I'm a citizen of Poland, and resident of Germany, working there.

My working contract obligates me to register as unemployed in Germany as soon as my working contract expires. Am I obligated to register as unemployed in case I'd be leaving Germany to my mother country?

For practical reasons I'd probably not leave the Germany the day my contract expires, but I'd have to stay a few days longer. Those few days I'd have no health insurance in case not registering of unemployed. Can it have legal consequences for me?


3 Answers 3


First up: I am not a lawyer.

Being German and knowing the little legal nitbitts of the laws related to our social security system, I can tell you that it won't have direct legal consequences.

BUT: If you get sick or get into an accident, it will get very expensive… especially if you need things like surgery.

My personal advice is to apply for unemployment benefits (ALG 1 or ALG 2, depending on how long you've worked here etc.). Please note that German law dictates that you have to apply for such unemployment benefits as soon as you know your contract ends… and that up to 3 months in advance.

So, because you already know that your contract will end, simply apply for ALG 1 (or 2) right now! To avoid waiting lines, you should know you can do all that via regular mail.

Even if there's a chance you won't get cash from them for only a few days, at least you'll have complete health insurance. After all - you never know. Bad things can happen, and you surely don't want to be financially ruined if they happen.

Better be safe than sorry… it won't cost you more than a few minutes and some postage stamps to apply.

Hint/Tip: law also dictates that a "formloser Antrag auf Arbeitslosengeld" can not be rejected by the "Arbeitsamt" or "Jobcenter". Due to that, they will send you the correct forms for you to fill out and that's about it. Not long after you've returned the filled and signed documents, they will invite you for a talk to assess your individual situation... and depending on the details, they'll guide you through the rest of the procedure. But don't worry, filling and signing the forms is about the hardest of it all. ;)

EDIT (a note aside)

For your convenvience, I've let the “Bundesagentur für Arbeit” send me their current brochure, which - as you'll see - goes hand-in-hand with the clause in your contract about registering for unemployment benefits when the contract ends… in fact, as you already know it'll end, be aware of their "3 months in advance" clause.

Broshure BA

Sadly enough, they don't have an English version of that brochure… at least, they stated they don't have an English one when I called them up. Nevertheless, as a "side-note" edit, this should satisfy.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – SztupY
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 12:07

ask for ALG1, that should cover the health insurance, otherwise you ask for a Freiwillige Versicherung if you want a public one, or if you are mainly concerned about accidents, get a minimal through internet (don't want to advertise, but Mawista works, for example, I had it for 1 year).


Your question is quite unclear for me, since I do not see any direct connection between your health insurance and registering as unemployed. Anyhow, here are my thoughts:

1) "My working contract obligates me to register as unemployed in Germany as soon as my working contract expires." - this sounds very strange, because I do not see a reason, why and how you can be forced to register for some social help. You can still do it of course, to get some money and other benefits, if you find it useful (and also if you will have a right to apply for it). To my understanding, you will need to prove that you search for job, but cannot find it, which is not your situation, as far as I understood.

2) If you are in "gesetzliche Krankenversicherung" (i.e. public and NOT private insurance), then this insurance will still be there after your working contract finishes, at least for 4 weeks, please see http://www.finanztip.de/gkv/nachgehender-leistungsanspruch/

3) If you will stay in Germany more than this period, you can still go to your public insurance and switch your contract to "Freiwillige Versicherung" (AFAIK, you have a right to do this, if you were insured while working for at least one year or so). Without a salary, you will need to pay approx. 170 Euro per month (for the whole family).

4) Finally, as a Poland citizen, do you maybe have some polish insurance, which is Europe-wide?

  • Re 1: That's part of German law (SozialGesetzBuch 1-12) hence the mention in the contract (which is simultaneously a fail-safe for the employer in case a former employee fails to do so and legal consequences arise). Besides that, there is no way you can prove you're looking for a job but can't find it and that's also not what German laws state. According to SBG 1 to 5, you're obliged to end your unemployment by any means, but there is not a single law stating you have to prove you don't succeed at finding work. Instead, the state has to prove you're not adhering to your "Mitwirkungspflicht".
    – e-sushi
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 3:12
  • Re 2: What the article ignores is that the mentioned § 19 Abs. 2 SGB V states that Eine Versicherung nach § 10 hat Vorrang vor dem Leistungsanspruch nach Satz 1, which practically means either you have to pay for it or the state will; which is underlined by the word "Leistungsanspruch". If you don't apply for "Leistung" via ALG Antrag, you won't have "Anspruch". Besides, I would see that finanztip article rather critical since it contains glitches and wrong infos. As an example, they state …ist im Sozialgesetzbuch III (§ 19 Abs. 2 SGB V) geregelt… while SGB V is Sozialgesetzbuch 5, not 3.
    – e-sushi
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 3:30

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