This is how you get your pension contributions refunded after leaving Germany

Part of working, next to paying the bills and following your career path, is putting money aside for when you retire. Maybe you’re dreaming about using that money to live quietly in a cottage by the sea or to travel the world. Picture it already: doing whatever you want with your time, spending it with your loved ones and pursuing your passions. Until then, like most Germans, you’re probably looking forward to getting your hard-earned pension someday.

But what if you don’t plan on living in Germany much longer? Don’t worry, those monthly pension contributions won’t just disappear! Keep reading to find out how you can get a pension refund after leaving Germany.

Pension Refund Germany

Pension refund Germany: let’s take a look at the requirements

Most people in Germany automatically pay into the Deutsche Rentenversicherung, or German pension system, each month. You and your employer evenly split the contribution, which is set at 18.7% of your gross income. This is the same for all employees, regardless of their citizenship, contract length or existing private pension contributions. In addition, contributions are made on your behalf even while you’re sick, on unemployment benefits or in occupational training. Once you retire, you receive a regular pension from the government based on your contributions to the system.

Please note that it’s not possible to receive the full 18.7% refunded; only your half will be refunded to you.

If are not an EU citizen and you contributed for less than 5 years (60 months) to the German pension system, then you might qualify for a refund of your contributions according to the exceptions outlined in Article 210 in the sixth book of the code of social law (§ 210 Sozialgesetzbuch Sechstes Buch (SGB VI)). However, there might be additional conditions depending on social security agreements between your country of residence/citizenship and Germany. Currently, there are agreements with the following countries:

Albania, Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada / Quebec, Chile, India, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Morocco, Macedonia, Montenegro, Philippines, Serbia, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, and the United States.

Even if you qualify for the pension refund Germany offers, you still need to apply to receive it.

Finding out how much you might get back

Ok, so now you have an idea about whether you qualify for a refund. But how much will you get?

While living in Germany, you should be receiving yearly pension information in addition to any paperwork from your employer. Of the contributions made to the pension system, only the ones you made (not your employer) are eligible for a refund.

It can be difficult to calculate the amount on your own though. Use a tool like the German pension refund calculator to estimate your pension after retirement and how much you’ve already paid into the system. This one is in German, but only requires your birth year and gross income for each year you lived in Germany. Under “Solidargemeinschaft und Rendite” (collective insurance and return) you can see an estimation of the net contributions to your account, including employer contributions (Gesamte Nettozahlung in die Rentenkasse inklusive Arbeitgeberanteil).

No matter what the German pension refund calculator says, the pension refund Germany offers depends on your specific situation. To get more detailed information about your potential refund, contact a Deutsche Rentenversicherung representative and ask for an overview of your account. This is a free service and just requires you to make an appointment.

You can book an appointment online very easily here.

The process for applying to get a German pension refund

The application process itself is straightforward but I recommend gathering all relevant documentation while you’re still in Germany, so you’re prepared for the application.

  1. First, there’s a two-year waiting period, which starts when you leave the EU/EEA/CH region, as Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 Article 10(2) states that you’re not eligible for a pension refund while residing in a member state.
  2. Once that period is over, you should go to your local German embassy to get the right paperwork (Form V0901 for English or V0902 for French) and check any specific requirements for your country. Forms for specific countries can be found here.
  3. Once the forms are completed, send everything to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung office you were most recently in contact with. The contact information is listed on their website.

And now the wait begins…

While the process isn’t difficult, waiting for the pension refund Germany will send you takes 2 to 6 months. Once that goes through, all contributions so far are removed from your account. You’ll no longer receive pension payments from Germany and if you ever return, you’ll have to start from scratch.

What now? Well, you could take all that money to the casino and try your luck, invest it, use it to start a business, travel the world, add to your savings account… the choice is yours!

I hope you got a clearer idea on how to get your pension refund Germany. Feel free to post a comment if you have any questions.

Hopefully, you can do or buy something nice with it. 🙂


Can i also just wait until i’m retired to get the money?

Yes. Regardless of your citizenship or location at your retirement age (German retirement age: 67), it is also possible to have the German system directly transfer you the pension in monthly installments. However, those installments are likely to be very small as you contributed less than 5 years into the system. It’s usually more beneficial to get a refund and invest that money some other way.

I am a EU citizen; can i get a pension refund too?

No. As long as you live the E.U, the pension system reciprocity agreements between EU member states applies.

Sources; 1, 2,


  • Reply Maxwell Janssens 28/04/2020 at 10:36

    Hi there, I have been working for under 5 years in Germany and am looking to move back home (Canada) soon. I am reading that after 2 years and filing the proper paperwork I would be receiving less than half of my total contributions. Is this common?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/04/2020 at 20:09

      Hey Maxwell. Where did you read that?

