International Office

Bringing your family on a research stay

Information regarding childcare, schools, employment opportunities for partners, and financial assistance for families.

Familie Hände Kind
Familie an der RUB


In Germany, childcare is generally provided for children ages one to seven, or untill they enrol in school. For children between the ages of one and three, there is the option of placement in a daycare center (Kita) or in private daycare (Tagesmutter/Tagesvater) and children three and older are cared for in a daycare center or kindergarten.

If you require childcare assistance, please register on the Kitaportal of the city of Bochum and contact the Family Service of Ruhr-Universität. They are happy to support you in finding a suitable childcare placement for your child.

Benefits for families

Child allowance (Kindergeld)

In Germany, parents can apply for child allowance for their children up to the age of eighteen. Foreign parents can also eligible for this benefit if they reside in Germany. If the applicant resides outside of Germany, (s)he may still be eligible if the applicant is subject to income tax liability in Germany.

Application process:
The application must be submitted in written form to the respective Family or Child Benefit Office. All necessary forms are available online.
We recommend you submit an application and familiarise yourself in detail with the responsibilities of the Family Offices as well as your own rights. Currently, a residence permit for the purpose of (doctoral) study does not constitute eligibility for child allowance. Therefore, if you hold this kind of residence permit, you should verify if your partner is eligible.

Parental Allowance (Elterngeld and Elterngeld Plus)

Parental allowance is meant to compensate for loss of income after the birth of a child. The allowance and eligibility requirements vary according to the parents' employment situation after the birth of the child.

Eligibility requirements:
Mothers and fathers are eligible for parental allowance if they...

  • are entitled to pursue gainful employment,
  • pursue gainful employment for no more than 30 hours a week,
  • care for and raise their children themselves after birth,
  • live in the same home with their children and
  • reside in Germany.

Application process and deadlines:
Parental allowance must be requested from the relevant local authority using a form that can be completed online and must be submitted bearing an original signature. The application does not have to be submitted immediately after the child's birth. However, retroactive payments can only be made for the three months immediately preceding the beginning of the month in which the application for parental allowance was received.

Source: passages taken from EURAXESS


In North Rhine-Westphalia, compulsory education starts with primary school (years one-four), after which pupils have the choice between three different types of school in Germany’s multi-track educational system: Hauptschule ends after year nine or ten with a certificate called Hauptschulabschluss. Realschule ends after year ten with the Realschulabschluss. Gymnasium ends after year twelve with an Abitur, which is the prerequisite to enter a university. In addition, there are comprehensive schools as well as the new secondary schools (since 2012) which combine various types of schooling and issue various school-leaving certificates.

Public schools are free in Germany. However, you have to pay for some of the books, teaching materials and excursions. In the field of general education, there are only a few private or international schools that charge fees. The local school authority can provide information about the particulars of the school system in your area.

The choice of school is usually made after a personal visit and consultation with a member of the school leadership team. The academic year begins after the summer holidays in August or September, depending on the federal state. In Germany, most classes are held during the morning hours. However, North Rhine-Westphalia is currently expanding various forms of day schooling.

Accompanying partners

Employment opportunities

If you are accompanying your partner to Bochum and plan to look for a job, you need to read up on the employment regulations (Chapter 6.4 in the Guide for international researchers). Please go to your local Foreigners‘ Office (Ausländerbüro) or the German embassy or consulate to find out whether you are eligible to engage in gainful employment and which documents may be required.

Job offers

Weekend editions of newspapers, online platforms and bulletin boards are good places to find job advertisements. The job centres run by the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) can also help you find job offers best suited to you. If European, you could make use of the European job portal "EURES", which provides useful information and job offers. You can also consult EURES staff at the local employment agencies to gain helpful hints and advice.

Forumsplatz Familie Kind

You would like your family to join you in Germany or invite family members for a visit?

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