Simple step by step guide to unemployment benefits in Germany

If your life in Germany is mostly filled with new and exciting experiences, there are times where it doesn’t turn so much in your favor. One of these times can be to learn one day that you are going to be out of a job soon. In this case, you are faced with different options. Either you saw it coming and you have already secured your next job, or it came out of the blue and you best option will be to claim unemployment benefits in Germany.

Although i do have job again now, i did go through all the steps in order to gain those. I thought i would lay it out clearly for you how it happened. It can be quite challenging, especially if you don’t speak German. However, i have found that it’s relatively simple if you know the way.

Who qualifies for unemployment benefits in Germany?

Before taking an attempt at claiming your Arbeitslosengeld (Unemployment money), you should probably find out if you have any. Here are the conditions to meet:

  • Current registered residence in Germany.
  • Worked at least 12 months in the past 30 months in a job (or several jobs) that pays into social welfare (versicherungspflichtig). This excludes mini jobs paid under 450€/month.
  • You are registered at the Arbeitsagentur.
  • You are available and proactively looking for new employment.

Self-employed people don’t have this kind of protection and can only claim an allowance (more on that later). Employees who have resigned on their own initiative can also claim those benefits but must first wait 3 months after registration.

How much can I claim?

In terms of support length: the rule is pretty simple here. In terms of support amount, you will receive 60% of your net salary, 67% if you have children. In terms of support duration, you contribute twice as long as you can receive. For example as an employee (aged below 55), you need to work 24 months to be able to claim a full-year worth of benefits (ALG 1). You cannot claim more than one year if you are aged under 45.

Also remember that your health insurance will be covered too during that time.

The difference between Arbeitslosengeld 1 (ALG 1) & Arbeitslosengeld 2 (ALG 2)

If you have made a bit of research or talked to your HR department, you might have seen ALG 1 or ALG 2 already and wondered what it meant. They are different types of unemployment benefits in Germany. Just to be sure:

What is Arbeitslosengeld 1:

Arbeitslosengeld 1 are unemployment benefits you can claim after having worked as an employee in Germany for at least 12 months. It equals to at least 60% of your net salary. You refer to the Arbeitsagentur. This is what we help you to get in this guide.

What is Arbeitslosengeld 2:

Arbeitslosengeld 2 is an allowance (also called Hartz 4) you can claim after your ALG 1 rights have ran out and you still haven’t found a job or alternatively, if you never worked in Germany before. This benefit equals to a much lower amount of money than ALG 2 and comes with further restrictions. You refer to the Job Center. We will not talk about this on this page, please refer to this detailed guide about ALG 2 benefits in Germany instead.

ALG I & ALG II: Like pears and apples.

How to apply for unemployment benefits in Germany (ALG 1):

1- Learning the news

This is happening between your employer and you but it’s still an important part of the process. It’s something that defines what’s next or to be more accurate: it defines the timing with which you will register at the Arbeitsagentur. This founding administrative step is really important and when you do it changes depending on your situation.

Situation 1: You are fired without any warning – your contract ends. A notice period applies.

You boss announced the news personally or over email: you’ve been let go and the notice period written in your contract applies (usually 3 months). In this case, since you have now knowledge you will be jobless in the near future, the Arbeitsagentur will ask of you to plan ahead as well and already register yourself. Same if your contract is simply not renewed. You must register as soon as possible, up to 3 months prior the last day of employment.

Situation 2: No notice period applies.

In some cases, it’s not possible to know that the end of the contract is so near. Maybe the contract has a shorter notice period or maybe you have agreed to a voluntary resignation type of deal. In any case, if your employment ends in less than 3 months, you need to register at the latest 3 days after you have had knowledge of that decision.

In both cases, make sure to obtain a termination letter that indicates the reasons of the decision, when you became aware of it and when your last day was (Arbeitsbescheinigung). If you are just quitting your job, please note that you won’t be able to receive unemployment benefits in Germany for a period of 3 months after your registration at the Arbeitsagentur.