  • Reply Zubair 21/04/2020 at 19:52

    Hi, I am an airline pilot in germany with 3 years of contributions into the state pension and will be returning back to the UK. Providing the UK is no longer part of the EU. Could I request for a refund?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/04/2020 at 21:23

      Hey Zubair. After reading this, it seems that the answer is yes for now.

  • Reply Sushant 22/03/2020 at 14:40

    My Dilemma Due to Covid 19 outbreak:

    I will get my 58 the Salary in Germany in this Month which is March 2020.

    I planned Germany withdrawal at end of the month. Then Covid-19 happened and with travel restrictions I am not able to travel to my home country India. My employer is flexible, so I extended my employment by one month till April 2020, which will be my 59th Salary.

    But I see virus outbreak is there to stay for long term and I see less chances of traveling to India. Now I want to save my social security, what options do I have?

    Can I live here as free lancer for few more months? I guess free Lancers do not need to pay social security. So my social security contributions will remain 59 in number but my stay will be more than 5 years. Will I be able to withdraw social security?

    Please guide me. Thanks in advance for help.

  • Reply Alexandra 29/02/2020 at 20:37

    Working so far almost 3 years in Germany (Hamburg) and paying pension and health insurance contributions. I am planning to relocate to another EU state and i need 2 years more to be entitled to a German pension. Do I have the option to continue the contributions for 2 years more and who can i contact this for? Or, do i need to transfer the pension contributions as well as unemployment to the state that i will relocate?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/03/2020 at 23:23

      Hey Alexandra. Have you seen this ? It should answer your questions.

      • Reply Alexandra 09/03/2020 at 15:21

        Thank you very much for the response! Yes I got my answers.

        Many thanks,

  • Reply Kurt Bahnmaier 27/02/2020 at 22:33

    Hi Bastien,

    In order to qualify for a refund of RV-Beiträge for working in Germany fewer than 5 years, it is also a requirement to prove that you have filed German Steuererklärungen with the local Finanzamt office each year that you worked in Germany?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/03/2020 at 23:20

      Hey Kurt. Not to my knowledge no.

  • Reply Ian S 10/02/2020 at 23:09

    I’m British. I lived/worked in Germany from 1978 to 1990 (12 years)

    I know that I made contributions from my salary but, years later, I don’t have any paper work.

    Will I be able to contact somebody and have them find my pension/insurance number/ID? Will I be able to claim a pension when I reach German retirement age? (I’m currently 65 old)

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/02/2020 at 09:50

      Hey Ian S. Do you have at least a reference number to work with?

      • Reply Ian S 12/02/2020 at 21:18

        Sorry. No. After moving home a few times I have nothing.

        • Reply Mirela Marijan Long 11/03/2020 at 19:00

          Not true. My mum just got pension from Germany.

    • Reply Johannes 15/02/2020 at 06:46

      Hi Ian,
      you do not require any documents.
      It might be helpful if you remember the name and address of your former employer and your former address in Germany. Or at least the cities.
      Just send a letter to this address: „Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund 10704 Berlin” and include a copy of your passport. Tell them that you want to claim your pension. You can write your letter in English.

  • Reply Kurt Bahnmaier 25/11/2019 at 11:34

    Hi Bastien, great article and really helpful info as you can see from the comments. A lot of us have specific or difficult questions regarding our own particular pension situations, and you’re right to say consult an expert. Do you have anyone in particular you can recommend? I’m working with someone near Frankfurt who is not very responsive or knowledgeable, would like another option. Thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/11/2019 at 09:51

      Hey Kurt. I’m working on this. I hope i can recommend a service on this post soon.

  • Reply Mani 19/11/2019 at 20:58

    I don’t have the Abmeldung form that I got after de-registration from Germany upon leaving. Is it required as an enclosure with the documents. I also do not have Lohnsteuerkarte from all the years

    • Reply Chauntel 07/01/2020 at 07:09

      Hi my dad dont recieve his pension its been 2months and we are been straving here and they make issue that my dad is dead then after we sent a letter from germany the proof of life birth and then they just ignore are letter so sad

  • Reply John 12/11/2019 at 15:33

    Hi Bastien,
    Do you know whether I can still claim for pension refund if I have a settlement permit and decide to leave before the 5 years is up? Thank you.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2019 at 15:33

      Well, yes.

