Social Security Agreement between Australia and Spain - Frequently Asked Questions (2023)

Note: the following information is provided as a guide only. People should contact Centrelink International Services on 131 673 for specific information relating to their circumstances.

  • When did the Agreement start?
  • What does the Agreement say?
  • What does the Agreement do?
  • What payments does the Agreement cover?
  • What are the main features of the Agreement?
  • Where and how are claims made?
  • When does payment start?
  • How are Agreement pensions and benefits paid?
  • What documents do I need To make a claim?
  • What are the important things to know about the Australian social security system?
  • Examples for residents of Australia
  • Examples for residents of Spain
  • How do I find out more?

When did the Agreement start?

The Agreement started on 3 June 1991.

What does the Agreement say?

The Agreement is a formal treaty. SeetheSocial Security Agreement between Australia and Spain.

What does the Agreement do?

The main purpose of the Agreement is to assist people who move between Australia and Spain to get a pension from each country so that both Australia and Spain share the long-term social security coverage for that person. The Agreement:

  • Provides for the grant of pension by one country even though a person is living in the other;
  • Allows for the transfer of pensions between countries; and
  • Allows people to add together periods of working life residence in Australia and periods of contributions in Spain to meet qualifying periods to obtain a pension from one or both countries.

What payments does the agreement cover?

The social security payments covered by the Agreement are as follows:


  • Age Pension;
  • Disability Support Pension (previously invalid pension);
  • Wife Pension (no new grants since 30 June 1995);
  • Carer Payment (previously carers' pension); and
  • pensions payable to widows
    • Bereavement Allowance
    • Widow B Pension (no new grants since 20 March 1997)
    • Parenting Payment (single) (previously sole parent pension)


  • benefits for temporary incapacity for work in cases of common illness, maternity or non-industrial accident;
  • invalidity benefit;
  • old age benefit;
  • death and survivors' benefits; and
  • unemployment benefit.

What are the main features of the Agreement?

To qualify for an Australian pension a person needs to have a minimum period of residence in Australia. For example, a person needs to have 10 years Australian residence to claim an Australian Age Pension. Australian legislation also requires a person to be an Australian resident and in Australia to claim a pension.

Under the Agreement, Spanish insurance periods (periods of contributions) are treated by Australia as periods of residence in Australia. The Agreement also permits a person who resides in Spain to claim a pension from Australia even though he or she may no longer be an Australian resident.

Spanish legislation requires minimum insurance periods to qualify for benefits. Under the Agreement, periods of working life residence in Australia are treated as insurance periods in Spain.

These deemed periods do not affect the amount of pension which is based only on the relevant periods in each country.

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Where and how are claims made?

People living in Australia can lodge claims for Spanish and Australian pensions with any Centrelink Customer Service Centre. Centrelink will supply all the necessary claim forms.

People living in Spain can lodge claims for Australian and Spanish benefits with their local office of the Spanish Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social (INSS).

When does payment start?

In Australia's case, this is from the first day a person qualifies for payment after lodgement of a claim. Claims for Age Pension may be lodged up to 3 months in advance of reaching Age Pension age. If a person lodges their claim after they reach Age Pension age, then payment would generally not be backdated.

How are Agreement pensions and benefits paid?

When You Live in Australia

Australian pensions are paid by the Department of Human Services. Payments are made into a person's nominated bank account every 2 weeks.

Spain pays its own pensions and benefits through the Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social (INSS).

People who get a pension from both countries, will get two separate payments – one from Australia and one from Spain.

Temporarily Absent From Australia

People who get an Australian pension, and travel to Spain, or another country, for less than 12 months, will continue to have their pension paid into their nominated bank account in Australia every 2 weeks subject to ongoing qualification.

Permanently Absent From Australia

People who get an Australian pension, and leave Australia permanently, or for more than 12 months, will be paid their pension into their nominated bank account every 4 weeks. Payments made to customers in Spain are in Euros.

What documents do I need to make a claim?

To make a claim a person needs to complete a claim form and provide documents to show identity, date of birth, marriage etc. The most helpful documents are:

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  • birth certificates and passports (including expired and foreign passports) and naturalisation/citizenship papers;
  • marriage certificate(s);
  • birth certificates for any dependent children;
  • death certificates or divorce papers if applicable;
  • any documents proving periods of residence in Australia;
  • any documents proving periods of contribution and/or residence in Spain;
  • any documents which could be useful, for example, bank statements, proof of rent or home ownership, Taxation Notice of Assessment.

