Pension insurance obligations (Rentenversicherung)

117 posts in this topic

SillyLawyer: the KVR (which is the Ausländeramt in Munich AFAIK) is enforcing this rule more and more, but we have also noticed this in many other areas of Germany. Actually the KVR is somewhat more lenient in certain ways as they do indeed accept as proof for pension planning either a BASIS pension plan or a Whole Life insurance plan whereas many other Ausländeramt require a BASIS pension plan only. The difference being, that the money you paid into a BASIS pension plan is locked in there until pension age and then you can only draw a pension for life - which is good if you stay in Germany but nonsense if you leave after, say, 3 years or so. The whole life insurance can be cashed in later at any time... however, there are mostly only plans with front-loaded costs available for this and that means you'll loose out when you cash in after a couple of year, i.e. there is less money in the plans by then than you paid in. Thus you'll need some professional help in my opinion to find the most suitable solution which fits the requirements from the KVR and also meets your own mid- to longtermn planning.

 

The idea behind this enforced rules is, as was pointed out above, to make sure that people who are not compulsorily insured in public pension system put enough money away for old age in order to become not a burden on the German (resident) tax payer later thru Hartz IV or the likes. It is indeed a bit odd if this is applied to someone in a teaching profession who is actually obligated to pay into the public pension anyway. But you might be a victim of all those teachers who have not done so in the past and the KVR might now not relay on this anymore and rather require private means.

In the end this simply means for you that you need to set up a plan where there is a guarantted capital of 50k when you reach official retirement age of 67. If you multiply the years you have til you reach that age and use the result to divide the 50k with you will have a rough guideline of how much per month you'll have to put away. At this point you only need to sign such a plan and start paying in - I have no idea with regards to how the KVR is going to check what you do with this plan in the future. If, however, you plan to extend your visa later, you should definitly continue paying into the pension plan as they will certainly want to see proof that you continued to pay for your private pension means.

A good independent advisor/broker can advice you about what plans you can use to satisfy the KVR without looosing too much money - just see it as a kind of "entrance fee"...

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Starshollow is, as usual, right about the options available, what are acceptable pension plans, pros and cons etc. I still, however, don´t know any case in my experience of a potential English teacher APPLYING for a visa who has to show an EXISTING adequate pension plan under German rules BEFORE getting the visa. Which German insurer will take a client for a long-term policy without an existing long-term visa?

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Engelchen - I am well under 45 :) Also, I am applying through the Munich KVR, and their literature clearly states (as of this weekend) that US citizens who wish to be freelancers must demonstrate adequate Altersversorgung, with no exception for those under 45. Fn1 Unfortunately, whether they're being meanie-heads about this or not, they're the decision-makers and I don't have time to battle them on this.

 

Starshollow and John G. - This rule is shockingly new to me too. In fact, I believe the KVR must have decided to begin enforcing it sometime within the last week because I have been very diligent about referencing the KVR website or bringing my questions to them in person, and this is the first I've read or heard of this rule. While I understand the rationale behind the rule, it is rather ridiculous that a person at my age who is applying only for a befristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis should be required to prove Altersversorgung (Rentenversicherung?) or Lebensversicherung in ausreichender Höhe (50,000 euro).

 

I understand that a whole life insurance policy in the amount of 50,000 euro would satisfy the KVR. I am still unclear about how much Rentenversicherung I need to purchase, should I choose that option. Is the sufficient amount of Rentenversicherung for applying for a befristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis also 50,000 euro?

 

Fn1 - http://www.muenchen.de/Rathaus/kvr/ausland/euschweiz/117819/mbangbeststaaten.html

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SillyLawyer: just called the phone number in your link to the Bavarian bureacrats. Me; Gruß Gott, just a general question. I saw on your web site...erm, since when has there been a rule that a freelance American coming short term to Germany has to have a life insurance or Rentenversicherung to get a visa ?

 

She: it´s always been the case. Me: I´ve been working for years with Americans and other expats coming to Germany and NOT ONE of them has ever had to prove they had an Altersversorgung. SHE: I don´t believe that. It´s always the case. ME: an American can´t sign up for a German Rentenversicherung without an existing long-term visa ( unbefristet ).

 

SHE: it´s the other way round! ( umgekehrt !).ie first Rentenversicherung or equivalent, then the visa! Can you give me the person´s name you´re enquiring on behalf of?