What happens if you fail to register in time

The Arbeitsagentur is incentivizing a pro-active approach to doing everything in time by threatening an exclusion of those benefits for a few weeks. In short, if you fail to register in time, be prepared to lose money.

Failure to register in time will result in losing money.

2 – Registering (online or not) as looking for a job

It is recommended to use the online platform to register yourself as soon-to-be out of a job. You can do this very easily by following this link. You will need to first create an account on the platform (scroll down to “Noch nicht registriert“, tick the disclaimer boxes and click “Registrieren als Bewerber“). Once you have confirmed your account, you will be able to complete the rest of the process. If you are unsure about what to do, you can always call the hotline and get help in English if you have any questions about unemployment benefits in Germany. Registering online is only about saving time however, it is still required to book an appointment at your local office to finish this step.

3 – Registering in person as being unemployed

Update 03.04.2020: due to the current Corona virus situation, this step can now be done online or via phone. Please reach your local Arbeitsagentur for more details.

Once you have completed the first step, you will need to free up a few hours of your time to also go on site and register yourself as “properly” unemployed. This is to be done at the very latest on the first day without a job. You will go to your local Arbeitsagentur for that. If unsure where it is; use this form. Make sure to bring all the following documents with you:

  • Passport
  • Meldebescheinigung (Registration certificate)
  • Visa (If applicable)
  • Your Krankenkasse card
  • Termination letter from your employer (and contract)
Do prepare for some queuing (Credits:

You will obtain a number to wait in line and a person working there will process your case and give you more instructions. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, especially if the person talks fast.

So far so good. Well done. But it doesn’t end there.

4 – Filling in the application document

This is what you came for and it’s the last step to take in your quest. Once you are registered as having no job, you will have now have to ask for support from the state during these hard times. To do that, you will fill in the “Antrag auf Arbeitslosengeld” (Application for unemployment money in Germany). This is can be done on a good ol’ fashioned paper form that you can obtain at the Arbeitsagentur directly, or it can be done online on this page. Simply use the account you created on step 2. If you are a bit lost while doing this, you can refer to this guide, which explains in simple German what is expected of you.

This form is mainly asking of you more details about your personal situation (kids too, if applicable), why you are applying, which resources you have at the moment, where your insurance is and more. All those details are needed to measure whether you really qualify for unemployment benefits in Germany.

5- Receive confirmation at home

Once your application is sent, it will processed by the Arbeitsagentur relatively fast; usually within 2 weeks. You will receive an official confirmation by post which puts together your unemployment benefits in Germany. Among other things; how much you will get (per day, that’s the way it’s done), when it starts and finishes,  where the money goes, etc.

6- Fulfill your duties and prepare the transition

Now that you don’t need to think about how you will pay your rent, you can start to plan again. Soon after having registered at the Arbeitsagentur, you will receive a convocation to meet your counselor there. It is compulsory to attend in order to communicate what your plan is. Make sure to come prepared with an updated CV and already some applications for jobs in the pipe. If you are planning to become a freelancer, show that you have done your research too (which can start here btw 🙂 ) and that you need time to prepare it. It’s important you establish a good relationship with your counselor.

Prepare for a bumpy ride (Source:

You can find on this page here all the steps we just covered on the Arbeitsagentur’s website. It’s well laid-out and explains again the different steps to get unemployment benefits in Germany. I strongly advise you to have a look to get familiar with all the terms. Part of the platform is also available in English.

When you complete the process, you will have access to the portal with your own account as well, where you will be able to most of the document filling online, receive electronic copies of the documents issued by the authorities and adjust communication preferences.


Can i transfer unemployment benefits earned back home to Germany?

Yes. If you have been working long enough in another E.U country, you have the legal right to have your unemployment be transferred to Germany when registering. This involves asking for an authorization before leaving your country and submitting this authorization when you register in Germany. More info on how to transfer unemployment benefits to Germany this way.

After working in Germany, i plan to be abroad before coming back. Can i still apply for ALG 1 then?

In the case you were eligible before leaving Germany, you can still get ALG1 if you do the timing right. You are eligible if you contributed at least 12 months in the past 30 months. Thus, you can still receive benefits if you apply less than 18 months after your departure.

