Age rating

If you wish to offer computer games in Germany to the public, you need an age rating which you will obtain from the USK. The legal basis for this is the Children and Young Persons Protection Act (JuSchG). The examination procedure is regulated by the USK General Policy Statement. Age ratings for online games and apps result from the separate IARC procedure. You can find more information on this here.

How to acquire a rating:

  • In order to examine a product we need some details on the title in question. Please complete the submission form and send all material, the data carrier containing the fully-playable title, manuals, cover artwork and further aids that are helpful for examination (cheats, walkthroughs, save games, high-level characters) to the following address:

    USK - Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Unterhaltungssoftware GmbH
    Torstr. 6
    10119 Berlin
    Germany

  • As soon as the title reaches us, you will receive a confirmation email with the reference number. In the event that the game cannot be examined because documentation is missing or the game is incomplete, we will contact you immediately.
  • After the title has been reviewed and examined, you will receive the USK notification by email to the contact person stated on the submission form.
  • Please see our cost overview for the various fees.

Legal background

In Germany since 01.04.2003 the Children and Young Persons Protection Act has regulated in legally binding manner the granting of German age ratings for games which are published on data carrier (JuSchG , Arts. 12, 14; Link). Consequently you have an obligation to label your product if you wish to sell it on the German market and make it publicly available to minors. In this case you must apply for a USK rating. German traders are obliged to observe the age classification at the time of sale. Infringements may mean fines of up to 50.000 Euro.

Examination of the material results in the following age classifications: "USK - Approved for children 0 and above" (“Approved without age restriction"), "USK - Approved for children aged 6 and above", "USK - Approved for children aged 12 and above", "USK - Approved for children aged 16 and above", "USK – Not approved for young persons aged under 18", and "Rating refused". You will be informed about the outcome by a USK notification. The examination result: "Rating refused in accordance with Art. 14 JuSchG" informs you about evidence that the product may not be able to be distributed in a legally secure manner in Germany. You can also publish a game of this type for adults without a rating; this may however mean that the title is endangered to be placed on the prohibited list (“Index”) or seized (“beschlagnahmt”).

An examination procedure may be interrupted as a result of a decision by the Classification Committee (case of doubt) to request an expert report by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM). The USK will resume the procedure as soon as the expert report by the BPjM has been submitted (see USK General Policy Statement, Art. 10, Section 10).

The Federal States are the bodies responsible for the implementation of the Children and Young Persons Protection Act as this is legislation at Federal level and thus implement the age classification in practice. The process is carried out by the Supreme Youth Authorities of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) whose lead management has been agreed by all 16 Federal States. NRW has appointed Permanent Representatives to the USK from which one at a time is present at every examination decision, adopt the Classification Committee's recommendation for approval or appeal against it. An applicant too, can object to an examination result (see USK General Policy Statement, Arts. 13, 14, 15).

Once all time frames for appeals have expired, an administrative act is issued. An age rating once issued must be displayed when publishing the cover artwork as well as on the data carrier, in accordance with the statutory requirements (see labelling regulations of the Children and Young Persons Protection Act - JuSchG).

Since 2014, age ratings and content descriptors of the USK are being issued using the IARC (“International Age Rating Coalition”) system for online games and apps. More information on this can be found here.

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Contact

Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK)
Torstr. 6
10119 Berlin, Germany

Telephone: +49 30 240 8866 0
Fax: +49 30 240 8866 29

Send email

Submission form

Here you can find the submission form for an age classification.

Download

Age rating