The EU Blue Card
Purpose and target group
The EU Blue Card is a residence title for graduates which is intended to facilitate and promote the permanent immigration of highly-qualified persons from outside the EU to Germany.
You must meet the following pre-conditions in order to obtain an EU Blue Card:
- You are a graduate: If you did not acquire your degree in Germany, it must either be recognised or comparable to a German degree. Information on the equivalence and recognition of foreign degrees is available at www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de.
- You have an employment contract or a binding job offer.
- You have a minimum annual gross salary of 55,200 Euros. A reduced minimum annual gross salary of 43,056 Euros applies to employment in the occupational fields of mathematics, computer science, the natural sciences, engineering and human medicine (not including dentistry) (as of 2020 – the salary thresholds are readjusted for each calendar year).
- The employment must match the qualification.
Validity of the EU Blue Card
The EU Blue Card is a temporary residence permit that is issued for a period of four years as a matter of principle. If the duration of the employment contract is shorter than four years, the EU Blue Card is issued for the duration of the employment contract, plus three months. It can be extended if the requirements are met. A permit from the competent immigration authority is required for any change of job within the first two years of employment. The conditions for granting the Blue Card will then be re-examined.
If you live outside the EU, you will generally require a visa for the purpose of gainful employment which will be issued by the competent German diplomatic mission. You can enter Germany on this visa. Prior to expiry of the visa, you must subsequently apply to the local immigration authority for the EU Blue Card.
The following exceptions apply:
- 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, and before taking up employment.
- 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. They then only have to apply for an EU Blue Card in Germany within one month of entering the country, but before taking up employment.
- Individuals who are already living in Germany and hold another residence title may file an application for the EU Blue Card with the immigration authority competent for their place of residence.
Benefits of the residence title
Good to know!
An EU Blue Card can be applied for in all EU Member States apart from Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Slight differences apply with regard to the conditions, such as the amount of the gross annual salary.
- There is a legal entitlement to an EU Blue Card if the conditions are met.
- Relaxation of the conditions for family reunification: Your family members enjoy less stringent conditions pertaining to family reunification. Spouses are entitled to issuance of a residence title without requiring a knowledge of German, for example, and are granted immediate and unlimited permission to take up employment.
- Faster acquisition of a settlement permit: Holders of an EU Blue Card will receive a settlement permit after 33 months in Germany if they have been in highly-qualified employment and paid contributions into a pension fund during this period, and are able to make themselves understood in German on a basic level. The qualification period is shortened to 21 months for persons with an adequate knowledge of German (level B1).