September 2020: 6 changes affecting expats in Germany

September 2020: 6 changes affecting expats in Germany

From the first child bonus to new rules for firearms owners, there’s plenty of changes coming to Germany as August becomes September. Here’s six changes expats in Germany should know about. 

1. First Kinderbonus to be paid out

Good news for all families in Germany: the first instalment of the so-called child benefit bonus (Kindergeldbonus), a key component of the coronavirus economic stimulus package, will be paid out in September.

The family benefits office has announced that they will begin distributing the bonus as of September 7. The first instalment of 200 euros will be paid to families together with their regular child benefits. A second instalment of 100 euros will follow in October 2020. 

When exactly you will receive your money is determined by the final digit of your child benefit number. If it’s a zero, the money will reach you on September 7; for all other digits, the payments will gradually be made over the course of the month. The parents of around 18 million children and young people are entitled to receive the bonus. 

2. Stricter mask controls on trains in Germany

Due to repeated violations, Deutsche Bahn has announced that it will intensify mask controls on trains in Germany from September 1. Up to now, the train company has been checking mask compliance on around 60 long-distance trains per day, with the help of the federal police. Now, they want to double the number of controls and check around 120 trains per day. Controls will also be intensified at inner-city train stations. 

More security personnel are to be deployed to ensure that all passengers are wearing their masks correctly. “Wearing a mask is not a non-binding recommendation, but an obligation. It is therefore unacceptable to us if individuals do not adhere to the rules,” said DB safety chief Hans-Hilmar Rischke. 

3. Higher prices (and prizes) on the German lottery

As of September 23, a “6aus49” lottery ticket will cost 20 cents more (1,20 euros). In return, lottery organisers promise higher prizes: if you get two correct numbers plus a super number, you will win six euros, instead of five euros, as before. With six correct numbers without a super number, it should be possible for several winners to receive prizes of more than a million euros.

At the same time, however, an upper jackpot limit of 45 million euros will be introduced.

4. Tightening of the weapons law

The Third Weapon Rights Amendment Act (3. WaffRÄndG) brings far-reaching changes into force in September. From now on, authorities will always be required to ask the Office for the Protection of the Constitution whether an applicant is known to be an extremist before granting a weapon permit. Anyone who is a member of an anti-constitutional association will be classified as unreliable in terms of weapon laws.

The National Weapons Register has also been restructured to enable traceability of all firearms. Accordingly, the entire life cycle of a weapon should be documented - from production to rendering unusable. 

The permissible size of magazines for certain firearms will also be limited, and every five years gun owners will have to prove that they still have a “need” to own a gun - for example, if they go hunting or are a member of a shooting club. Certain semi-automatic firearms will also be banned.

5. Electronic cash registers have to be retrofitted

Since January, all retailers in Germany have had to present their customers with a receipt for the goods they buy, in order to make payment processes traceable. It was therefore stipulated that all electronic cash registers would have to have a security device certified by the Federal Office for Security Technology (BSI), to enable payment data to be recorded digitally. Originally, businesses had until September 30 to convert their sales systems.

Now, however, all federal states except for Bremen have extended the deadline and will only be policing systems from March 2021 onwards. However, the prerequisite for this extension is that companies can prove that they placed an order to have their system converted - the exact deadline varies from state to state. 

6. Duty to file for insolvency suspended beyond September 30

In order to support companies experiencing financial distress due to the coronavirus crisis, the federal government has suspended the obligation to file for insolvency for over-indebted companies. This should give them leeway “to apply for state aid and to push ahead with restructuring efforts,” said Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht. 

This suspension was originally due to expire on September 30 but, in order to prevent a wave of bankruptcies, the deadline has been extended until the end of the year. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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