  • Reply Thilak 01/11/2019 at 17:22


    This article has been real helpful for me. I was looking for information regarding this topic and not able to find reliable sources. My case is that i have stayed in germany for 4 years and completed my masters and decided to go back to india in ONE MONTH. I have worked partime jobs for as much as 3 years and paid the rental versicherung. Now i would like make all the preparations and put in a application before i leave the country. For the time frame i have there are no appointments to check my pension account. So i would like to directly put in an application for this. There is an office for DRV in speyernear me. Should i go their or approach Rathaus or Finanzamt for the process. Very much appreciate the help. Thank you

  • Reply Polina 27/10/2019 at 06:04

    Hi Bastien, thank you for such a helpful post. I followed the steps and got a reply from Germany that they are in general happy to pay my contributions back, but mention a couple of warnings and I’d like to check one of them with you. They say that “there is a possibility that by getting my German contributions back now (I am 32), the wait time for getting a pension in the country of my current residence (Australia), won’t be respected. So possible implication might be that I won’t be entitled for a pension in Australia”. I could not find any information either confirming this or confirming the opposite. Personally, it does not make sense to me, as I have neither German, nor Australian PR/citizenship – I am a citizen of Russia, currently Australian resident for tax purposes on a visa, but do not have an Australian PR. Did you come across anything like that and if so, could you share the link, please?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/10/2019 at 14:52

      Hey Polina. That’s an interesting question. I havent seen this anywhere so far. My opinion is that this is a general statement and all about not having any liability if for some reason, what they say actually happens. Can’t really tell you more sorry.

    • Reply Sherry 22/11/2019 at 11:39

      Hi there, I recently received the same caution via post. Just wondering how long it should take from the initial application? Like, has anyone here even got theirs reimbursed?

  • Reply Vikash 23/10/2019 at 12:41

    Thanks for the nice article. What happens if I work for 10 years in Germany and went back to my country ( non EU)? It seems that I won’t get anything back (e.g. pension/insurance contributions) if I stay in Germany for more than 5 years and then leave the country.

  • Reply She 28/09/2019 at 23:11


    Thank you for all these details. I’m just wondering, can all this be done and completed online? Like the submission of documents? Thank you.

  • Reply Lawrence Martin Fetkenhauer 17/09/2019 at 05:04

    Lived in and worked in Germany from 1981 to 97 paid in I do not know my number I ounce had can you tell me how or where I might get it and where I can apply for the now 61 and would like to know how I would go about it.also I would like to know how much I may receive and would it impact what I would receive from SSI I plan to retire when I’m 70.Thank you.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/09/2019 at 11:17

      Hey Lawrence, i suggest you get in touch with a professional for your case.

  • Reply Sue 01/08/2019 at 08:00

    Hi – I am a dual Australian / British citizen who worked in Germany for about 37 months 2008-2011. My employer told me I would be eligible for a refund of my contributions 2 years after leaving Germany. I returned to Australia I applied in 2013 through a German accountant but was rejected because I am a British citizen. I was living and working in Australia (with the same company) before I moved to Germany and I returned to Australia with the same multinational company after my time in Germany. I think my British citizenship was used as a means of avoiding lengthy work permit applications (this was all done through relocation agents). I haven’t lived in UK for 30 years (nor do I intend to do so in the future) and never held a permanent job there. I do not qualify for UK pension or any other EU pension. My German accountant said I have to wait to retirement age to claim the pension, but that is still 15 years away and I have no clear instructions on claim it. Am I even eligible to claim it at retirement age? I don’t want to wait that long to find out I should have done something sooner. I don’t recall ever receiving any sort of pension contribution statement while I lived in Germany, so I have no pension fund number to refer to. I am also wondering if Brexit will affect eligibility. Where can I get advice (in English) or further clarification about my specific situation? Thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/08/2019 at 11:10

      Hey Sue. Sorry but i am not consultant. You should have received a pension/social security number when you first started to work in Germany, after you registered. You should probably trust and refer to your German accountant for the rest.

  • Reply Deepak Assudani 31/07/2019 at 14:40

    I worked in Germany for 3 years between 2014-2017 and have now moved to UK for last 2 years. But i am not an EU citizen. Am i eligible to claim my pension back, even though i am living in UK (technically still EU)?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/08/2019 at 11:02

      Hey Deepak. The requirements are listed in the post.

  • Reply Alex 28/07/2019 at 01:38


    Thank you for such a helpful and relevant article. There is a question which mentions PR. The question is, can one claim their pension contribution, after satisfying the 2 year rule (and any other conditions) IF they have a Permanent Residence Permit (I guess this is what our colleague meant by PR) I.e. Niederlassungerlaubnis? Am I right to say that residence aside, one would have to give up the Niederlassungerlaubnis…. right?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/07/2019 at 13:57

      Hey Alex. An expert would have to rule on this but i don’t think such cases would be very common since permanent residence is usually given to people that have been in the country longer than 2 years. In most cases people have been working too.

