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Parental allowance for foreigners and cross-border workers


Under certain circumstances foreigners living in Germany are also entitled to German parental benefits. The crucial factor is whether you are allowed to be/are employed in Germany and/or whether you have the right to stay in Germany (settlement permit). The most important questions in this regard are explained in this article, but in these cases, advice from the parental allowance office or a professional parental allowance advisor can be very reasonable.

Parental allowance for EU/EEA citizens

The law on parental allowance is largely harmonised at EU level. So if you come from a country of the European Union, Switzerland or a country of the European Economic Area (EEA), you are considered a foreigner entitled to freedom of movement. This means that the same conditions apply for receiving parental allowance as for German citizens: you must be employed or live in Germany, take care of and raise a child in your own household, have no or no full employment and not exceed the income limits (€250,000 as an individual, or €500,000 as a couple)


You may receive benefits comparable to the parental allowance from the country of your citizenship. Only the entitlement to such benefits will be credited to the German parental allowance. In this case you should definitely seek advice.

Parental allowance for cross-border workers

Cross-border workers, i.e. those who live and work in different countries, can be entitled to parental allowance. Cross-border workers can be divided into two categories:

living in Germany, working abroad

If you are resident in Germany and both parents work in another EU country (including Switzerland), you are generally entitled to German parental allowance, provided that the other basic requirements are met. Basically, the child's country of residence forms the basis for the claim.

However, the regulations of the country of employment apply if only one parent works abroad and the other parent does not work at all. In this case, however, there may be claims for the payment of differential amounts if the social benefits are higher in the subordinate country (= Germany). This claim must be made formally - the differential amounts are not paid automatically.


The child's father works in Switzerland and lives with his main residence in Germany (cross-border workers). The child's mother was not employed during the assessment period. Basically, the Swiss benefits apply. However, since there are no family benefits there, the parents can claim benefits from Germany in this case. Important note for cross-border workers:

Important note:

Please first apply to the country of employment for the benefits. The German parental benefit office will only process the application for German parental benefit conclusively once proof of foreign family benefits has been submitted, since the former has priority. The deadlines for applying for German parental benefit remain the same. If necessary, you will initially apply for German parental benefit without the proof of the country of employment.

Residence abroad, work under a German employment contract

Parents who have an employment contract in Germany and live in another EU country or in Switzerland can apply for German parental allowance. In this case, the grant of parental allowance is based on the country of employment principle: the country in which you are employed is primarily responsible for family benefits.

Important note:

If your place of residence is outside the EU or the EEA, you are generally not entitled to German parental benefit even if you have a German employment contract. Exceptions may apply to diplomats, employees of the NATO armed forces, development workers, etc. In these cases, please seek advice.

Parental allowance for foreign citizens from non-EU countries

Parents who are not entitled to free movement are subject to different rules regarding the claiming of parental benefits. The key factor is whether or not the stay in Germany is likely to be permanent. If you are employed in Germany for an indefinite period, you are generally entitled to claim. Alternatively, the claim can be asserted by presenting a settlement permit or a residence permit.

If you have a settlement permit, you are generally entitled to parental allowance. In the case of a residence permit, it is decisive whether you have or had permission to work in Germany. If you do not have a permit for employment, there is usually no entitlement to parental allowance.

Important note:

Due to a so-called association agreement, special regulations apply to citizens from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia or Turkey. As long as you are a worker in this case, you are entitled to parental allowance regardless of your residence permit. The only prerequisite is then the insurance in one of the German social insurance schemes (for example pension- or unemployment insurance).

Parental allowance as a refugee

Parents who are not entitled to freedom of movement and who come from abroad do not receive parental allowance for various reasons. If, for example, you have only received a residence permit in order to complete an apprenticeship in Germany, you are not entitled to receive parental allowance.

Parents who have been granted a residence permit because they come from a country at war are also not entitled to parental allowance, unless they have been in Germany for more than three years on the basis of a so-called hardship case and are also employed there or have received other German social benefits. This also applies if they are only granted residence because they have received temporary protection from Germany. However, if your work permit is limited in time, you are not entitled to parental allowance anyways.

You can find out quickly and easy how much parental allowance you can expect with our parental allowance calculator with reference period planner.

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