Example: you stay in London 15 months after your time in Germany. You come back to Germany, this time frame rule won’t let you have ALG1 (15 months in the UK + 9 months in Germany before that = 24 months)

Can i calculate in advance how much i will be getting?

Yes. You can get a rough idea with this small calculator provided by the Arbeitsagentur here.

I am in Germany on a Blue card or working visa, can i still get ALG1 benefits?

Yes, but it lies in the hands of the foreigners’ office. When you lose your job, you have to notify the immigration authorities (section 82 subs. 6 of the German Residence Act) and they make a call on whether or not you qualify.

The foreigners’ office can decide to extend your residence permit by 6 months to give you a chance to find a job again, while getting ALG1 too.

What helps in that case:

  • That you have been in Germany under a work visa or blue card long enough (about 2 years).
  • That your visa is non employer-dependent.

Please bare in mind that i am no immigration specialist. Interesting thread on this matter here.

Do unemployment benefits decrease chances to renew or prolong my visa in Germany?

In the case you don’t have permanent residence yet, this might be a question. Trusting this source, it seems that being on ALG1 does satisfy the prerequisites to prove you have enough means to support yourself during your time in Germany. Being on ALG2 does not. However, this means that your new visa’s validity might be limited in time, to the point your benefits run out. Or simply, you might only obtain a Fiktionsbescheinigung for now.

A strong indicator there might be negative consequences is the following sentence on your current residence permit:

Nebenbestimmungen: […] erlischt beim Bezug von Leistungen nach dem SGB II / XII

I have a mini-job or freelance opportunity: can i still have a small side gig and ALG1 at the same time?

Yes, this is possible but often times not a very attractive option. Here are the limitations:

  • You are not allowed to work more than 15h a week (since you need time to find a real job again)
  • You can’t earn more than 165€ per month (eg: if you earned 300€ that month,  135€ will be deducted on your ALG1 amount for that month)
  • You must let the Arbeitsagentur know before it starts.

Who pays for my Krankenkasse while the 3 months waiting period applies?

If you are with a public Krankenkasse, there is a month after you quit that is part of normal coverage (=no need to pay yourself), then the Arbeitsamt covers those costs for the rest of the time and also after, while receiving ALG1.

If you are a private Krankenkasse, there is a also a month “free” included after you quit, but then you ought to pay yourself, until you receive ALG1. More info here.

I have been on Kurzarbeit lately, how does that impact calculation?

Shortly put, it doesn’t. Your time spent on Kurzarbeit will be considered normal working time, thus benefits will be calculated as if you were working all hours. That is true for duration of benefits as well. There is no drawback going from Kurzarbeit into unemployment. Welfare state powa!

Please note that this post is aiming at providing an overview of the process and that i made it to the best of my ability based on my experience. I believe it to be accurate but cannot be held accountable for any wrong-doings or wrong decisions you might do on this information. Feel free to correct me or give more details about to best get unemployment benefits in Germany in the comments.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


  • Reply Nora 03/08/2020 at 20:51

    Hi, great post!
    I have been working for 3 years in Germany with a Blue Card, my contract is ending and I will not have an extension.
    My Blue card is issue to the date of my contract ending + 3 moths.
    My question is, am I entitle to the ALG1 only for 3 months?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/08/2020 at 11:05

      Hey Nora. In theory yes, but conditions apply, as mentioned here.

  • Reply Candace 31/07/2020 at 12:32

    Hi Thank you got the helpful info! I have an odd question.

    Currently my blue card allows me to freelance. I have lost my current job but have been offered a contract with my freelance, however the contract is part time and does not meet the blue card requirements.

    Additionally, I am NOT yet eligible for paid benefits from the govt. my question is, am I allowed to take a part time role while continuing to look for full time work? Does it require a visa change?

    Any help or referrals to someone who could help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/08/2020 at 22:10

      Hey Candace. I can’t really answer anything else than this: call this hotline or email these people and try to understand from them if you can do that or not. I’d say you could probably do it after asking for a visa extension to find a job.