    • Reply Johannes Kühn 11/09/2019 at 07:16

      Hi Alex,
      the PR is not relevant for getting or not getting a refund.

      These are the requirements for a refund …
      – For non-EU citizens having paid contributions for less than 60 months total: Residing in a non-EU/EEA country, having left former German occupation more than 24months ago.
      – For non-EU citizens having paid contributions for more than 60 months total: Currently residing in a non-contract state (see article), having left former German occupation more than 24months ago.
      – For EU-citizens in both cases: Currently residing in a non-contract state (see article), having left former German occupation more than 24months ago.

      • Reply Egor 06/10/2019 at 14:42

        Hi Johannes,

        Did I get it right that EU citizens are also eligible for the refund, provided they left Germany more than 24 months ago and are residing in a non-contract state? This is contrary to the other sources I’ve found, so wanted to make sure I understood you correctly.

  • Reply Aman 24/07/2019 at 00:14

    Hello Bastien,

    I am planning to leave Germany in November 2019 and will end my employment contract by end of October. I started working as a full-time employee in January 2015. This means I have worked as a full-time employee for 58 months.
    Between November 2012 and August 2014 I was doing my Master’s and in parallel did the following two things-
    (a) 400 Euros per month mini job for 22 months
    (b) HiWi job at university for 3 months

    Do you know if (a) and (b) above will add to the 58 months and make me ineligible for pension refund?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/07/2019 at 09:36

      Hey Aman. For this, you would need to check if you contributed to your pension with those contracts. Check in your payslips if there is the mention; “Rentenversicherungbeitrag” or something in that flavor. If you find this, then it means it would add up.

      • Reply Aman 27/07/2019 at 11:53

        Hey Bastien,
        Thanks for your answer 🙂
        DRV confirmed the following yesterday-
        Months counted for (a) based on some point system =5
        Months counted for (b) =3

        I have already completed 60 months and hence ineligible for a refund.

        • Reply Raju 13/08/2019 at 12:38

          Hey Aman.. Even I would like to know my eligibility for refund as I too did a mini-job for some months during my Masters study in addition to full time job. Can you let me know whom to contact at DRV and what information I need to give them, so they can let me know if I qualify for the refund ?


        • Reply Johannes Kühn 11/09/2019 at 07:17

          Hey Aman,
          if you reside in a non-contracting state it does not matter, how long you have contributed to get a refund. If for example after working in Germany you work in Dubai, you can get a refund, no matter how long you paid into the system.

          Best regards,

  • Reply Natasha 01/07/2019 at 15:54

    Do you know whether the pension refund would be taxed (assuming you have it paid into a German account)?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/07/2019 at 22:39

      Hey Natasha. This depends on taxation system in place in the country where you live. Can’t say i’m sorry.

      • Reply Natasha 03/07/2019 at 23:29

        Hi Bastien,
        Thanks for getting back to me, of course it varies by country once you’re overseas, but I was wondering whether they would deduct tax here in Germany before paying it out into a German bank account. Would you happen to know?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/07/2019 at 09:26

          Again, can’t say, it depends on tax agreements between Germany and your country, to determinate where your income is taxed. Location of the bank account is irrelevant because as a rule in most countries, you must declare income regardless of its origin/location.

    • Reply Johannes Kühn 11/09/2019 at 07:30

      Hi Natascha,

      since 2018 the new application form contains a field ”Personal ID number for tax purposes in Germany”. If you do not know your number just write ”n/a” or ”unbekannt”, it does not affect the refund process. If you put your tax number there, the tax bureau will be notified about the amount you received and considered as an income in Germany. If you live in one of the tax contract states that share tax information across boarders, at some point your local tax office will find out that you had the refund as an extra income. It does not matter if the money is transferred to a bank account in Germany or elsewhere in the world.

      Best regards,

  • Reply Chandi 29/06/2019 at 03:49

    All the information is in German in the website you mentioned. Do you know if there is a phone number or email address to reach the German Pension department directly to get help regarding this. I am an Indian living in US, so can I apply this based on forms for India or for the US ? Is the withdrawn Pension taxed by my country ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/07/2019 at 22:35

      Hey Chandi, The forms you need to fill in for this are listed here in the post. Check you local taxation rules regarding pension tax rates.

  • Reply Shun Wen, Hsiao 25/06/2019 at 09:18

    I have applied for my pension refund since March 2019. I would like to know how to track the progress and how can I know if any extra inquiry I have to fulfill? Please kindly advise, thank you.

