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South Africans in Germany

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Life in Germany

Are you looking for services like cleaning, someone to look after the kids or help out with the gardening?
The sites we list here are currently only available in German.
You have the option to hire someone on a more permanent basis (minijob) or use a company to supply the services as needed.
Please be aware of your responsibilities when you hire someone directly especially in the event of accidents or damage to property. Social taxes might also be applicable.

Minijob zentrale

According to the Bundesagentur für Arbeit, mini jobs are minor jobs with a maximum monthly pay of €450 or a maximum of 70 days work per calendar year.
The Minijob zentrale has information about the legal issues.
You can also search for services or register yourself for services


A very nice website to search for services is Betreut.
They offer the following services:

  • Kinderbetreuung (Child care)
  • Au Pair
  • Nachhilfe (Tutoring)
  • Seniorenbetreuung (Care of the eldery)
  • Tierbetreuung (Pet sitting)
  • Haus & Garten ( Home and garden)

Studenten Vermittlung

Looking for a student to help you move your furniture?
You can find that and more on studenten-vermittlung


Looking for someone to help with your home maintenance, plumbing, or fixing that wonky cupboard? 
There are a variety of websites out there that can help you find a handyman. Here are just a few that we recommend:

  • My Hammer – This website has an extensive range of services for all of your handyman needs. Whether you need help fixing a leaky faucet or installing new light fixtures, My Hammer has you covered.
  • Task Rabbit – If you need help assembling furniture, house cleaning, moving, or anything else, Task Rabbit is your go-to website. They have a large network of skilled professionals who are ready to help you get the job done.

Kinderbetreuung/Au Pair

If you are looking for someone to help your children with school work or look after them when you go on a date, you can find services on the Betreut website. 
To find a full-time Au Pair, search on Aupairworld  Facebook groups like Au Pair in Europe.
You can also look in your local newspaper or online community groups

Cleaning Services

Agents for self-employed cleaning staff or cleaning companies
Providers with employed cleaning staff or commissioned cleaning companies


Cleaner die putzhilfe
Childcare die Kinderbetreuung
Eldery care die Seniorenbetreuung
Private tuition die Nachhilfe
Animal care or pet sitters die Tierbetreuung

Related content

Waste disposal and recycling

This is a general guide to waste disposal and recycling. Some rules may differ from town to town, for example, the collection of bulky waste,

Gardening Rules

Did you know your garden and the local green spaces are living habitats for wildlife and insects?If you cut back or trim your plants too


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

Bringing your fur babies to a new country can be a daunting and emotional experience.
The first thing you need to acquaint yourself with is the rules for bringing pets from South Africa to Germany.
These rules are updated regularly and we therefore only add links to the relevant pages. 
We added some links to Pet immigration services that were recommended by fellow South Africans, and if you would rather do it yourself, we have a page where people shared their do-it-yourself experiences.

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 (Customs) website.
Some dangerous dog breeds are allowed, depending on the Federal state, and must be registered at the Ordnungsamt.

Qualzuchten (Torture Breeds)

Section 11b of the German Animal Welfare Act [1] prohibits breeding animals with characteristics that cause them to suffer – but so far there are no guidelines on how these should be defined. For this reason, torture breeding is still widespread.  Examples are English Bulldogs, “Teacup dogs”, Sphinx cats

A list of breeds can be found on the PETA website


Cats have a different status in Germany than dogs, and there are fewer regulations regarding cats once you are in Germany. Here are some examples relevant to cats:

  • You do not need to confine your cat to your property and they can roam freely,
  • You also do not need to attach your cat to a leash. 
  • Although you do not need to microchip your cat if you buy it in Germany, it is still advisable to do so.
  • There are no taxes payable on cats
  • Neutering – Most Federal states are now requiring your to have your cat neutered. Find out more from your local municipality 

Resources on the web

Customs Info

  • Zoll – German Customs, provisions on the import of pet animals
  • Zoll –  Dangerous dogs
  • BMEL – Rules on entering the European Union (EU) with dogs, cats and ferrets

