: 2 x Italian Greyhounds
Airlines: CemAir (Jhb – CPT) and Lufthansa (CPT – Frankfurt)
Private Vet: Wilgers Animal Hospital (Pretoria)
State Vet: Pretoria (c/o Lillian Ngoyi Street & Pretorius Street – the entrance to the building is next to the McDonalds and the state vet is on the 7th floor)

Tips learned from the process:
* Try and do everything from vaccinations, titre tests and health checks with the same private vet that has done this process before
* Our trainer suggested the dogs sleep in the crates for at least the last two weeks prior to their flight. Our plans ended up being quite rushed so we eventually only had them sleep in the crates for 1 week prior to departure. But we trained them with the crates for 2/3 months prior.
* Book a direct and night flight if you can, best for the dogs
* The DIY guide by Elizabeth Gie mentions a separate Western Cape Health check form, in Gauteng you just use the EU Health Certificate form & the extra declaration page stating you do not intend to export the pets for commercial purposes. There is no specific Gauteng form.
* I did this alone with 2 x 23kg bags and 2 size L Viaggio crates when we arrived at CPT airport, none of the baggage staff wanted to assist me with transporting my dogs and luggage to the arrivals area from the baggage carousel. I ended up relying on kind strangers. Side note, we did fly on 24 December.
* At CPT airport there is a baggage storage place called A-Tech – I left my crates and baggage with them to take the dogs running in between flights. Their prices were very reasonable. I think like R70 a piece of luggage for 5 hours.
We arrived in CPT at 9 AM and only departed for Frankfurt at 18h20.
* We booked a private porter for arrival in Frankfurt to avoid the drama of CPT again. I highly recommend this. Since our flight arrived at 5h30 local time, the customs officials were not there yet. The porter went to the Lufthansa counter while we were busy waiting for my luggage & sorted everything. He literally asked, “do you have your papers?” and when I said yes, he said, “okay then we can go” – I doubt it would have been that easy without him. Again, I speak German quite well which probably helped too. Hiring him did cost €90 but he helped us so much & as it was Christmas morning, I doubt someone else would have helped me with transporting the dogs and my luggage.
* If not using a porter, remember you have to pay for the baggage trolleys I think one or two euros each.
* My husband was already in Germany & rented a VW Tiguan for the journey to our new home in Baden-Württemberg.
* We gave the dogs CalmEze the week leading up to the flights as well as CBD biscuits that they were used to.


March 2022

Since I just flew into Frankfurt on Saturday, with my cat in cargo (Lufthansa), I thought I could provide an update on costs and flesh out some info given by others.
I went the Semi-DIY route with ITTA – airfares have jumped – cost over R19k to fly JHB to FRA direct – okay my cat is fat (7kgs) and needed a bigger box. ( was amazing!) Once I had a flight for my cat, I THEN booked myself on the same flight.
I say ‘SEMI’ DIY because I had help doing the final health certificates – Venessa at Animals En Route ( has a good relationship with ITTA. It was the best R3000 I spent – I dropped off my cat 2 days before departure with Titre, Vac book, etc and she took care of everything else, she even fetched the box from ITTA for me. All I had to do then was get myself to Frankfurt.
– You cannot walk from Arrivals at the airport to the Animal Lounge unless you want to walk outdoors for 3,2kms with your luggage. (btw it’s on Google maps.)
– if you ask for directions, ignore staff members who think you can fetch your pet from the bulky luggage section.
Animal Lounge: Exit the elevator and turn to the office on the right first to present Airway Bill
– They’ll give you all the docs to take to the vet’s reception to the left of the elevator.
– I landed on a weekend so I paid €90 instead of €60 to the vet’s office.
– I later had to pay another €83 to the other office for lounge facilities or whatever they call it.
Customs / Zoll: You don’t want to try to walk here either even though it’s not that far. Leave the parking lot of the Animal lounge and turn right onto the main road. Not even a minute later turn right again.
– Park the car close to a bus stop and small office you’ll see up ahead.
*NB: This little office is where you’ll receive the KEY CARD to get through the entrance boom. (On your way out the machine will swallow the key card.)
– Building D is correct BUT it’s not on the 3rd floor. The elevator only lets you go to the 1st floor. Exit the elevator to the left and you’ll see the Zoll sign.
– You won’t pay taxes if you’re flying with your animal/s.
– You can finally drive back to the Animal Lounge to collect your fur babies.

