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In Germany companies have to reimburse candidates for the travel costs to the interview unless they communicated in advance they don't take over the costs.

My question is: Is it ok, if I request little sums of money to be reimbursed?

It's not a question about regulations - the company has to reimburse it. It's a question about culture and what is acceptable and what isn't. I would like to be treated seriously and I'm not sure if they won't think I'm unserious if I send them tickets that cost me 25 EUR in sum...

The thing is, I live in a region with several cities close to one another. I apply in these cities. The tickets aren't very expensive but I participate in many interviews (competitive field) and normally several rounds of interviews are organised. I feel silly asking about the reimbursements of small amounts but 25EUR * 5 applications a month is quite a bit of money for me to spend.


I think the validity of this question is limited to Germany, simply because it's so common here to get the money reimbursed. I've already had companies that reimbursed me 300+ EUR. In many cases companies send you the reimbursement form together with the invitation to the interview, normally with a very straightforward explanation what they reimburse and what not.

I have lived in several countries and companies in none of them had such straightforward processes for that.

  • How does 25EUR compare to what it would cost you to commute to those cities? Personally, I would not ask for reimbursement that is similar to my regular commute cost. – cdkMoose Jun 20 '18 at 16:15
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    It sounds like you're in the Ruhrpott area with Cologne and Duesseldorf. If you're in contact with the Arbeitsamt, talk to them and see if they reimburse your travel to a different city. Inner-city travel is usually not covered, but out of the city is. And compared to a commute, there is a big difference of having a single trip versus a a monthly or yearly commuter ticket, which is often subsidised or provided by employers in Germany. – simbabque Jun 21 '18 at 14:15
  • Would it be fair to say that the person handling the reimbursement is not the same handling the interviews? (different departments?) – ChrisR Aug 13 '18 at 14:52
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Most companies' workflows for reimbursing applicants won't include an extra step to ridicule the applicant based on the amount they demand.

The main reason, this system of getting reimbursed by the to-be-employer for travel expanses exists exactly for the reason not to miss out on good workers just because they can't afford traveling to the interview. The 2-3 EUR for public transport are as valid a reason as the 300,- plane ticket.

The bigger the company, the more true this is.

You, on the other hand are expected to keep your travel cost reasonably low. Going by train is restricted to second class, and where there's public transport available taking a taxi is considered too expensive.

The applicable law here would be § 670 BGB:

Ersatz von Aufwendungen
Macht der Beauftragte zum Zwecke der Ausführung des Auftrags Aufwendungen, die er den Umständen nach für erforderlich halten darf, so ist der Auftraggeber zum Ersatz verpflichtet.

Translation:

basically what I said.

  • This answer might benefit from some citations showing where you get your information from. That may also help determine at what point it's Ok/not Ok to ask for reimbursement (which is the goal of the question). – GOATNine Aug 13 '18 at 15:35
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If you would move if you got the job then I would say it is a fair travel expense. If you have the receipt then turn it in.

If you would not move and would commute then I would not call it travel.

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    "If you would not move and would commute then I would not call it travel." - this somewhat assumes the cost of travelling once and commuting regularly would be the same. – O. R. Mapper Jun 28 '18 at 21:36
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    @O.R.Mapper and that the interviewee is able to afford the "commute" on their current wage and that the company does not reimburse the normal commute. – Cyonis Aug 16 '18 at 6:30
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I'm not in Germany and never worked there, so this answer is just based on common sense.

If I understand well, this is written in the law the companies have the possibility to specify in advance that they don't reimburse.

From your question it seems also very common to ask for reimbursement, so the company shouldn't be too surprised if you asked for it.

From a company perspective, it's a very limited cost, basically no impact at all.

The people handling the reimbursmement is most probably not really involved in the interview process (I'm thinking office manager, accountant or so...)

I then see basically no reason not to ask to be reinbursed, unless these 25 euros don't mean anything to you.

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