Rights to pensions in more than one country

Periods of pension cover abroad

If periods of pension cover have been earned in other EU Member States or in a country that has an agreement with Austria on pension cover, these will generally be taken into account when calculating the pension.

Under EU law, all periods of pension cover earned in a Member State of the EU are taken into account for pension purposes. This means that in every country in which a person had pension cover, the pension contributions will be retained until the person reaches pensionable age under that country’s law.

Community law does not, however, provide for pension periods to be taken over by another country. Contributions already paid will therefore neither be transferred to another country nor paid out to those whose insurance cover in the relevant country has ended.

When claiming old-age pension from the pension insurer in the country of residence or the country in which pension cover was last earned, it must be indicated that pension periods have also been earned abroad. It is not necessary to apply separately for a pension in each contracting state, however. The pension provider to whom the application has been made automatically starts the process of determining cross-national pension entitlement. As long as the employee has had pension cover for at least a year, each country pays a separate pension, according to the rules applicable in that case, once the person in question reaches the relevant pensionable age.

In Austria, coordination in the field of social security takes place primarily under EU law. Since this law includes EU and EEA Member States and also (since 1 June 2002) Switzerland, this position applies in relation to the following states:

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Croatia
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Czechia
  • Hungary
  • Cyprus

Advice

The Pension Insurance Institute holds regular ‘international consultation days’ for insured persons who have also earned pension periods in Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovakia and Switzerland.

In addition, there are agreements that include the regulation of pension insurance matters with the following countries:

  • Albania
  • Australia
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Chile
  • India
  • Israel
  • Canada (and Quebec)
  • Macedonia
  • Moldavia
  • Montenegro
  • The Philippines
  • The Republic of Korea
  • Serbia
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Uruguay
  • USA
  • United Kingdom (depending on the situation, application of EU law by way of the withdrawal agreement or independent arrangements under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement)

Advice

Pension periods earned in a country that does not belong to the EU and with which no agreement exists are not included in this process.

Pension application

The pension application should be made in the insured person’s country of residence, to the relevant pension insurance provider. It is then passed on to all relevant pension insurance providers.

The pension periods earned are added together for the purpose of checking whether the applicable national waiting period has been met.

All of the countries in which pension periods have been earned will contribute, if a valid claim exists when the periods are added together.

Exception: If a pension period of less than twelve months has been earned in one of the countries, however, under the APG (General Pensions Act) this does not qualify for payments from the pension account which would have been made by the Austrian insurer even for under twelve months of insurance.

Pension calculation

According to EU law and the agreements entered into by Austria, the pension is to be calculated as follows:

If the pension conditions (with or without adding together the pension periods for the claim) are met, the following principle applies:
the Austrian pension will only ever be calculated on the basis of Austrian pension periods (that is, without payment by Austria for pension periods abroad). This sum will be paid out by the Austrian pension insurance provider. The foreign pension insurance provider will proceed in the same way.

If after a period of gainful employment the person returns to Austria, the pension earned abroad will be paid separately from the pension earned within Austria.

Tip

Information on cross-national pension insurance can be found on the Austrian insurance providers’ portal and in other places.

Further links

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 2 February 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection

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