Pet Immigration or transport services

The following companies are suggestions from fellow South Africans 

Shared experiences and doing it yourself

Pets – Personal stories

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

Registration, taxes and permits

  • In most states, dogs must be added to the dog registry (Hunderegister) in your area. Search for example “Hunderegister Hamburg”. Please note, not all States (Bundesländer) require you to regsiter your animal. In order to register the dog, the animal needs to be chipped and covered by liability insurance.
  • Dogs must be registered for dog tax /Hundesteuer.  You can register for the taxes at the Bürgeamt.  See for example the information from Stuttgart or Berlin.  Depending on where you live the registration can be done online.
  • Dangerous breeds – If your dog falls in the dangerous breed, you must register it at the Ordnungsamt

Identification badge, chip and handler licence

As mentioned before, the rules and regulations can differ per federal state. Most states require dogs to have an identification badge and a chip.  When you take your dog for a walk, the dog’s name, your address and the dog tax disc must be on the dog’s collar.  
You might also be required to get a licence to prove you can handle your dog (Hundeführerschein)
Information about the Hunderegister can be found on the Hundeinfoportal

Rules and regulation for owning a pet

Rules and regulations can be found on the Gezetze im Internet Dog regulations.
Not all federal states have a rule that you need to pick up your dog’s poo, but this is just basic decency, especially if you take your dog walking. You can buy special poop bags for that, and most parks have special bins to dispose of the bags.

Pet Insurance

Agila and Allianz offer pet insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung).
Dog insurance is mandatory in some federal states. It is not medical insurance for your pet, but it covers you if your dog harms another dog, person or property. 

Adopting a pet at a "Tierheim"

Pet sitting and kennels

For pet sitting look at the Pawshake app, or on the Hundelieb website
You can also find other possibilities on our Minijob page
For cats, search for Katzenpension in your area, or consider a house sitter, another option is to search for a catsitter on Catinaflat

Below are some South African pet sitters who lives in Germany and would love to spend some time with your fur babies.


Pet sitting by Carmen

Area: Carmen lives in Berlin and has a house with a very large garden.  They have a 10-year-old, female Puggle/Jack Russel mix, a 10-year-old cat

Pet sitting by Pamela

Area: Pamela lives in Düsseldorf and is willing to have pets stay over by her at home and also stay out at the pet owner’s

Pet Sitting by Natalie

Area: Natalie lives in Senden, close to Neu-Ulm, and can do pet sitting in the surrounding areas Types of Pets Cats, Dogs, birds and fish

Pet Sitting by Desdemona

Area: Desdemona lives in Ulm, and can do pet sitting in the surrounding areas Types of Pets Cats, Dogs, birds and fish Fees For the

Raw food for pets

Try the following websites:

Death of a pet

There are some restrictions on burying or cremating a pet in Germany. Things you need to keep in mind:

  • The TierKBG (Tierkörperbeseitigungsgesetz Gesetz über die Beseitigung von Tierkörpern, Tierkörperteilen und tierischen Erzeugnissen) governs the rules and regulations for disposing of animals
  • Some Federal states have stricter rules and regulations. Always make sure what is allowed for where you live. Below are some general rules, but could be different for the state you live in.
  • If you would like to bury a small animal in your garden, you can only do so if you are the owner of the property, or get permission from the owner. The animal must be buried at least 50cm deep and not close to public roads ( at least two meters away).
  •  Burial in a garden is not allowed if it is in a water conservation area, and also not if the animal died from a notifiable disease.
  •  You may not bury an animal on public grounds or in a park or forest.
  • You can bury your pet in a Tierfriedhof, or have them cremated.
  • If the animal died at the Vet, they can assist with cremation or disposal.

Animal welfare

You can report any issues regarding animal cruelty at the Tierschutsbund under Tierquälerei

Related content

What can I bring into Germany

It is very tempting to bring some South African goodies with you when you travel to Germany, and while most items are allowed, there are Restrictions.

Finding a place to stay

Finding a place to rent is almost like doing a job interview. You have to “advertise” yourself and you will have to go for interviews.

