If you have worked in Germany, it’s likely you paid into a pension fund. No doubt you are looking forward to getting your hands on these hard-earned savings one day.
But what happens if you are not planning to live in Germany in the long term? And, if you have already left Germany, can you claim your pension contributions back?
In this guide, we are going to outline how to claim a refund of your German pension contributions.
Who can claim pension refunds when leaving Germany?
If you are employed in Germany, you are automatically required to set aside money for your retirement. Around 9.5% of your monthly gross salary is sent to the German statutory pension scheme - Deutsche Rentenversicherung.
You may be wondering what happens to the money you paid after you leave Germany.
If you are a US or other non-EU citizen and have worked in Germany for less than five years, you can claim back your German state pension contributions. However, you must wait two years after you leave Germany before claiming.
This also depends on which non-EU country you are from and which EU countries you have worked in.
You must contact the German pension office and explain your situation and private circumstances.
How to claim your German pension refund?
First and foremost, you should find out if you are eligible for a refund, depending on your nationality.
- Only people from countries NOT in the EU/EEA can apply for pension refunds
- Nationality and residency are important. If a US national is currently living in the EU they can’t claim pension refund now, they must first return to the US.
- If you have not reached the German age for retirement, you should wait the 24 month period, which starts from the day you leave Germany.
- Keep in mind that even after this period, you cannot apply for your refund, if you have not left the EU (European Union), EEA (The European Economic Area), CH (Switzerland) regions.
- A person should have worked less than five years in Germany if they have worked longer they are eligible to receive retirement pension and can’t avail of the pension contributions refund.
A few exceptions: Citizens from Israel, Macedonia, Serbia or the EU are NOT entitled to the pension refund.
The pension contributions in Germany will be included in their pension in their home country.
Students, who worked as trainees are not entitled to a pension refund. Furthermore, they are usually not paying any pension insurance in Germany. This could be confirmed by a German embassy or a local authority.
Once you have your forms completed, you must add a copy of your passport and send it to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung.
Afterwards, you should wait up to six months before the Deutsche Rentenversicherung reviews your case. They will send you a ‘Bescheid’ letter, to the address you provided in the application form. It should contain the period of contribution and the amount refunded.
It’s important to be aware that, while you can apply in any language, Deutsche Rentenversicherung replies only in formal German. So, depending on your level of German, this can make the process more difficult.
Many foreigners find it difficult to communicate with Deutsche Rentenversicherung, because of the language barrier, the distance or the bureaucracy.
If you find the prospect of applying for your German Pension Refund to be daunting, Taxback.com can help you.
Taxback.com takes the stress out of applying for your German Pension refund.
Our agents will keep you updated throughout the process and communicate directly with the German pension office on your behalf.
Feel free to contact us, and ask us any questions. We have Live Chat support and our tax experts are available 24/7.
How to apply with Taxback.com?
The process is as simple as possible. You will need to complete a registration form and send us cоpies of your final payment document, passport/ ID card, and current bank account statement. Email this to us, and leave all the hard paperwork to the experts!
Why choose Taxback.com?
-We have more than 20 years of experience- Our tax experts have already processed over ½ billion euro in refunds
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No refund, no fee
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The average German pension insurance refund is €3032