Social Security Overview and Eligibility

A social security number is only necessary if you are receiving social security benefits from the German government, which in most instances, will not be the case. (See our section on Medical Insurance). It is your visa and resident permit that will affect your ability to open a bank account, apply for a job and rent an apartment. You will need your permit for most official applications.

As an EU citizen or a citizen of an European Economic Area member state, you are entitled to retain and transfer your benefits between European countries. As an EU citizen residing in Berlin, you will be eligible for social security, unemployment benefits, pension and income support. However, you will need to prove that you have made contributions in your home country or previous country of residence to your local employment agency (Arbeitsagentur).

USA, Canada and Australia all have social security agreements in place with Germany that allow you as a citizen to make a claim for benefits. Additionally, you are exempt from paying the German pension contribution. You will also need to provide certification that you are eligible for cover in your home country to your local employment agency (Arbeitsagentur).