GET A 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.
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 on SocialSecurityNumber.de for a small fee 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 the social security number?
Note that there are two ways of saying “social security number” in German:
- Versicherungsnummer, literally ‘insurance number'
- Sozialversicherungsnummer, literally “social insurance number”
Both terms refer to the same thing.
What is the Versicherungsnummer / Sozialversicherungsnummer?
Your social security number is a unique number provided to you by the German Pension Office. A social security number is only issued once per lifetime. So if you were born in Germany or have worked in Germany previously, you should already have a social security number. You can also use this form to ask for a social security number in case you have lost or forgotten your German social insurance number. Your employer needs this number as soon as you start working.
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