ME: no, it´s a general question.

 

SHE: auf wiederhören and hung up.

 

ME: called three well-known German insurance companies.

Three German insurance companies: no, Americans cannot have our Rentenversicherung/Altersversorgung products without an unrestricted visa ( unbefristet ).

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I had to show Rentenversicherung (in addition to Haftpflicht and Kranken) to get my residence permit renewal in 2007. The permit was not unbefristet. Now that I am out of Germany with no immediate plans to return, can I now cancel and claim what I've paid into it back? Or am I screwed and will have to pay til I turn 65?

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John G., thanks for that. It really highlights the situation quite well. I understand that laws can be hard to interpret, but this situation really is intolerable.

 

In the way of update, I spent another several hours at the KVR today. Very long story short, I was eventually handed back to the guy whom I saw yesterday who told me about this Rentenversicherung, and he literally told me I could do this the easy way or the hard way.

 

Either:

a) simply get Rentenversicherung (or the alternative Lebensversicherung for 50,000 euro), or

 

B) Go to the Finanzamt to receive some sort of counselling, get a stamp, and get a 6 month Aufenthaltserlaubnis, at the end of which I'd either have to get Rentenversicherung/Lebensversicherung to renew my Aufenthaltserlaubnis, or leave Germany. He was not able to tell me if I would owe backpayments for the 6 months I would have been without Rentenversicherung/Lebensversicherung.

 

The "good" news is that any German private Rentenversicherung - even the most minimal Rentenversicherung - will satisfy the visa obligation (at least according to this one guy that I spoke to at the KVR in Munich).

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SillyLawyer; have you spoken to a German insurance company about that and told them you´re American applying for a visa?

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I've spoken with an insurance/financial advisor who is a friend of my girlfriend's family. He squared me away with a German private KV that accepted me despite my visa applicant status (Signal Iduna). Supposedly, I should receive some options from him today via email regarding RV/LV, but now I'm pretty worried that he'll find no one will take me for RV/LV because of my visa applicant status. Like you, he was utterly shocked to hear that I needed to provide proof of RV/LV.

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I´m crossing my fingers for you, SillyLawyer , and would be really interested in knowing how that turned out today.

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Have you done the maths? It's hard to coment on without knowing those. But I think that if I was not keen on commiting an amount into a pension scheme and had no long term plans here and so on, I'd take that life assurance route (simple term assurance, no complex endowment type thing) and save long-term separately. Because 50k is surely not much to insure on that basis (it's just average Munich fulltime salary for instance, not actually big bananas that'd support dependents). In additon, if the worst did happen, someone would actually get that money (if you are unmarried etc, nobody sees your pension).

 

I think I have probably said this before is that the visa process enables the authorities to pin down frelance teachers and fishermen and whatever the others were in that ancient law in a way that is not so easy with Eu nationals etc. What's more, as a federal republic practice varies from state to state and even within states.

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According to the "Allgemeine Verwaltungsvorschrift zum Aufenthaltsgesetz" only applicants over 45 are required to have an acceptable "Altersvorsorgung" and all American citizens (as well as citizens of the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Turkey) are exempt from this requirement (These are the countries referenced in 21.2.1).

 

 

21.3 Erfordernis angemessener Altersversorgung bei Personen über 45 Jahren

Absatz 3 verlangt bei Personen über 45 Jahren im öffentlichen Interesse grundsätzlich

eine angemessene Alterssicherung. Dazu ist durch die Ausländerbehörde eine Prognoseentscheidung

zu treffen. Grundlagen für diese Prognoseentscheidung können sein:

- eigenes Vermögen in jeglicher Form,

- im Aus- und/oder Inland erworbene Rentenanwartschaften,

- Betriebsvermögen/Investitionssumme.

Absatz 3 findet keine Anwendung auf Personen nach Nummer 21.2.1.

 

@SillyLawyer try going back to the KVR with page number 180 of the Verwaltungsvorschrift and ask the guy why you need to show an Altersversorgung. Although the Ausländerbehörde have some latitude in interpreting laws, they are not allowed to make them up (at least this is what a friend told me who did her Ausbildung at the Auswärtiges Amt).

