Mandatory and Recommended Vaccinations in Germany

Vaccinations in Germany

Vaccines are some of the most effective preventive measures to protect against infectious diseases. Although they are not compulsory in Germany (with one exception that you will find later in this article), all health authorities strongly recommend it.

The Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) at the state-run Robert Koch Institute decides which vaccinations are recommended in Germany. The Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit) appoints the members of STIKO, who are primarily doctors from university hospitals. The current and up-to-date recommendations on vaccinations are always available on the website of the Robert Koch Institute, which is also available in English. 

getting vaccinated Vaccination

Is it compulsory to be vaccinated in Germany?

If you recently moved to Germany and are planning to start a family in the country, you should be informed about the vaccines that you and your children may need.

As we mentioned before, unlike other European countries, there is no compulsory vaccination in Germany. However, there is one exception to the rule: the measles vaccination. The Measles Protection Act, which came into force on March 1, 2020, is intended to provide school and kindergarten children with effective protection against measles. However, regardless of this, it is important to educate people about the importance of vaccination and to make vaccination easily accessible to all citizens.

Having said this, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Robert Koch Institute recommend the following vaccinations for all citizens living in the country:

Vaccine recommendations for children and adolescents in Germany

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Poliomyelitis (polio)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
  • Chickenpox
  • Rotavirus, pneumococcal infection
  • Meningococcal C infection
  • HPV (human papillomavirus)

Booster vaccinations for adults in Germany

Booster against diphtheria and tetanus (recommended every ten years)

Booster against measles (people over the age of 18 who were born after 1970 and are unsure of their vaccination status, have not been vaccinated, or have received only one vaccine as a child).

Vaccine recommendations in Germany for people over the age of 60

  • Influenza
  • Pneumococcal infection
  • Herpes zoster (shingles)
  • Further vaccinations for unvaccinated adults after consultation with a doctor
Senior Citizen getting vaccinated
Vaccine Covid 19

The COVID-19 vaccine

The introduction of a mandatory vaccination program for the entire population in Germany was heavily debated, but it was unsuccessful in the German parliament’s Bundestag. When it comes to making COVID-19 vaccinations a requirement, Germans place a high value on self-determination and freedom of choice. According to a survey that was carried out, 63 % of Germans agree that vaccinations are a matter of personal autonomy that the state cannot interfere with, even during a pandemic. However, the majority of the German population is vaccinated against COVID-19: 78 % of people have received at least 1 dose and 76.4 % of Germans are fully vaccinated.

The vaccination record or Impfpass

The vaccination record, also known as the Impfpass, is a yellow booklet that is given to you after you are vaccinated for the first time in Germany. This booklet contains a record of all your vaccinations, making it easier for you to keep track of all your vaccines.

In addition to the vaccination record, you can get a second record book for your children (also known as a Kinder-Untersuchungsheft) for pediatric medical examinations. All of your child’s medical check-ups and assessments will be recorded in this booklet up until the age of six. You receive this booklet shortly after delivery.

Vaccination Card Impfpass Record
Medical Bill Health Insurance

Who covers the cost of vaccines?

The statutory health insurance funds in Germany (GKV) spend about 1.4 billion euros annually on vaccinations (as of 2017, according to the Federal Ministry of Health). Therefore, people who have statutory health insurance are entitled to the vaccinations that are recommended in Germany at no additional cost.

If you’d like to find out more about your health insurance coverage and how you might be able to optimize it, our team of experts will be happy to advise you. Contact us here!

Vaccines are extremely efficient not only because they provide individual protection, but also because they lead to herd immunity, protecting a large part of the population against diseases.

We hope that you found this article useful and it helped you learn more about vaccination in Germany. We must never forget that countless deaths are prevented worldwide thanks to vaccines, so we should stay protected!

How to Insure Your Family in Germany

As an expat coming to Germany, you should know that registering for health insurance is one of the most important things you need to take care of before moving to the country. Health insurance is compulsory for everyone living in Germany. Therefore, if you’re planning to bring your relatives with you, we would like to offer you all the information on how to insure your family in Germany.

