How to obtain an international pension for those people who have worked in Italy and abroad

come funziona la pensione internazionale e come poter fare domanda

Table of Contents

This article is aimed at those workers who have worked over a period of time in Italy and in one or more EU or non-EU countries and, being at the end of their career, they have not yet adquired sufficient rights in order to apply for pension in their home Country or in other countries where they have worked.

Therefore, how can you obtain a pension related to your working period abroad?

Studio Arletti & Partners, expert in matter of working abroad, suggests a contribution rejoinment, when possible, among the countries implied in the working performance, applying existing bilateral or multiple conventions.

As a matter of fact, there are bilateral and some multiple contribution agreements that allow contributions paid in two or more countries to be joined in order to obtain a pension and optimise its amount.

Pensions obtained after periods of work in EU countries

Workers who have adquired pensionable insurance periods may submit their pension application in the following countries:

  • in the 27 EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden);
  • in UK, pursuant to the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) entered into force on February 1st, 2020 (see INPS Circular No. 16 of February 4th, 2020 and INPS Circular No. 53 of April 6th, 2021);
  • in EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein);
  • in Switzerland.

Within the EU agreements it is possible to combine contributions paid in all EU countries through some procedures. Each country will pay a pro quota to the worker, in accordance with its own pension system.

E.g.: an Italian worker has worked for 5 years in Italy, 7 years in Germany and 8 in Sweden, adquiring the right to the minimum pension (20 years) in Italy, and at the same time Germany and Sweden will pay their quota for the same years, based on their pension system.

Pensions obtained after periods of work in non-EU countries with an agreement with Italy

As well as all other EU countries, Italy has bilateral contribution agreements with non-EU countries. Therefore, the specialist in charge must verify every time the possibility of recovering contributions paid in a non-EU country.
The non-EU countries with which Italy has a contribution agreement are:

  • Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Quebec, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Israel, former Yugoslavian countries, Principality of Monaco, Republic of Cape Verde, Republic of San Marino, Holy See, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, USA (United States) and Venezuela.

Studio A & P is able to apply the bilateral convention and also to join contribution periods in other countries where applicable, thus achieving the right to a pension and optimising its amount.

Pensions obtained with periods of work in Italy by residents in countries with no agreements

Studio Arletti & Partners can analyse the contributory position of a worker who has completed periods of work in Italy and in other non-EU countries.
Subsequently, the Studio will be able to verify the accrual of an Italian pension entitlement and quantify the amount of voluntary contributions to be made in order to qualify for a pension.
Since reimbursement of contributions paid is not possible, the amount of Italian contributions paid will not be lost.

Regulatory references

Regulation (EEC) No. 1606/98, published in the Official Journal of the European Community of July 25th, 1998, extended to civil servants, with effect from October 25th, 1998, the possibility of aggregating insurance periods accrued in EU Member States, Switzerland and EEA countries, and not coinciding with national periods, through the institution of international aggregation provided for by Regulations (EEC) No. 1408/71 and No. 574/72, replaced by the current Regulations (EC) No. 883/2004 and No. 987/2009.

The aim is to ensure to the insured workers to receive a pension from each Country where they have acquired insurance periods.

Accordingly, for the valuation of these foreign periods in Italy, the need to resort to the redemption provided for by Legislative Decree No. 184 of April 30th, 1997 has disappeared.

Application for foreign contribution rejoinments for periods in Italy

International rejoinment of periods of time abroad in Italy is the total amount of different periods claimed in EU countries, EEA and Switzerland for the achievement of the right to the Italian pension. The application, as indicated by the INPS Circular No. 71 of April 30th, 2013, should be filled in and sent to the INPS electronically.

Once the application is taken in charge, INPS will request to the relevant foreign Social Security Institution to certify the insurance periods held by the applicant.

Upon receiving the response and performing the check in order to exclude any overlapping with periods already useful for retirement in Italy, INPS prepares the measure recognizing the foreign insurance periods.

It is advisable to submit the application for international totalization as soon as possible so that domestic contribution years can be improved by foreign insurance periods.

How to apply for an international pension

The application, as per Presidential Determination No. 95 of May 30th, 2012, should be filled in and electronically sent to INPS, and in addition it may be submitted by the member or the eligible survivor.

Therefore, upon retirement, the relevant INPS office will define the Italian pension under the international scheme and initiate the connection with the relevant foreign Social Security Institution in order to enable it to define the foreign international pension.

In this context, two different cases of attainment of pension entitlement in Italy may occur.

On one hand, the applicant might obtain the pension exclusively by the international rejoinment of foreign periods. In such a case, the quantification of the pension total amount will be carried out using the “pro-rata” technique. Specifically, a theoretical pension amount will be calculated first, taking all insurance periods, domestic and foreign, as the basis for calculation. Then, the actual pension amount will be determined, calculated by reducing the theoretical amount in relation to the ratio of domestic insurance periods to the total of all insurance periods (Art. 52(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004).

The second case concerns the attainment of pension entitlement even with only the evaluation of national periods. In this case, EU provisions stipulate the need to proceed with the calculation of the pension benefit in two ways.

The first on the basis of national contributions alone (Article 52(1)(a) of Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004), the second using the pro-rata technique.

The comparison of the two pension amounts thus obtained will detect the most favorable pension treatment, which will be given to the person concerned (Article 52(3) of Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004).

Initiation of connection with the competent foreign social security institution

The connection with the foreign Social Security Institution is made through the transmission of forms related to the certification of the insured person’s national insurance periods (E205/IT) and the application for a pension under the international scheme (E202/IT for old-age pension, E203/IT for survivor’s pension, and E204/IT for direct disability/invalidity pension, to which form E213/IT, related to the “detailed medical report,” will be attached).

After reviewing the connection forms, the foreign body will be able to decide the acceptance or rejection of the application. Any pension benefit will be awarded upon attainment of the age and contribution requirements of the relevant foreign state and will be disbursed by the foreign body independently.

Special attention should be paid to insurance periods of less than one year from a foreign state. In this case, they can be taken into account in full compliance with Article 57, of Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004. As reiterated in INPS Circular No. 88 of July 2nd, 2010, the institution to which the benefit is requested may not grant it if the insurance periods completed under its legislation do not reach one whole year and if taking into account that with only these periods no right is acquired under that legislation (Article 57(1) of Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004).

Consequently, institutions in other EU member countries, with which the person concerned can claim at least one year of insurance, should take these insurance periods into account in order to verify the achievement of entitlement to benefits under the legislation each of them applies.

Clearly, each institution must take into account foreign periods of less than one year in proportion to insurance periods completed under its own legislation in order to determine the total amount of the pension that has to be paid.

Regulatory Framework


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