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Information and advice for EU citizens/ EU social security coordination

September 26, 2016

You have plans for a stay in another EU country or in Norway, Island, Liechtenstein or Switzerland? You would like to go there for work or as a tourist? Perhaps you would like to move to one of these countries? Maybe you would like to spend your retirement abroad? In these cases, you have to keep a couple of things in mind to be on the safe side when it comes to your social protection.

Three pieces of paper are attached to a clothes line - two of them have exclamation marks on them, the other one a question mark

Staying in or moving to other EU countries, Norway, Island, Liechtenstein or Switzerland

If you want to take up employment in another Member State, the laws of that Member State will apply to your employment relationship. In return, German laws on social protection apply to citizens of other EU Member States who work for an employer in Germany. There are exceptions from these basic rules, especially for posted workers from other Member States and for persons who are employed in two or more Member States. You will find detailed information on the rules which apply in these special cases in the European Commission’s Practical guide - The applicable legislation in the EU, EEA and in Switzerland (2013) and on the website of the Deutsche Verbindungsstelle Krankenversicherung - Ausland (DVKA) (in German).

Handling of A 1 attestations for activities arranged at short notice and short-term activities in other EU countries, the EEA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as well as Switzerland

If you stay in another European country for a short period of time or spend your holidays there and require medical services, e.g. by a doctor or at a hospital, the terms which would apply to citizens of that country when accessing these services will also apply to you. Your European Health Insurance Card will help you prove your claim to these services. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is usually printed at the back of the health insurance cards of persons with German statutory health insurance. On its website, the European Commission provides examples of EHICs from all EU Member States. On the website you will also find information on the scope of medical treatment and on the health-care systems of the different EU countries.

Perhaps you live abroad? In this case, should you get sick, you have a right to benefits-in-kind such as medical services and medicine in your country of residence, regardless of where you are insured. You have a right to the same treatment which a citizen of your country of residence would get. If you are insured outside your country of residence, we advise you to register with the health insurance fund at your place of residence. Ask your health insurance fund to provide you with an "S1 form" and submit it to the health insurance fund at your place of residence. This procedure is commonly used by retired citizens NOT living in the country from which they get their pension and where they are insured.

General information on the benefits offered by the social security funds in cases of illness, accidents at work or occupational diseases are available on the website of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (in German) and on the website of the German Statutory Accident Insurance.

Information for retired citizens

Are you a retired citizen? As a general rule, statutory German pensions are paid out in full and without delay or changes, regardless of where in the EU you live at the time the pension is paid out.

Having worked in more than one Member State will also not put you at a disadvantage. It is true that there is no "European pension", but as a general rule every country pays pensions in the framework of European and national legal provisions. More information on pensions abroad is available on the "International" section of the website of the German Statutory Pension Insurance Scheme and on the website of the European Commission.

MISSOC (Mutual Information System on Social Protection)

If you are interested in comparative information on the social protection systems of the EU Member States, you may want to visit the website of the Mutual Information System on Social Protection (MISSOC), an EU system providing information on social protection.

MISSOC publishes comparative tables on the social protection systems:

  • of 32 countries (the 28 EU Member States as well as Island, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland),
  • in the following 12 areas: financing, health care, sickness, maternity, invalidity, old-age, survivors, accidents at work and occupational diseases, family benefits, unemployment, guaranteed minimum resources, long-term care,
  • and in more than 300 individual categories

The information is available in German, English and French. The information on the national systems is updated regularly and is presented in the form of detailed tables.