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Great post, Engelchen! Your name is appropriate! So, we´re still left with the problem of a 30/35-year-old American coming to Germany for, say, 1-2 years maximum as a freelancer. Wat nu?

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In the way of update: Turns out that Rentenversicherung is cheaper than the 50k life policy, and my consultant found a policy that I can use in the US. As the monthly payment is small, I will go through with it. However, I won't have my proof of policy until next Tuesday. As I literally need my visa TOMORROW, I will have to try 1) going in with page 180 of the Verwaltungsvorschrift and arguing my case, and 2) worse comes to worse, do the complicated Finanzamt counselling session/6 month visa for now, and then pay my damn alteration fee next week when I have my proof of policy.

 

Also, I'll have to read that Nummer 21.2.1. >sigh< I hate trying to do legal research in a language I'm not fluent in...

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The Verwaltungsvorschrift 21.3 Engelchen cites, is an instruction to the Ausländeramt (which in Munich is the KVR) on how to apply §21, sub-section 3 of the Aufenthaltsgesetz (= residence act), i.e. the section on self-employed visas for people over 45.

 

So maybe you should also take along §21 AufenthG to your meeting with the KVR, since that is what the Verwaltungsvorschrift refers to.

 

The German text of §21 Aufenthaltsgesetz is:

 

 

Aufenthaltsgesetz

 

§ 21 Selbständige Tätigkeit

 

(1) Einem Ausländer kann eine Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Ausübung einer selbständigen Tätigkeit erteilt werden, wenn

 

1. ein übergeordnetes wirtschaftliches Interesse oder ein besonderes regionales Bedürfnis besteht,

2. die Tätigkeit positive Auswirkungen auf die Wirtschaft erwarten lässt und

3. die Finanzierung der Umsetzung durch Eigenkapital oder durch eine Kreditzusage gesichert ist.

Die Voraussetzungen des Satzes 1 Nr. 1 und 2 sind in der Regel gegeben, wenn mindestens 250 000 Euro investiert und fünf Arbeitsplätze geschaffen werden. Im Übrigen richtet sich die Beurteilung der Voraussetzungen nach Satz 1 insbesondere nach der Tragfähigkeit der zu Grunde liegenden Geschäftsidee, den unternehmerischen Erfahrungen des Ausländers, der Höhe des Kapitaleinsatzes, den Auswirkungen auf die Beschäftigungs- und Ausbildungssituation und dem Beitrag für Innovation und Forschung. Bei der Prüfung sind die für den Ort der geplanten Tätigkeit fachkundigen Körperschaften, die zuständigen Gewerbebehörden, die öffentlich-rechtlichen Berufsvertretungen und die für die Berufszulassung zuständigen Behörden zu beteiligen.

 

(2) Eine Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Ausübung einer selbständigen Tätigkeit kann auch erteilt werden, wenn völkerrechtliche Vergünstigungen auf der Grundlage der Gegenseitigkeit bestehen.

 

(3) Ausländern, die älter sind als 45 Jahre, soll die Aufenthaltserlaubnis nur erteilt werden, wenn sie über eine angemessene Altersversorgung verfügen.

 

(4) Die Aufenthaltserlaubnis wird auf längstens drei Jahre befristet. Nach drei Jahren kann abweichend von § 9 Abs. 2 eine Niederlassungserlaubnis erteilt werden, wenn der Ausländer die geplante Tätigkeit erfolgreich verwirklicht hat und der Lebensunterhalt des Ausländers und seiner mit ihm in familiärer Gemeinschaft lebenden Angehörigen, denen er Unterhalt zu leisten hat, durch ausreichende Einkünfte gesichert ist.

 

(5) Einem Ausländer kann eine Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Ausübung einer freiberuflichen Tätigkeit abweichend von Absatz 1 erteilt werden. Eine erforderliche Erlaubnis zur Ausübung des freien Berufes muss erteilt worden oder ihre Erteilung zugesagt sein. Absatz 1 Satz 4 ist entsprechend anzuwenden. Absatz 4 ist nicht anzuwenden.

 

(6) Einem Ausländer, dem eine Aufenthaltserlaubnis zu einem anderen Zweck erteilt wird oder erteilt worden ist, kann unter Beibehaltung dieses Aufenthaltszwecks die Ausübung einer selbständigen Tätigkeit erlaubt werden, wenn die nach sonstigen Vorschriften erforderlichen Erlaubnisse erteilt wurden oder ihre Erteilung zugesagt ist.