How does family insurance work in Germany?

First of all, you should know that there are two main types of health insurance in Germany: public health insurance (or statutory health insurance) and private health insurance (usually known as PKV in German). No matter what kind of insurance you’re registered at, all family members must also be insured.

The German health care system includes certain regulations for family insurance in order to make sure that everyone is equally covered. There is a so-called family co-insurance, in which dependent family members, such as spouses and children, are eligible to enrol for free with the health insurance provider in which the main family member is already insured. This is due to the fact that it is common for family members to remain unemployed for a while after they move to Germany.

Who can benefit from free family co-insurance?

Expats’ partners who receive no income or an income that does not exceed 470 euros per month (as of 2022) are eligible for this aid. In addition, partners who earn 450 euros with a part-time job or find themselves under marginal employment can also be covered at no cost.

Children are normally insured free of charge until they reach the age of 18. However,  this age limit might be raised under certain conditions:

  • If they are unemployed, they can be insured up to 23 years old.
  • If they are still enrolled in school, vocational training or are doing voluntary programs, they can be insured up to 25 years old.
  • If their education was interrupted by military or civilian service, they can be insured over 25 years old.
  • Permanently disabled children do not have an age limit to be covered free of charge.

What are the steps to insure your family in Germany?

Regardless of your relatives’ situation, you will have to fill in and send a form to your health insurance provider to include them in your insurance coverage. In this form, you have to specify the members you want to include, their previous economic situation and their current incomes.

If the family members you are planning to bring to Germany will work in the country, you will have to pay additional costs to insure them. In order to calculate the premium you will pay as a family, your health insurance will evaluate your partner’s gross salary as an employee, including regular annual bonuses; their income as freelancers (if applicable) and their income from investments, rentals or similar, as well as those coming from retirement insurance.

However, this is something your health insurance provider will take care of. You don’t need to worry about anything!

What kinds of insurance should families have?

As a rule of thumb, you should insure everything that could put you in an existential risk as a family. There is a list of different insurances that are not compulsory in Germany, but highly recommended for families.

  • Liability insurance. If you cause damage to someone else, you will be liable for it. In the worst case, this could lead to financial problems. The price you pay for this insurance is usually around 40-60 euros a year, which is why most families opt for it.
  • Disability insurance. Occupational disability insurance covers you if you lose your income due to occupational disability.
  • Term life insurance. Term life insurance secures the family income if one parent dies.
  • Homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance offers homeowners protection in the event of damage that could threaten their property or assets (e.g. storm, lightning, explosion, etc.). We only recommend this type of insurance if you own a house.
  • Objects insurance. Household objects insurance covers damage to the contents of your flat or house.


We hope that this article helped you understand how to insure your family in Germany. If you want to find out more information, do not hesitate to schedule a call with our insurance experts at MW Expat.

The German Pension System: The Ultimate Guideline

As an expat coming to Germany, we understand that the German pension system can be hard to understand. If you come to work in the country and are employed, you will contribute to the pension system, just like every other citizen. Does this sound too confusing? Read this article to better understand how the pension system works in Germany for expats!

What is the German pension age?

The German pension system is experiencing some major changes in terms of retirement age. Nowadays, the official retirement age for women is 65 years and 67 years for men. Over a transition period from 2012 to 2029, this will gradually climb up to official retirement age. In addition, an early retirement is possible in Germany if you have worked for at least 35 years. However, for every year that you retire earlier than planned, 3.6% of your pension will be deducted. At the moment, 4 employees finance 1 retiree in Germany.

First step: taxation

First of all, you should be aware that all pensions are taxable in Germany. What does this mean? This means that you must declare all pension payments you get to the tax office, whether it is in Germany or in a foreign country. These payments may include a state pension, occupational pension scheme, Riester pension or private pension insurance.

In some cases, your pension could be subject to double taxation, which occurs when both Germany and your place of residency tax your pension income. As a result, you must determine whether the two nations have a double tax agreement in place.