    • Reply Johannes Kühn 11/09/2019 at 07:36

      the pension office will reply to you with a letter sent to the address you provided in the form.
      Only then you will get a contact person and a telephone number of who is reviewing your case and you can chase them about the process. The general contacts do not give any information about that. If you happen to live in China, I have heard from many people that they do not receive the letters (unless they are sent as trackable mail, wich the pension office does not do.). If you have not heard from them until now, send them a fax and ask about the status. Probably they have sent you a letter that has not arrived asking for some extra information, giving you about one month time to provide the information missing. If you do not do so, they will just close your case.

      Best regards,

  • Reply Veronika 11/06/2019 at 23:34

    Hey, thanks for the useful content! My question is is it mandatory to pay taxes for the pension if I am not planning to work long is n Germany? This can save me and the company some money maybe?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/06/2019 at 11:47

      Hey Veronika. No, you can’t really opt-out. Only a refund is possible.

  • Reply Adrian 05/06/2019 at 18:59

    Hi! Please can you tell me what happens if one contributed to the pension fund for 1.5 years in Germany and then moved to a different member state of the EU/EEA/CH area (where he/she would be employed for at least 4 years)?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/06/2019 at 09:18

      Hey Adrian. Well, then the agreements between member states guarantees that your contributions would be recognized by each of them when moving. So they are not lost.

      • Reply Johannes Kühn 11/09/2019 at 07:40

        Actually this only works, when one has contributed for more than 60 months. Otherwise the payments are not compatible. You should try to get a refund or (if you want to retire in Europe) use the option to pay voluntary contributions into the fund until you have fulfilled 60 months as a minimum requirement for pension payments. Then they can be combined with other EU countries. And it also does not happen automatically. Contact the local pension office and get their advice on how to combine.

  • Reply Paul 05/06/2019 at 15:31

    Hi. I am a UK citizen and have been working in Germany for 18 months. I am soon moving to Spain.
    Does this mean that my contributions are lost?
    What does ‘the pension system reciprocity agreements between EU member states applies’.
    Best regards

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/06/2019 at 09:17

      Hey Paul. Your contributions are not lost but instead will be added to your contributions in Spain. The reciprocity agreements allow EU members to recognize each other’s system.

  • Reply Yatin 02/06/2019 at 15:31

    Hi I am Yatin from india my father worked in Germany for four years ,
    During 1985 to 1989,
    After that he came to india .
    I just want to know the reimbursement process for pension nd pf system

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/06/2019 at 09:53

      Hey Yatin. Everything is pretty much explained in the post, although since this dates back to pre-reunification years, you might have to check if there is something else to do.

  • Reply Ena 18/05/2019 at 13:04

    Can anybody help with this question, please. We left Germany in October 2018. My husband worked for his German company for a further two months from the UK. He then retired. His early retirement settlement was paid in January. His tax class was changed from 3 to 6 in October. When he files his tax return are we likely to get any money back? Does anyone know why it was changed?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/05/2019 at 09:23

      Hey Ena. I can’t really answer any of those questions on such little details in a comment section. Might be worth talking to an expert on that matter.

  • Reply Anandi Praan 18/05/2019 at 11:33

    Hi, your website is really very helpful. Please keep up the good work. All the best for your work.
    If I stay more than 60 months and after that returns to my country.
    1) What will happen to pension fund?
    2) Will I get pension? if yes When and how I will get it? Please share the pointer if you have any.
    2) Will I get the pension in my country at the age of 67 (ツ)?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/05/2019 at 09:21

      Hey Anandi. 1) It’s mentioned in the post. 2) yes, you would receive it from the German pension system 3) yes.

  • Reply Maria 12/05/2019 at 17:43

    Hello there, thank you for this informative article but, I have one question that seems to me not to be covered. I worked in Germany for 12 months, and I have dual citizenship Serbian and Hungarian – meaning non-EU and EU citizenship. I live in Serbia (I lived here before moving to Germany and after that) and have never lived in Hungary (or any other EU country before obtaining EU citizenship – I lived in UK many years ago but had only Serbian citizenship at the time). Am I eligible for refund or not? Thank you in advance and kind regards 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/05/2019 at 14:10

      Hey Maria. Honestly, no idea. Maybe ask a tax expert and let us know?

      • Reply Marija Djuranovic 18/06/2019 at 23:11

        Thanks anyway 😉

      • Reply Doreen 23/06/2019 at 02:36

        Myself and other wives of serving soldiers worked in Berlin at varies locations mainly NAAFI ,are we entitled to have any money back paid into our pensions here in Britain

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/06/2019 at 20:26

          Hey Doreen, does this not mean you were working for the british government? Even if located in Berlin? If so, then you never paid into the German system right?