Finding a place to rent is almost like doing a job interview. You have to “advertise” yourself and you will have to go for interviews.
The best is to go prepared!  You will need at least the following documents:

  • A Schufa report (credit report),
  • proof of employment,
  • bank statements and
  • a motivation letter if you like.
    In this you introduce yourself .. how big is the family, do you have pets, do you have parties every Wednesday, do you smoke, where you work, etc. A tip from others, also add proof of insurance , for example pet insurance if you have pets, or personal liability insurance. You also add a reference letter from your employer. 

When you are not yet sure what type of place you want to get or exactly where, consider making use of Airbnb for a couple of months.

It also helps while you are waiting for your furniture to arrive in Germany.
You can read more about moving to Germany on this page,  there you can find a list of the cost of living comparison sites that might help you in your decision process.


A “Schufa” is a credit report. It is a bit of a chicken-egg situation. You cannot get a Schufa unless you already life in Germany.  
To get around this you can stay in an Airbnb for a couple of months and then get a Schufa, or say upfront that you don’t have one yet, or look for properties that do not require one. If you have a employment contract, you can also ask if they will accept that.
Simple Germany has a good guide on getting a Schufa

Cost of Living

In general, properties are more expensive in Germany than in South Africa, also when renting. Food and clothing prices depend a lot on where you are buying. Medical insurance is also more expensive in Germany,
The most, expensive cities in Germany with regard to rent are Stuttgart, Hamburg and Munich
Here are some cost-of-living comparative sites to give you an idea:

More information on the internet – a really good source of current information from types of housing, to disputes with neighbours. Available in German

Where to look for Accommodation

Rental agencies



  • Immowelt
  • ImmoScout24
  • Your local paper
  • eBay
  • Facebook sometimes has listings in an area
  • Relocation agents such as Swift Relocation

Furnished short term rentals

Shared accomodation

Buy or Rent

To buy or rent is a personal choice. Just be aware of the possible hidden costs of ownership.
There was a case recently where owners were charged for fixing the road in front of their properties.
Interest rates are pretty low. Deposits are high.
Simple Germany has a good article on this

Typical property description

3-Zimmer Wohnung

Die Wohnung bietet eine Wohnfläche von ca. 116,56 m². Diese Fläche verteilt
sich auf den Flur, zwei Schlafzimmer, das Wohnzimmer, das hell geflieste Vollbad, das WC und die Wohnküche.
Die Küche wir nur mit einem Herd und einer Spüle ausgestattet.”


  • When you are looking at a property with “3 Zimmer” it does not refer to bedrooms but the total rooms excluding the Kitchen and Bathroom.
  • Many properties will have no lights installed, only the fittings. You have to get them fitted or fit them yourself. A good place to look for artisans is My-Hammer
  • Make sure you know what your responsibilities will be for example are you responsible for keeping the pathway clear from snow or for cleaning the staircase (Treppenhaus). In BW you might be responsible for cleaning during your Kehrworche
  • Living space – Living space can be calculated according to 3 methods.  Only in the case of subsidized housing is a method prescribed by the Housing Subsidy Act
    • The DIN-277 standard. The floor space (Grundfläche) and living space (Wohnfläche) are the same. The height of the room is irrelevant. Roof areas, balconies, basements and garages are included. 
    • The Second Calculation Ordinance (II. BV), only up till 31.12.2003
    • Living space ordinance (WoFlV – as of 01.01.2004) In disputes the court follows this method. It evaluates the part of the floor space that can be used for living. It is not the same as the Grundfläche(floor space) method- 
      Rooms with sloping ceilings can only partially be taken into account. Cellars, laundry rooms, heating rooms and garages do not count towards the living space. Chimneys, pillars and columns do not count towards living space if they are higher than 1.50 meters and have a floor area of more than 0.1 square metres.
  • Be careful of photos, it could for example be taken with the kitchen fitted but if it doesn’t say a kitchen is included (Einbauküche or EBK), it is not.
  • It is possible to lease your furniture,  Lyght Living and In-lease offers such services

