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It truly is an art to be able to understand and completely grasp exactly how and what you need to do before giving birth in Germany. When people joke about how extensive German paperwork really is… this is one of those examples. It is a load of paperwork, but fear not, it can actually be much easier as long as you have the right tools (AKA. this blog post).
I went through the process before giving birth to my son and am confident that by putting together this entire paperwork checklist for you before you give birth in Germany, it’ll be much much easier for you to manage it all while you are 9 months pregnant and about to give birth.
Here is exactly what you will need and the forms you will need to fill out:
✅ – Birth Certificate (Geburtsurkunde)
The birth certificate of your newborn child will need to be submitted to the registry office (Standesamt) within the first seven days of the birth. One week, crazy right? Thankfully, you have the option to either register your child at the registry office or you can submit the documents required to the hospital (check ahead of time that the clinic/hospital provides this service).
If you’re unsure of which hospital/birthing center you will be giving birth at, you have 7 different options to choose from in Düsseldorf.
What you will need for the birth certificate:
- Cash payment (15,00 Euros*)
- A stamped envelope to submit the documents (size – A4)
- Birth certificates of both the mother and father and any previous children (for internationals, you would also require a legal translation of your birth certificates)
- A copy of both the mother and fathers identity cards (for internationals, this would include your passport and your foreigner’s ID card/residence permit)
- The signed record of birth from the hospital/clinic
- If you are a married couple, you will also need your marriage certificate
- If you are a divorced couple, you will also need your marriage certificate and divorce papers
- If you are not a married couple, you will also need:
- Acknowledgment of paternity (Vaterschaftsanerkennung) – this is to be done before or after the birth at the registry office free of charge. You will need to bring ID’s from both parents, birth certificates of both parents, the Mutterpass if you are applying before the birth of the child or the birth certificate if you’re applying after the birth of the child.
✅ – City Registration (Anmeldung)
In most cases, you will not need to register your child at the “Einwohnermeldeamt“. Double-check with the hospital and the registry office (Standesamt) to clarify whether or not this needs to be done. In most cases, the Standesamt will send over all the necessary details to have them automatically registered in the city.
You have the option of doing this on your own in order to obtain a child’s ID card, but this is not mandatory. If you would like to register them in the city and obtain an ID card, you can fill out the application form and make an appointment at the closest Einwohnermeldeamt to you (otherwise you can show up and grab a waiting ticket).
If you choose to apply for the German identification card as well, you will need to bring the following with you:
- Cash or debit card payment (22,80 Euros*)
- A biometric passport photo (here are 40+ places where you can get a passport photo in Düsseldorf)
- The child’s birth certificate
✅ – Parental Benefits (Elterngeld & Elternzeit)
Elterngeld is the financial benefits that you receive as a parent. These benefits are funded by the federal tax system and are offered for the first 12-14 months of the child’s life. If you are co-parenting, you have the option to split up 14 months of the parental benefits (eg. I took 10 months and my husband took 4 months). If you are a single parent, you can get up to 12 months of parental benefits. When you receive Elterngeld, you will also be on maternity/paternity leave (hence why the government supports you financially, so you can stay home and help raise your child).
What many internationals do not know is that you can choose to divide up your Elternzeit however which way you please, including taking part-time Elternzeit (part of the Parental Allowance Plus program) which in that case, you would be paid 50% of the benefits you would have received but for double the time (thus giving you 24-28 months of part-time maternity/paternity leave).
The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth has put together an excellent document in English which goes into great detail (153 pages to be exact) about the parental allowance, the Parental Allowance Plus program and parental leave.
To apply for your parental benefits you will need to submit the following documents to the Jungendamt:
- A completed parental benefits application (download here)
- An original copy of your child’s birth certificate (the registry office will provide you a specific one for Elterngeld)
- Payslips from the last 12 months of work (before maternity leave began)
- Confirmation (Nachweis) from your health insurance provider that they know you will be receiving paternity benefits (can only be dated from after the birth)
- Confirmation (Nachweis) from your employer that they know you will be receiving paternity benefits (can only be dated from after the birth)
- If you are international, you will also need to provide your foreigner’s ID card (residence permit)
- If you are self-employed, you will also need to fill out the Erklärung für Selbstständige form
- If you are a single parent, you will also need to fill out the Erklärung für Alleinerziehende form
You will then need to send all the documents above to the Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf Jugendamt:
(Addresses can always change, double-check to make sure that the address is correct)
✅ – Child Benefits (Kindergeld)
Child benefits in Germany (as of 2020) are 204 Euros for the first and second child, 210 Euros for the third child and 235 Euros for any additional children. You can submit your child benefit application as soon as your child is born. It usually takes about 6-8 weeks to start receiving your child benefits though, so the quicker you apply, the better. You should apply within the first 6 months in order to ensure that you’re receiving all of the benefits. While it might take 6-8 weeks to be submitted into the Bundesagentur für Arbeit, they will backpay you up to 6 months (all at once) so you’re not stuck waiting for your child benefit money.
