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Selfie identity checks in times of social distancing

The local offices of the Agentur für Arbeit are providing an online identification option for customers who cannot register as unemployed in person during the ongoing corona pandemic.

30 Jun 2020 | Press Release No. 33

Anyone wishing to claim unemployment benefits must usually register as unemployed in person at their local Agentur für Arbeit, but this legal requirement has been relaxed during the ongoing pandemic, allowing people to register online or over the phone. However, an identity check is always required after registration.

As personal meetings should be avoided wherever possible, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) is now allowing customers to prove their identity by submitting a selfie to their local branch of the Agentur für Arbeit. This option will be offered until 30 September 2020. In other words, customers can now use a mobile or tablet to provide the necessary identity check without having to attend a personal meeting.

All customers who can use this identification method will receive a letter with a QR code.

Important! Anyone who can use the selfie identification method will receive a letter by the end of July to explain the process and activate the service. Those concerned must only take action when they receive the letter.

Data protection guaranteed

Dr Markus Schmitz, Chief Information Officer of the BA: “This new method will allow our customers to prove their identity 24/7 without having to attend a personal meeting at their local branch. Data protection is our main priority. We’re working with our partner to ensure the secure processing of personal data”.

Nationwide introduction by the end of July

The selfie identification method was introduced on 17 June 2020 as part of a pilot project at the Agentur für Arbeit offices in Leipzig and Munich. Of the 30,000 customers contacted, 5,000 used the online identification method in the first week alone. 

The service will be introduced at all Agentur für Arbeit offices in Germany in four stages throughout July 2020:

  • From 1 July 2020: letters sent to customers in Saxony-Anhalt & Thuringia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg
  • From 8 July 2020: letters sent to customers in Lower Saxony & Bremen, North Germany and Rhineland-Palatinate & Saarland
  • From 15 July 2020: letters sent to customers in North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony (except Leipzig)
  • From 22 July 2020: letters sent to customers in Berlin & Brandenburg and Bavaria (except Munich)

The selfie identification method is an optional service. If customers do not wish to use it, they will receive a letter to attend a personal meeting at their local branch of the Agentur für Arbeit and prove their identity in the usual way.

Online identification process

Our customers will need three things for the online identification process: a compatible device with a camera (smartphone or tablet); a stable Internet connection; and a valid identity document (ID card or passport) with a holographic feature.

More information on the process can be found by scanning the QR code or visiting the website indicated in the letter.