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Working and retiring abroad: overview on pension rights within the EU

Working and retiring abroad: overview on pension rights within the EU

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Citizens recurrently turn to the Parliament requesting information on the EU rules concerning the accumulation of pension rights when having worked in several Member States. 

All European countries are free to decide who is to be insured in their social security schemes under their national legislation, which benefits are granted and under what conditions. However, the EU provides common rules to protect citizens’ social security rights when moving within Europe (EU 28 + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). Detailed information on these aspects is available on the European Commission webpage ‘EU Social Security Coordination’, which also includes information on ‘Your rights country by country’.

With regard to pensions for EU nationals living in a different Member State, relevant information is also available on the Your Europe dedicated webpage.

Who to apply to

The pension authority in the country where the citizen is living or last worked is competent for processing the application. If the person has never worked in the country where he/she is living, the host country will forward the claim to the Member State the person last worked in. That country is then responsible for processing the claim and bringing together records of the contributions from all the countries the person worked in.

Eligibility periods

In some EU countries, citizens must have worked for a minimum period of time to be entitled to a pension. In such cases, the pension authority has to take into account all the periods the person worked in other EU countries to assess whether the citizen is entitled to a pension (principle of aggregation of periods).

How is the pension calculated?

The pension authorities in each EU country a person has worked in will look at the contributions paid into their system, how much the person has paid in other countries, and for how long the person has worked in different countries. The responsible national authority will then calculate the amount of the pension according to independent and pro-rata benefits.


In case of doubt of EU rights as a citizen, SOLVIT might be contacted. This is an online problem-solving network which aims to assist citizens in solving concrete problems they have encountered with the public administration of a Member State where they have tried to exercise their rights.

Do you have any questions on this issue or another EP-related concern? Please use our web form. You write, we answer.

About Ask EP

The Citizens' Enquiries Unit provides information on the activities, powers and organisation of the European Parliament. You ask, we answer.



  1. Pingback: EP answers: a citizen-tailored service | European Parliamentary Research Service - July 30, 2015

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