How to apply
Parents must apply directly to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) not the Local Authority or the Childcare Provider.
Parents can apply for places either through an online application system via the Childcare Choices website:
Or by phone at the Customer Interaction Centre (which should also be used if you have any queries)
Tel: 0300 123 4097
You, and your partner, if you have one, will need your:
- National Insurance number(s)
- Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), if you’re self-employed
- Details of one or more of the following -your UK passport, tax credits, P60 or a recent pay slip.
- In some cases, additional checks may be needed to confirm whether you’re eligible, so it’s very important to apply in good time
If you are found ineligible, HMRC will tell you why.
The application process for the 30 hours extended free entitlement and Tax Free Childcare will be aligned so a parent need only apply once to HMRC for both schemes.
If eligible HMRC will set up a secure online account for parents, called the Government Gateway. The parent will receive a Government Gateway ID and can access details of the eligibility code for the 30hr place. You can find your code in 'secure messages'. In this section, there will be an online style letter which will include your code. Most codes will start with 500*.
There will be an eligibility code per parent / child combination, therefore multiple birth siblings will each have their own code.
Parents will take their code to an approved childcare provider or school nursery of their choice to show they are eligible for the additional 15 hours free childcare.
Your childcare provider will check your code is valid and you can then reserve a 30hours place.
Apply for a place in plenty of time
We recommend that you apply in good time. You can apply up to 16 weeks before your child turns three.
You must have received your valid voucher code from HMRC on or before the dates below to be eligible for a place in the following term.
The child will be entitled to a free place from:
By December 31st
1st January Onwards-Spring Term
By March 31st
1st April Onwards-Summer Term
By August 31st
1st September Onwards-Autumn Term
If you receive a voucher code mid-term, the funded place will be available at the start of the next term. There are no mid-term starts available for the funded places.
Remember you must reconfirm that you are eligible every 3 months from your online Government Gateway account. If you do not reconfirm your eligibility, the code will become invalid and you are at risk of losing funding for the 30-hour place.