    • Reply Johannes Kühn 11/09/2019 at 07:47

      Hi Maria,
      Serbia is a contracting state. But since you have worked for less than 60 months in Germany you can get a refund if you use your Serbian passport and prove your Serbian residency.

      @Bastien: Unfortunately, tax experts have very little knowledge about the German Social Security Law, since it is a non-tax related field.

  • Reply sukumar 07/05/2019 at 00:00

    Hi , i have worked in germany for 3 years between 2012 and 2016 and i could not pay some credit dues to the bank , currently i am in india , will it be having any affect to get my pension funds if i try ton withdraw my pension funds ? and i have PR from Germany .
    i heard that people say if i have PR i cant apply for pension funds etc .. is it true ? can u please let me know on these points.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/05/2019 at 10:19

      Hey Sukumar. What do you mean with “PR”?

    • Reply Johannes Kühn 11/09/2019 at 07:50


      in your case it is better not to have the refund transferred to the bank that you owe money, unless you want to pay them off.
      You can chose where the money is transferred to, it can even be transferred to a third party anywhere in the world.
      Having PR does not affect the refund, what matters is where you reside: India. And since you have contributed for less than 60 months the mutual agreement between India and Germany does not interfere with the refund.

  • Reply Mike 01/05/2019 at 00:19

    Thanks for the post.
    In this post you mentioned: «While living in Germany, you should be receiving yearly pension information in addition to any paperwork from your employer. Of the contributions made to the pension system, only the ones you made (not your employer) are eligible for a refund.»

    Assume, I’m eligible for a refund and I filled the refund request for the part I contributed.
    But what happens with the part of my employer’s contributions? Can I get it after reaching valid (for that time) retirement age or I just have to say «bye-bye» to the employer’s contributions part in case I leave Germany?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/05/2019 at 22:47

      Hey Mike. It seems so yes.

  • Reply ramanarao kamma 25/04/2019 at 08:18

    Anybody knows if we can get refund from France too under similar conditions?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/04/2019 at 21:22

      Hey Ramanarao. You should probably check from a french source, i’d say it’s quite likely.

  • Reply Dhey 24/04/2019 at 04:05

    Hi thank you for this site because it helps a lot. My questions is if my contribution is exactly 60 months Di I have the right to apply it for refund instead. I think it’s practical to get it refunded so that I can use it to start a small business. Please let me know. Thank you.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/04/2019 at 21:16

      Hey Dhey. Well the rule does say under 60 months so either you get in touch to see if that is still possible, or you try an application anyway and see if it works.

    • Reply t 25/11/2019 at 09:34

      Hi Dhey, did you get a response about this? I have a similiar situation and would like to know if having exactly 60 contributions will exclude me from claiming this back or if it is still possible. Thanks

    • Reply Ganu 04/08/2020 at 15:22

      Hi Dhey, Nice to connect with you! I saw your query on the pension refund. I have the same question like yours, i was wondering if you managed to get any clarification on this? Appreciate if you could reply. Thanks in advance.

  • Reply Ilija 18/04/2019 at 15:07

    In my documents it says in need to submit a V6110RM form. Any idea what that is? Maybe something from the Embassy?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/04/2019 at 20:12

      Hey there. I can only guess this is a form related to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung, but can’t really help you further sorry.

  • Reply Steve Marshall 18/04/2019 at 14:05

    Thanks for the article.
    I’m leaving Berlin after 6 months of work (and paying into a pension through my company).
    As a UK passport holder am I right in reading currently I can’t get a refund as UK is still in EU – however if/when Brexit finally happens then I could request a refund?
    And if the UK remains in the EU, I could only access the pension funds at 67, and not before?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/04/2019 at 20:11

      Hey Steve. I guess the only answer there is at the moment is a big ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Part of the Brexit magic. 😉

    • Reply Johannes Kühn 11/09/2019 at 08:17

      Hi Steve,

      when the UK leaves the EU, it will remain part of the European Economic Area and thus, same rules apply:
      As long as you reside within the EU/EEA/CH or a contracting state, you cannot apply for a refund. Once you reside in a non-contracting state (can be for a very short time only), you will be able to get a refund.

  • Reply Sam 14/04/2019 at 07:16

    Hi- I have a question. What if a person has worked for a little more than 5 years in Germany and then left the country and went outside EU. I assume in such case, they will get pension after retirement and not the refund, is that correct? I am assuming pension will be very less as that will be based on just ~5 years of contribution? is that correct? i am asking because i have no idea how is pension amount calculated in Germany. Is there any website or article which can help me understand that? thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:06

      Hey Sam. You can use this official calculator to know how much you’d get. As stated in the post, you need to have worked less than 5 years to be eligible for a refund.