  • Reply Alvee 29/07/2020 at 02:50

    I have done Master degree from one of the public unviersity of Germany. Then started blue card enabled job. It has been already 26th months, I have not got B1 certificate therefore I could not apply for PR after 21 months So waited untill 24 months to fullfill and applied for permanent visa. Because of corona the visa office works slows and have not yet processed the remaining finger print stuff to complete the application. In the mean time on 27th July sadly I received termination notice from my current employer for next 6 months till 31st of January 21. My question is: Because of this termination will my permanent resindece application be stopped? second question is: Am I
    allowed to get any types of full time job to that they dont stop processing my permanent residence application? Or The new job should still be restricted type of job (Subject related) ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/08/2020 at 22:15

      Hey Alvee. This is a bit advanced for me. I’d try to give this hotline a call if i were you. I believe that Corona has changed a lot of things when it comes to residency.

  • Reply Sam 25/07/2020 at 08:18

    Hi Bastien,

    Thank you for useful information.

    I am holding permanent residence permit.
    I am working full time since more than 5yrs.

    I have decided to resign my job. I have plan to learn German language B2 & C1 and also get certification in SAP to find better job.

    I have some questions regarding unemployment benefits.

    1) I will resign on 31.07.2020 and will register at arbeitsamt on 01.08.2020. My notice period is 2 months. My last day of working will be 30.09.2020. In this situation, can you please tell my 3 months arbeitslosengeld blocking period will start from 01.08.2020 or from 01.10.2020? Can I get arbeitslosengeld from 01.11.2020?
    2) during the unemployment benefits I want to learn German language (B2 & C1) and SAP software. Can I get full funding from arbeitsagentur for these corses?

    Thank you.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/08/2020 at 21:27

      Hey Sam. 1) This would 3 months from the first day of unemployment, from 01.10. 2) Language courses are usually paid for yes, SAP software certifications i don’t know, but i doubt it, as they are rather costly. Those costs can however be deducted from your taxes, as training costs. See here. Make sure to discuss it with your Berater-in.

  • Reply Nicole 22/07/2020 at 21:38

    Hello, thank you for the helpful post.
    Question: I’m quitting from my current company, and my last working day is officially July 31st. I have a new contract with another employee, which starts 8 days after (8th of August).
    Do I need to apply for unemployment benefits (to get part of my previous salary for 1 week), or in this situation my application will get rejected most probably?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/07/2020 at 21:20

      Hey Nicole. You may want to check with the Arbeitsagentur but since you aren’t looking for a new job technically during that one week, you might not qualify for benefits. You don’t need to apply for them necessarily anyway.

  • Reply Mohammed 13/07/2020 at 11:46

    Hello Bastian, I have a question, I was on ALG I but have recently found a job, do I call to notify them or do I have to physically go there and show them my work contract.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 16/07/2020 at 10:01

      Hey Mohammed. Just let your Berater/in know, no need to show a contract.

  • Reply Emma 11/07/2020 at 08:24

    Thank you for your useful information in this website.
    Please would like to know what happened to next, i was under Abeitlosgel 1 since 3.11.2020 to 3.7.2020. I got a letter yesterday that my unemployment benefits has stopped and I haven’t found work yet. What should i do next?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/07/2020 at 09:37

      Hey Emma. You can apply for ALG2/Harz4 if you don’t have any other ressources.

  • Reply Paul 08/07/2020 at 13:06

    Hi, thanks for the article!
    I’ve registered as ‘Job seeker’ and I’m in the process of applying for ‘unemployment benefits’. I haven’t submitted my application yet. But I’ve found another job and I’m waiting for a contract. In this case should I still submit my application or should I not submit. I have one week left to submit the application. What would be the procedure to de-register ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/07/2020 at 09:46

      Hey Paul. There is no procedure to unregister apart from letting your Berater/in know that you found a job. Whether or not you should submit an application depends on your chances to get your contract i suppose.