What are the important things to know about the Australian social security system?

All claimants for Australian Agreement pensions need to meet the other conditions (e.g. age limits, income and assets tests) required for that pension under Australia's social security laws.

Australian pensions are means-tested. For information about the current income and assets test limits, visit the Department of Human Services website.

The Age Pension age for men and women is 65. The Age Pension age is gradually being increased to 67 beginning from July 2017 – see Department of Human Services website - Age Pension for details of Age Pension ages.

Australian working life residence is the period of Australian residence between age 16 and Age Pension age.

How much Australian pension will I get if I am paid under this agreement?

Australian pensions for people who are outside Australia are calculated differently to pensions for those who are inside Australia.

Australian pension for a person living in Australia

When a person living in Australia is granted a pension under the Agreement (because of lack of qualifying residence), the person receives the normal means-tested pension less the amount of any Spanish benefit they also receive.

The Spanish benefit is 'topped up' to the rate of Australian pension they would get if they did not receive any Spanish benefit.

Once a person qualifies for an Australian pension in his or her own right (without needing the Agreement) any Spanish benefit is treated as income in the normal way.

Australian pension for a person not living in Australia

The rate of Australian pension payable outside Australia is affected by two things:

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  • length of Australian residence during working life; and
  • the amount of income or assets in excess of specified limits.

Australian pensions paid overseas are paid at a proportional rate reflecting the person's working life residence in Australia. For claims made since 1 July 2014, a person with 35 years residence during 'working life' (between age 16 and Age Pension age) can be paid a full basic means-tested pension. A person with less than 35 years Australian working life residence, has his or her rate worked out on a proportional basis.

For example, a person with 20 years working life residence would receive 20/35ths (or 57%) of the basic means-tested pension rate; a person with 12 years working life residence would receive 12/35ths (or 34%).

The income and assets test also apply, so that a person with 35 years of working life residence in Australia could still receive only a part pension if their income or assets exceeded the threshold limits. For more information about the current income and assets limits, visit the Department of Human Services website.

Under the Agreement, when a pension is paid overseas a concessin may apply on the proportion of any contributory Spanish pension received which is counted as income for the income test. This also applies to pensions granted without the assistance of the Agreement.

Non-contributory Spanish pensions (generally only paid in Spain) are disregarded totally from the Australian income test.

Examples for residents of Australia

Following are some examples of how the Agreement assists people living in Australia:

Example 1:

Mr Gracia is aged 65 and has lived in Australia for 6 years. Before moving to Australia he lived in Spain and paid contributions to the Spanish social insurance system for 35 years. He now wishes to claim an Australian Age Pension.


  • Without the Agreement
    He cannot get an Australian Age Pension because he has not lived in Australia for more than 10 years.
  • With the Agreement
    Mr Garcia can add his 6 years as an Australian resident to his 35 years of contributions in Spain so that he meets the minimum 10 years Australian residence required to qualify for an Australian Age Pension

Also, Centrelink would assist him in claiming any Spanish pension he may be entitled to.

Example 2:

Mr Gonzales has lived in Australia for 2 years and is now 65 years old. He has also lived in Spain for 4 years and contributed to the social insurance system while there. He wishes to claim an Australian Age Pension.



Mr Gonzales would not qualify for an Australian Age Pension because, even if he does add his periods of contributions in Spain to his period of Australian residency, he still will not have at least 10 years of Australian residence he needs to qualify for an Age Pension.

Examples for residents of Spain

Following are some examples of how the Agreement assists people living in Spain:

Example 1:

Mr Mateos is aged 65 and has lived in Australia for 20 years during his working life. He is now living in Spain and is already receiving a Spanish benefit. He left Australia before reaching Age Pension age.


  • Without the Agreement
    Although he has more than 10 years required for Australian Age Pension, he would not qualify for payment as he is not an Australian resident and in Australia.
  • With the Agreement
    The Agreement's lodgement provisions allow Mr Mateos to claim an Australian pension even though he is a resident of Spain.

His rate of Australian pension would be proportionalised; 20/35ths of the basic means-tested rate would be paid.

The Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social would assist him in claiming an Australian pension.

