Get your Social Security Number in Germany
The social security number / card is your proof that you are part of the German social security system. You do not automatically get this number. You must apply for it. You usually need the social security number before your first day at work. If you want to apply for your German social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) you must be registered in Germany. There are two ways of applying for the number. If you have public health insurance in Germany, then you can do so by using the application form on this page. If you are privately insured, please read the FAQ further below for instructions on how to get your German social security number.
What is the social security number?
The social security number / card is your proof that you are part of the German social security system. You do not automatically get this number. You must apply for it. If you want to apply for your German social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) you must be registered in Germany.
The social insurance card contains the following data:
- First name and surname
- Date of birth
- Social security number
Structure of the 12-digit social security number:
- Numbers 1-2: Number of the awarding institution
- Numbers 3-8: Date of birth
- Number 9: First letter of birth name
- Numbers 10-11: Serial number
- Number 12: Check digit
The social security card is an important document. It must be handled with the same care as the identity card. The social security card is required, for example, for every employment to prove that the insurance number has been assigned or if a social benefit (e.g. unemployment benefit) is claimed. The social security card should be kept with other pension insurance documents.
Who needs a social security number in Germany?
You need to get a social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer), if you want to work in Germany. Your employer will ask you for this number on your first day at work. Note that you must be registered in Germany to apply for a German social security number. You cannot apply for your German social security number from abroad. The social security number can only be sent to a German address, i.e. the address where you are registered.
I have public health insurance. How to get a German social security number?
Here are two ways to apply for your German social security number, if you are member of a German public health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) – not for those with a private insurance!!
Request it online (most popular)
You can create a template here for free and send it to your statutory health insurance company. You don't need to know German for this. After you have filled out the online form you will receive an email with the next steps.
Request it on the phone
Most public health insurance providers also accept the following way. Just ring their service hotline and ask them to send your social security number to your registered home address. Make sure to have your insurance number ready. Some public health insurance providers have English speaking customer hotlines. Alternatively, try the German sentence “Meine Versicherungsnummer ist xxx. Koennen Sie mir bitte meine Sozialversicherungsnummer senden?” – “My insurance number is xxx Could you please send me my social security number?”. Note that not all providers will accept this way, however, it is worth a try!
I’m privately insured. How to apply for my social security number in Germany?
If you are not member of a German public health insurance, you cannot use the application form on our website to apply for your social security number.
If you have private health insurance and need to apply for your social security card in Germany, do the following steps:
- Make an appointment at your local German pension office (Rentenversicherung). As most of their website in German, it would be best to call their English hotline for assistance: 0800 1000 480 70. The hotline is free of charge, if you call from a German landline phone number.
- Go to the German pension office (Rentenversicherung) together with your passport and visa (if you have one).
- The German pension office will be able to issue your social security card on the spot.
What is Sozialversicherung (German social security)?
All employees in Germany earning more than 450 Euros per month are automatically part of the German social security system (pflichtversichert). Some groups of freelancers are also part of social security, but most self-employed people are not automatically part of the public social security system.
If you are an employee in Germany, you are normally a member of all parts of the German social security system. The German social security system consists of five pillars. You are member of each one of these insurances, if you are part of German social security. These are the 5 insurances:
1. public health insurance (in case you get sick)
2. long-term care insurance (in case you get old or sick, and you need someone to take care of you)
3. the pension insurance fund (foreigners can claim back the pension payments, if they return to their home country)
4. accident insurance (in case you have an accident at work)
4. unemployment insurance (in case you get unemployed).
If you are not member of German social security then you will have to find private insurance coverage for unemployment, accident and pension insurance etc.
For questions about German social security (Sozialversicherung) you should always address the German Pension office (Rentenversicherung). Check out the English part of the German Pension Office website: www.rentenversicherung.de/allgemein/en
How to get your Social Security Number
Get your Sozialversicherungsnummer in Germany
- Fill out the form for free.
- Instantly receive the translated form as a PDF.
- Download and print the application letter.