Vocabulary and Info

die Wohnung This could mean accommodation but mostly it means an apartment or flat
 das Mietvertrag  Rental contract
Immobilienmakler Estate agent, realtor
Vertrag kündigen Cancel your contract
das Vermieter Landlord
das Mieter Tenant
Wohnen auf Zeit Temporary living option. Usually only for a couple of months.
Most will be furnished
die Wohngemeinschft Shared accommodation.
Popular with young people
die Garage / das Stellplatz Garage or parking space
das Grundstück Land or plot
die Warmmiete Rent with utilities (die Nebenkosten) like heating included.
Always refer to your rental contract
die Kaltmiete Rent without utilities (die Nebenkosten) like heating included.
Always refer to your rental contract
die Kaution Deposit. By law it may not be more than 3 times the “Kalt Miete”. To get your deposit back can take up to a year.
die Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung a certificate from your previous landlord to show
that you have no outstanding rent
Einkommensnahcweis Proof of income
das Deutscher Mieterbund German tenants association
das Wohnberechtigunsschein (WBS) Certificate to prove that the tenant is entitled to move into subsidized housing. If an apartment is advertised as WBS, only those with such a certificate can apply.
die Nebenkosten

Additional charges for utilities and services like heating, hot water, trash collection etc. 
This is usually a fixed amount (for the year) and at the end of the year you will receive a Betriebskostenabrechnung, which is a statement of how much you paid and how much you actually used.
If you used less than what you paid you will get money back.
Electricity (der Strom) is usually not included in the Nebenkosten, it will depend on your rental contract so make sure about it.

Internet and Television can be included but most times it is not.

A very good site for more information (in German) is Ratgeber.immowelt

der Strom Electricity (der Strom) is usually not included in the Nebenkosten, unless specified in your rental contract. 
If it is not included, you will have to sign a contract with a electricity provider.
You can use websites like Verivox and Check24 to make a comparison. You are also allowed to switch between providers.

Related content

Housing in Germany

Types of Housing Flat – Wohnung / Apartment. Atlbauwohnung – An old building, that might be protected Dachgeschosswohnung – penthouse but usually with slanted walls

Beds, Mattresses and Duvets

The sleeping arrangements in Germany is a bit different from what we are used to in South Africa. The average German couple sleeps on a

Minijobs and hired help

Are you looking for services like cleaning, someone to look after the kids or help out with the gardening?The sites we list here are currently

If you are only visiting, you need an International driver permit which you can apply for at the AA in South Africa

If you stay longer, you can drive legally for 6 months with your South African licence and an Internationallicense, after that you must convert your SA licence to a German one. 
This might change so always check on the links we provide for the most relevant information or on your local traffic department’s website.

  • You do not need to take the test, you can just convert your SA licence to a German one.
  • Some states are now requiring a first aid course, so please make sure before you apply to convert your licence. It is always good to attend one anyway. Most Driving schools (Fahrschule) offer first aid courses 
  • You will need to translate your licence into German, this can be done at your local ADAC office. Note – this will depend on the Bundesland or office so always make sure if you need to have your docs translated.
  • In recent months there have been reports that some cities are now requiring proof of “Confirmation of South African Driving licence”. An example of this is in Böbblingen.  Rather be as prepared as you can be, and ask if they need it before you apply for a German licence. This Confirmation can be requested from the RTMC, see more info from DIRCO. You can also use companies to assist you, see our marketplace for more information. If you are still in South Africa, request one and bring it along with you.
  • The conversion is done either at the Bürgerdienste or the Führerscheinstelle of your town. You can search for Führerscheinstelle  + Your Town, or search on  Tip!! When you go to register at the Bürgerampt/Ausländerbehorde ask them where you must apply for your German driver’s licence.

Applying for Conversion of a Foreign Driver’s License

You need the following to apply to convert your South African license to a German driver’s license:

  • Passport and Permanent Residence card
  • Photo, the same type as for a passport photo
  • Your South African driver’s licence
  • German translation of your South African licence
  • Confirmation of your Anmeldung, if you do not apply in your home town
  • Application form
  • First aid course if required see above
  •  Copy of excerpt/confirmation from the issuing driving license authority abroad with translation  (Kopie Auszug/Bestätigung von der ausstellenden Führerscheinbehörde im Ausland mit Übersetzung ) – see above
  • Pay the Fees 

International Drivers licence - issued in Germany

During your licence application in Germany, you will need to submit your SA license to the German authorities, which means you will need an International Drivers license to drive in South Africa. 
According to regulation 110 of the National Road Traffic Act, a foreign license is only valid in South Africa if it has been issued in one of South Africa’s official languages.
The German license is therefore not valid and you should have an International license.