Example 2:

Mr Gomez is aged 65 living in Spain. He has 16 years of contributions to the Spanish social insurance system. He has also lived in Australia for 9 months.


  • Without the Agreement
    Mr Gomez would be entitled to a Spanish pension only. No Australian pension could be paid because he is not an Australian resident and in Australia.
  • With the Agreement
    No change. Mr Gomez would still receive a Spanish pension, but would not be entitled to an Australian pension because under the Agreement the minimum period of Australian working life residence is one year (of which at least six months must be continuous).

How do I find out more?

For more information on claim procedures and payments:

For policy information, contact the Department of Social Services (

For more information on how the Agreement will assist seconded workers, contact the Australian Taxation Office.

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Last updated:


Does Spain have a social security agreement with Australia? ›

It also allows you to add together your periods of residence in Australia and periods of social security coverage in Spain, so you can meet any minimum requirements for payment.

What happens to my social security if I move to Spain? ›

If you have Social Security credits in both the United States and Spain, you may be eligible for benefits from one or both countries. If you meet all the basic requirements under one country's system, you will get a regular benefit from that country.

How does social security work in Spain? ›

As of 2022, the social security rate in Spain is 36.25%. The employer pays most of this: the employer pays 29.9% of the employee's wage, and the employee pays the remaining 6.34%. The minimum amount to be contributed from your salary changes depending on your salary.

Does Spain tax my US social security benefits? ›

Social Security will be taxed. Interest on your money in the bank will be taxed. If you are not a tax resident in Spain during the year you sold your home, the profit from that sale will not be taxed.

What is the relationship between Australia and Spain? ›

Australia and Spain work together in the multilateral arena to promote the rules-based order, free trade, human rights, gender equality and inclusive economic growth. Trade and investment links are strong and growing, with Spanish companies in Australia's transport, infrastructure and renewable energy sectors.

How many years do you have to work in Australia to get a pension? ›

be an Australian resident for a total of at least 10 years, with at least 5 of these years in one period.

Can American retirees move to Spain? ›

Yes a US citizen can retire in Spain. There are many different residency visa options for you in Spain. If you are planning on retiring there then the best visa option would be Residence Visa without the right to work.

How much is monthly Social Security payment in Spain? ›

The general rate is 30.6% for people with a monthly social security wage base between €960.60 and €4,139.40.

Where do most American expats live in Spain? ›

The best places to live in Spain

There are plenty of wonderful towns and cities to live in across Spain, but Madrid and Barcelona dominate the discussion, and are the most popular places for Americans living in Spain – for good reason.

What is social security called in Spain? ›

The social security system (Spanish: seguridad social) in Spain is its principal system of social protection.

What is the new Social Security in Spain? ›

Anyone who registers as self-employed, or autónomo as it's known in Spanish, between 2023 and 2025 will pay a flat rate of 80 euros per month Social Security for the first 12 months. Anyone who is currently entitled to a discount will continue to enjoy this benefit.

How old is retirement age in Spain? ›

The legal retirement age will be 67 years for both men and women in 2027. However if an individual has 38.5 years of contributions retirement with full-pension benefits is available from age 65. It is necessary to have 15 years of contributions to qualify for a pension benefit.

What income is not taxable in Spain? ›

Exceptions for paying tax in Spain

If you only have one job and earn less than €22,000 a year. If you've multiple jobs and earn less than €14,000 a year. If your capital gains total to less than €1,600 a year. Annuities for child support.

Do US retirees pay taxes in Spain? ›

US citizens, as well as permanent residents, are required to file expatriate tax returns with the federal government every year regardless of where they reside.

Is it cheaper to live in Spain or the United States? ›

Cost of living in Spain vs the USA

On average, the cost of living in Spain is 123% cheaper than in the USA. The biggest differences in cost are in rent, utilities, groceries, daycare, and health insurance.

Can I retire to Spain from Australia? ›

Australians who plan to retire in Spain may do so if they have the appropriate visa. The Spain retirement visa, also known as the Golden Visa, is the one they may apply for.

Why did people from Spain migrate to Australia? ›

A group of Catalan and Basque Spaniards migrated to Victoria in 1880 and a number of Spanish families settled in White Hills in central Victoria in 1885 in search of gold.

