How and When to Apply for the Kita-Gutschein31 March 2022 | By Lisa H
You might know by now that in order to claim your Kita spot, you will need the (in)famous Kita-Gutschein. The Kita-Gutschein is a voucher that is issued by your district’s Jugendamt. You need to submit it to the Kita before your child starts daycare.
(If you’re unsure how the system works in Berlin and what it costs, check out our article How Much Is Daycare (Kita) in Berlin.
So, when and how do you apply for the voucher?
You need to apply for the voucher at least 2 months before your desired start date. So if you want for your child to start Kita in August, apply in June, at the very latest.
It is better to apply earlier – you can do so a maximum of 9 months before your desired start date.
The date by when the contract needs to be signed with the Kita is listed on the voucher and is 16 weeks from the envisioned start date. Once the contract is signed, you have 3 months to start the Eingewöhnung.
(Keep in mind however that you do need to be registered in Berlin to be able to apply for the voucher.)
Different Types of Vouchers
There’s four different types of vouchers, which correlate to the numbers of hours of childcare you are entitled to each day:
4 to 5 hours (Halbtagsförderung)
5 to 7 hours (Teilzeitförderung)
7 to 9 hours (Ganztagsförderung)
more than 9 hours (erweiterte Ganztagsförderung)
Every child over the age of 1 in Berlin is entitled to at least 5-7 hours a day. Getting a voucher for 5-7 hours is a formality.
⚠️ However, you should definitely try and get a full-time voucher (7-9 hours) as this is what most Kitas prefer (as they receive more money). This will make it much easier for you to secure a spot!
So even if you intend to pick your child up early on most days, apply for the 7-9 hours voucher if you can. The requirements are listed below – basically, you have to proof that you need help covering the additional hours because of commitments at work, university, an internship, freelance projects, etc. If both parents work full-time you should not have a problem securing a full-time voucher.
You can apply online or download the PDF to fill in by hand. (Make sure all legal guardians sign the form, otherwise you also need a separate signed letter of permission. If you are the only legal guardian then this is not needed.)
Every child older than 1 year is entitled to a voucher of 5-7 hours per day (teilzeit). For this, you will only need to send the following documentation with the above form:
A copy of your valid photo ID such as the German Personalausweises or passport
Confirmation of your permanent residence in Berlin such as your Personalausweis or your registration certificate
A copy of your child’s birth certificate
For foster children only: A copy of the foster care agreement
If you require more than 7 hours per day or a spot for a child under 1 year old, you also need to provide proof that you are unable to care for the child yourself (see note below). These can include the following, depending on your situation:
A current letter from your employer confirming your work hours and how long you have been working there for;
A letter from your employer confirming that you have applied for Elternzeit;
Your confirmation letter for Elterngeld;
Confirmation of your apprenticeship (Ausbildung);
If you are self-employed: a copy of your commercial registration (Gewerbeanmeldung), a confirmation by the finance office (Finanzamt), confirmation by your tax advisor, confirmation of membership in the Künstlersozialkasse;
A copy of your internship contract;
A letter from the Agentur für Arbeit, the JobCenters or confirmation of unemployment benefits.
As for the above list of documents, I have always found it helpful to call your local Jugendamt (ask for Kitagutscheinstelle) and ask what they required in your specific circumstances to make sure you send them the right documents right away. In general, I have always found that more is more when it comes to paperwork in Germany – I always send as much documentation as I can even if I’m not sure they really need it all. 🙃
You can also book an appointment at some of the district offices to discuss your questions and needs. See the links for the different districts at the very bottom of this page.
Depending on the district and the time of year, it will take a few weeks for your application to be processed (the website states 6-8 weeks), so don't leave it too late! If it's urgent, make sure to note this on your form and/or call to let them know your specific situation.
🤓 When you're ready to fill in the form to apply for your Kita-Gutschein, check out our step-by-step English language guide.
Find the right Kita in your neighborhood:
Hear from Katja, one of the founders of juggleHUB, a co-working space in Prenzlauer Berg that also offers childcare.
What is the Kita Eingewöhnung and how can you prepare for it?