December 2021

The following information was shared on our FB page by Ruan Moolman-Dreyer, who gave us permission to share it on our website (December 2021)
Hi all, I have decided to do a post on how I did the DIY route from South Africa to Germany. It was surprisingly easier than I thought.
Took my cats for a rabies vaccination – Wait one month + 1 day and take the cats to the vet for Titre tests. Mine was sent to Onderstepoort and cost about R1500 per cat.
You have to wait 3 months + 1 day after the blood was drawn before the cats can fly.
I decided on cargo as it would be difficult to carry two cats in the cabin with me and I was afraid they might cry a lot as they do not like being in a cage.
I asked Lufthansa to direct me to the correct place and the cheapest I found was ITTA (International Trade and Transport Agency. You can email
Total costs were R20 000 for both cats (included everything from built cages and all airport fees – paid nothing extra). They are only an agency that takes the cat from point a to b and does not advise on vet things, which makes them a bit cheaper. Other agents quoted me about R 36 000 per cat.
After a flight date was confirmed I had to take the following documents to a private vet within 10 days from their flight date (not later than 10 days). I did it within 5 days just to be safe.
Make sure the private vet fills in his own health declaration as well as the following: The document shows instructions as to whom must fill in what.
– Most important sites (you can find all the explanations and documents here.…/heimtiere-einreiseregelung.html
Try to find a state vet closest to where you stay (this can be quite a mission as I phoned around quite a bit.
After the private vet, the state vet has to fill in most of the document and stamp and sign it.
I flew my cats to Frankfurt as I wanted a direct flight for my kitties.
I took my cats on the day of the flight to ITTA, dropped off the cats and they handled the rest. They were so friendly and helpful.
You have to fly within 5 days of sending your cats to qualify as a non-commercial movement. (Dogs are very much the same in terms of the process.)
After landing in Frankfurt I went to the Animal Lounge (they will provide the address and paid about 400 euros for both cats to check them out.
I hope this makes sense (I tried to summarise as much as I can as I did months of research.
If you need more information you can email the authorities at, try to Google Translate to German if you can’t speak it well and they usually answer within 2 days.
It’s really easy and do not be scared to nag German authorities for information.
Finally, you do not need an import permit from the German authorities.
If you would like to add your experience to our website, please submit it via our contact form

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Weather in Germany

German Climate Germany’s climate is temperate and marine, with cold, cloudy winters and warm summers and in the south occasional warm föhn wind. The greater


Dangerous (Banned) Dogs Some dog breeds are banned in Germany. There are additional rules for individual states.  Up-to-date information can be found on the Zoll

Your new baby needs to be registered at the registry office (Standesamt) within seven days of the birth in order to receive a birth certificate and a tax ID (even babies get them in Germany!)
Once you have a birth certificate you can also apply for child benefit and a passport for your child.

From the Standesampt Stuttgart:

“Die Geburt Ihres Kindes müssen Sie innerhalb einer Woche beim Standesamt des Geburtsortes anmelden. Dafür benötigen Sie eine vollständig ausgefüllte Geburtsanzeige, in der Sie u.a. die Vornamen für Ihr Kind festlegen.

Schriftliche Anzeige bei Geburt in einer Klinik

Bei der Geburt eines Kindes in einem Krankenhaus oder in einer sonstigen Einrichtung, in der Geburtshilfe geleistet wird, meldet der Träger der Einrichtung die Geburt direkt beim Standesamt.

Mündliche Anzeige bei einer Hausgeburt
Bei einer Hausgeburt muss die Geburt von der Mutter, dem Vater oder jeder anderen Person, die bei der Geburt dabei war, im Standesamt angezeigt werden.

