Pensions and social security

Switzerland has concluded international social security agreements with 44 countries. The main purpose of these agreements is to ensure that citizens of the states parties to the agreements are treated equally, to determine the applicable legislation and to regulate the payment of social security benefits abroad. Between Switzerland and Turkey there is an international social security agreement, which came into force on 1 January 1972.

Social security system

In principle, the agreements regulate the affiliation and equal status of the nationals of the contracting parties with regard to their rights and obligations. Information on the agreements is primarily provided by the competent insurance institutions (AHV compensation funds, accident insurers, etc.). The Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) also provides information online.

The national social insurance scheme "Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu" (SGK) is a single insurance scheme covering sickness, maternity, old age, disability, death, occupational accidents and occupational diseases. The responsible central government agency is the eponymous social insurance institute, "Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu". Employees and employers are obliged to pay contributions. Employed foreign nationals must join the SGK. However, according to the 1969 agreement on social security, Swiss nationals are only subject to the Turkish old-age, survivors' and invalidity insurance scheme (SGK) upon application.

The SGK's services are not equivalent to Swiss standards. 

Pensions / retirement

The retirement age in Turkey depends on the date of registration with the Turkish social insurance institution (SGK) and the days of contributions paid in. Over time, several laws have been passed in Turkey on the pension system, which has made the matter much more complex. It is therefore strongly recommended to consult a specialist or to contact the office responsible. 

Health and accident insurance

General health insurance has been compulsory in Turkey since 2012. Foreign nationals who are not affiliated to any social insurance scheme, have been living in Turkey for more than one year and do not have health insurance in their country of origin must take out insurance with the “Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu” (SGK). To register with the SGK, you normally need a residence permit and confirmation of social security status in the country of origin, including a certified translation of the same, authenticated by a certified notary. 

Occupational pension scheme

Unemployment insurance exists in Turkey. It is a compulsory insurance that partially compensates – for a certain period of time – the loss of income of people who lose their jobs by their own volition and fault, even if they are fit, healthy and competent to work. 

Unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance exists in Turkey. It is a compulsory insurance that partially compensates – for a certain period of time – the loss of income of people who lose their jobs by their own volition and fault, even if they are fit, healthy and competent to work. 

Swiss old-age and survivors' insurance (OASI) and invalidity insurance (IV)

Payment of ordinary pensions

Ordinary OASI and IV pension payments (except quarter pensions under the IV scheme) for Swiss nationals can be transferred to their place of residence anywhere in the world. The pension is paid out directly by the Swiss compensation office, generally in the currency of the country of residence. You may also choose to have your benefits paid into a personal postal or bank account in Switzerland. Helplessness allowances and supplementary benefits are only paid if you are resident in Switzerland.

Voluntary OASI/IV

Swiss nationals who do not live in an EU/EFTA member state may join the voluntary OASI/IV scheme if they had compulsory insurance cover for at least five consecutive years immediately prior to their departure. Enrolment in the Swiss voluntary OASI/IV system does not exempt you from enrolling in a compulsory insurance system in your country of residence or employment. Employed persons contribute 10.1% of their salary to the pension fund. The minimum annual contribution is CHF 950. The voluntary OASI/IV system offers protection against the risks of old age, disability and death, in particular to persons who are not gainfully employed and who in many cases are not entitled to join a foreign social security scheme.

Special provisions for people employed by a Swiss company

Special provisions apply to persons who live abroad and are employed and on the payroll of an employer based in Switzerland and to their accompanying spouses abroad provided they are not gainfully employed. For further information, please contact your OASI office.

OASI pensioners (1st pillar) and pension fund beneficiaries (2nd pillar)

Make sure that pension payments from your old-age and survivors' insurance (OASI), your pension fund or other insurance policies you have taken out are being properly transferred to you. Whenever you change your address, you must inform the OASI compensation office, your pension fund and insurance provider. The Swiss Compensation Office (SCO) sends all persons who are receiving benefits a certificate of life and marital status form each year. To ensure uninterrupted payment of your pension, please return the form to the SCO within 90 days, duly endorsed by your local authority, or any other officially recognised administration.

Taxation of pension fund income

Switzerland imposes a withholding tax on pension fund income if the beneficiary resides abroad. Double taxation agreements sometimes allow the withholding tax to be waived or to be reclaimed by the pension recipient in their country of residence.

Social assistance for Swiss citizens abroad

In certain circumstances, the FDFA's Social Assistance Service for the Swiss Abroad (SAS) provides social assistance to Swiss nationals living abroad who have run into financial difficulty. If you find yourself in financial distress, you must first make every effort to manage with your own resources. If you really cannot manage on your own, you should try to get financial help from your family or from friends or acquaintances. You should also find out what social assistance or other support you can receive from the authorities in your country of residence. Support from the SAS should be a measure of last resort.


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