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Updated : 25/04/2017

FAQs - State pensions abroad

  • I'm now working in Italy. Will my previous periods of social-security cover in Romania before it joined the EU be taken into account for my pension entitlement?

    YES — EU coordination rules ensure contributions paid in countries before they joined the EU are not lost.

  • I worked in several EU countries and I intend to retire soon. Where should I apply for my old-age pension?

    If you have worked in several EU countries, you may have accumulated pension rights in each country.

    When the time comes for you to claim your pension, you normally have to apply in the country where you are living or in the country where you last worked. That country is then responsible for processing your claim and bringing together records of your pension contributions from all the countries you have lived in.

    If you've never worked in the country where you now live, you should apply to the relevant authority in the last country where you worked. Your application will then be processed there.

  • What do I do if the pensionable age is different in the countries where I have worked?

    You could be entitled to your pension in one country at 60, yet have to wait until 67 in another. Under such circumstances, it is important that you get information in advance, from all the countries where you have worked, on what your situation will be if you change the date of payment of your pension.

    There might be an effect on the amounts that you will be paid if you take one pension earlier than the other. The competent authority in the country where you live and/or the authorities of the countries where you worked can give you further advice.

  • Can I still receive my survivor's pension, if I decide to live in another EU country?

    YES — In general, the rules on pensions for surviving spouses or orphans are the same as those for invalidity and old-age pensions. In particular, survivors' pensions have to be paid regardless of where the surviving spouse lives in the EU.

  • I have lived and worked in several EU countries, where should I claim an invalidity pension?

    Most often, you will receive a separate invalidity pension from each EU country you've worked in. You can claim your invalidity pension in the country where you live or in the country where you were last covered.

    The authority you submit your claim to will forward it to the authorities in all the other EU countries you worked in. To facilitate this, you should submit detailed information about your employment and/or contributions in those countries.

  • Are the authorities in the other countries obliged to recognise my degree of invalidity, as assessed by a doctor in the country where I now live?

    NO — Criteria for assessing invalidity vary from one country to another.

    A few exceptions to this general principle are made between Belgium, France and Italy.

  • Do I have to go back to the country that pays my invalidity pension for any required checks?

    If you are living or staying temporarily in one EU country but your invalidity pension is paid in another, any necessary administrative checks and medical examinations will normally be carried out by the authorities in the country where you are living or staying.

    You may, however, be required to return to the country paying your invalidity pension for some examinations (if your health allows), in particular to check whether the degree of your invalidity has changed.

  • Can I get the pension contributions I have paid in Sweden refunded if I go and live in Austria?

    NO — But they won't be lost. You'll get a separate pension from each EU country where you've worked or contributed for at least a year when you reach the retirement age of that country.

  • I'm soon going to retire to France after having worked in various EU countries, including France. Are all my contributions in the different countries added together to determine my pension entitlement in France?

    NO — You will not simply get a French pension corresponding to the total amount of years worked in the EU. You'll get a separate pension from each country where you worked for at least a year.

    Your final pension will be calculated according to your contribution record in each country: the sum you will receive from each will correspond to the length of your social security coverage there.

  • The time I've worked in the UK is too short to qualify for a pension. Will I lose my contributions?

    NO — The periods you completed in other countries will be taken into account. All the periods will be "aggregated" (added-up) and your UK pension will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

    The same rules will apply in each country concerned. If you've been covered for less than a year in the UK, a special rule may apply, as some countries don't provide a pension for short periods: your months of contribution or residence in the UK will not be lost but taken into account in the calculation of your pension by the other country or countries where you worked for longer.

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State pensions abroad
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