Import and export of social security contributions between EU countries with U1 form

The European Union (EU) is an alliance of sovereign states that cooperate on many issues, including sponsorship society for immigrant workers.

Among the many agreements and instruments supporting labour mobility within the EU, the U1 model plays an important role in the import and export of social security contributions.

What is social security contribution?

Social security contributions represent payments by employees and their employers to the social security system.

These payments are used to fund a range of benefits, including pensions, health care and unemployment benefits.

The flexibility of these contributions is essential for migrant workers within the EU, as it allows them to receive benefits from their work in the different countries where they have worked.

Movement of workers within the EU

The European Union promotes the free movement of workers between member states.

This means that EU citizens can seek employment, work and reside in any other member state without restrictions.

This move is made possible by a series of agreements and regulations that ensure respect for workers’ social security rights during and after their time working abroad.

Model U1:

Importance and usage

Form U1 is an important instrument for transferring social security contributions in the EU.

This document certifies the period of insurance or employment in a certain Member State.

Each EU member state must issue this certificate to workers at the end of their employment period.

Workers can then use form U1 to demonstrate the period of social security accumulation in one country when applying for social security benefits in another Member State.

This U1 form is issued by the public employment service agency (or equivalent) of the last country to which the person contributed, technically known as PD U1 (Portable Document U1).

If the document must be presented to a Spanish institution, the reference period recorded on the form is 6 years.

Countries that issue and recognize U1 are European Union (EU) countries (Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, France, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, United Kingdom (before Brexit), Sweden, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Estonia, Greece, Malta, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Cyprus, Slovenia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania) and others European Economic Area (EEA) countries, i.e. the countries mentioned above plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

What is it used for and for whom?

People who have worked in the European Union and the European Economic Area and wish to receive unemployment benefits in another EU country.

In which two cases is form U1 required?


Form U1 when leaving Spain for a European country.


Form U1 when returning to Spain from a European country.

For example, if a Spanish worker goes to Portugal to look for work and he has unused unemployment benefits in Spain, which entitles him to unemployment benefits, he can do two things

1) Export your unemployment benefits, i.e. ask SEPE (INEM) to pay you three or at most six months of unemployment benefits while you are in the Netherlands looking for work.

2) If you find a job in an EU member state and are unemployed, with the U1 document you will be able to prove the contributions you did not earn in Spain to claim benefits unemployed from the local employment service (e.g. France or Germany).

Therefore, you should bring your U1 document from Spain before starting your trip.

Likewise, if a Spanish worker has contributed in a European country, then when leaving that country (going to another country or returning to Spain) he should request the U1 form in that country to prove your working time and contributions paid.

This recommendation is made by the employment agencies of the Spanish embassies in Europe.

For example, if you have worked in the Netherlands and plan to return to Spain, you will need to apply for a U1 document from the Dutch employment agency before leaving.


Marco has worked for two years in the Netherlands as a logistics worker and is about to return to Spain.

With form U1, the Dutch public employment service certifies her accumulated contributions so that Marco can apply for unemployment benefits in Spain.

This document serves as a European passport for the contributions accumulated by each active person.

Marco must request it from the authorities of the country where he works and present it to the authorities of the country where she wants to claim unemployment benefits.

– If you are returning to Spain from a European country. Likewise, if a Spanish worker has made contributions in a European country, then when leaving (going to another country or returning to Spain) he should request form U1  in that country to prove time spent working and contributions pay.

– If you leave Spain for a European country. If you move to look for work and you have unpaid unemployment contributions in Spain, which entitle you to benefits, two situations are possible:

– Export of unemployment benefits , require SEPE (INEM) to pay benefits for a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 months, while you are looking for work (in this case you must also submit a U2 application).

– If you find work in another EU country and are then  unemployed, you can use the U1 document to demonstrate contributions you did not earn in Spain, to qualify for unemployment benefits in this country. Therefore, you should bring your U1 document  from Spain before departure.

How does Model U1  work?

U1 request form:

Workers who have completed their period of employment in an EU member state request form U1 from the competent authority of that country.

Issuing form U1:

 When receiving the application, the authorities issue form U1. This certificate contains the employee’s contact information, the period of coverage, and social security contributions paid in that country.

Using form U1:

The worker can then present form U1  to the social security authority of the country in which he or she resides or applies for benefits. This certificate allows them to take into account  previously completed work periods in another EU country.

Calculation of benefits:

The social security agency in the  country where the employee resides uses form U1  to calculate the social security benefits to which the employee is entitled. This ensures that time spent working abroad is fully recognised.

Benefit payments:

Once calculated, social security benefits will be paid to the employee taking into account the period of work performed both in the country of residence and in other EU countries.


The U1 model is an important tool to facilitate the flexibility of workers’ social security contributions in the EU.

By allowing recognition of social security periods between member states, the U1 model helps ensure that workers can access the social security benefits to which they are entitled, regardless of the EU country they are living in

This process is a concrete example of how the EU promotes free movement of workers and social protection across the Union.

Didn’t you ask for a U1 document before leaving or were you already in another EU country and needed a U1 form sent to you from Spain?

BarcelonaGlobalService can obtain the U1 document for you 100% remotely

Contact BarcelonaGlobalService at or via the contact link

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4 comentarios en “Import and export of social security contributions between EU countries with U1 form”

  1. Hi, i just arrived in Spain and i have a U1 form received by the French authorities before leaving…Would I be able to «import» my social security contributions to Spain? If so, can you do everything remotely for me? many thanks

  2. I’ve been working many years in France and then i moved to Spain (Alicante). i would need to sum the years of work in France to my spanish social security contributions (Vida laboral), is it possible to do it asking for a u1 form to France? If so, can you help me with this? Gracias!

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