I was told that I need to first apply for Arbeitslosengeld I. Apparently, you cannot simply choose to apply for Hartz IV upon the cessation of employment, but must first apply for ALG I even if you don´t want to.
here is a bit of help/insight that you should really take to heart. WHAT YOU "WANT" IS NOT IMPORTANT TO THEM. Get that into your head and do not forget it, because you will only make things more difficult even in the near-term. Walk into the office telling them what you "want" and you will find more restrictions and demands put on you than you can imagine.
There is a very specific process that they follow because, surprise surprise, ALG II is supposed to be a) a last resort and b) as temporary as possible. Everything that is done in that office after you've begun to receive benefits is meant to get you off of benefits.
Getting back to point A: You must do everything you can not to apply for ALG II because you do not have to pay it back and it is, basically, free money. You must apply for ALG I for the obvious reason that it is money you've contributed for this reason. After applying for ALG I you must apply for BaFög if applicable and so must anybody in your living unit, even if they/you do not "want" to. After all other options have been exhausted and you cannot be deported or sent back to your country of origin and it is clear that you must either receive benefits or sleep on the streets, you will get your ALG II.
"Wanting to save on paperwork" is not an acceptable reason for applying for the free money straight off the bat. Give me a break.
I wanted to apply directly for Hartz IV because I have heard that the documentation requirement is less onerous.
no idea where you got this from. ALG II requires a fuckload of a lot more time, paper, energy and humiliation.
Which brings me to my main query: What documents am I required to bring to the Agentur für Arbeit?
They will tell you what you need to bring. There is not a lot of point getting the information from us, even if we could tell you what you will need in your specific case (we cannot) because they will give you a suitable amount of time to gather your documents. ALG II can take a long time to get; up to a couple of months to see a penny, if you don't have to apply for emergency benefits that is.
The stupid thing is how long and complicated the procedure is; you'd think they'd make it less laborious if they didn't want people staying on it forever. After doing the amount of work taken to get on it most people feel entitled to collect it for a while. Stupid. "Easy come, easy go" would serve better in these cases, I think...