Freelancer pension and citizenship

13 posts in this topic

I've read a few articles on these forums but I still don't have an answer. I also realise all the rules might be changing in 2019 and that worries me even more.

 

I'm a non-german married to a German and moved here on a marriage Visa. I worked as a freelancer for the first year (2017) and chose not to pay into a pension. I am now employed and also freelancing so my employer is paying into the state pension for me. My question is 2 fold.

 

1. I intend to apply for citizenship towards the end of year 3 (as I'm married to a German and have completed all other requirements this should be fine). Obviously I only have about 8 months of payments in state pension from my current employer. As I was a freelancer before, are they going to make me retroactively pay into the pension to make sure I have a full 3yrs of payments?

 

2. I'm also intending on going back into full time freelance in the next few months. Am I now required to continue paying into the state pension? How will this affect my eligibility for citizenship? I don't mind either way, it will just affect my budgeting. 

 

Any advice would be welcome. Even the details of an advisor.

 

Thanks!

 

Nick

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if you are required to show proof of adequate pension set-up when applying for permanent residence permit mainly depends on your age, AFAIK (but I am NOT a Visa-expert, I am afraid).

You can't be asked to pay backwards into the public pension because nobody can pay backward voluntarily into the public pension in Germany. Only if you were actually obligated to pay but didn't , will you be forced to pay for past periods of time (like many freelancers/self-employed in teaching positions find out to their displeasure or people with an artist or journalist occupation who actually belonged to the Künstlersozialkasse all along).

 

If the Ausländeramt requires you to show proof of adequate pension provisions, you need to show 60+ months anyway of such contributions to the German public insurance, because only after 60 months you'll have an irrefutable claim to receive a public pension when reaching retirement (of course, if you already have had contributions to other statepensions in EU-memberstates, that could be counted towards the 60+-months, too). In order to avoid problems regarding the public pension, you can also simply set up a private pension plan that fulfills the local requirements to be used as a substitute for a public pension. What kind of private pension is acceptable as a substitute (i.e. how much you have to pay in per contract til age 67 and what form of the pension plan) depends very much on where you are located, i.e. what Ausländeramt is responsible for your application.

 

An experienced financial advisor who caters specifically or even exclusively to Expats should be able to guide and advise you accordingly. Several such advisors advertise here on Toytown, contribute to this Forum and have a proven track record of professional competence and caring...take your pick :-)

 

Cheerio

 

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Thanks @Starshollow!

 

Just to clarify, it's citizenship I'll be applying for. Not sure if this makes a difference?

But technically I wasn't required to pay Pension as a Freelancer when I arrived in Germany, will they take this into consideration?

And have the laws actually changed in 2019 as some of the forum posts have suggested?

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Hello, nchristowitz! I´ve had a case recently where a Brit applying for German citizenship has not been asked to prove she has a pension but an insurance for occupational disability. Just saying how willy-nilly it can all be.

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It might be worth putting off going back to freelancing until after you get your citizenship.

It is known that freelancers have more problems proving such things and this can be read in other threads here (such as Brexit & German citizenship thread), and hence getting citizenship for them is more difficult.  Even if they have been here 10+ years and earning the whole time!

 

Normally they want you to prove that you can support yourself and your family, now and in the future. (if your wife works, this might help your case). It does not matter if you were legally required to pay into a pension or not, a "good responsible citizen" would be making provisions for the future and that is what they want to see.  Some gaps are OK providing that you are currently making such provisions and they appear to be adequate.  But as others have said, it appears not to be black and white and could depend on who processes your application.

 

 

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Thanks for the helpful response @dj_jay_smith

That makes sense. Do you think putting into a savings account every month helps convince them?

I'd hate to have to stay in my job purely for the compulsory pension payments, is it possible to voluntarily pay into the state pension every month even when I go freelance? Or would you suggest just saving the money in a savings account?

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The problem with a savings account is that you can take the money out and do what you want at any time.  So I doubt they would accept this.

 

Regarding the other questions @Starshollow can answer better than I can.

 

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@nchristowitz did you find any answers to your questions? I'm a freelancer in a similar situation - I actually have about 3 years of payments into the Deutsche Rentenversicherung, and have been looking up the RÜRUP Rente type of pension plans. I'm also not sure whom to talk to get a good idea of what to do, aside from trying my luck with the Ausländerbehörde. 18% of my income to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung seems quite cost-prohibitive especially if its post-tax income.