In addition, as soon as you’ve paid into your pension for more than five years, you will receive an annual pension information letter with your pension balance and further information.

What is a mandatory state pension?

In Germany, the mandatory state pension (statutory pension) is known as the Gesetzliche Rentenversicherung (GRV). Employees contribute to the German state pension through payments to the German social security, where a proportion of the wage is paid. Instead of being saved or invested, these compulsory contributions are reallocated to pay for existing pensioners. The system is subsidized through the German state.

For expats who decide to leave Germany, two scenarios may occur. On the one hand, it might be possible to get a return on your half of the pension contributions to the state. If you have paid into the German pension scheme for less than five years, you can get half of your saved retirement back (only half of it, since 50% is paid by the employee and 50% by the employer; you can only get the amount paid by the employee back). You can receive this right away, but you have to submit a request for it.

On the other hand, if you have contributed to the German pension system for more than five years, you have to wait until you reach retirement age before you receive your German pension abroad. In this case, you will get the full retirement amount you saved for the time that you were contributing into the system.

However, the statutory pension insurance is not enough and it is usually advised to supplement it with a private pension fund. Contact us for a free consultation today to find out more information about this.

What is a Riester pension?

The Riester pension is one of the most complex parts of the German pension system. The Riester pension is a state-subsidised private pension plan. This is how it works: as an individual, you contribute to a private pension contract, bank savings plan or fund during your active working life. This way, you get state allowances, tax advantages and a monthly pension for the rest of your life.

What happens if you are still contributing with your Riester pension and you decide to leave Germany? Since these financial benefits are directly linked to your residency in the country, you are no longer eligible for additional subsidies and allowances from the German government. If you move to another EU country, you will not be required to repay anything and will be able to claim the benefits of the plan when you retire.

However, for non-EU citizens, the German government would expect you to repay any state contributions made to your Riester account by the time you retire. Taking this into account, the Riester pension system is only convenient for people who plan to stay in Europe for their whole lives.

What is a basis pension (Rürup) and BAV?

The basis pension, sometimes known as the Rürup pension, is named after its “creator”, Prof. Rürup. The Rürup pension was established to allow self-employed people and freelancers to save for retirement in the same way that employees do.

Moreover, a company pension scheme (bAV = betriebliche Altersvorsorge in German) is the creation of a supplementary pension through the employer from contributions of the employer, the employee, or both combined.

For expats who leave Germany, we have good news: both pensions can be transferred abroad.

What is a private pension insurance?

The private pension insurance (Private Rentenversicherung) is made up of individual pension investment plans set up by banks and insurance companies to raise your overall German pension entitlement when you reach the retirement age. There are good news for expats who leave the country: you can get your private pension in every foreign country around the world without any complications or deductions.


We hope that this article helped you better understand the way the German pension system functions and how you can take advantage of it as an expat. If you wish to learn more information concerning your personal options, contact us here!

Student Health Insurance: A Guide for Studying in Germany

International students hoping to complete their education in Germany need to have Germany’s healthcare insurance before enrolling in school and obtaining a residence permit. German student health insurance is designed to be reasonable. The country requires students to pay the standard discounted sum for their insurance unless they have a job.

How to Get Health Insurance as a Student in Germany

Before arriving in the country, you will apply for a German student visa from a German embassy in your city. You will need a short-term travel health insurance plan to cover you for your initial stay while you procure your long-term international healthcare insurance. Then, before enrolling at your chosen university, you will need to contact a Krankenkasse, i.e., a health insurance company. Your chosen company will give you their plan and relevant details. You can study the plan and coverage and choose the student health insurance that works best. 

What Should Your Student Health Insurance Cover?

Your student healthcare insurance in Germany should cover the following:

  • In-patient and out-patient care
  • Regular medical check-ups
  • Medicine costs
  • Emergency services
  • Basic dental care
  • Pregnancy treatment
  • Funeral costs and repatriation of remains costs in case of death

Choices for Student International Healthcare Insurance in Germany

Germany offers two types of health insurance – public and private. Your eligibility for them depends on your age and education status. Let’s explore these two options:

Public Health Insurance for Students

Students under 30 enrolled in degree courses in Germany must have public health insurance. You cannot register at your university without a statutory/public health insurance certificate. Students in Germany only have to pay around 110 per month as their premium until they turn 30. 