Das Standesamt teilt die Geburt des Kindes nach deren Beurkundung dem Bürgerbüro am Wohnsitz der Eltern mit. Das Bürgerbüro informiert das Finanzamt. Die Eltern erhalten dann automatisch vom Bundeszentralamt für Steuern die Steuer‐ID des Kindes zugesandt.”


Roughly translated:

“You must register the birth of your child with the registry office of the place of birth within one week. To do this, you need a fully completed birth announcement (Geburtsanzeige) in which you specify the first names for your child, among other things.

Written notification of birth in a clinic
If a child is born in a hospital or other facility where obstetrics is provided, the institution responsible for the facility reports the birth directly to the registry office.

Verbal notification of a home birth
In the case of a home birth, the birth must be reported to the registry office by the mother, father or any other person who was present at the birth.

The registry office notifies the birth of the child to the citizens office (Bürgerbüro) at the parents’ place of residence after it has been recorded.
The citizens’ office informs the tax office. The parents then automatically receive the child’s tax ID from the Federal Central Tax Office.”

Take note: – The birth must be registered in the Bundesland where the child was born and not where you live.

Naming your baby

There are rule and regulations on naming your child. First of all it depends on your marital status, and then the name itself.
The most confusing law is that it must be gender clear, so it has to indicate whether it is a boy or a girl. There has been some changes to this law and names can now be gender-neutral, with the additional paperwork of course. All names must be approved by the Standesamt.

In Baden-Württemberg the following rules apply. This might be different for your Bundesland so always make sure.

You have the following options for naming:

First names
If both parents have custody, they can jointly determine the first name of their child.
If only one parent has custody, they can choose their first name.

You can determine the first name yourself.
Names are not allowed which by their nature are not first names or that negatively affect the best interests of the child.
Surnames, objects or products as a First name are also not allowed.

When determining the surname of your child (also known as the maiden name), you must consider the following:

  • If you are married to each other and have a married name. The child then receives your married name as the maiden name.
  • If you are married to each other but do not have a married name. You can then choose either the surname of the mother or the father as the child’s maiden name.
    This provision then also applies to all other children.
  • If you are not married to each other and one parent has sole custody of the child. Then the child receives their family name. As the parent with custody, you can also give the child the surname of the other parent. But this is only possible with their consent.
  • If you are not married to each other but have joint custody. Then you can choose either the family name of the mother or the father for the child’s maiden name.

From on of our Facebook Members:
“We have chosen an Afrikaans girl’s name which is apparently seen as a gender neutral name in Germany.
We had to get the name ‘Beurkundigt’. We have also been told that either we need to give a second name which identifies the gender or we need to sign a document (Erklärung zum Vornamen eines Kindes) stating that we are aware we are giving our child a gender neutral name.
FYI, it is very much a girl’s name in SA but as with the name Yolandi, apparently it is gender neutral here. So something one might want to get out of the way and discuss with the Standesamt before the 7 day registration.”

Author: Martjie Louw and Carla James



As a rule, children born to a German and a non-German parent, or to parents with dual nationality, acquire the nationalities of both parents at birth, according to the principle of descent. See Section 4 of the Nationality Act
South Africa

Section 28 of the Constitution outlines rights to which children are entitled, including rights to a name and nationality. The SA Citizenship Act, 1995 (Act No. 88 of 2005) as amended by the South African Citizenship Amendment Act, 2010 (Act No. 17 of 2010) translates, and gives effect to, the Constitution’s provisions. Expanding on citizenship in South Africa it says it is obtained by birth, descent or naturalisation.

The basic principle of the South African citizenship is that a child follows the citizenship or nationality of his or her parents. If one parent is a South African citizen, the child will be a citizen by birth. A foreign child adopted by South African citizens becomes a citizen by descent whilst a naturalised citizen is one who has complied with the requirements for naturalisation as set out in section 5 of the South African Citizenship Act. – source DHA

Two sections in the South African Citizenship Act is of importance

Section 10 –  Deprivation of citizenship in case of children

Whenever the responsible parent of a minor has in terms of the provisions of section 6 or 8 ceased to be a South African citizen, the Minister may, with due regard to the provisions of the Children’s Act, order that such minor, if he or she was born outside the Republic and is under the age of 18 years, shall cease to be a South African citizen.

