If you live in Germany, you should apply to the German pension insurance. Same applies if you have acquired pension rights in another EU country or other states which have a social security agreement with Germany. The German pension insurance then forwards your application to the competent authorities in the relevant countries.
If you live in another country but are entitled to a pension in Germany, you claim a pension from the insurance provider in the country where you live, and they will forward your application to the German pension insurance. You can find the insurance provider responsible for you abroad on deutsche-rentenversicherung.de. If you live permanently (i.e. more than six months) outside the EU, in principle, your German pension will be cut; so before moving out of Germany, make sure you seek advice from the German pension insurance's counselling centre. You can call their hotline at 0800-10004800 to benefit from their cost-free consultation (in German).
To make sure you receive your pension on time, you should submit your application at least three months in advance. You can do so online at deutsche-rentenversicherung.de or per post. German pension insurance's consultation centres can also help you to complete the application on site.
Along with your application, you must also send the following documents:
- an identification document like your ID card or passport
- your pension insurance number ("Rentenversicherungsnummer")
- the name of your health insurance and your health insurance number
- your tax identification number
- proof of vocational training
- your bank account number
If you have children, you must also send birth certificates of your children. When completing the application, it is crucial that you indicate the periods you were insured in EU countries and the states which have social security agreements with Germany.
Please note: If you apply for your pension too late or in case the processing takes longer, your pension can be paid up to three months retroactively.