- Post it to your German public health insurance and get the social security number within two weeks.
You will receive a filled out cover letter so that you only have to print out all the documents and send them to your health insurance provider.
We explain in detail what you have to do after filling out our form. If you do not yet have statutory health insurance – click here. A printer is required.
- Application Package
- Filled out application form for one person
- pre-filled cover letter
- Step by step guide
1. How to get social security number / card?
2. How do I find the address of my statutory health insurance?
If you use our social security form form on this website, the address of your responsible German statutory health insurance office will be printed on the cover letter.
For the largest health insurance companies in Germany we have already provided the address. You can choose it easily.
The name of your health insurance as well as your health insurance number you have received in the insurance confirmation. You can also find this on your insurance card.
If we have not listed your health insurance, you can find it very quickly via Google. Google simply look for the “name + address”.
Once you google it, the address should immediately appear on Google, or in one of the first few search results.
If you are with the following statutory health insurance, we have the addresses already provided: A, B
We have already deposited the address for the following statutory health insurance companies.
- AOK Baden-Württemberg
- AOK Bayern
- AOK Bremen/Bremerhaven
- AOK Hessen
- AOK Niedersachsen
- AOK Nordost
- AOK Nordwest
- AOK PLUS
- AOK Rheinland/Hamburg
- AOK Rheinland-Pfalz/Saarland
- AOK Sachsen-Anhalt
- BKK Mobil Oil
- DAK Gesundheit
- KKH Kaufmännische Krankenkasse
- Techniker Krankenkasse (TK)
3. When do you need a social security number?
4. How to get the social security card, if you don’t speak German?
5. Why does my employer need my social security number?
6. I will soon have my first day of work and I do not yet have a social security number. Is it too late?
7. What information do you need for your social security number in Germany?
To successfully apply with our form for your social security number in Germany you need the following documents
- insured with a statutory health insurance in Germany
- your health insurance number
Can i get my social security number without using the form?
This depends on your health insurance. It is best to call them. Sometimes the number can be requested directly over the phone. Please have the above information ready.
8. I have private health insurance or am not insured with any German statutory health insurance
From January 2011, however, the German Pension Insurance will send you a simple letter with your social security number when you start your first job. If you have lost your social security number, you must contact the Deutsche Rentenversicherung directly. They can issue you with a new identity card.
If you do not yet have a statutory health insurance but have already signed an employment contract, you can register here with the multiple test winner Techniker Krankenkasse (TK). You will receive your social security number there automatically after you start working.
What I really liked about this online form is that you are able to save the form and return to it later, in case you do not have time to fill it out in one session.
Little note: Filling in all the fields of the application-form took me a little longer than I thought. Why? I was not sure about, firstly, what is the name of my health insurance provider, and 2, which insurance number i have. And these information are necessary!
So my advice to other users would be: Be sure to have these details at hand when you fill out this form.
This website is the most extensive resource with regards to social security number in Germany I've come across. Big thumbs up for the research that went into this project, guys. In short, what happened: I filled out the social security number form on this website, made the payment, received the PDF with the application form via email, printed it, sent it off to the address that was provided on the letter. My opinion? Finally a project that serves a need!
My German skills are solid but I was happy to pay for this translation service anyway because you never know with bureaucratic language – sometimes you miss something important.
It all went extremely smoothly; it took me about 3 minutes to fill out the form. Then I sent it to the TK (my insurance provider) in Berlin, the address was printed on the cover letter.
In their accordion, they explain how you can get your social security number without using this paid online form – which I think is kind of awesome. You only pay, if you want to support the project and/or want to make use of the translation service.
As for my own experience with using the paid application form on here: After sending off the form, I received the social security card within less than two week. That's what I call smooth sailing.
Being Dutch I always felt my German skills were alright. That being said, filling this application out in English was a great help. I was missing a printer though – important detail! Make sure you can print the form somewhere. I printed the form at work, signed it.
All in all, this is a fantastic website and I wish there were more projects like this, for other bureaucratic procedures, too.