The EU provides common rules to protect your social security rights when moving within Europe (EU 27 + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). There are specific coordination rules in place with respect to the United Kingdom. The rules on social security coordination do not replace national systems with a single European one. All countries are free to decide who is to be insured under their legislation, which benefits are granted and under what conditions.
Who do these rules apply to?
- nationals of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland who are or have been insured in one of these countries, and their family members
- stateless persons or refugees residing in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, who are or have been insured in one of these countries, and their family members
- nationals of non-EU countries, legally residing in the territory of the EU, who have moved between these countries, and their family members
The four main principles
- You are covered by the legislation of one country at a time so you only pay contributions in one country. The decision on which country's legislation applies to you will be made by the social security institutions. You cannot choose.
Find out which rules apply to you
- You have the same rights and obligations as the nationals of the country where you are covered. This is known as the principle of equal treatment or non-discrimination.
- When you claim a benefit, your previous periods of insurance, work or residence in other countries are taken into account if necessary.
- If you are entitled to a cash benefit from one country, you may generally receive it even if you are living in a different country. This is known as the principle of exportability.
As from 1 May 2010, new Regulations on modernised coordination (Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009) apply. Check our frequently asked questions for further information. Find out about social security rules in the country of your interest.
On 13 December 2016, the Commission proposed a revision of the EU legislation on social security coordination. The proposal is currently being discussed by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.
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