Child benefit abroad

Germans abroad are entitled to child benefit if they continue to be subject to unlimited tax liability in Germany or are treated accordingly and the children are resident in Germany. Within the EU, the children can also have a residence outside Germany. But even if you live abroad and are not subject to unlimited tax liability in Germany, you can receive child benefit as a social benefit under the Federal Child Benefit Act (Bundeskindergeldgesetz).

If you are employed or self-employed, you are subject to the legislation of the EU member state in which you work. However, a posted employee is still subject to the regulations of the sending country. Otherwise, the rules of the country where the person or family lives apply.

Anyone who lives abroad and is not subject to unlimited tax liability in Germany can receive child benefit as a social benefit if the claimant

  1. is in a compulsory insurance relationship with the Federal Employment Agency, or
  2. you work as a development aid worker or missionary, or
  3. is employed or self-employed in Germany or receives a pension under German law, is a national of a member state of the European Union, or is a resident of a member state of the European Union. is a resident of the European Economic Area and lives in one of the member states.

It may well be that a child is entitled to family benefits in several countries. In this case, the order of responsibility is based on employment, pension or residence. Priority is given to the state in which employment or self-employment is carried out. If a child is entitled to child benefit in more than one country, the country in which the child lives is always responsible.

The responsible state pays the child allowance in full. If the child benefit in the responsible state is lower than in Germany, the German child benefit fund will usually pay the difference if an entitlement exists. If the child benefit in the responsible state is higher, there is nothing from Germany.


It is often assumed that child benefit is paid from Germany if you are a German citizen. However, this has nothing to do with each other. Child benefit is a tax benefit and thus in effect an early tax refund for taxpayers. Therefore, if you do not pay taxes in Germany, you will not receive child benefit.

From this it is also clear that there can be no payment based on past work in Germany. No matter how long you have worked in Germany in the past: as soon as you no longer pay taxes in Germany, you are no longer entitled to child benefits.

Important to know: Child benefit can be reclaimed and will be. So, in case of a change of circumstances, a quick feedback to the family fund is highly recommended. This is the only way to avoid substantial repayments.

Moreover, the child benefit is not a benefit for the children, but for the parents – therefore also a tax benefit. Accordingly, child benefit can only be paid if the children live in the household of their parents or grandparents. If the parents live abroad and pay taxes there, but the children live in Germany, the parents still do not receive child benefit.

Ruling on the application for child benefits for divorced parents who live with their child in another EU country: Press release of the Federal Fiscal Court.


Applications for child benefits must be submitted in writing to the responsible family benefits office. In cross-border cases, the forms "Application for child benefit (KG 1)" are required, the "Anlage Kind and the "Anlage Ausland (KG 51)" necessary. Applications for family benefits can also be submitted to the competent foreign institution at the claimant’s place of residence. The domestic and foreign family funds then clarify among themselves who is entitled to child benefits in advance and who is entitled to child benefits in Germany. subordinate responsibility.


In principle, children up to 18 years of age are entitled to child benefit. During vocational training, child benefit is paid up to the age of 25. paid beyond the age of 25. This period is extended by a voluntary social or ecological year, federal voluntary service or other regulated voluntary service. Disabled children can receive child benefit via the 25. The child must be entitled to child benefit beyond the age of three.

Notification of change

If you apply for child benefit, you must inform the family benefits office if you or another beneficiary are entitled to child benefit

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