  • Reply Saam ghorban 07/07/2020 at 21:52

    Hey Cristina and thank you so much for your highly informative post. I have a special situation and I have a question. I was a Ph.D. student in Hamburg with a 450 mini job at the university and an 1150 euro scholarship. Soon in less than four months, I will lose my both scholarship and mini job and I need to leave my job at the university due to a failure in my interim exam. At the end of my current contract, I have been working for two years at the university. During this period I have paid for my retirement from my mini job (about 17 euro per month). My question is will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

  • Reply SM 02/07/2020 at 12:18

    Hi, do I qualify for ALG 1 if my contract expires and I don’t want to extend it?
    I’m from EU and have been working through an agency for 2 years at some company.
    My company had to let me go because if Coronavirus. The agency doesn’t have a new job that suits me, but also they don’t want to let me go.
    Please help!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/07/2020 at 10:09

      Hey SM. If i understood correctly how you want to proceed, it would be this situation then.

  • Reply Anita 26/06/2020 at 15:50

    How do you delete or edit the online Arbeitslosengeld 1 form (uncompleted). I’ve made some mistakes and I need to go back into the form and make changes or detele and start again. Is the form available online to print?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/07/2020 at 09:39

      Hey Anita, i don’t get the question. Are you filling it in from an account somewhere? If it’s all online, how can you not edit it?

  • Reply Diogo 26/06/2020 at 13:07

    Hello, thanks for the information. Do you know if I can pause the unemployment benefits for a certain amount of time once I’ve started receiving them?

    • Reply Blulin 17/07/2020 at 15:06

      I would also love to know the answer to this! I am arbeitslos but have been given the opportunity for 3 months freelance work. I dont want to accept it unless i know I can leave unemployment benefits and come back on again if necessary. I have 6 months left.

  • Reply raghav 25/06/2020 at 00:57

    I am doing masters and parallely working from last 3 years 20 hr per week and during vacations 40 hr.
    I will lose the job soon due to financial crisis in company. I am paying 18.6 % social security from last 3 years. Am I eligible for the unemployment allowance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/06/2020 at 10:12

      Hey Raghav. yes.

  • Reply Sareh 19/06/2020 at 23:40

    I want to know that receiving Arbeitsgeld1, has any effect in our residency or future work?

  • Reply mima 13/06/2020 at 06:37

    Hello i got a question. I have been working in germany since 2016 paying everything and got permanent residency, if i quit job and apply for ALG 1 and everything was accepted is it possible that i leave germany and stay in my home country unril i get a new job in germany? Thank you

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 16/06/2020 at 09:24

      Hey Mima. Probably not, as the Arbeitsagentur wants you to be able to go to interviews, be available etc. That would be hard to justify being outside the country.

  • Reply PB 08/06/2020 at 13:53


    I have been receiving unemployment benefits since October 2020. I am a freelance musician. Recently, I received an advance on performance royalties from the Gesellschaft zur Verwertung von Leistungsschutzrechten (GVL). They normally don’t do this, but with so many musicians out of work due to the pandemic, they were offering it to their members. So this is not work or a job per se, but is an advance on future income. Clearly this whole thing is unprecedented, so I’m no sure how to proceed. Do I declare this to ALG, and if so, how? I have only ever declared freelance work that actually had a set time range, invoice, etc. Thank you for your help!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/06/2020 at 17:20

      Hey PB. I also can’t say for sure but i think you should declare any and all income, just to be sure. Or in doubt, call your Berater/in.

    • Reply Maya 10/06/2020 at 15:17

      Hey, thanks a lot fro your article. Maybe you know. I am still waiting from the benefits from the Job Center. It is almost 3 month. Now, they asked from me the last documents to cthe conferm. But next week I am leaving the country, I am moving to Italy. Shoul I continuar with the job center?
      I mean, will thay pay me, or I can just stop to send them information which they asked me. Because I cancel here my registration an insurance.

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/06/2020 at 14:10

        Hey Maya. You can make a request to transfer your rights to the italian system, as mentioned in the post.

  • Reply Afham 29/05/2020 at 20:47

    Hello Bastien!

