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30 Hours free/funded childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

If you are a working family, you could get 30 hours of free/funded childcare per week. This is for 38 weeks of the year (during school term time).

You may be able to get free/funded childcare for more weeks if you use fewer than 30 hours per week. Check with your childcare provider to find out if this is something they offer.

To be eligible

You (and your partner if you have one) must have a National Insurance number and at least one of the following: 

  • British or Irish citizenship 
  • Settled or pre-settled status or been living in the UK before 1 January 2021 with the right to reside
  • permission to access public funds - your UK residence card will tell you if you cannot do this

You, and any partner, must each expect to earn (on average) at least £152 per week. That is equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage each.

You, and any partner, must earn less than £100,000 a year each.

In a two-parent household:

  • both parents must meet the requirements relating to employment and earnings.
  • Only one parent needs to meet the residence requirement.

You can get 30 hours free/funded childcare at the same time as claiming:

  • Universal Credit,
  • tax credits,
  • childcare vouchers
  • Tax-Free Childcare.

You may be eligible if you, or your partner, are on:

  • maternity
  • paternity
  • or adoption leave.

You may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get:

  • Incapacity Benefit,
  • Severe Disablement Allowance,
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Contribution based Employment and Support Allowance

If you foster your child, speak to your social worker and your local authority if you want to apply.

When can I access 30 hours

You can apply from when your child is 2 years and 36 weeks old.

You need to apply the term before you want to take up a place. 

If your child is already 3 and you apply for your code now. They can get their 30 hours from the beginning of the next term.

If your child turns 3 between 1 January and 31 March – they can get a 30 hour place from April but only if you applied for your code before 31 March. If your child turns 3 between 1 April and 31 August – they can get a 30 hour place from September but only if you applied for your code before 31 August. If your child turns 3 between 1 September and 31 December – they can get a 30 hour place from January but only if you applied for your code before 31 December

If you’re starting or re-starting work in:

September 2022, apply NOW before 1 September.

January 2023, you will need to apply in December 2022.

April 2023, you will need to apply in March 2023.

What isn't covered by the 30 hours free/funded childcare offer?

It is not intended to cover the costs of:

  • meals, snacks, drinks
  • nappies or sun cream,
  • more hours,
  • extra activities (such as trips).

Providers may charge a fee for these. They should offer other options. If you choose to pay for these, it is an arrangement between you and the childcare provider.

Childcare providers cannot make you pay any fee as a condition of taking up a 30 hour place.

Providers can charge a refundable deposit.


Need help setting up your account or to get a code call the HMRC helpline 0300 1234097

Watch this video to find out how to apply

Hear what a parent has to say about 30 hours