However, you cannot register for Germany’s statutory health insurance if:

  • You already have an EU health insurance in your home country 
  • You are over 30
  • You are self-employed or working as a freelancer
  • You are not enrolled in a degree course in the country

Important Note: If you reside and work in Germany while studying and earning more than €450 each month, you will need to avail health insurance as a foreign worker. 

Suppose you wish to benefit from private health insurance as a student under 30. In that case, you will have to request an exemption certificate from the statutory health insurance within the first three months of starting your studies. Once you forfeit your public insurance, you cannot revert to it for the duration of your education unless you start earning and register yourself as an employee. 

On the flip side, you can get public health insurance without technical eligibility if you are:

  • Enrolled in compulsory training after getting your degree
  • Have to care for sick or disabled relatives
  • Have a disability or illness
  • Participate in a board conducted by your university
  • A recent parent

Private Health Insurance for Students 

You must purchase private health insurance in Germany if you are:

  • Over 30
  • Enrolled in a language or preparatory course
  • A PhD student 

Moreover, if you were covered by statutory health insurance before your PhD program, you can keep it or get private insurance. Since public insurance only covers basic needs, many students opt for additional private health insurance. 

Getting Proof of Student Health Insurance in the Country

Germany’s healthcare system requires you to have proof of your student health insurance. You will need to contact your private health insurance company and request an insurance certificate as proof. It will contain your insurance plan, coverage, and other details. With a private insurance plan, you will need proof from the public health insurance provider in your area that you are exempt from statutory health insurance and that your current private plan meets your needs. 

Health Insurance for Language or Preparatory Course Students 

In Germany, international students pursuing a preparatory course cannot obtain public health insurance. Instead, they need to have private health insurance until they pass their course exam known as Feststellungsprüfung, enabling them to enrol in a degree program. That is when they will become eligible for statutory health insurance. 

Students pursuing a language course are not eligible for public health insurance. They will become eligible once they enrol in a degree programme or find employment. 

Health Insurance for Exchange Students 

Exchange students studying in Germany are enrolled in degree programs, enabling them to benefit from public health insurance. They can use the discounted amount like full-time international students despite studying in the country for a semester or two. 

Health Insurance for PhD Students 

PhD students studying in Germany are typically over 30 years of age, which means they are not eligible for statutory health insurance. However, the type of health insurance they are eligible for depends on their employment status.

PhD. Members Teaching at a University

When a PhD student is employed at a university as a research assistant or lecturer, they will need to pay 7.3% of their salary, and their employer will match the percentage. Moreover, PhD students teaching at a university are often insured as employees in public insurance plans by the university as their payroll is not above the threshold to register with private insurers.  

Non-Teaching PhD Students

PhD students who are not staff members and are less than 30 years old are eligible for the discounted statutory health insurance. However, students over 30 should seek private health insurance providers. But if they are working part-time in any institute, they can consider registering for public health insurance through their employer. 

MW Expat offers convenient public and private health insurance to students studying in Germany. Together with our student insurance partner BARMER we will help you to find the best solution for your personal situation. Get in touch with us today to learn more!  

Public or Private Health Insurance in Germany: Which Is Better for Expats and Why?

As an expat in Germany, getting health insurance is a crucial part of securing the best healthcare for yourself. Not only is it a requirement, but opting for public or private health insurance can make all the difference.

Expats are eligible for State healthcare, but it’s not as comprehensive as some private policies that can help you get various health-related treatments that are within your insurance policy.

Of course, there are additional costs to bear, but it could also help you save money in the long term. So, regarding expat health insurance in Germany, we’ll help you decide whether private service or public is a good option for you based on your needs. Here’s what you should know. 

Private vs Public Health Insurance?