    Thank you very much for all your information on this website. Very useful and informative!
    I have a question on ALG1..Iam working here in Germany since last 2,years .with blue card .but without paying social security..due to my company agreement with my home question is if I resigned here and apply for I eligible for it..

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2020 at 10:28

      Hey Afham. I have never encountered a case like this so i really can’t tell. You might as well try and see what happens, you have nothing to lose.

  • Reply Emily 26/05/2020 at 16:52

    Thank you for this article! It is very informative. I have a more specific question – I have been receiving ALG II from 01.11.2019-30.04.2020, 750 eur/month. In April I had a freelance job where I earned 1500 eur. In the previous months I also had some small freelance jobs (2 x approx. 300 eur). I am not wondering how Jobcenter calculates the amount of money I will need to return. Will they add up all the money I earned during the 6 months period (- 163 eur per month that I can earn without returning) and divide by these 6 months or do they have another system? I am just wondering mainly if with the 1500 eur I earned in April I will have to pay backwards or will I be able to keep some of it for the future. In general, I am trying to calculate how much money I need to put aside to pay back so that there are no surprises for me in the coming months. Any tips will be appreciated!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 27/05/2020 at 13:12

      Hey Emily. The best is to ask the Job center directly. I am not so knowledgeable about ALG2.

  • Reply Nicole 22/05/2020 at 11:40

    Hi, your articles are always great!

    I have a specific question but I think you may know the answer as as far as I understood from other articles you are both full time job employee and part-time freelancer.
    So what happens in case your full time job employer fires you but you also work a side freelancer?
    Do you get full unemployment benefits or what would you get?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/05/2020 at 09:39

      Hey Nicole. It depends on your level of income basically. The rule stated here doesn’t change. If you earn too much, it will be “deducted” from your ALG1 money.

  • Reply Cobby 20/05/2020 at 12:24

    Please I would like to know if students can apply for AGL1? I’ve worked for 24 months and currently in my 5 Semester. Infact, I was working full time in pararell with my studies.
    Thanks in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/05/2020 at 13:33

      Hey Cobby. I can’t give a definitive yes because you would have to prove that you are indeed available to find a new job, as per one of the criteria states. But being a student does not prevent you from applying.

  • Reply Fran 14/05/2020 at 16:54

    Hi! This was super helpful. Me and my husband both found jobs in the 2nd month of receiving benefits from jobcenter (we arrived to Berlin in January, and the benefit was granted from January to June). We informed this to the Jobcenter, sent our contracts, everything, and they still give us money for some reason (?), maybe it’s easier for them to just pay the 6 months rather than end the benefit earlier. The thing is that, since we’re in a good spot right now, we changed to a new apartment, etc. and the jobcenter keeps asking us stuffs, and to send them our rent contract and everything and we don’t know what to do hahah like, we want to tell them that we’re done and that thank you but we don’t need jobcenter no more, but i’m afraid that if we do that they’re gonna ask for the money back or something? which they shouldn’t because we told them everything as soon as it happened, but still…how do you break up with the jobcenter and not get bad consequences from it hahah can you help meee?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 20/05/2020 at 09:49

      Hey Fran. Have you informed your Berater about it? They should help you with that. Better keep the money for now, to return it if/when asked.

  • Reply Macy 26/04/2020 at 19:52

    Hi Bastien. I have worked for my current employers for over 2 years and I have a permanent contract. I am about to get fired and I am going through the application process to get my permanent residence. (I have a german master degree and I have worked full-time for 24 months) In case i get fired next week, and my permanent residence get rejected because of my unemployment status, do I have 3 months or 6 months for job searching? Thanks a lot.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/04/2020 at 20:07

      Hey Macy. From my information, 6 months.

  • Reply Charlie 26/04/2020 at 14:56

    Hi There,
    Thank you for your post – extremely helpful.
    Just a quick query, my position has been terminated but will restart in 9 months and I will be abroad during that time. My employer has asked me to register as unemployed, however, given I do not wish to claim any benefits due to being overseas is it possible to simply register as unemployed without claiming benefits? Or will this lead to some issues given I am registering and then leaving immediately?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/04/2020 at 20:01

      Hey Charlie. Yes, as stated in the post. You can register as being unemployed without applying for ALG1.