Example: If you decide to wait to submit the application until your child is 12 months old, you can only be back paid for up to 6 months. This means you will not receive child benefit money for the first 6 months of your child’s life.
To apply for child benefits/Kindergeld, you will need to provide the following documents to the Bundesagentur für Arbeit:
- A completed child benefits application form (download here)
- An original copy of your child’s birth certificate (the registry office will provide you a specific one for Kindergeld)
You will need to send all the above documents to the correct Familienkasse address for Düsseldorf: Familienkasse Nordrhein-Westfalen West:
Grafenberger Allee 300
✅ – Apply for Kindergarten (Kita Navigator)
As you may have heard, earning a spot in a kindergarten here in Düsseldorf is like having a golden ticket. You are correct if you’re thinking ‘well, isn’t it my legal right to have a spot for my child in a Düsseldorf kindergarten?’ but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to receive a spot close to home. With this being said, it’s important to apply to as many kindergartens as you can as soon as your child is born.
In order to apply for a kindergarten spot, you will need to create a profile on the Düsseldorfer Kita-Navigator.
It is quite simple to do, and it’s entirely online. Here, you will have the option to choose in what area you would like the kindergarten to be, when you would like your child to begin kindergarten, how many hours you would like your child to be in kindergarten each week, etc. Based on your answers, and based on when you would like your child to begin kindergarten, will depend on when you will be contacted by the Kindergartens who have open spots for the following year.
✅ – Passport Application (Reisepass)
If you’re already thinking of all the future trips you’re going to spoil your little one with, it might also be time to get them a passport of their own. Until the child is 12 months old, you have the option of getting them a normal passport or a child’s passport.
The child’s passport (Kinderreisepass) is valid up until 6 years of age and unlike a normal passport, it does not have an electronic chip and your child’s fingerprints are not collected. Because of this, a child’s passport is not valid for the US-Visa Waiver-Programm or for entrance into the following countries: Burundi, Djibouti, Kuwait, and Tuvalu. This means that if you’re planning on visiting any one of these countries before your child turns 6 and obtains a normal passport, you will need to apply for a normal passport from the get-go.
For both passport applications, you will need to bring the following with you to the closest community office (Bürgerbüro):
- Cash or debit card for payment (prices vary)
- Copy of birth certificate (or any other personal identification your child has)
- A biometric passport photo (here are 40+ places where you can get a passport photo in Düsseldorf)
- The mother and father’s personal identification
- A filled out consent form from the parents (download here: Einverständniserklärung)
You can also choose to make an appointment online if you’d prefer to have a set time.
✅ – Health Insurance Application (Krankenversicherung)
Your child will need health insurance of their own (the first couple of hospital checkups will be covered under the mother’s insurance).
In Germany, your child will be insured under his mother or father (Familienversicherung). This process is quite simple, but I cannot provide you with a specific application form to download as every insurance provider will have their own. All you need to do is call your health insurance provider and ask them to send you the application form to add your child to the insurance plan. If you are publically insured, your child will be added to your plan for free. If one of the parents is privately insured, the child will be added onto the private insurance for an additional fee.
In order to apply for health insurance, you will need:
- A completed application form (ask your health insurance provider for the application)
- An original copy of your child’s birth certificate (the registry office will provide you a specific one for health insurance)
If you currently have private health insurance but are unhappy with the fees and services associated with your private health insurance plan, you can also compare your alternative options online before giving birth to your baby.
✅ – Liability Insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung)
Call me crazy, but the age where they turn into destructive little animals will come far too quickly. With that being said, it’s important that you have not only liability insurance for yourself, but an insurance plan that will also cover your children. If your current plans do not include family and children, you can compare your options on TARIFCHECK to find the most affordable options in Düsseldorf.
✅ – Düsseldorf Family Discount Card (Familienkarte)
Congratulations, you’re a family now! This means that you are also entitled to family discounts around the city. Of course, this isn’t a mandatory item in the checklist, but why not save a few Euros here and there when you can?
It is a simple online application that you can do in a matter of minutes, but if you’d like help translating the process, we’ve put together the blog post: How to Get the Düsseldorf Family Card for Free which takes you through the application process step-by-step.
*Prices can always vary
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