Secondments – legal requirements and FAQs

Secondment is when staff are directed by their employers to work in another country. At the University of Konstanz, it is considered secondment when, for example, staff go abroad for business trips or work in other countries.

If you are planning to travel abroad on business, you will need confirmation of secondment.

The University of Konstanz strongly recommends getting this confirmation of secondment for all business trips that take you abroad for more than 7 days.

More and more countries perform checks in the workplace or require valid confirmation of secondment to enter the country. For this reason, please factor in the requirements for the respective country when planning your business travel abroad. Please also request your confirmation of secondment as early as possible.

Important information

Confirmation of secondment for stays lasting more than 7 days

Each business trip abroad is considered secondment, even if it lasts just one day or even a few hours. The legal requirement is: Confirmation of secondment is required for every business trip abroad. As this requirement is absolutely not practical, the University of Konstanz has decided that confirmation of secondment is required only for stays lasting more than 7 days.

The confirmation of secondment

  • provides the basis for reimbursement of the medical expenses as defined by German law, in case of accident or illness
  • prevents double payments of social security contributions (in countries with a social security agreement with Germany)
  • avoids trouble with customs or tax authorities
  • avoids punishment (e.g. fines) for not being able to produce the document
  • in the EU/EEA and Switzerland, it also regulates entitlements, for example, for statutory pension insurance and unemployment insurance

Please make sure to request confirmation of secondment in good time before your business trip, and take care to do so yourself, as Human Resources will not remind you of it.

Private health insurance required for stays abroad?

We strongly recommend that all staff members who travel abroad on business also have private health insurance for stays abroad, covering the cost of medical treatment that goes beyond the legal minimum, including return transportation for medical treatment or burial.

Why is private health insurance for stays abroad necessary?
German statutory health insurance only provides coverage up to the legal minimum defined for Germany. This insurance does not cover the medical costs in other countries (which can be much higher) nor, for example, return transportation for medical treatment. For this reason, we strongly recommend purchasing private health insurance for stays abroad to have full medical coverage.
Visit the Krankenkassen-Zentrale website (in German) for information and recommendations on health insurance coverage and providers.

For individual stays lasting up to 56 days, you might even have private travel health insurance in the context of your credit card contract. Please contact your bank for further information.

Since the state of Baden-Württemberg does not reimburse the cost of private health insurance for stays abroad, you will need to pay for it yourself.

Get A1 confirmation of secondment faster via the LBV-Kundenportal (customer portal)

The LBV receives your A1 confirmation of secondment in the form of a PDF document from the corresponding social security insurance provider. If you are registered with the LBV-Kundenportal, then you can download the A1 confirmation form there. This means, you can receive it much faster than if you have it sent to your home address.

Another advantage: You can show your A1 confirmation form at any time using your smartphone, and you do not have to carry around the paper document.

To find out how to register with the LBV-Kundenportal, go to the "LBV Kundenportal + JobTicket" section of our website.

Income tax

If you would like to live outside Germany for a longer period of time and thus de-register as a resident, your tax identification number will not be available for this period. This means that the LBV will calculate your income taxes in the category 6 instead of your previous tax category, and you will have to pay much more income tax.

You can avoid this situation by asking the Social Security Advisors about applying for limited tax liability in Germany for the period in which you will not be a resident of Germany. We would then file an application and the tax office responsible for your German workplace would issue you a tax identification number so that your income tax would be calculated on the basis of tax category 1, which is much more moderate.

If, for example, you were in tax category 3 before leaving Germany, you will have this category again when you return to Germany. This means, if you were in tax category 1 while you were outside Germany, you would be able to claim the relatively low difference between tax category 1 and tax category 3 on the corresponding German income tax return once you are back in Germany.

Obligation to register/de-register as a resident (Bundesmeldegesetz BMG (Federal Act on Registration))

If you move house within Germany, you are obligated to register your new address with the corresponding local authority (e.g. Bürgerbüro (citizens services) or Rathaus (city hall)) within two weeks.

If you move outside Germany to live and work abroad (e.g. for a secondment) registration/de-registration deadlines also apply.

Please note that you can face high fines for violating the law, so we highly recommend contacting the corresponding local authorities to find out which requirements apply in your case.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Secondment to Switzerland: Do I need a work permit?

Yes, you definitely need a residence permit / work permit for Switzerland. This is still the case, even if you are working at the direction of the University of Konstanz, are paid by the university, work in rooms belonging to professors at the University of Konstanz, and this work only benefits the University of Konstanz. This means, it does not matter if you do not have an employment relationship with a Swiss company and Switzerland does not benefit in any way from your work.

Although Konstanz is located so close to the Swiss border, our university is not exempt from Swiss residence and labour law for business travel into Switzerland.  This is because Switzerland is not a member of the EU/EEA and thus does not benefit from the respective freedom of movement agreements. You absolutely must have a residence permit / work permit before leaving to work in Switzerland, otherwise you may be liable for expensive fines.

Please contact Carmen Vajda from the Social Security Advisors as soon as possible if you need to apply for these Swiss permits. We will advise you on the best type of residence permit / work permit for your individual case and how to apply for it.

Residence permits / work permits in Switzerland cost about 300 Swiss francs per application, valid for e.g. 120 days / calendar year.

Please plan your stay in Switzerland in good time, since some applications can take several weeks to process.

Advisory services

Outgoing Centre: guidance for stays abroad

International Office
Janek Domonell
Director of the Outgoing Centre
Phone: +49 7531 88-5093
Homepage: Outgoing Centre