  • Reply Shiv 25/04/2020 at 14:37

    Hi Bastien
    Thanks for sharing such a detailed post on a really important topic, especially these days. I have a few questions after by below background:

    I am a non-EU citizen & have worked in Portugal (EU) for 14 months before shifting to Berlin in Dec’18 and have been working here on a permanent contract since then (17 months) & paying all the necessary taxes. I have a Blue Card that’s tied to my current employment. I don’t speak German (enough to be comfortable).

    My questions are below:
    1. Hopefully, I wouldn’t need to, but will I be eligible for ALG1? and until when?
    2. Would you recommend to get a legal protection insurance (rechtsschutzversicherung) to know/avail my rights under the contract, if need be? (probably a separate post/topic)

  • Reply ashish 21/04/2020 at 19:23

    Hi Everyone,
    Thanks for putting together such a great resource!

    As a non-EU national, I’ve been working in Berlin with Blue Card for 21 months. For the first 15 months I worked in one company then I changed jobs without any break. This new company is not going to extend my probation period so I will be unemployed at the end of the month. Will I qualify for ALG 1? IF yes, for how long can I continue getting ALG 1 support without losing my residency?

  • Reply Tom 19/04/2020 at 09:39

    Hi there. thanks for the article!

    I’ve been working in Germany for three months, now due to coronavirus there’s a good chance I will lose my job.

    Before that, I spent 5 months travelling. Before the travelling, I was working full-time in London for 2 years.

    As an EU citizen, I know that the minimum of 12 months working also includes work done in EU.

    My question is: how will the average salary be calculated?

    Will they take the last 3 months average wage?
    Or will they average the last 12 months (which include the 5 months without any income) ? which would decrease my unemployment benefit considerably.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/04/2020 at 21:11

      Hey Tom. Provided you have done the necessary steps (as explained there), there will use that whole history to calculate your average salary. The 5 months shouldn’t impact the calculation.

  • Reply Cristina 09/04/2020 at 17:15

    Hey Bastien,
    This must be an odd question, but is there any downside in getting ALG1? I was wondering if I’d have to “pay it back” in some form – less amount back in tax return or no able to get ALG1 again until I work 12 month again, etc… I will be on 165€/month contract during this corona mess, but I am okay financially without the support. So should I push it through without ALG1?
    Thank you so much for your wisdom.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 11/04/2020 at 10:03

      Hey Cristina. I don’t think i can answer your questions properly without knowing your situation better. It seems that it’s a budget decision you need to make on your own. I suggest your contact the Arbeitsagentur directly, if you have any doubt. You do need to declare ALG1 in your next Steuererklärung yes. If you don’t use all the benefits in one go and then continue to work afterwards, you don’t lose the remaining benefits, if that is the question.

  • Reply Antony 06/04/2020 at 18:27

    Hello Bastien!

    Thank you very much for all your information on this website. Very useful and informative!
    Unfortunately, I am fired and got a notice period of 1 month as written on my contract. I am not from EU. I am with Blue Card as a software engineer. And I will be working in Berlin for a total duration of 8.5 months since my first day till my last day of employment.
    I would like to stay and continue working in Berlin because my little family is already staying with me here. Am I eligible to stay in Berlin looking for job under unemployment status?
    I have read some information about Blue Card on Internet. Stating that the Blue Card is bound onto my current employer. However, I can’t find any information related to my employer from my Blue Card or VISA. Has the policy been updated? Blue Card not associated with employer anymore?

    Thanks in advance!

    Wish you stay safe and stay healthy during the corona crisis.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/04/2020 at 20:38

      Hey Antony, you are not eligible for ALG1 but you are probably eligible to ALG2 as they have relaxed rules for non-eu citizens. As for the rest, i think you will need to obtain approval from the Foreigner’s office to be able to change jobs, but i think you can still keep your current residence permit (source). good luck!

  • Reply Rahul Kashyap 06/04/2020 at 10:29

    Hey there, i have couple of small queries.

