Published on Jan 16, 2021
For many people of retirement age, Germany can be very attractive when it comes to the quality of life and pensions. Nevertheless, there are a number of important aspects to take into account when doing so.
Germany is internationally recognized for its high standards when it comes to retirement and quality of life. Without going any further, Germany was ranked 13th in the 2019 Naxitis Global Retirement Index (GRI).
As a general rule, member states of the European Union and Schengen member states benefit from a lighter process when it comes to the formalities compared to countries that do not belong to either of these agreements. However, Americans or citizens of countries such as South Africa, Japan, Israel, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, or Australia who wish to retire in Germany can stay in Germany for up to 90 days without a visa and apply for a residence permit. It is advisable in any case to contact the relevant authorities to avoid problems or confusion.
If you do not belong to the countries mentioned above, it is possible to apply for a retirement visa in Germany before entering the country, which must be processed by the relevant authorities in your country of residence. It is not guaranteed that you will receive the visa, but there are certainly some exceptional cases where there is a better chance, for example, if you are going to join a family member in Germany.
Individuals interested in applying for retirement benefits in Germany will need to provide various documents to prove their personal information such as a certificate of address, health insurance, and proof of sufficient funds. In addition, the authorities may require extra documents such as marital status and birth certificates depending on the area in which you need to apply and your individual circumstances.
Financing, transfer of funds, and costs
One of the decisive aspects of being able to receive a pension in Germany is the number of pension funds you have and whether you have enough money to live in Germany.
On the other hand, if you have lived, worked, and paid contributions for five years to the German social insurance, you may receive a state pension, as well as other private pension funds that have been accumulated. However, foreigners who are not entitled to receive a German pension must apply for other pension rights to prove that they have the funding to retire in Germany. In some cases, foreigners can transfer an international pension to Germany. If funds are transferred, they may be subject to fiscal costs such as taxes depending on the international agreements in place. Taxes must also be considered, which in some cases will be double, i.e. in the country of residence and in Germany.
If you are an EU or US citizen and have personal or occupational funds, you can transfer them to a German bank as long as the pension provider is notified.
As usual, we recommend that you make inquiries with the relevant institutions, as each case requires different measures.
If you have any questions about living in Germany, feel free to contact our team.