All employees in Germany are obliged to take part in the social security system. As soon as you take up employment, your employer needs to register you with a collecting agency for social security contributions. Depending on the type of employment, the relevant collecting agency is either a statutory health insurance company, the artists’ social insurance (Künstlersozialkasse) or the central agency for mini-jobs (Minijob-Zentrale).
These institutions will pass on your data to the other and apply for a social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) on your behalf. Social security number assignment occurs centrally through the German statutory pension insurance (Deutsche Rentenversicherung). Normally you’ll receive a letter from Deutsche Rentenversicherung stating your personal social security number within four weeks after the registration.
The 12-digit social security number consists of letters and numbers and is used for personal identification in the social security system. The number remains the same throughout your whole life – even when you change your employer or health insurance provider.
Moreover, your social security number is connected to your personal pension account. The pension account contains a list showing when and how many contributions you've paid towards the state pension insurance. Based on these data, your future retirement pension is calculated.
If you haven't received your social security number yet, you can directly contact Deutsche Rentenversicherung. Please state your date of birth, place of birth, your birth name and your current postal address, and you will receive your social security number by post. In case you're already covered by statutory health insurance, you can also contact your health insurance company.