Can You Collect Unemployment & Be out of the Country?

If you are currently collecting unemployment benefits in the United States, you may be eligible to continue collecting the compensation while out of the country. Specific requirements must be met for this to happen. Each state considers this on a case-by-case situation as not everyone is eligible. For instance, if you are taking a vacation abroad for two weeks and want to collect benefits you will not be allowed to do so.


Where Are You Living?

If you are currently making your residence in the United States, you may be able to collect unemployment benefits while out of the country. Typically you are also allowed to collect benefits if you are in Puerto Rico or Canada. Each state has its own specific guidelines regarding residency and being out of the country when collecting benefits. Some states allow you to be out of the country when doing volunteer work when you can meet other eligibility requirements.

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Are You Looking For Work?

To collect unemployment benefits in any state, you are required to be actively looking for employment. Usually this means looking for jobs online and submitting your resume to at least three employers in your field. Some people work abroad primarily, such as teaching English in a foreign country, and looking for work may require being out of the United States. In such an instance, you would only be able to qualify for benefits if you were laid off from a job within the United States.


What Is Your Availability?

All states require that you be available for employment in your chosen field. This usually means that you must be available for an interview or to begin working when asked by the potential new employer. If you are interviewing for jobs abroad, then you clearly meet this requirement. Of course, you may be asked for proof in the form of dates, names and contact numbers. If you are abroad to sightsee or vacation, you likely will not meet this requirement. If the field you work in is known for doing phone interviews instead of in-person interviews, you may be able to demonstrate that you meet this requirement.


When Are You Returning To The Country?

The length of your time spent abroad may also weigh on whether or not you can collect benefits while you're gone. Usually you must be able to accept any offer of employment. If you are abroad, this may be difficult for you. Of course, if you are looking and interviewing for jobs in your field while overseas, you may be able to prove that all of the time spent abroad is for good reason. You may be asked to prove why you are in the other country, such as a list of jobs you applied to and people you spoke or interviewed with while out of the country.