Procedure descriptions

Application for employment with compulsory insurance in the unemployment insurance (self-employed)

Are you self-employed and would like to be protected if you become unemployed? Then you can apply for compulsory insurance within the unemployment insurance scheme. In the case of unemployment, there is an entitlement to unemployment benefit "Arbeitslosengeld I".

The amount is based on the duration of the insurance policy.

Responsible department

the Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) in whose district you have your place of residence



Compulsory insurance upon application is possible if

  • you take up and pursue self-employed work for a minimum of 15 hours per week,
  • within the last 24 months before starting your self-employment
    • you were in employment with compulsory insurance for at least twelve months (e.g. an employment relationship) or
    • you receive compensation for reduced income in accordance with the Third Book of the Social Code (SGB III) (e.g. unemployment benefit I) or
    • you employed as part of a measure to promote job creation that interrupted compulsory insurance obligations or the payment of compensation for reduced income in accordance with the SGB III and
  • there is no more than one month between taking up the self-employed activity and the employment within the job creation scheme or the unemployment benefit and
  • you do not have either another compulsory insurance or are exempt from insurance cover.


You must apply for compulsory insurance in writing. You can obtain the necessary form from the employment agency or download it from the Internet. You have to fill in the application form completely, sign it and hand it in personally to the responsible authority.


  • For the application: no later than three months after becoming self-employed. An application for compulsory insurance is no longer possible at a later stage.
  • For a cancellation: no earlier than after expiry of a period of five years with a notice period of three months to the end of the calendar month

Required documents

  • ID card/passport or an official certificate of registration
  • certificate of employment for each employment subject to social insurance contributions, which you have pursued within the last 24 months before starting your self-employment
    You will get the form for the certificate of employment from the responsible authority or as a download on the website of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit.
    You can obtain the form for the certificate of employment from the employment agency or download it from the Internet.
  • if you cannot produce a certificate of employment as proof of employment with compulsory insurance: other proof that you were in employment with compulsory insurance (e.g. statement of your account at the pension company, statements of contribution paid)
  • if you have received unemployment benefit according to the third book of the German social code: proof of benefits (e.g. relevant notifications from the Employment Agency)
  • if the start of your self-employment has not been subsidised by the Employment Agency with a start-up grant: proof of self-employment (e.g. by presenting the business registration)
  • if your insurance status has been clarified by the collection office/clearing house of the German association of pension insurance companies (Deutschen Rentenversicherung Bund) (formerly BfA): the corresponding notification


  • For the application: none
  • For the insurance:
    • In the first two calendar years of being self-employed:
      • EUR 42.53 (west)
      • EUR 36.23 (east)
    • In the subsequent calendar years; depending on the individual case

Note: You can pay the contributions for the compulsory insurance application monthly (on the 1st of each month) or for the respective calendar year in total in advance. You can also issue a direct debit authorisation.


You have to notify the Employment Agency without delay of any changes (e.g. if you receive unemployment benefit), which refer to the period for which there is compulsory insurance upon application.

Tip: The brochure "Information on Voluntary Continued Insurance in the Unemployment Insurance" (Broschüre "Hinweise zum Versicherungspflichtverhältnis auf Antrag in der Arbeitslosenversicherung") of the Federal Employment Agency contains more information.

Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Regionaldirektion Baden-Württemberg der Bundesagentur für Arbeit released it on 27.01.2015. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.