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Updated : 20/06/2014

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Transferring unemployment benefits

In general, in order to receive unemployment benefits you need to stay in the country which pays your benefits. However, under certain conditions you can go to another EU country to look for work and continue to receive your unemployment benefits from the country where you became unemployed.

You can stay in another country for up to 3 months, but the employment services of the country paying the benefits might let you stay away for up to 6 months if you ask.

You can only do this if you are:

  • wholly unemployed (not partially or intermittently) and
  • entitled to receive unemployment benefits in the country where you became unemployed.

Before leaving, you must:

  • have been registered as an unemployed jobseeker with the employment services in the country where you became unemployed for at least 4 weeks (exceptions can be made)
  • apply for a U2 form (former E 303 form) - authorisation to export your unemployment benefits - from your national employment services.

This authorisation is valid for one country only. If you wish to export your unemployment benefits to another country, you need to apply for another U2 form. Ask your job centre whether you'll have to go back home to apply for this new authorisation or you can do it remotely.

On arrival in the new country, you will need to:

  • register as a jobseeker with the national employment services within 7 days from the date on which you ceased to be available to the employment services in the country you left
  • submit your U2 form (former E 303 form) when you register
  • agree to any checks made on unemployment benefit claimants in your new country, as if you were receiving unemployment benefits there.

You are advised to find out about your rights and duties as a jobseeker in your new country. They may be very different from the country where you became unemployed.

You will then be paid the same amount as before, directly to your bank account in the country where you became unemployed.

If you want to keep your entitlement to the unemployment benefits, be sure to return to the country paying your unemployment benefits before or on the day your entitlement expires.

Please note that if you come from Croatia, there may be rules temporarily restricting your right to work in some other EU countries.

 

Staying abroad longer than 3 months

If you want to stay more than 3 months abroad, you will need to apply for an extension from the national employment service in the country where you became unemployed, explaining why it is necessary. It is important to convince them that you have a real chance of getting a job in your host country. Otherwise, they may refuse to grant you an extension.

Apply for the extension as early as possible. You must apply for the extension before the end of the initial 3-month period.

Equal treatment

When looking for work abroad, you have the same rights as nationals of your host country with regard to:

  • access to work
  • support from employment services
  • financial support to help you find work

Your new country might wait until you have established a genuine link with the local employment market before granting some types of financial support to help you find work — such as low-interest loans for unemployed people starting a business. Being in the country and looking for work for a reasonable amount of time may count as a genuine link.

Help and advice

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Footnote

In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

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