Deutsche Rentenversicherung Knappschaft-Bahn-See
Regionaldirektion Nord
Millerntorplatz 1
20359 Hamburg

Guido Bergel
Phone: +49 40 388-19 12



Webcode for this Content: 16254971

Foreign seafarers

Basic principle: German social security for EU seafarers on board ships flying German flag

European seafarers (= from EU/EEA states) on board ships flying the German flag are insured in the German statutory social insurance in general. Seafarers from EU and EEA states are therefore on equal terms as German seafarers.

However, European seafarers can apply for a so called A1 form from the national social security authorities, if they are already covered by the social security of their home country in the EU. In this case the seafarer is not subject to German social security.

Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 and implementation Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 ensure that a double insurance is avoided and, for example, a seafarer’s acquired pension rights are secured even when working in European countries (ships under EU flag).

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As a rule no German social security for non-Europeans

Non-Europeans without place of residence in the EU, EEA or Switzerland who work on ships under German flag are exempt from the membership in the statutory health, nursing care and unemployment insurance.

In principle, pension insurance and the seafarer’s special fund are mandatory insurances for these seafarers. However, the obligation to insure can be lifted if the shipowner applies for it at Deutschen Rentenversicherung Knappschaft-Bahn-See (DRV-KBS) within 3 months of the foreign seafarer entering into employment. If the application is submitted after that, the exemption from pension insurance and the seafarer’s special fund of the affected seafarer will only start from the date of receipt of the application.

These provisions for non-European seafarers apply to all seagoing vessels under German flag – whether they are listed in the German shipping register (first register) or also listed in the German International shipping register (GIS, second register).

A leaflet of the DRV-KBS offers further information about social security for non-European seafarers on German-flagged ships.

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Germany’s social security agreements with other states

Germany has entered into bilateral social security agreements with numerous states. These agreements also affect the insurance of foreign seafarers onboard ships under German flag. Some agreements, for example, do not allow an exemption from the German health insurance or the relief from pension insurance on application.

The following table lists if an exemption from insurance of the individual insurance branches exists as well as if an exemption is possible from the German pension insurance:

State Exemption from insurance: Exemption from obligation to insure in pension insurance
Health insurance Nursing care insurance Unemployment insurance

Albania

yes

yes

yes

no

Australia

yes

yes

yes

no

Bosnia and Herzegovina

no

yes

no

no

Brazil

yes

yes

no

no

Chile

yes

yes

no

no

China

yes

yes

yes

yes

India

yes

yes

yes

no

Israel

no

yes

yes

no

Japan

yes

yes

no

no

Canada

yes

yes

no

no

Korea

yes

yes

no

no

Kosovo

no

no

no

no

Morocco

no

yes

no

no

Macedonia

no

no

no

no

Montenegro

no

yes

no

no

Philippines

yes

yes

yes

yes

Quebec

yes

yes

no

no

Serbia

no

yes

no

no

Turkey

no

yes

no

no

Tunesia

no

yes

yes

no

Uruguay

yes

yes

yes

no

USA

yes

yes

yes

no

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