The Sozialversicherungsnummer, Versicherungsnummer, Rentenversicherungsnummer, SVNR or RNVR is the German pension insurance number. It's also called a social insurance number or social security number. Your health insurance number is also called a Versicherungsnummer, but it's not the same thing.

The German public pension fund (Deutsche Rentenversicherung) uses the Sozialversicherungsnummer to identify you. It's a unique number, and it never changes.

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.

What does the Sozialversicherungsnummer look like?

The German social insurance number has this format: 12 123456 A 1231.

It is divided in 4 parts. The first part is the area number. The second part is your birth date. If you are born on September 23, 1992, it would be "230992". The third part is the first letter of your last name. If your name is John Smith, it would be "S". The fourth part is used to differentiate you from people with the same name and birth date1, 2.

How do I get my Sozialversicherungsnummer?

If you just moved to Germany

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

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

You will get a Sozialversicherungsausweis in a letter from the Deutsche Rentenversicherung. Here is a picture of it1:

The Sozialversicherungsausweis contains your social security number

If you have public health insurance

If you already have public health insurance, you can get your Sozialversicherungsnummer from your health insurer1, 2. Ask your health insurer for a membership confirmation document (Mitgliedsbescheinigung) or a Sozialversicherungsausweis. These documents have your Sozialversicherungsnummer. You can usually do this online. It takes a few minutes, and it's free.

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 yet1. You must ask the Deutsche Rentenversicherung to give you one1, 2.

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 Sozialversicherungsnummer1. Ask your HR department.

1 to 6 weeks later, you will get a letter with your Sozialversicherungsnummer1. 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
  • Bescheidnummer (BXNR) - 1 digit
  • ZANR - 1 digit
  • Kennzeichen - 4 digits

If you don't receive a German pension, you don't have those numbers. You can enter your Versicherungsnummer and leave those fields empty. For example, if you apply for a pension refund, you don't need those numbers.

PANR, BXNR and ZANR on the Deutsche Rentenversicherung forms
If you do not receive a German pension, you don't have to fill these fields.