Section 13 – Resumption of South African citizenship

(2) A minor who has in terms of section 10 or a provision in any of the laws referred to in Schedule 2 ceased to be a South African citizen and who is resident in the Republic or has returned to the Republic for permanent residence therein, may at any time after attaining the age of 18 years make a declaration in the prescribed form stating that he or she wishes to resume South African citizenship, and if the Minister deems it fit, he or she may order that such a declaration be registered, and upon registration thereof, such person shall resume his or her former South African citizenship.

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Women’s Health

Contraception Contraception is a vital aspect of reproductive healthcare, and it is readily available at pharmacies. However, to obtain birth control pills, IUDs, and diaphragms,

Maternity Terminology

We created a searchable table to help you look up the German words you might need during and after your pregnancy.

Having a baby in Germany

Thinking of starting or expanding your family in Germany? Luckily the standard of German healthcare is very high and Germany has great maternity and paternity

We created a searchable table to help you look up the German words you might need during and after your pregnancy.

der GeschlechtsverkehrSexual intercourse
SchwangerschaftstestPregnancy Test
Der Schwangerschaftstest ist positivThe pregnancy test is positive
die SchwangerschaftPregnancy
Ich bin schwangerI am pregnant.
Sie sind schwangerYou are pregnant
Das Kind war ungeplantThe child was unplanned
Das Kind war geplant/ Es war ein WunschkindThe child was planned
Im wievielten Monat sind Sie?How far along are you? / When’s the baby due?
Ich bin im vierten Monat schwanger.I’m four months pregnant.
In Germany they tend to refer to “Schwangerschaftswochen” and not really months. If you are 3 weeks and 1 day pregnant, you would say “ich bin in der 4. SSW”
Es wird ein MädchenIt’s a girl.
Es wird ein Junge.It’s a boy.
die FolsäureFolic Acid
VorsorgeuntersuchungenPre-natal care and check ups
MutterpassMaternal health record
GeburtsvorbereitungAntenatal Classes
Ultraschal Ultrasound
Herzschlag des KindesHeartbeat of the child
Pränataldiagnostik /  FeindiagnostikDetailed prenatal scan diagnostic – The Krankenkasse covers this cost for women over 35 or who is deemed “high risk”
Medical Professionals
die HebammeMidwife
BeleghebammeA midwife who, for an extra fee, will attend the birth with you
die KrankenschwetserNurse
der KinderarztPaediatrician
Der ChefarztChief physician
die GeburtBirth
der GeburtsterminDue date
die Entbindungstermin
Natürliche GeburtNatural birth
die FehlgeburtMiscarriage
die WehenContractions
der SchmerzPain
der KaiserschnittCaesarean
die Ausdehnung / Erweiterung / DilatationDilation /Dilatation
Das Kind kommt auf die WeltThe child is born
Die Geburt dauerte viele StundenThe birth took many hours
Es wurde am 1. Februar 2021 geborenIt was born on the 1st of February 2021
Das Neugeborene ist gesundThe baby is healthy
GeburtseinleitungInduced birth
der MuttermundCervix
die NabelschnurUmbilical cord
die GebärmutterWomb / Uterus
das FruchtwasserAmniotic fluid
der Mutterkuchen / PlazentaPlacenta
die MuttermilchBreast milk
die Vagina / die ScheideVagina
der SchleimMucus
Schleim-SteckerMucus plug
die BrustBreast
die BrustwartzenNipples
der BauchnabelBelly Button
der BluthochdruckHypertension
Child Care
das StillenBreastfeeding
Die WindelnDiapers
Windeln wechselnChange diapers
der WickeltischChanging table
KiTaDaycare centre or nursery
TagesmutterA woman who looks after young children for a fee
Der Schnuller / SchnulliDummy/Pacifier
General Terms
die KinderklinikChildren’s clinic
der KreißsaalDelivery Room
Ärztliches AttestConfirmation of the pregnancy from a doctor
Bescheinigung zum voraussichtlichen EntbindungsterminConfirmation of the expected date of the birth 
GeburtsmeldungNotification of birth 
MutterschutzMaternity leave 
Rückbildungsgymantik Post-partum pelvic floor training
ElterngeldMoney either mom or dad receives while taking time off from work
KindergeldThe money you get per child until the they are 18 (or older when studying)
MutterschutzThe protection you get when you go on maternity (where they can’t fire you)
GeburtsanzeigeBirth announcement

