Focus on 30 hours’ free childcare

Have you been claiming 30 hours’ free childcare overseas and are now being posted back to England? You will need to apply for a new 30 hours’ childcare code at as codes issued overseas are not valid in the UK.

You can apply from when your child is 2 years and 36 weeks old. Children qualify from the term following their third birthday. You must have a valid code by the end of the month before a new term starts.

Table showing 30 hours childcare details

You have to reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months. If you apply more than 3 months before the term starts, you’ll have to reconfirm your eligibility in your account to keep your code valid.

If you are having problems obtaining a code, contact the HMRC helpline on 0300 123 4097. In some cases, parents cannot sign up online and, if eligible, HMRC can issue a manual code.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have different childcare offers.
Please click here to find out more.

If you are currently overseas, or being posted overseas, Service parents and entitled MOD Civilians can access the 15 and 30 hours’ free childcare for their 3 and 4 year olds in MOD schools and settings. Where there are no MOD schools/settings accessible, a refund of actual fees paid can be applied for by means of Overseas Nursery Allowance.

Click here to download a handy poster.

UPDATE: If anyone is having issues applying for a 30 hours free childcare code online, email and HMRC will issue a manual code.


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