FAQs for EU Blue Card

Everything you need to know about the "Blue Card EU" for Germany

The law regarding the implementation of guidelines for highly qualified professionals in the European Union (HQRLUmsG) from June 1, 2012 has gone into effect on August 1, 2012. It has introduced the “EU Blue Card” as a residence permit, given to those foreign nationals who hold a university degree or comparable qualifications.

We hereby would like to answer the most important questions concerning the Blue Card EU for you:

Who is eligible for a Blue Card EU?

A foreign national, a citizen of a non-EU-country, is eligible for an EU Blue Card (residence permit according to § 18b II AufenthG) if he/she holds a German or an accredited foreign or a university degree that is comparable to a German degree.

In contrast to the US Green Card, the Blue Card EU is only granted for a specific job, which generates an annual gross pay of 56.800 EUR (salary threshold from January 1, 2021), or 44.304 EUR (salary threshold from January 1, 2021) in case of so-called shortage occupations (scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors, and IT specialists).

Self-employed and freelancers can not have EU Blue Cards. They are issued specific national residence permits.

How long is the EU Blue Card valid?

The EU Blue Card is limited to a maximum period of four years. If the employment relationship lasts less than four years, the Blue Card is granted for the duration of the employment contract plus another additional three months.

Will a priority check take place? Will members of the German labor market receive privileged treatment? Will the working conditions be checked?

Since March 1, 2020, there is no longer a check on skilled workers in Germany to determine whether privileged workers are available on the German labour market. An inspection of the working conditions will be waived if the income requirement of 56.800 EUR (2021) is met. For graduates with job offers in so-called shortage occupations with a yearly gross income between 44.304 EUR (2021) and 56.800 EUR (2021) an inspection of working conditions, however, will take place.

Can family members of EU Blue Card holders enter Germany at the same time?

Yes. Family members may accompany the EU Blue Card holder and will receive residence permits in Germany as well.

Is it necessary for spouses to have knowledge of the German language prior to the arrival?

Spousal reunification may not be made conditional on integration efforts which may or may not have taken place prior to the arrival. Proof of basic German language skills is not required.

When can EU Blue card holders receive permanent residency?

Blue card holders can receive permanent residency after 33 months; if German language skills according to level B1 can be proven, this period is shortened to 21 months.

Can the EU Blue Card become invalid after an extended stay outside Germany?

Blue Card EU holders may temporarily stay outside Germany for up to twelve months in a row without the residence permit becoming invalid. However, the EU Blue Card expires if the Blue Card holder does leave Germany for non-temporary reasons, for example in case of deregistering the place of residence (Abmeldung) and taking up employment abroad.

Will stays in other EU countries with an EU Blue Card be counted towards the right of permanent residence?

After holding an EU Blue Card for the period of 18 months stays in different member states of the EU will be cumulated towards the obtainment of the right of permanent residence EU.

Is a visa procedure required?

Generally a Visa procedure is mandatory before entering the country to start a Blue Card employment. The Visa will be issued by the competent German diplomatic mission. Nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the United States of America may enter Germany without requiring a visa, and must subsequently apply for the EU Blue Card within three months at the competent immigration authority in Germany, and before taking up employment. Also individuals who have held an EU Blue Card in another EU Member State for at least 18 months may enter Germany without requiring a visa and take up employment matching their qualification. Individuals who are already living in Germany and already hold any other residence title may also file their application for the EU Blue Card in Germany.

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