 

 

I googled a bit and only found one case where a US citizen was asked to get a pension insurance, but that was because she had turned 45, see here for the German original, and here for the English machine translation.

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Just wanted to add my 2 cents here...I also have been told by the Munich KVR I need to have either Lebensversicherung (50,000 euros saved by the time I am 67) or private Rentenversicherung sorted out before I get my work permit changed or extended and I am NOT a free-lance English teacher. I am a massage therapist and according to the staatliche Rentenversicherung, do not have to pay into the system. So, German people who are doing my job do not have to pay into any type of Rentenversicherung. I understand the German government not wanting to have to pay for me if I stay here and get old but don't think it is fair that only non EU people have to do this. For instance, there is a guy from the UK at my work and he does not have to pay into a pension plan cause he does not need to go through the KVR to get his work permission. I have no problem having to pay into a pension system but would like to wait a couple of years to get on my feet. No such luck. Strangely enough, I do not have to show proof of Altersversorgung. On the other hand, maybe they just forgot to tell me that as they usually forget to tell me something. I bring what I they tell me to bring and it is never enough. They always forget to tell me I need a couple more items...*sigh* Good Luck Sillylawyer.

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By coincidence I had a very general reference to this from a (German) freelance colleague today who now seems worried about this as well ("it's changing....", I know nothing more).

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Has anyone read, or does anyone know where to find, the treaty referenced in 21.2.1, "Vereinigte Freundschafts-, Handels- und Schifffahrtsvertrag vom 29. Oktober 1954 Staaten von (BGBl. II S. 487), Artikel II Absatz 1 (Meistbegünstigungsklausel). Amerika". That would be the relevant treaty that makes the over-45 rule not applicable to the US.

 

I have to wonder if the reason the over-45 rule doesn't apply to the US is because EVERYONE from the US - over and under 45 years old - needs to prove Altersversorgung.

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The full text of the English version of the treaty is available at the U.S. embassy website. Article II, paragraph 1 says:

 

Nationals of either Party shall, subject to the laws relating to the entry and sojourn of aliens, be permitted to enter the territories of the other Party, to travel therein freely, and to reside at places of their choice. Nationals of either Party shall in particular be permitted to enter the territories of the other Party and to remain therein:

 

  • for the purpose of carrying on trade between the territories of the two Parties and engaging in related commercial activities;
  • for the purpose of developing and directing the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or in which they are actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital.

 

So it's actually quite vague and is far from all-encompassing. In this court decision from 2006, for example, it was ruled that this clause does not exempt Americans who want to take jobs in Germany from the Günstigerprüfung.

 

The more relevant section would seem to be Article IV, paragraph 2:

 

Nationals of either Party shall furthermore be accorded national treatment with regard to the application of social security laws and regulations within the territories of the other Party under which benefits are provided without examination of financial need in the following cases:

 

  1. sickness, including temporary disability for work, and maternity;
  2. old age, invalidity, or occupational disability;
  3. death of the father, spouse, or any other person liable for maintenance;
  4. unemployment.

The part I bolded above seems to indicate that Americans must be granted the same pension treatment as Germans, provided they meet all the other criteria.

 

Last but not least, if the Germans are changing the rules for everyone - as Swimmer's post hints at - then even that will not help you.

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I have doubts about Rentenversicherung and how it applies to someone with an EU nationality.

 

I intend to be working here for 3 years only.

Apparently my employer has automatically put me into a Rentenversicherung. Just for the sake of clarification, is this NOT compulsory?

 

Also, I expect that at least the payments made here count towards retirement pension in any other EU member state? In general how does this work?

 

It is slightly confusing for me as I'm used to a global "Social Security" amount that is compulsory but covers both the health system and the pension system, which also covers you in case of getting disabled.

Here it is obviously separated and it seems that for non-EU people you can even get refunded... Certainly more complicated than I'm used to.

 

Ivo.

 

EDIT: Apologies for the repeat question, I saw in page one this is already answered to someone from Spain. Should have looked better (I browsed a bit randomly through the thread and saw only the stuff about the VISA requirements) - but I will leave it here anyway so that other readers with the same question have more chances to see that it is already near the start.

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