How to find your Sozialversicherungsnummer

The Deutsche Rentenversicherung uses your Sozialversicherungsnummer to identify you. It looks like this: 12 123456 A 123. It’s a unique number, and it never changes.

In German, it has many names:

  • Sozialversicherungsnummer, SV-Nummer or SVNR
  • Rentenversicherungsnummer or RNVR
  • Versicherungsnummer (this can also mean your health insurance number)

In English, it also has many names:

  • Pension insurance number
  • Social insurance number
  • Social security number.

What the Sozialversicherungsnummer looks like

Your Sozialversicherungsnummer has this format: 12 123456 A 123.1

It is divided in 4 parts:2

  1. The area number of the office that registered you. Berlin-Brandenburg is “04”.2
  2. Your birth date. If you are born on September 23, 1992, it would be “230992”.
  3. The first letter of your last name. If your name is John Smith, it would be “S”.
  4. The last part is used to differentiate you from people with the same name and birth date.3

Why you need this number

When you start working, your employer needs this number as soon as possible. This lets your employer take pension contributions from your paycheck. You also need this number if you leave Germany, and want to get your pension payments back.

If you don’t have that number yet, don’t panic! Your employer will still pay you.

How to get your Sozialversicherungsnummer

If you just moved to Germany

If you just moved to Germany, you don’t have a Sozialversicherungsnummer yet.

You get your Sozialversicherungsnummer by post to your German address. It takes 1 to 6 weeks. Most of the time, it takes less than 2 weeks. If you need it now, go to your local Deutsche Rentenversicherung branch.

Your number is printed on a Sozialversicherungsausweis in a letter from the [Deutsche Rentenversicherung. It looks like this:6

Your Sozialversicherungsausweis contains your social security number

If you have public health insurance

If you already have public health insurance, ask your health insurer.7 Ask for a membership certificate (Mitgliedsbescheinigung) or a Sozialversicherungsausweis. You can usually do this online.

If you have private health insurance

If you have private health insurance, and you never had public health insurance before, you probably don’t have a Sozialversicherungsnummer yet.8 You must ask the Deutsche Rentenversicherung to give you one.9

There are many ways to do this:

  • By email
    Write an email to your local Deutsche Rentenversicherung branch. You can write in English. Include a copy of your passport, and a copy of your Anmeldebestätigung.
  • In person
    You can visit your local Deutsche Rentenversicherung branch. You do not need an appointment. Bring your passport and your Anmeldebestätigung. This is the fastest way. You will get your Sozialversicherungsnummer instantly.
  • Ask your health insurance broker
    If you get your health insurance from a broker, they can also help you apply for the Sozialversicherungsnummer.
  • Ask your employer
    Your employer can help you apply for a Sozialversicherungsnummer.10 Ask your HR department.

1 to 6 weeks later, you will get a letter with your Sozialversicherungsnummer.11 Most of the time, it takes less than 2 weeks. If you go in person, you will get it instantly.

Other ways to find your social insurance number

  • On your payslips
    You can find your Sozialversicherungsnummer on your payslips (Gehaltsabrechnung). Someone from human resources can help you find it.
  • On your Jahresmeldung
    Every year, between January 1 and February 15, your employer gives you a Meldebescheinigung zur Sozialversicherung. Your Sozialversicherungsnummer is on this document.
  • Your previous employer
    If you don’t live in Germany anymore, contact your previous employers. They will know your Sozialversicherungsnummer. It’s also on the tax documents they gave you before.
  • Your tax advisor
    Your tax advisor (Steuerberater) should know your Sozialversicherungsnummer.

What are the PANR, BXNR and ZANR numbers?

Some Deutsche Rentenversicherung forms ask for other numbers:

  • Postabrechnungsnummer für Rentenzahlungen (PANR)
    3 digits. Your correspondence number or case number, if you have it. If you don’t receive a German pension, you usually don’t have that number.
  • Bescheidnummer (BXNR)
    1 digit. If you don’t receive a German pension, you usually don’t have that number.
  • ZANR
    1 digit. If you don’t receive a German pension, you usually don’t have that number.
  • Kennzeichen (also called Arbeitsgruppe or Team)
    4 digits. The department or team that is currently in charge of your pension account. If your case goes to another department, this number will change.

Those numbers help the Deutsche Rentenversicherung deliver your messages to the right department. You can find those numbers on the letters they send you.

If you don’t know those numbers, enter your Versicherungsnummer and leave those fields empty. For example, if you apply for a pension refund, you only need the Kennzeichen (if you have them).

Deutsche rentenversicherung panr bxnr zanr form
If you do not receive a German pension, you don't have to fill these fields.
Sources and footnotes
  1. Wikipedia 


  3. Wikipedia,