Universal entitlement is 15 hours per week for all 3 and 4 year olds. The extended entitlement (30 hours) is an additional 15 hours for eligible working parents. The two combined total 30 hours a week during term time, or stretched over the year at fewer hours per week, up to a maximum of 1,140 hours per year.
Foster carers will need to follow a different process to apply – please see Frequently Asked Questions section on this page.
The application process above is managed by HMRC. Their Childcare Choices website also offers a comparison guide for all the ways you can reduce childcare costs. The HMRC Childcare Choices helpline number is 0300 123 4097.
Your child must be at least 2 years and 6 months old before you will be able to make an application using the online system.
Once your child turns three, and you have confirmed your eligibility with HMRC, you can start claiming from the beginning of the next funding period, ie 1 April, 1 September or 1 January.
The deadline for receiving your HMRC Code is the last day of the month, before the next funding period starts. For example to access extended entitlement from 1 January the code you receive from HMRC must be dated on, or before, 31 December. If you apply for and are eligible but are not issued with an HMRC Code by 31 December, the extended funding entitlement will be available from the following funding period 1 April.
If you are eligible you'll get an 11 digit eligibility code. You will need to keep this safe, as you will need to provide this to your childcare provider to access your place along with your child's date of birth and your national insurance number.
Every three months, you'll need to reconfirm that you're still eligible for the extended entitlement. HMRC will send a reminder four weeks before the deadline. You don't need to update your provider every time you reconfirm, however please notify your provider if you fall out of eligibility.
You can also create an optional account on our Citizen Portal (Cambridgeshire County Council) to help manage your funding requests and view your funding period, see ‘Citizen Portal’ FAQ below
Choosing a childcare provider
You will need to choose one or more eligible childcare providers that have the capacity to offer you a childcare place/s for the hours you need. Visit our looking for childcare page where you can search for local provision and look at the types of childcare available.
Additional charges may apply for certain services at specific childcare providers, and not all entitlements may be available at all times of day. Please check with providers for any restrictions or additional charges.