Any child between the ages of 5 and 21 who has not graduated from high school is entitled to a free public education.

Pre-k begins the year a child turns 4. It is encouraged but not mandatory, and every child is guaranteed a seat.

Children are required to enter kindergarten in the calendar year that they turn 5-years-old. The only exceptions are if children are homeschooled, attend a private school, are moving from another city where age requirements may be different, or if their parents choose to keep them out of kindergarten and enroll them directly in 1st grade the following year.

Most middle schools serve children in grades 6 to 8, but a few start in 5th or 7th grade. There are also k-8, 6-12 and even k-12 schools. High schools serve grades 9-12; a few six-year high schools provide two years of free college level work.

To register, you’ll need your child and the following documents: proof of address (a lease and utility bill), proof of your child's age (a passport or birth certificate), school records if you have them, and immunization records.
You do not need a green card or a Social Security number to register your child.

You may not register or apply to schools until you actually live in the city.

Sometimes parents try to pretend their child lives with a relative so he can go to a better school, but it's risky. School officials may make a home visit to see if a child actually lives at the given address. They sometimes even check closets for clothes and toys.

If you move within the city, your child may continue to attend his old school until graduation or transfer to a school in his new community.

For more information, see New to NYC?