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11 hours ago, ilovelamp said:

@nchristowitz did you find any answers to your questions? I'm a freelancer in a similar situation - I actually have about 3 years of payments into the Deutsche Rentenversicherung, and have been looking up the RÜRUP Rente type of pension plans. I'm also not sure whom to talk to get a good idea of what to do, aside from trying my luck with the Ausländerbehörde. 18% of my income to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung seems quite cost-prohibitive especially if its post-tax income.

 

Your 3 years of public pension contributions in Germany is worth zip, I am afraid.  Only AFTER you have paid on for 60+ months do you have a valid and irrefutable claim against the Deutsche Rentenversicherung, which only means that by then the Ausländeramt can and will accept this as sufficient proof of existing pension planning/payments.

 

Therefore you'll need to set up in lieu a private pension plan in accordance with the local requirements.  If you are applying for in Berlin, it has to be a RÜRUP pension plan into which a serious amount of money has to be paid in per plan until you reach retirement age of 67. You do not have to do any back payments now, just start the plan and show that you have started paying into the plan for (in my experience) two-three months.

If you are applying somewhere else, it is important to ask what exact form of pension plan with what amount of money invested until age 67 is locally required.

If you use a good financial advisor for Expats, they can actually inquire for you and then work out the fitting and compliant pension plans for you.

 

Cheerio

 

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Hey @ilovelamp and @Starshollow

 

I went for my "first meeting" with the office that handles citizenships requests.

We got an incredibly friendly person (which I believe makes a big difference) and they were very happy that I had already completed my integrations course etc. long ago. Basically the only thing they were concerned about was the pension situation because I'm freelance again. They told I could just open a small private pension. They just want to see proof that I'm trying to save money for old age. They literally even said "it can even be €50 - €100 a month". So I signed on for an Allianz private pension for €120 per month that I will pay until I'm 67.  If they change their story at my next meeting I'll mention it here in the forums but as far as I understand that's all that was required.

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1 minute ago, nchristowitz said:

Hey @ilovelamp and @Starshollow

 

I went for my "first meeting" with the office that handles citizenships requests.

We got an incredibly friendly person (which I believe makes a big difference) and they were very happy that I had already completed my integrations course etc. long ago. Basically the only thing they were concerned about was the pension situation because I'm freelance again. They told I could just open a small private pension. They just want to see proof that I'm trying to save money for old age. They literally even said "it can even be €50 - €100 a month". So I signed on for an Allianz private pension for €120 per month that I will pay until I'm 67.  If they change their story at my next meeting I'll mention it here in the forums but as far as I understand that's all that was required.

jsut for better understanding: where are you applying for your citizenship exactly? That too makes a huge difference...

 

Cheerio

 

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Since there is already a subject and I am in similar situation (I hope the OP is ok for me posting here).

  • in Schleswig Holstein, 41 years old
  • 9 years in Germany
  • Both me and my wife had good German knowledge ( I got the  C1 about 15 years ago, my wife C2 and Bachelor in German Language and Literature)
  • Both kids are bilingual, very well integrated with great academic performance (if it matters in terms of integration)
  • We both do charity work for more than 3 years now (I think this is only important had we applied at 6 years though)
  • I am Freelancer in IT with very steady and relatively high income for all these 9 years
  • Public insured (BKK)
  • No pension plan yet in Germany, have ~90 months of pension payments in Greece (2002 - 2010)
  • I have an account though with a high amount (which is actually meant for Advance payment as we are looking to buy a house)
  • Will  do the Einbürgerungstest before I apply

Based on that is it worth it to even try to apply for citizenship, or the "no current pension plan" is an immediate no-go even for freelancers which is not obligatory, or is it mostly random/luck in similar cases ?

 

Cheers,

 

Alex

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1 hour ago, Alexnf said:

Since there is already a subject and I am in similar situation (I hope the OP is ok for me posting here).

Based on that is it worth it to even try to apply for citizenship, or the "no current pension plan" is an immediate no-go even for freelancers which is not obligatory, or is it mostly random/luck in similar cases ?

 

Based on what I've read elsewhere, a RÜRUP Rente plan is enough, plus you have 90 months of pension payments in another EU country. It shouldn't be an issue but it definitely depends on the actual person you get at the bureau. 

 

If anyone have any recommendations for RÜRUP plans I am all ears. Is this also something you can not stop paying into, once you start? 

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