You can apply for an International license at the Führerscheinstelle of either the Stadtverwaltung, Bürgerampt, Rathaus, or Landratsamt, depending on where you live. It is recognised in 200 countries.
Here is a list of countries where you will need an International Licence once you have your German(EU) licence. 

You can find the application forms online or at the office you apply
You will need a biometric photo and your German driver’s licence
In 2022 the cost is €16

Sie können den Internationalen Führerschein bei den Straßenverkehrsämtern (Führerscheinstelle) an Ihrem Wohnort beantragen.
Führerscheinstelle ist,

  • wenn Sie in einem Stadtkreis wohnen: die Stadtverwaltung
  • wenn Sie in einem Landkreis wohnen: das Landratsamt

Rules and reciprocal licence agreements for each country

Renewing your SA drivers licence card

You need to renew your licence in person in South Africa.
Please take note that “your South African driving licence card is your valid proof that you have a South African Driving Licence.
When your driving licence card has expired, it does not mean that your driving licence has expired. Only your valid proof of such a licence has expired”

Applicants outside the borders of the RSA whose Driving Licence Cards have expired or were lost/stolen and who are not in a position to return to the RSA to have the licence renewed:

According to DIRCO – “The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), a corporation of the Department of Transport, is in a position to issue a confirmation letter should such an applicant have a valid licence.
This is established by verifying the applicant’s South African identification number on the National Traffic Information System.
The letter will serve as proof that the applicant has a valid licence and this will enable them to convert to a foreign driving licence in the country of current residence.
Please note:
The confirmation letter cannot be interpreted as a driving licence when produced to a law enforcement official.

You can send an email to 
Your request must include your contact numbers (including email address), a copy of your ID or a copy of your driving licence.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) will upon request, investigate, and print a copy of the licence required and a Letter of Confirmation of the licence. This letter reflects the date that the licence was first issued. Kindly note that the person collecting the letter must provide acceptable identification and may also arrange for a courier to collect it.
Location and Contacts/ Confirmation letters are facilitated at:
RTMC-NaTIS Facility, 13 Howick Close, Waterfall Park, Bekker Road, Midrand
+27 11 266-2000 (Telephone)
+28 86 415 9120 (Fax)
 – You can ask someone to collect the original from their office in Centurion, or use one of the companies listed on our marketplace to collect, apostille and courier it to you, it can take around  2 months. 

More info from DIRCO


Get South African apostilles, police clearances, birth/marriage certificates, legalisations and much more quickly and efficiently through our legal service. We have helped thousands of people

Doc Assist

Embark on a hassle-free journey with our comprehensive document services. Whether you’re planning to travel, work abroad, or need vital documents, Doc Assist is here


English German
citizens’ office das Bürgeramt 
City hall das Rathaus 
Conversion of a Foreign Driver’s License Umschreibung einer ausländischen Fahrerlaubnis
Driver’s License der Führerschein
driver’s license office die Führerscheinstelle
Driving School die Fahrschule 
first-aid course der Erste-Hilfe-Kurs 
Permanent Residence card der Personalausweis 
Translation  die Übersetzung


Resources on the web

  • ADAC – officially the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (General German Automobile Club), is Europe’s largest motoring association. The object of the ADAC is “the representation, promotion and advocacy of motoring, motorsport and tourism interests

Related content

Car Insurance

You cannot register your vehicle without having insurance. There are basically three options for vehicle insurance – third-party, partial or comprehensive.Third-party liability insurance is compulsory,

Winter Tyres

The winter conditions in Germany can make the roads dangerous and slippery to drive on.Winter conditions are for example black ice, slippery snow, slush, slippery

Road Rules

  Driving on German roads is very well regulated and if you don’t adhere to the rules you will get penalty points against your name


The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should consult a qualified legal professional for advice specific to your situation. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of the information provided. Use of this site is at your own risk.