    • Reply Lily Agg 18/04/2019 at 11:11

      Hi , I worked in Germany for 1 year only and paid a lot into a pension? Will I ever access this, or can I contact someone and move it to my UK pension? Or will it just be gone?

  • Reply Al 30/03/2019 at 13:29

    Hi, Great article. Thanks for posting. I am a US citizen. I contributed in Germany for less than 5 years. I now live and work in another EU country. However, I am not eligible for the retirement funds in that country and I do not contribute to any retirement system there. I have been outside of Germany for more than 2 years. Would I be eligible for a refunds?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/03/2019 at 20:34

      Hey Al. As mentioned in the post, you are eligible but if you are still the EU zone, you can’t apply yet. You need to have left the EU/EEA/CH region.

  • Reply vinod 29/03/2019 at 16:43

    I studied in Germany and during my studies I worked(not a Pratikum) and paid Social contributions for almost a year. After I finished my studies I started working full time. My question is: Do the one-year social contributions count for the 5-year period or the 5-year period counts only after ex matriculation

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/03/2019 at 20:28

      Hey Vinod. It’s 5 years of contributions to the system, regardless of how it happened, if you were a student or not.

      • Reply Michelle Lis 11/04/2019 at 13:52

        If I have dual citizenship, one in USA, one in Poland, then does this apply? I came here on a visa but then just went to the city hall and with my polish passport after it expired. Does it work like I then get the pension (or refund) from Poland?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:23

          Hey Michelle. Good question and the truth is: i don’t know. Sorry.

  • Reply Sara 28/03/2019 at 03:50

    Hello, thank you for the detailed useful article, but I have an inquiry, I have worked in Germany for 2 years from Jan/2016-end of Dec/2017, and I have completed the waiting period of 2 years in my home country ouside EU, and planning to apply for a refund, I however have been going through my documents and found out that I have the “ Lohnsteuerbescheinigung for 2016 “ from my Arbeitsgeber ONLY. And not for 2017, can I still apply for both years , Is it somehow available in their system? or do I have to go through the hassle of contacting my employer to send me the missing “ Lohnsteuerbescheinigung from 2017 “ as well ?, For my request to go through. Kindly advise.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/03/2019 at 20:18

      Hey Sara. You will probably not need it. It’s more important to have your social security ID/number at hand.

  • Reply amit 21/03/2019 at 14:46

    thanks a lot for the clear explanation about the for refund ofthe German Pension system.
    I have one question Suppose if person is contrbuting to AV and RV for more than 60 months for example 8years.
    1) Is it possible to claim pension refund after colling period of 2 yeras.
    2) If yes what is the process?
    3) If no then why person should work for more than 5 years in Germany ? – just for curosity how this system is designed.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/03/2019 at 20:01

      Hey Amit. 1) No. 3) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Reply Srini 14/03/2019 at 07:23

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    As am planning to apply German pension refund. As I am finding difficult to get an appointment as there is no appointment in next couple of days in any Berlin’s Deutsche Rentenversicherung office, And as I am leaving back to India next week permanently.

    Could you please clarify the following:

    1. I came to Germany from India in October – 2018 and worked in Berlin till February 2019 and paid 5 months Rentenversicherung (RV) and Arbeitslosenversicherung (AV). So I am eligible for claiming my part of RV and AV?

    2. Could you please let me know the appropriate forms that I need to fill?

    3. Could you please let me know where (Address) should I send the filled forms and supporting documents?

    4. Since I worked in Berlin, so should I apply for German pension refund only in Berlin’s Deutsche Rentenversicherung or can I apply anywhere across Germany’s Deutsche Rentenversicherung office?

    Thanks in advance for your support.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/03/2019 at 09:09

      Hey Srini. Have you read the post? Literally all questions are answered there.

    • Reply Rekha 30/04/2019 at 14:54


      I want to go back to India this December but I will be completing 5 years by June. Is there anyway I can get refund of my pension contributions. Like ..change the employment to consultant instead of permanent etc. Please advice. I really need the money now 🙂

  • Reply Karolia 14/03/2019 at 00:07

    What if I am EU citizen but I am about to move to outside of Europe (Canada)? I’ve worked 15 months in Germany

    Thank you for the article. I found it very useful.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/03/2019 at 08:54

      Hey Karolia. Then i suppose you are eligible.

  • Reply Joel 09/03/2019 at 00:55

    Hi Bastien,

    I worked in Germany for 3 years. Im planning to leave and work in Latam for a longer than 2 years period. In case I get the money back, could I work again in Germany? Or should I then have any restriction? Thanks, Joel

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/03/2019 at 14:09

      Hey Joel. Yes, it’s possible.

