Intercultural experience, language certificates and flexibility, which many employers like: Those who study abroad earn plus points on their own résumé. Every student nowadays knows that. The biggest hurdle in planning is often the financing of a study abroad.
In the course of planning and preparing to study abroad, students should find out about all funding opportunities and, for example, not forget a state benefit such as child benefit. Because studying abroad is best done with funds from various sources of funding such as foreign BAföG, scholarships, student loans and child benefit. Whether or not you can be sure of receiving child benefit while studying abroad depends on various factors.
Tip: It is best for students to start planning a degree abroad nine months in advance. Students can get comprehensive support with preparation from free consulting agencies.
Requirements for receiving child benefit while studying abroad
Under what conditions do students even receive child benefit when studying abroad? Anyone who opts for child benefit as a source of funding for their studies abroad should first clarify the general requirements for receiving child benefit. Students of legal age are entitled to child benefit if they meet the following requirements, among others:
- You have German citizenship and your place of residence or habitual abode is in Germany. In addition, EU citizens entitled to free movement and EEA citizens with permanent residence in Germany can also apply for child benefit.
- You are in vocational training that also includes a first and second degree.
- You have not yet turned 25.
- You are not married yet. With the marriage, the parents’ obligation to provide maintenance ceases as a rule if the income of the spouse who is primarily responsible for maintenance is sufficiently high.
- The income and remuneration with which students earn their living or their vocational training must not exceed the income limit of 8,004 euros per year.
The child benefit is currently at least 190 euros per month. As a rule, your parents are entitled to receive child benefit. However, if you are already earning your own living or receiving funding, it makes sense to agree to pay out the child benefit to you.
Child benefit in the Academic Gap Year
Do you lose your entitlement to child benefit if you take an academic gap year? Many high school graduates are concerned with this question when they want to take time off after school to get to know other countries and find their dream course. If high school graduates enroll in the Academic Gap Year at a foreign university, it is usually possible to receive child benefit without any problems, as they are in an apprenticeship at this time.
If there are several months between the Abitur and the start of the Academic Gap Years, Abitur graduates can specify this time as a bridging phase between graduation and the start of their studies. The family benefits office allows up to four months as a bridging phase without further evidence.
Child benefit when studying abroad in a non-EU country
If students strive for a short-term stay abroad in the form of a semester abroad or a summer session in a non-EU country, this is usually possible without any problems. The entitlement to child benefit remains as long as it is only a short-term, limited stay abroad and the permanent residence remains in Germany. A short-term study stay abroad must not exceed 12 months.
If this is the case, it is a partial or full study abroad. In that case, specific requirements apply to receiving child benefit while studying abroad.
Special features for child benefit in partial or full studies
Anyone planning to complete part or all of their studies abroad, for example to obtain a country-specific degree, must provide proof of domicile in Germany. If you want to stay abroad for more than a year in a non-EU country such as Australia or Canada, the family benefits office will check whether the student is still domiciled in Germany.
In order to continue to be entitled to child benefit funding, students must prove that they will use the domestic apartment for temporary living during the period when they are not in training. The duration of the stay at the domestic place of residence is determined by the total duration of the planned study abroad.
Important: For the duration of the domestic stay, it is irrelevant whether the student has already been abroad for a longer period before the start of or after the end of the course. Only stays at your domestic place of residence during your studies count.
For the length of the duration, however, there is no generally applicable regulation as to whether child benefit is also granted when studying abroad during a multi-year stay abroad while maintaining the domicile in Germany.
Example case: A student is completing a two-year LLM degree in the USA. In order to continue to be entitled to child benefit while studying abroad, he spends five months a year in his parents’ home in Germany. In this case – further requirements must always be met – the entitlement to child benefit is sufficient.
Part-time job and child benefit while studying abroad
Employment that is detrimental to claims for child benefit exists if the regular weekly working time of 20 hours is exceeded. Calculated over a whole working year, it is possible to exceed the weekly working time of 20 hours for a maximum of 2 months.
However, the limit of 20 hours as an annual mean must be adhered to. The amount of income from employment is irrelevant. Minor employment or the management of one’s own assets, on the other hand, do not count as undemanding gainful employment.