Where to find information

The Bundesamt für Justiz publishes the laws and regulations to a the Gesetze im internet website.
The main site is in German, but there are translations available, with the following notice “Translations of these materials into languages other than German are intended solely as a convenience to the non-German-reading public. Any discrepancies or differences that may arise in translations of the official German versions of these materials are not binding and have no legal effect for compliance or enforcement purposes.”

For the English translations please visit this page, it covers the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany.
Your main source for the most up-to-date information should always be the website of the Bundesministerium der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz.
The site is also available in  English and is called “The Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.”

Federal States, districts and towns

The Federal states, districts or towns govern some laws and regulations.
For more information visit the official website of the Federal state, district or town

Good to know


Insulting someone can lead to fines and even imprisonment. For more information see Section 185 of the German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB), and in German Abscnitt 14 Beleidigung 


Section 111 of the German Penal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB) addresses the crime of public incitement to commit unlawful acts. This provision is designed to maintain public order and prevent the encouragement of criminal behaviour.  

Section 111(2): Consequences and Penalties

  • If the incitement leads to the unlawful act being committed, the person who incited the act can be punished as if they had committed the act themselves.
  • If the incitement does not lead to the unlawful act being committed, the punishment can still be significant but typically less severe than if the act had been carried out.
  • The penalty can include imprisonment or fines, depending on the nature of the incited act and the circumstances of the incitement.
We thought to mention this to deter people from using forums like Facebook or other social media groups to tell others how to bring Biltong to Germany or how to use VPNs to bypass German rules and regulations when streaming content not approved in Germany.




The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation is the law enforcement agency of the European Union (EU)  to handle criminal intelligence and combat serious international organised crime and terrorism through cooperation between competent authorities of EU member states.  

Please take note of the notice by Europol regarding scam calls. Europol will never call you directly. There is also a link on their website where you can report such calls

The person receives messages from inside the website/app, seemingly from the hotel they booked. The “hotel” tells informs them that their payment didn’t go through. The reasons can be your credit card details are old or are being declined. The scammer then says you have to make a payment within 24 hours else you will lose your booking. They ask for your credit card details and if this is declined, they ask for an IBAN payment or direct transfer (in this case it was a bank in the UK) to confirm the booking. They send you an external e-mail with the banking details. Do not do anything without consulting the hotel directly (not via the chat in or phone To phone them you will need the booking confirmation and pin code related to your booking.
Be very vigilant, everything seems legit.
What might be happening is that the specific hotel has been hacked, so the scammers have access to the chat window in the app or website, as well as all your booking details. If this does happen to you, and you made a payment, contact your bank immediately, and I would suggest blocking your credit cards as well. Also, open up a criminal case at the police station and contact Remember your credit card might offer you extra protection in such cases, try not to make direct transfers.

Reporting a crime

In an emergency please use the 110 number to call the police or the 112 number which is the national emergency number. See the links below for a complete list of emergency numbers.
For non-emergencies, call your local police office or visit them. Even petty crimes like scam calls or petty theft should be reported and will be taken seriously by the police.

Most federal states have an “Online-Wache” page where you can report a crime online. 


Federal criminal police (Central office)das Bundeskriminalamt (BKA)
Federal police forcedie Bundespolizei
Every state also has a federal investigation bureau that help solve crimes on state leveldas Landeskriminalamt (LKA)
Federal State Policedie Landespolizei.
Each federal state has their own police force
Police force that handles public safety, general law enforcement and traffic enforcementSchupo / die Schutzpolizei
Criminal investigation departmentdie Kriminalpolizei / Kripo
Traffic policedie Autobahnpolizei
Emergency number for the police110

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Disaster preparedness

The Federal Office of Civil Protection (BKK) suggests that you keep certain items in your house so that you can be prepared in a disaster

Emergency Contacts

The following numbers can be dialled in an emergency, either from a landline or mobile phone. 112The national emergency number. This can be used for