German Pension Contribution Refund Eligibility

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Are You Eligible for a German Pension Refund?

If you are a non-European citizen, you could be eligible for reimbursement of your retirement insurance contributions paid while you worked in Germany.


If 24 months have passed since you left Germany, and you currently reside outside of the EU, EEA, CH, or UK you could qualify to get that money back.

Specific rules might apply depending on your citizenship.

If you are not sure if you are eligible, get a quick answer with our Free Eligibility Check.


German Pension Refund Eligibility

The information below is aimed exclusively for non-EU citizens who worked temporarily in Germany and are seeking a refund of their pension contributions before reaching retirement age.

German pension contribution refund Eligibility

If 24 months have passed since you left Germany, and you currently reside outside of the EU, EEA, CH, or UK you could qualify to get your German pension refund.

Specific rules might apply depending on your citizenship. Press here to fast check your eligibly.  


German Pension Refunds for Contracting State Nationals

The Deutsche Rentenversicherung distinguishes between different groups of foreigners based on bilateral agreements, which can affect your German pension refund eligibility:

If your home country has signed a social agreement with Germany you are considered a citizen of a contracting state


Current agreements exist between Germany and:
Albania, Australia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada/Quebec, Chile, India, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Philippines, Serbia, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, United States of America.


There is no general rule regarding refund eligibility that covers all contracting states equally. Every agreement is unique. Germany Pension Refunds specializes in the specific agreements. We know which rules apply for your specific case. Check your eligibility

Nationals of Non-Contracting States:
If you do not find yourself in either group 1 or 2, then you are considered a national of a non-contracting state: Germany and your home country have not signed any social security agreements. Check your eligibility

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German Pension Refunds for Europeans


European citizens, including citizens of the EEA, CH, and UK citizens that were employed in Germany before BREXIT, are covered by EU regulations which require equal treatment to German citizens.

German citizens are allowed to pay voluntary contributions from anywhere in the world. Germans can only get a pension refund if they have reached retirement age, but they do not qualify for retirement pension. In other words, if the total period of contributions has been less than 60 months.

If you are holding dual citizenship (or give up your citizenship for a non-EU one) you could be eligible for a refund.

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Can I Get a German Pension Refund After 5 Years of Contributing?

The German Social Code (§210 SGB IV) defines who is eligible for reimbursement:

If you are not allowed to pay voluntary contributions into the German pension scheme where you currently reside, and 24 months have passed since your last mandatory contribution.

Most nationalities are not allowed to pay voluntary contributions, if you are among them, you can get a German pension refund after having contributed for 5 years or even longer.

So, who are the few selected that cannot get refunds after 5 years?
Citizens of 10 out of the 20 countries that have signed social security agreements with Germany. is specialized on special cases.

Go ahead and check which rules apply for yourself. Do not get discouraged if you find out that your home country is a contracting state.

There is not a general rule, agreements differ regarding whether you are allowed to pay voluntary contributions and under which conditions.

For some nationalities it depends where you currently reside, for others it depends for how long have paid contributions (those are the ones that tell everyone that it is impossible to get a refund after 5 years, just because they cannot :).

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