I am 18 years old. I am old now

Rights and obligations from 18

Legal anchoring of the age of majority

In Germany, legal age is considered to be of legal age Section 2 of the Federal Code with the completion of the 18th year of life. You are officially no longer a child, but an adult. This allows you to make your own decisions, but you also have to justify your actions or take responsibility for them.

But it wasn't always the case in Germany that you came of age at the age of 18. It was not until March 22, 1974 that the Bundestag decided to reduce the age limit for the age of majority from 21 to 18 years, because one had to perform extensive duties before reaching the age of 21. On January 1, 1975, the new legal regulation came into force.

New rights and obligations arise

For this reason, since the age of 18 you have been able to write an apology for school yourself, sign lease contracts, conclude an apprenticeship contract, run a company, take out loans, move out of home or draw up a will. A.However, you have to answer for each of these actions not only before yourself, but also before the law and, in the worst case, in court. We have compiled your new rights and obligations in the following picture gallery.

The A -Z of the age of majority:


The legal restrictions are now removed for you. You can buy high-proof alcohol and drink it in public at any time. After drinking alcohol, you should definitely leave the car in the garage. Since 2007, novice drivers are no longer allowed to drink alcohol at all, there is an absolute ban on alcohol behind the wheel. What many seasoned drivers do not know: Combined with driving errors such as wavy lines, as little as 0.3 per thousand can lead to the withdrawal of the driving license.

working hours

The Youth Labor Protection Act, which protects apprentices and employees under 18, is no longer valid for you. You can now work more than 40 hours a week. Also allowed: weekend work as well as shift and piece work. With a daily working time of six hours, a short break time to half an hour is now common.

Going out

Celebrate until the morning hours and stay in pubs, discos or bars as long as possible. Everything no problem anymore. The landlord or the cleaning team still have the last word on the subject of curfew.


If both partners are of legal age, they may - even without the consent of the parents or the family court - marry. If you do not want to wait until you are of legal age, you have to file an application with the family court. But even in this case one of the partners must be of legal age.

Driver's license

The first jaunt in their own car or in that of their parents is an absolute highlight for many. You can of course start your driver training before your 18th birthday. You can take the theoretical exam three months and the practical one month before your 17th birthday. If you got your driving license at the age of 17 and have owned it for a year, you can now drive unaccompanied. What applies to all ages: First of all, the driver's license is only available on a trial basis. If you pass the two-year probationary period without prejudice, you will receive the unlimited driving license. For buses with more than 8 passenger seats and other class D vehicles, however, you must be at least 21 years old.


You can now open a current account at a bank or savings bank without the consent of your parents. Also You can now use credit cards and you will be granted an overdraft facility. Prerequisite: You have a regular monthly income.

Legal capacity

You are now fully legally competent and are allowed to carry out all legal transactions yourself, e.g. Conclude contracts of all kinds (purchase contract, rental contract, etc.). This can be done without the consent of a legal representative. You bear the risk for your actions all by yourself, you have to fulfill all obligations yourself.


From the age of 18 you do not have to automatically take out insurance. In most cases, you will remain insured with your parents even after your 18th birthday. As long as you are unmarried and are still completing an apprenticeship (school, university, professional training), you will remain insured, regardless of age. Insurance cover ends with completion of training or studies.

Protection of minors

At 18 there are no longer any restrictions under the Youth Protection Act. You can go out as long as you want, watch any film and consume any age-restricted magazines, videos, PC games, etc.

Child benefit

Basically your parents get it child benefit up to the age of 18 for you. The further payment depends primarily on whether you are in training and what income you have. If you complete a degree or an apprenticeship, do a voluntary social year or have not found an apprenticeship despite efforts, the state pays up to the age of 25.

Litigation - criminal law - testability

Process capability: You now have the right to conduct legal proceedings yourself or through an appointed representative (lawyer). You are fully process capable. - Criminal law: From the age of 18 you are solely responsible for your actions and are fully responsible. Up to the age of 21 one is considered an adolescent and can still be treated for a criminal offense according to youth criminal law. Personal maturity is crucial for this. - Testability: This means that you can write your own will. You are officially `` capable of making a testimony '', which is the prerequisite for a legally binding will. You can also accept or refuse an inheritance.


The school mail is now going straight to you. Apologies, reprimands, and testimonials no longer need to be signed by your parents, you can do that yourself from now on. You can also choose which type of school you would like to attend. Nevertheless, you cannot avoid compulsory schooling.


Young womenwho become mothers at 18 and are unmarried, usually get the only onecare for the child. However, a special declaration at the youth welfare office makes it possible to apply for and exercise parental custody together with the father.


Now you have full voting rights, both active and passive. You can now your Make crosses in Euorpa, municipal, state and federal elections. In addition, you have the passive right to vote, which means that you can now also stand for election and be elected. What many do not know: You can now also be elected to the staff or works council of your employer.


At the age of 18, you can move out of home and decide where you live from now on. Many dream of their own four walls, you can now fulfill this. But when you look at the costs (rent, ancillary costs, internet, etc.), many people quickly lose their desire for their own apartment. A room in a shared apartment is usually much cheaper than your own apartment.

No matter how you choose, you should definitely be precise think about and check whether your financial means are sufficient. After all, in addition to the apartment or room, you also have to make a living (groceries, hobbies, car, etc.). If you can afford your own apartment, you should definitely take out household insurance to protect yourself against damage caused by fire, hail, theft or vandalism, for example.