Some people living in Germany do not have the choice of opting for the best private health insurance. So, if they earn less than €64,350 in a year, they cannot opt for private insurance. They will need to continue using public health insurance. This is applicable to both expats and locals. 

However, if you earn more than that figure annually, you can choose between the best private health insurance in Germany or public insurance. There are some reasons why you may want to opt for private insurance. Here’s what they are. We also mention one advantage that’s worth noting if you choose public insurance. 

Private Health Insurance Has More Coverage than Public Insurance

Public insurance covers only limited healthcare treatments. There’s also only basic coverage for dental work. On the other hand, private health insurance can offer a variety of additional forms of healthcare coverage based on your needs.

More coverage could increase the price of your policy, so you can choose coverage for only those treatments that you feel you will need at that moment or in the future. In any case, the coverage for the following is comprehensive with private health insurance as opposed to only basic coverage with public insurance. 

  • Treatment coverage 
  • Dental care
  • Medication 
  • Contacts and Glasses
  • Alternative Treatment 

Private Health Insurance Can Limit Waiting Times for Appointments with Specialists  

With public health insurance, people may have to wait for months until they can get an appointment with a specialist (if they want that to be covered). This is because there are long waiting lines, and you will have to wait on the list. However, private insurance can cut down on those waiting times by allowing only short notice periods. 

Private Health Insurance Allows You to Choose Your Private Specialists and Hospitals

You get to choose both the doctors and the hospitals with a private health insurance policy. With a public insurance policy, you will have to use whatever the state gives to you. 

Private Health Insurance Can Have Coverage Outside of Germany

If you’re an expat who travels a lot, you can certainly benefit from private health insurance. This is because public insurance is geographically limited to Germany and the EU only, while many private health insurance policies offer coverage in different parts of the world. Therefore, you will be protected even if you get sick and receive treatment from a country outside the EU. 

Public Insurance Does Not Have Upfront Costs

One important advantage that public insurance has over its private counterpart is there are no upfront costs of treatments that are covered. However, with a private insurance policy, you will need to pay the charges upfront and then have them reimbursed. That said, you will limit your treatment options and the healthcare facilities when you opt for public insurance. 

When to Choose Private or Public Health Insurance in Germany

Whether you choose private or public insurance will depend on what type of coverage you need for insurance. If you typically don’t have medical bills that are anything more than what’s included in basic coverage, you don’t have to opt for private service.

However, if you want extended dental coverage or coverage for treating chronic conditions, then private insurance is the way to go. 

Opting for private health insurance when public insurance doesn’t cover what you need can help you save a lot of money in the long term. Certain medical procedures can be expensive, and your insurance will ensure that you don’t go broke trying to stay healthy. 

It’s important to note that the coverage can vary from one private health insurance policy to another. So, be sure to review your policy carefully to ensure that it covers the specific treatments that you need. This way, you won’t have to pay for those treatments out of pocket, which, in some cases, can be fairly expensive. 

Last Few Words

The best private health insurance in Germany should be one in which you have all the coverage you need within and outside of Germany. Of course, it should also be affordable so that it makes it worth it. 

Expat Life in Germany 2022: New Changes That You Should Be Aware of Now

Expat life in Germany can be especially daunting. Every year, new and updated policies come into effect that expats need to be aware of, often feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of changes. While it may seem tough to keep up to date with all these alterations, the best way to make your life as an expat in Germany successful and fulfilling is by proactively preparing early for the inevitable policy shifts. With a little extra effort in understanding and learning the rules of the game around you, it’s possible to enjoy a journey filled with joyous cultural experiences.

Expats in Germany face significant issues, such as a language barrier and the difficulty involved in learning German, finding work, figuring out where to live, understanding the red-tape maze and bureaucracy, dealing with the culture shock, and more. While it can be challenging to navigate these hurdles, having a keen understanding of policy changes affecting expats will surely make things easier for you. 

