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Internships and Social Insurances

While studying, usually one or more mandatory internships (work placements) have to be served. Many students also like to gain further experience in additional voluntary internships. Depending on your situation, these internships are evaluated differently in regard to social insurance contributions. Whether—and if so, which—contributions have to be paid depends on the type of internship.

You have to clear up the following questions in advance:

  • Is the internship mandatory according to your study and examination regulations?
  • When does the internship take place: before you begin to study, during your studies or after graduation?
  • Do you receive a salary for the internship?

1. Mandatory internship during studies

An internship during your studies that is mandatory according to study or examination regulations is exempt from social insurances. It is not important how many hours per week you work, or how high your salary. Your employer also does not have to pay contributions. The regular student rate for health and long-term care insurance still applies (currently around € 107). Students covered by their parents' or spouse's health insurance (= family insurance) should, however, be careful to earn less than € 455 per month. Otherwise they no longer meet the criteria of the family insurance and must take up their own insurance (student rate). 

Please note: Students who receive BAföG must declare the internship. Income from a mandatory internship falls outside the annual income excemption and will be fully credited against BAföG. 

2. Mandatory pre-/post-study internship

For an unpaid mandatory pre- or post-study internship (i. a. an internship before you begin to study or after you graduate), the regulations for health and long-term care insurance are similar to those of the student health insurance (free-of-charge family insurance or being self-insured). Unemployment and pension insurance coverage is compulsory, but this is paid for by a small flat-rate employer contribution.

If you receive a salary at a mandatory pre-/post-study internship, all types of social insurances are compulsory. This is even true for a marginal salary of up to € 450 per month (mini-job), or a short-term job. If your monthly salary is less than € 325, however, the employer pays all contributions.

3. Voluntary internship during studies

If an internship during your studies is not mandatory, it is treated as a regular student job. You have to pay contributions to the student health insurance. If you are still covered by a family health insurance, the upper limit of € 455 per month applies.

If you earn up to € 450 per month, it is possible to be exempted from the compulsory pension insurance. If you earn more than € 450 per month, pension insurance is compulsory without exceptions. 

If you work more than 20 hours per week (exceeding the so-called "student temp provision"), you have to pay regular health and long-term care insurance (not the student rate) as well as unemployment insurance contributions.

For internships without any salary or remuneration, you are not subject to compulsory social insurances (except student health insurance). 

4. Voluntary pre-/post-study internship

A non-mandatory pre- or post-study internship (i. a. an internship before you begin to study or after you graduate) is treated as regular employment. Only if you are in a marginal employment (salary of up to € 450 = mini-job), you have the option to be exempted from the compulsory pension insurance, and the other social insurances (except health insurance) are not compulsory for you. Above that salary level, you are subject to all compulsory types of social insurances without exception.

As with voluntary internship during studies, social insurances are not compulsory if you receive no salary or remuneration for a voluntary pre-/post-study internship. 

If you have any questions about this or other study-related topics, please feel free to come to the Social Advice Centre of the Studentenwerk.

For more information on accident insurance coverage during internships or work placements, please check our page Accident insurance.



Studentenwerk Hannover
Social and International Affairs Dept.

Lodyweg 1 C
30167 Hannover

Phone +49 511 76-88 919
Phone +49 511 76-88 922
Phone +49 511 76-88 935
Fax +49 511 76-88 927

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