As new parents, both you and your partner are entitled to Germany’s generous parental allowance. If you or your partner has recently had a child, you may be eligible to receive parental allowance (Elterngeld). This benefit, funded by the German social security system, is given to all new parents to cushion the loss of earnings caused by the birth of a child. To encourage both parents to spend time with their new baby, the German federal government has adopted a Scandinavian-style policy whereby the entitlement to parental allowance can be shared between the child’s parents. The benefit therefore enables both you and your partner to take time off work to spend time with your new child. Requirements for parental allowance To be eligible for parental allowance, you need to fulfil the following criteria:
  • You look after your child from birth yourself.
  • You do no more than 30 hours’ paid work per week while you are receiving the allowance.
  • You live together with your child in the same house.
  • You are a German / EU / EEA citizen, or you hold a permanent residence permit, or a residence permit that entitles you to work in Germany.
  • You and your partner’s combined annual income does not exceed 500.000 euros (or 250.000 euros for single parents).
You can also claim parental allowance if you look after a child immediately from birth, even if it is not your own, and if you adopt a child (up to eight years old). How much parental allowance will I receive? The parental allowance is intended to replace the income you received before the birth. The amount you receive is therefore based on your income over the 12 months immediately before the baby was born, including any income-replacement benefits like the child sickness benefit:
Previous monthly income Allowance (% of previous income)
Less than 1.000 euros 67 – 100%
1.000 euros to 1.220 euros 67%
1.220 euros to 1.240 euros 67 – 65%
More than 1.240 euros 65%
The minimum amount of parental allowance is 300 euros and the maximum amount is 1.800 euros monthly. So even if you have not worked before you give birth, you will still receive the minimum amount of 300 euros p/m. Families with two or more children can receive a monthly bonus of 10%, or 75 euros, whichever is greater. For multiple births (i.e. if you have twins or triplets), parental allowance increases by 300 euros each month for each additional child. You can claim parental allowance for at least two and a maximum of 12 months. If both parents are claiming parental allowance, an additional two months of benefit payments is granted. Parents who are sharing parental allowance can receive benefits one after the other or both at the same time, up to a shared total of 14 months (i.e. if you and your partner both claim parental allowance for a period of seven months, you will use up your 14-month allowance). Note that if you are receiving parental allowance, it will be deducted as income from any unemployment benefit II or supplementary child allowance payments you may be receiving.   Parental allowance plus (ElterngeldPlus) Since 2015, parents who wish to return to work sooner can also opt for a scheme called ElterngeldPlus. This enables any parent eligible for parental allowance to spread the benefit payments over a longer period of time, by receiving half of the regular parental allowance over a maximum period of 24 months. During this time, you are only entitled to work a maximum of 30 hours per week in order to remain eligible for the parental allowance. It is also possible to combine regular parental allowance with ElterngeldPlus, to suit your family situation. Partnership bonus If both parents work simultaneously for 25 – 30 hours per week for four consecutive months, each parent will receive four additional months of ElterngeldPlus payments. You can still apply for this bonus if you and your partner live separately. Single parents can also claim the bonus by working for 25 – 30 hours per week for four months. How to apply for parental allowance You can apply for the parental allowance online via the ElterngeldDigital portal (in German) The website also includes an Elterngeld calculator that gives you an idea of how much parental allowance you’ll receive. You need to apply for the parental allowance by submitting an application to your local parental allowance office (Elterngeldstelle). You will need to fill out an application form, and also bring along the following documents:
  • Your child’s birth certificate
  • Valid identification ( identity card or a passport)
  • Proof of income, (employment contract or statements from your bank account)
  • Details of maternity benefit (if applicable)
Once you have submitted your application, it usually takes around four weeks to process and to receive a written decision per mail. Author: Martjie Louw  

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Sozialversicherung / Social Insurance

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