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Frequently Asked Questions - Which rules apply to me

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Posting

If you are sent by your employer to work in another country, you will remain insured under the legislation of your country of origin if you fulfil the conditions which apply to posted workers.

This means that you can work there up to a maximum of 24 months on behalf of your employer who is based in the sending country. Before leaving, you should make sure you get an ‘A1’ document which certifies that you are covered by the legislation of the country from which you are posted. Your employer declares your situation to the competent social security institution.

This solution aims at avoiding frequent changes in your social security situation in the case of short periods of work abroad. The same provisions apply to self-employed persons who temporarily perform a similar activity in another country. 
>> Download our guide on posting

You employer should apply for an A1 form before your period of posting starts. 
>> Download our guide on posting

What's your situation?

You are a cross-border worker if you work in a different EU country from the one where you reside and you return to your country of residence daily, or at least once a week. As a cross-border worker, you are insured in the country where you work. This country will be responsible for your social security benefits.

Special rules apply to healthcare and unemployment. As regards healthcare, you have a right of option: you may obtain these benefits either where you reside or where you work. For further information, check our section and frequently asked questions on sickness benefits.

As regards unemployment benefits, if you are wholly unemployed, you are only entitled to benefits in the country where you reside. For further information, check our section and frequently asked questions on unemployment.

Civil servants remain under the legislation of their administration even if they carry out other employed and/or self-employed activities in another country.

If you work on board a sea vessel, you will be insured in the country flying the flag of that vessel, even if you reside in a different country. You will be insured in the country where you reside if the registered place of business of your employer is also situated there, even if this is a different country than the one flying the flag of the vessel.

If you do not work, 2 situations are possible:

  • You receive cash benefits because of your activity as an employed or self-employed person. In this case, you will remain subject to the legislation of the country in which you were insured while working.
  • You have no social security benefits deriving from a current or past relationship and you are not economically active. In this case, as a non-active person, you are subject to the legislation of the country where you reside. Please be aware that in some countries access to social security coverage is based on residence, in others only people exercising an occupational activity (and the members of their families) are insured. To find out about your situation, contact your social security institution.  
    >> Use our directory to find a contact institution

As a matter of principle, as a student staying temporarily in the country where you pursue your studies, you are regarded as still residing in your home country and insured there.

This means that you are entitled to all necessary healthcare in the country where you are studying on presentation of your European Health Insurance Card issued by your home social security institution, before leaving.

If for some reason you are not insured in your country of origin, you must contact the social security institutions of the country where you are studying to assess your situation. If you fulfil the conditions that determine residence there, you might actually be covered there and not in your country of origin. 
>> Use our directory to find a contact institution

Two or more countries may provide for national derogations to the EU rules by common agreement in the interest of the persons, or groups of persons, concerned. 

Such derogations are generally made case by case, so contact your social security institution if you need further information. 
>> Use our directory to find a contact institution

Place of residence and place of work

Your country of residence is the place where you "habitually reside" in other words, where your "centre of interest" is.

Normally, the determination of your place of residence is a national decision. A list of criteria is provided to help social security institutions assess which country is to be considered your place of residence in the case of diverging views between two or more countries. These include: the duration of your presence on the territory of the countries concerned; your family status and ties; your housing situation and how permanent it is; the place where you pursue professional or non-profit activities; the characteristics of your professional activity; where you reside for taxation purposes; in the case of students, the source of your income.

In any case, the decision on which country is to be considered your place of residence will be made by the social security institutions and not by you. 
>> Use our directory to find a contact institution

If you work in two or more countries, you are insured in your country of residence if you pursue a 'substantial part' of your activity there. A 'substantial part' means at least 25% of your working time and/or your remuneration, but other elements can be relevant as well as your overall situation.

To determine if you work a 'substantial part' of your activity in your country of residence, the assumed future situation over the following 12 months is also taken into account. 
>> Download our guide on posting

If institutions in different countries cannot agree on which country's legislation should apply to your situation, the EU rules make sure that one legislation will apply provisionally so that you are not left uncovered.

In the meantime, the institutions have to make a decision. If they cannot reach an agreement, they can go through a dialogue and conciliation procedure; the case can be brought before the Administrative Commission for the coordination of Social Security systems to decide.

A similar procedure exists for the provisional granting of benefits. 
>> For more information download our guide on posting

If you work in two or more countries, you must inform the social security institution in your country of residence. The social security institutions there will determine the legislation applicable provisionally to your situation and will inform the institutions of all countries where you pursue your working activities.

The provisional legislation shall become definitive within two months, unless the other institutions do not agree. If they don't agree they can go through a dialogue and conciliation procedure (see above).

What changes with the new coordination rules

If, as a result of the new social security coordination regulations, you are subject to the legislation of a different country than under the old rules, the previous legislation will apply as long as your situation remains unchanged, but for a maximum of 10 years.

You may request to be subjected to the legislation applicable under the new regulations if you wish. 
>> Use our directory to find a contact institution

Even under the new social security coordination regulations, posting remains a time-limited exemption from the general rule that you should be insured in the country where you work.

Therefore, the period of posting used under the old rules will be taken into account and deducted from the overall 24-month time limit for posting provided by the new regulations.

With the modernised coordination rules, from 1 May 2010, the special rules for transport workers no longer exist: the same rules apply to all people who are pursuing activities in two or more countries.

However, for sectors which are highly mobile, special interpretative rules are taken up by the Administrative Commission for the coordination of Social Security systems in order to provide assistance for employers and employees to determine which legislation is applicable and for which period of time. 
>> See our pages on EU legislation

If nothing else changes in your situation, your employer can ask for a new E 101 at the competent social security Institution. However, if you request to be subjected to the legislation under the new regulations, your employer has to ask for a so-called portable document A1, that replaces the E 101 under the new regulations.

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