Social Security: What is the SVNR number?

Social Security: What is the SVNR number?


The SVNR is key to accessing many of Germany’s social benefits. But what is it and how do you get it?

Whether you’re a newcomer to Germany or are well-versed in the German system, there are a few key phrases you’re probably familiar with. Anmeldung. Finanzamt. Ein Bier, bitte. And then, of course, there’s the particularly unwieldy Sozialversicherungsnummer (SVNR). 

Also known as the Rentenversicherungsnummer (pension insurance number, RVNR), the SVNR is a key to access many of Germany’s social benefits. In this article, we delve into some of the specifics. 

How do you get an SVNR?

If you’re a full-time employee, you will need an SVNR to get paid. There are a couple ways to get an SVNR:

  • Enroll in the public health insurance system. You will automatically receive an SVNR once you’re a member of a Krankenkasse.
  • Request the number from a Rentenversicherung office. This only applies if you have private insurance and have never been enrolled in the public system before. (If you’re entering the German healthcare system through the Feather private plan, we can request your SVNR number for you.)

What is an SVNR for?

The SVNR helps the German government keep track of your pension contributions. It remains the same when you change employers and when you change employment statuses (e.g. from full-time to freelance). If you begin freelancing, then you’ll have to be making your own Rentenversicherung contributions—so we’d recommend chatting with an accountant about how to best accomplish that. 

What happens if you leave Germany?

If you leave Germany, your SVNR will still exist—and it can be particularly useful if you’re from elsewhere within the EU or from one of the many countries with which Germany has social security agreements. In either case, you’ll be able to transfer your Rentenversicherung contributions to your social security account in your home country. Contact your home country’s social security administration to learn more about how to do this. 

*For a more in-depth guide on SVNR, please visit our friends’ complete article here at Simple Germany.

Still, looking for insurance? Check out the top 4 health insurance providers in Germany and their pros and cons:

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