  • Reply ziad ajaj 05/03/2019 at 17:05

    hey ,, i worked in germany almost 7 years,, then i left to jordan almost 6 month ago,, there were giving unemployment salary
    i worked in jordan these months
    they called me and they asking me to give them there mony back cuz they found out that i worked there these months
    any one can give me an answer how i have to deal wit that

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/03/2019 at 23:10

      Hey Ziad. Can’t really help you there. I suppose you have to follow their instructions.

  • Reply Galina 20/02/2019 at 20:14

    I am US citizen. I worked in Germany from 2001 to 2004 years. Am I eligible for Rentenversicherung refund? If so, how can I get my refund. Currently I am living in USA.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/02/2019 at 09:27

      Hey Galina. I mean: it’s literally the content of this post. Just read it.

  • Reply Henrique Tramontina 19/02/2019 at 21:59

    I am Brazilian and I moved to Berlin for work 3 years ago. While living here I got my Italian citizenship, but I never changed my employment contract or anything like that. The only thing I did was add my dual citizenship on my last Anmeldung.
    I’m now moving to Canada and I’m just a bit confused if the fact I got my Italian citizenship could affect my right to get the pension refund.

    Thank you, your blog is really helpful! 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/02/2019 at 09:22

      Hey Henrique. Citizenship status is not related to the refund. Only place of residence after you leave the country is.

  • Reply Sohail 28/01/2019 at 18:23

    I studied in Germany and worked as a student in two separate jobs. I did pay social security for almost two years starting from mid of 2007 until the end of 2009. I left Ger,mau at the end of February 2014 and stayed outside the Europe until end of 2017. Now i am back in Europe (not Germany) and want to get the social security back.
    Considering the situation i mentioned above, am i eligible to apply for it ?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/01/2019 at 10:06

      Hey Sohail. Eligibility conditions are clearly stated in the post. Is there anything unclear?

      • Reply Sohail 30/01/2019 at 12:44

        What i am confused about is that i worked for less than 5 years but i didn’t work continuously. My first job was in the mid of 2007 and last job was in December 2013. So the overall time period is more than 5 years but the total working time is less than 5 years. So am i still eligible ?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/01/2019 at 15:24

          Hey Sohail. You contributed last than 5 years so it’s most likely ok.

  • Reply Kiran 25/01/2019 at 13:28

    I came to Germany in Apr-2011 and paid 4 months Rentenversicherung (RV) and Arbeitslosenversicherung (AV). As per Indo-German social security deal my Employer told not required to pay RV and AV for first 4 years.
    So I got back my RV and AV which I paid for Apr-2011 to Jul-2011. Until Mar-2015 I have not made any contribution to German Pension system.
    I started to pay first time from Apr-2015 on wards and I continued till Sep-2016 (Total contribution 18 months)
    Now I have completed the waiting period of 24 months.
    So I am eligible for claiming my part of RV and AV?
    Could you please let me know where (Address) should I send the V901 filled form and supporting documents?
    Thanks in advance for your support.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/01/2019 at 20:40

      Hey Kiran. The conditions for eligiblity are stated in the beginning of the post, it seems like you are eligible. As stated in the post, you should get in touch with the last office you were in contact with. There is a link to find contact details.

  • Reply Rebekah 28/12/2018 at 04:57

    My husband left Germany around 25 or 30 years ago. At that time he was working for the State. When he left, he took his contributions. Is he now entitled to claim his employers contributions. His legal advisor at the time said that he could but now the pension department has said he cannot. He is now 70 and has very little money.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/12/2018 at 20:45

      Hello Rebekah, i suggest you contact an expert on this topic because this is likely based on where your husband was stationed, what he was doing, what he decided at that time, etc. Also, maybe laws have changed since then. That’s probably wiser (and worth it!) to contact one. Good luck with it.

  • Reply Nara 01/12/2018 at 18:35

    I’m a us citizen and worked in Germany for less than the 60 month period. I am moving to another EU country for a new job, so if I understand your blog correctly, I wouldn’t be able to request a refund until I leave the Eu permanently and then have to wait 24 months to apply for a refund? Do you know if I can roll the German pension into another eU country (Italy)?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/12/2018 at 21:01

      Hey Nara. Yes, you need to leave the EU/EEA/CH zone to apply for a refund. I guess, in theory you can “roll-it over” but only if you retire there. You can still apply for the refund after you have left German/Italy.

  • Reply Ana 14/11/2018 at 01:45

    Do you happen to know what happens if I am a EU citizen, but I am planning to move and live in the US for example?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/11/2018 at 21:15

      Hey Ana. In this case, i would look at the agreement between the US and Germany for that matter and see how your situation looks.

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