Can Australian citizens work in Spain? ›

Under this arrangement, Australians can live and work in Spain for up to 12 months. You are allowed to work for up to 6 months per employer, study for up to 4 months, and travel freely within the rest of the Schengen Area for up to 3 months within any 6-month period.

How old can you retire in Australia? ›

To be eligible for Age Pension you must be Age Pension age and meet some other rules. On 1 July 2021, Age Pension age increased to 66 years and 6 months for people born from 1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956, inclusive. If your birthdate is on or after 1 January 1957, you'll have to wait until you turn 67.

What is the 10 year rule for Australian citizenship? ›

The ten year rule refers to the residency limitation placed on criminal deportation in s. 201 of the Migration Act. Under existing law, once a "permanent" resident has lived in Australia for ten years he or she is no longer liable for criminal deportation.

Can I live overseas and still get the Australian pension? ›

Australian pensioners can stay up to 6 weeks overseas and receive their Australian pension normally before their return to Australia. If travelling for longer than 6 weeks, you'll need to let Services Australia know, and your pension payments may be affected. At least 5 of these 10 years must be in a row.

What are the pitfalls of retiring to Spain? ›

Some of the pitfalls of retiring in Spain are:
  • English proficiency in Spain is pretty low, so learning at least some basic Spanish phrases is a must.
  • Due to the laid back lifestyle, Spain is notorious for very slow bureaucracy and long wait times in governmental agencies.
May 23, 2022

What are the disadvantages of living in Spain? ›

The heat can be a huge drawback, because it's often so extreme that you can barely go outside during the hottest parts of the day (12-8pm), so you're limited to getting things done in the early morning or late at night.

Do I have to pay US taxes if I live in Spain? ›

All US citizens are required to file this form regardless of whether they live in the US, Spain, or anywhere else. For most US citizens, Form 1040 is due on April 15, but for expats, that deadline is automatically extended to June 15.

Is Health Care Free in Spain? ›

How much you'll pay. Once registered for healthcare, basic state services are free. There are some things that you may need to pay a percentage of the cost for, such as orthopaedic services. Spain uses a co-payment system where residents usually pay between 10% and 60% of the cost of prescription medication.

How much is a full pension in Spain? ›

In 2023, the pension will increase to €20,290 with monthly minimum payments rising to €966.19. Those who do not have a dependent spouse will see their pension increased from €10,103.80 (€721.70 per month) to €10,962 per year or €783.04 per month.

What is the social security rate in Spain 2022? ›

This increase will be maintained during 2022, since now the minimum contribution bases will be increased: The current base of €944.40 goes up to €960.60. The maximum base will go from 4,070.10€ to 4,139.40€

How difficult is it for an American to move to Spain? ›

It is absolutely easy for US citizens to move to Spain. All you have to do is file the necessary paperwork to the relevant Spanish authorities, whether for employment purposes or otherwise. You can also choose to invest in Spain under the Golden Visa scheme and be on your way to permanent residency for life.

What is the safest city in Spain? ›

1Gran CanariaGreat
4 more rows
Jan 12, 2023

Do expats pay taxes in Spain? ›

Yes, expats in Spain need to pay taxes. The most basic tax that expats must pay in Spain is the income tax. The income tax is calculated upon the expat's worldwide income. However, if you are a Spanish non-resident, the income tax is calculated just upon the income generated in Spain.

What are Spain's benefits? ›

Statutory and supplementary employee benefits in Spain
  • Minimum wage. ...
  • 13th and 14th-month salary benefits. ...
  • Overtime benefits. ...
  • Holiday and annual leave entitlements. ...
  • Paid vacation. ...
  • Maternity leave. ...
  • Partner and paternity leave. ...
  • Sickness and disability leave.
Feb 28, 2022

What taxes are paid in Spain? ›

2020 income tax rates
Taxable income band €National income tax rates
0 to 12,45019%
12,451 to 20,20024%
20,201 to 35,20030%
35,201 to 60,00037%
1 more row

How many years do you have to work to get a Spanish pension? ›

But what are these benefits and who can claim them? As I mentioned earlier, to qualify for a full state pension you must have been paying social security contributions for 37+ years (either through contracted employment or as a registered self-employed worker).

What is the new rule for social security? ›

Read more about the Social Security Cost-of-Living adjustment for 2023. The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $160,200. The earnings limit for workers who are younger than "full" retirement age (see Full Retirement Age Chart) will increase to $21,240.