So, without ado, let’s explore the changing laws, rules, and regulations that are bound to affect you in 2022:

Social Security Changes

Here are the changes that will affect social security in Germany in 2022:

New Social Security Contribution Threshold

Each year, the federal government alters the social security contribution assessment ceiling. However, due to negative wage development in 2021, most thresholds will remain the same, and some will reduce. The income threshold for statutory health insurance and long-term care insurance contributions will remain the same this year.

Meanwhile, the threshold for pension insurance will vary across different federal states as the government tries to reduce the difference between pensions in western and eastern Germany. You should contact your expat insurance company to determine what these changes mean for your insurance.  

Compulsory Insurance Limit Will Remain Unchanged

The compulsory insurance limit will remain at 64,350 euros each year. If you earn more than that, you can take our private health insurance in the country. It will allow you to discuss personal accident insurance and other medical insurance varieties with your provider.

Childless Individuals Will Pay Higher Long-Term Contributions

Germany will increase the contribution rates for long-term care insurance for childless individuals in 2022. They will justify this increment by stating that it will cost the state more to take care of them in their old age without children to take care of them. So, childless individuals aged 23 or more will see a 0.1% to 3.4% rise in their contributions. 

Healthcare Changes

Germany’s healthcare is facing the following changes:

Digital Sick Notes 

People working in Germany have had to send digital copies of their doctor’s certificates to their employer to avail sick leave for some time now. But from July 1, 2022, the doctor will send copies to the resident or expat international insurance company and your employer directly.  

The Use of E-Prescriptions 

The government wants to replace the pink prescription forms doctors use for prescribing medicine in January 2022, but the changeover to e-prescription hasn’t taken place yet. However, the Federal Health Ministry insists that the change, allowing your GP to send an e-prescription to the pharmacy directly, will occur this year.

EU Digital Certificate’s Limited Validity

The European Commission decreed in December 2021 that starting from February 1, digital COVID certificates will remain valid for nine months without a booster vaccine. 

Online Organ-Donation Information

From March 2022, GPs will need to give you more detailed information about your organ donation options. A new online portal will enable you to register for organ donation or withdraw your prior consent. 

Work-Related Changes

Here are the changes you should be mindful of when working in Germany:

Increment in Tax-Free Allowance

The country will increase the rudimentary tax-free allowance for adults by 204 euros. It means that single individuals will not have to pay taxes on the first 9,984 euros of their salary. For couples in a registered marriage, the amount is double.

Moreover, the taxable component of pensions will be 82% in 2022, and only new pensioners will be affected by this 1% increment. If you are facing trouble with your taxes, it’s best to reach out to financial services in Germany to make sense of them.

Minimum Wage Will Increase

Germany’s minimum wage will increase this year to 982 euros each hour. It will see a hike again in July and reach 1,045 euros per hour.

Unemployment Benefits

If you lose a job in the country, you can register online with the Employment Agency to receive unemployment benefits. All you will need is a valid electronic proof of identity. 

Compulsory COVID Vaccines in the Healthcare Industry

In 2022, healthcare workers will need to present proof of vaccine to work in German hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare institutes. 

Benefit & Allowance Changes

Here are the changes in allowances and benefits:

Increase in Hartz IV 

Individuals receiving unemployment benefit II (Hartz IV) will receive more money this year. Single individuals will receive a three euro increase, which will take their benefit up to 449 euros per month. The standard rate for young people and children will also increase.

More Care Relief

Germany will offer further relief to caregiver relatives, care staff, and people in need of care. Individuals who receive care in their homes will receive a supplement from their long-term care insurance to ensure they can manage the rising costs. 

Increment in Child allowance & Maintenance Advance

The Kinderzuschlag or supplementary child allowance that low-income families receive along with their regular child benefit will increase this year to a maximum of 209 euros each month. Meanwhile, the maintenance advance given to single parents who receive no or irregular maintenance payments from the other parent will increase per the rising minimum maintenance amount.

The Bottom Line

With each passing year, Germany introduces more new laws and policies that affect its residents and expats. These were merely some of the significant policies that would affect anyone living in Germany. I hope they help you navigate the new rules seamlessly.