Working in Germany: the official website
for qualified professionals

Social security

General information

If you’re a skilled professional returning to Germany after a longer stay abroad, your prospects of getting a foot back on the ladder are excellent. If you’ve been seconded to a post abroad, your company will probably refer you to a relocation agency that will give you all the information you need and take care of the most important work. However, if you’re planning your return by yourself, there a few points to consider. Our section on “Jobs” has answers to many important questions around issues like how to apply for a new job in Germany, social security and the German tax system. For information on “family reunification”, “schools”, “kindergarten” or “flat hunting”, please consult our section on “Living in Germany” and our section on “Study & training”. You can obtain advice on open questions or placement support in the run-up to your return and an individual returnee information package from the Federal Employment Agency (BA) here.

Social security

If your job in Germany is subject to social security contributions, your employer is required to register you with the statutory social security providers (unemployment, pension, health, disability care and accident insurance). Your employer’s HR department should do this automatically as soon as you start your job – provided that you and your family have registered with a German health insurance company. Click here for additional information on the social security systems in the EU, the EEA and Switzerland.


Your first pay slip will state the amount you and your employer are paying in social security contributions. This makes it easy for you to check that your employer has actually registered you.

Health and disability care insurance

In 2009, Germany made it mandatory for every person living in the country to buy health insurance, either under the statutory system or from a private provider. So don’t forget to register yourself and your family with a healthcare provider as soon as you arrive in Germany. Whether you’re eligible for private or statutory healthcare or can choose between the two will depend on the type of insurance you had prior to leaving Germany, on the length of your stay abroad, and on your job in Germany. If you’re returning from an EU Member State, a country within the EEA or Switzerland, you should ask your insurance provider to issue you with form E 104, which will serve as proof of insurance for the time you had insurance cover under the foreign country’s healthcare system. This will help ensure that you can benefit from full coverage as soon as you come back.

A point to remember: Your initial point of contact should be the healthcare provider you had before you left Germany. Ask them about the insurance plans you can choose between when you come back to Germany.

Pension insurance

You may be entitled to transfer the pension entitlements you have obtained abroad to Germany. However, this applies only to countries in the EU and the EEA and for Switzerland, and only to any of these countries that you spent at least a year working in. You will need to furnish form PD U1 as proof of insurance. Click here to go to a register of foreign agencies that can issue form PD U1. If in doubt, contact Deutsche Rentenversicherung (German Pension Insurance) for advice.  

A point to remember: It’s a good idea to collect all your certificates, diplomas etc. that can serve as proof of employment.

Information on the web

Federal Employment Agency

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