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Totalization Agreements with U.S. Social Security 

The U.S. Social Security Administration has negotiated bilateral international Social Security, or totalization, agreements with several foreign countries. Generally, under these agreements Social Security taxes are paid in only one of the two countries. Each agreement provides guidance to determine the country to which the Social Security tax must be paid. In addition, employees who have paid into more than one Social Security program can count the years of service under all of the systems to which they have contributed so that they will have enough time to qualify for Social Security benefits in one country.
A certificate of coverage issued by one country serves as proof of exemption from Social Security taxes on the same earnings in the other country. Therefore, to establish a foreign Social Security tax exemption the employer must request a certificate of coverage from:
Social Security Administration
Office of International Policy
P. O. Box 17741
Baltimore, Maryland 21235
A request for a certificate of coverage (special form not required) should include:

· full name of worker (including maiden name of married woman);  
· date and place of birth;  
· citizenship;  
· country of worker's permanent residence;  
· U.S. Social Security number;  
· date of hire;  
· country of hire;  
· name and address of the employer in the U.S. and the foreign country; and,  
· date of transfer and anticipated date of return.  
Under most agreements, if a U.S. employer sends an employee to work in a foreign country for five years or less, taxes and coverage fall to the U.S. If the employee is sent to work in a foreign country for more than five years, was hired in a foreign country, or is a foreign national (or other non-U.S. employee), taxes and coverage fall to the foreign country.
To be eligible to combine U.S. and foreign country credits to qualify for regular benefits under the U.S. Social Security system, the employee must have earned at least six credits (generally 1 1/2 years of work) under the U.S. Social Security system.
To file a claim for U.S. Social Security benefits under the provisions of a Social Security agreement between the U.S. and a foreign country contact any U.S. Social Security office or write to:
Social Security Administration
P. O. Box 17049
Baltimore, Maryland 21235
For more information on an agreement write to:
Social Security Administration
Office of International Policy
P.O. Box 17741
Baltimore, Maryland 21235

Last updated: 03-04
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