    I had been working in Berlin since Feb 2019 and have a blue card until 2023. I resigned from the company because i wanted to move back to my home country (India) permanently. My last working day was 31st March 2020 and i had my flight back to India on the same day. But due to corona situation all flights are canceled, and there is a travel ban in India.

    1. Do i have to do anything for my blue card (haven’t done ablemdung yet because of the uncertainity) ?
    2. Am i eligible for unemployment benefits ?
    3. I talked to my health insurance people (TK) and they are fine if i get unemployment benefits so i don’t have to worry about it, else need to pay approx 200 Euros.
    4. Is there anything else to be consider ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/04/2020 at 20:27

      Hey Rahul. 1. No, the Foreigners’office has confirmed that all residence permits have automatically been extended due to the current situation. 2. This is not answered easily. Probably best to try and apply and see with the Arbeitsagentur directly.

  • Reply Bruna 03/04/2020 at 16:49


    Thanks for the great information! I have quite a different situation…I’ve been fired and applied for the unemployment money. But then, I got a job and I need to cancel the benefit. How do I do this?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/04/2020 at 21:04

      Hey Bruna. Simply get in touch with your Berater and explain them the situation.

  • Reply Matt 01/04/2020 at 12:28

    Hi Bastien,

    Thank you so much for the detailed explanation.
    I got informed 2 months before about my last working date which is 30/04/2020.
    I registered as job seeker at Arbeitsgentur and have sent them application online including all the documents except
    Arbeitsbescheinigung from the current company.
    When I asked my company to provide me the arbeitsbescheinigung, they told me that I would get it after my last working date.
    As I have to visit Arbeitsgentur on 1st May 2020 (my first day of being unemployed), can I tell them that I’m waiting for the arbeitsbescheinigung from my current company?
    I wonder would this would cause delay in payment of my unemployment benefits!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/04/2020 at 20:56

      Hey Matt. Tell the Beamter your situation and it won’t be an issue most likely.

  • Reply Sreedhara 30/03/2020 at 12:19

    Hi, I am working in Berlin for 2.3 years. Just today my boss called me and said as for another 2 months we can pay and you can look for another job. That measn, whether am I eligible to get ALG1 or not? If I have to eligible, please let me know what statement should be there from my employer in dismissal letter? And now due to Corona, can I apply for unemploement benifits in online without going to governemnt office?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/04/2020 at 20:44

      Hey Sreedhara. Eligiblity criteria are clearly listed in the post. Please refer to it. During the corona crisis, you can indeed do everything online or via phone.

  • Reply Pietro 30/03/2020 at 10:08

    Hallo morgen…
    How‘s going?
    I explain you shortly my situation.
    I worked kn Berlin for 6 months and made the request for ALG2 that was actually succesful but then refused for no answer. Anyway i went to London, after i made the abmeldung, where i worked for other 3 months and now i came back in Berlin. The period beetwen the the abmeldung and my return to Berlin is more than 6 months. May I have the right to claim again for the ALG2 if I bring all the paper from England and in the case which paper they should require and I should present to the JobsCenter? I actually here not having the anmeldung at the Moment…

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/04/2020 at 20:43

      Hey Pietro. I don’t know the rules for ALG2 sadly, this post is about ALG1. Maybe i will write a post about this in the future. Good luck.

  • Reply Vivek 29/03/2020 at 23:18

    Useful post.
    Thanks for writing.
    I migrated to Germany in Feb 2020.
    I joined as a consultant in Frankfurt location. Due to this corona issue, my company lost its future projects and they started to save their old employees, unfortunately, as I’m in probation period, they terminated my job contract with 6weeks notice. 🙁
    1. So, as I have paid my three months social security payments (feb,mar,apr), am I eligible to apply for unemployment benefit ?
    2. I came here with my initial work visa of 6months, I already booked an appointment for my blue card process which is at the end of April, do I still eligible for blue card processing ?

    Meanwhile, I have started my job searching again.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/04/2020 at 20:38

      Hey Vivek. 1. No. 2.I can’t answer on so little details

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