A Swiss social security number or AHV (Alters- und Hinterlassenenversicherung) is a crucial piece of paperwork to have when living in Switzerland. The number is given to every resident once their application for a residence permit, health insurance, and registration is completed. It is issued by the social security services in order to streamline the application process for benefits and to prove how long you have paid into the Swiss social security.
Purpose of a Swiss AHV number
Your Swiss AHV number is a number unique to you that allows you to access Swiss social security programmes. It is also used to calculate how long you have been contributing to your pension.
Through this number, social services are able to find out economic information, such as your employment status, so that they can determine whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits or welfare. You will also need to provide this number to:
- Confirm to an employer that you have health insurance.
- Claim your mandatory first pillar pension.
- Switch basic health insurance.
- Switch supplemental health insurance.
How to get a Swiss social security number
As part of the process of getting a Swiss residence permit, it is essential that you purchase mandatory health insurance. Once your application for health insurance is complete, you will be provided with your AHV number, along with your health insurance policy. Your AHV number will remain the same throughout your residency in Switzerland, including if you switch health insurance policies.
If you receive your health insurance through your employer and want to know your number before you receive your health insurance card, contact your employer and they will be able to provide it.
Where can I find my Swiss AHV number?
Your AHV number will be on the card given to you by your healthcare provider. The number is usually around 13 characters long and can be found on any healthcare document or health insurance policy. Additionally, if you are employed at an international company in Switzerland, you can also ask your employer what your number is.
How do I replace a lost AHV number?
If you have lost your health insurance card, it is essential that you apply for a new one, as it is the way you access emergency services and healthcare. Insurance providers will be able to provide a new card at no extra cost, only paying for postage. If your card has been stolen, you must inform your provider who will give you new details.
AHV number once you have left Switzerland
Your AHV number can still be useful after you leave Switzerland. If you continue paying into a first or second pillar Swiss pension after you move away, you will need your AHV number to access your pension benefits once you retire. If you carry on receiving social security benefits after leaving Switzerland, you also need to have your AHV number in order to access these funds.