What happens to my pension if I move to Spain? ›

What happens to my State Pension if I move abroad? As long as you've paid enough National Insurance, you can claim your State Pension while living abroad. The main difference is that if the State Pension increases, you may not benefit from the extra amount if you're living in certain countries.

What is the highest pension in Spain? ›

In this case, the 8.5% increase also reaches the maximum retirement pension, the amount of which grows from 2,819 euros per month (39,469 euros per year) in 2022 to 3,059 euros per month (42,829 euros per year) in 2023.

Which country has signed a Social Security agreement with Australia? ›

Australia and the Republic of Serbia have signed a new social security agreement that will improve access to retirement benefits for eligible people who have moved between the two countries.

Which countries have reciprocal Medicare agreements with Australia? ›

We have agreements with:
  • Belgium.
  • Finland.
  • Italy.
  • Malta.
  • the Netherlands.
  • New Zealand.
  • Norway.
  • the Republic of Ireland.
Mar 3, 2022

Does Australia have a double tax agreement with Spain? ›

Australian investors who tak into consideration to open a company in Spain can benefit from the provisions of the double taxation treaty signed by the authorities of Spain and Australia.

Which country has a Social Security agreement with Australia for DSP? ›

Australia has an agreement with New Zealand to share responsibility for social security coverage. Australia has agreements with these countries in the Americas to share responsibilities for social security coverage.

What do you call Social Security in Australia? ›

Social security, in Australia, refers to a system of social welfare payments provided by Australian Government to eligible Australian citizens, permanent residents, and limited international visitors. These payments are almost always administered by Centrelink, a program of Services Australia.

How much is the Australian pension if you live overseas? ›

If a person is travelling overseas temporarily, after 6 weeks the pension supplement will reduce to the basic amount which is approximately $219.05 and $330.20 per quarter for a single and couple combined respectively.

How does Australian Social Security work? ›

Under the Australian Social Security system, eligibility for benefits is based on residence and financial need. Benefits are paid in flat-rate amounts that are adjusted twice a year for inflation. These amounts are reduced if a beneficiary's income or assets exceed specified levels.

Can I use US Medicare in Australia? ›

If you're enrolled in Medicare

Medicare doesn't cover you while you're overseas. Make sure you have a plan for health care before you travel. Countries that have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with us may cover some of the cost.

Do expats get Medicare in Australia? ›

Does Medicare Cover Australians Overseas? No, Medicare does not cover Australians overseas. Whether you are in another country for a short-term visit or to live long-term, you are not covered by Australia's universal health care system, Medicare.

What are the disadvantages of Medicare in Australia? ›

You might not be able to choose when to be admitted. Medicare doesn't include ambulance service costs. Medicare won't cover you for private patient hospital costs, such as theatre fees and accommodation. It won't cover you for medical and hospital costs you incur in another country.

How can I avoid double taxation in Australia? ›

A tax treaty is also referred to as a tax convention or double tax agreement (DTA). They prevent double taxation and fiscal evasion, and foster cooperation between Australia and other international tax authorities by enforcing their respective tax laws.

How can you avoid double taxation when living abroad? ›

United States citizens who live abroad can exempt themselves from paying taxes on the income they earn in other countries if they qualify for the Foreign-Earned Income Exemption, allowing them to avoid double taxation.

How can expats avoid double taxation? ›

How to Avoid US Double Taxation as an Expat
  1. Tax Treaties. The US has a number of tax treaties in place with foreign countries to prevent US double taxation. ...
  2. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. For some types of income, you won't have to bother scanning tedious tax treaties to prevent US double taxation. ...
  3. Foreign Tax Credit.
Jan 5, 2023

How long can DSP stay overseas? ›

Payment for up to 28 days

You can get DSP for up to 28 days travel overseas in a 12 month period. It doesn't matter if you make a single trip or multiple trips.

Does Australia accept disabled immigrants? ›

Despite its reputation as a world leader in health care, Australia, along with neighboring New Zealand, is one of very few countries to routinely reject potential migrants on the basis of their health care needs. People seeking long-term visas for either country must undergo rigorous medical screening.

Can I live overseas on an Australian disability pension? ›

You can only be paid Disability Support Pension while you are overseas for up to 28 days in any 12 month period. Want to travel longer? payments if you will be overseas for longer than 28 days.


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