Blue Card EU

Basis of the EU Blue Card is a directive of the European Union, Directive 2009/50/EC on the Blue Card and latest updated with Directive 2021/1883/EC. The EU Blue Card is granted for the benefit of highly qualified third-country nationals — typically with an academic education. This permit is to counteract a skills shortage existing in Europe. The German lawmaker has really gone out of its way to make this grand country more attractive for highly skilled employees – more than other countries.

For simplicity sake, this page shows the latest changes in the law for Blue Card holders and their family members in Germany as if they were already in force. Most of the changes will become legally valid started March 1, 2024. If you were to apply today, you can expect that the new rules will be applicable when your application will be decided.

Overview

Below we will introduce in detail the following to the Blue Card EU:

What do I get from this new permit? Surely, I will have to deal with a lot more red tape than already. I hate red tape!

The new regulations on the Blue Card EU came into effect on November 1, 2023 and is incorporated into the Residence Act into the new §18g AufenthG. The advantages of a Blue Card in contrast to a "normal" employment permit are:

  • Permanent residency already possible earliest after 21 months,
  • Easier to change jobs,
  • Expiration of the Blue Card only after 12 months of staying outside of Germany,
  • Expiration of an EU permanent residence as a former holder of an EU Blue Card from another EU country,
  • Easier migration inside the EU,
  • Short and long-term EU mobility,
  • Reduced requirements for family reunion – even elderly parents now imaginable,
  • Easier application procedures,
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When am I eligible for such Blue Card? It all sounds so awesome. Ah, Germany, here I come!

Before, we get into details, let us inform you that there are two Blue Cards as we call them: the "big Blue Card" and the "little Blue Card". The differences are in the requirements to obtain it but not in your status after having recieved it. The big Blue Card requires an acknowleged academic degree while the little card requires less. We will unravel the differences in detail below.
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Big Blue Card EU

What are the requirements for a Blue Card? How much red tape is involved?

You can successfully apply when you meet the following criteria. There is some red tape involved but it is mostly the circumstance of strictly proving you meet the requirements. You have

  1. either a German university degree or an equivalent and acknowledged foreign degree,
  2. a gross annual salary of at least € 3,650 per month,
    N.B. in comparison to the old law (valid until November 2023), the salary requirement has become less.
  3. no reasons for denial pursuant to §19f I and II AufenthG,
    and
  4. an employment contract or a job offer (= unsigned employment contract).

So much to the general rule; the exceptions are with the Little Blue Card.
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In how far are we preferred? Will a priority check be performed?

The advantages of a Blue Card in contrast to a "normal" employment permit is that family reunion of a spouse and / or parents from home and permanent residency are possible with less strict rules. There is also no connection required between your edcuation and your job. Now, you will no longer have to prove that you match your job's qualifications – your employer determines this fact. The greatest relief is the abolishment of a priority check.
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Hey you are bragging of all the privileges and advantages I get with a Blue Card but my application was denied. I’m a physician and have a grand employment contract without best working - just standard - conditions allowing me to work overtime without extra compensation, a minimum of three weeks of night shifts a month and a salary of 24 k€. I can'T even send money home to my elderly parents! I guess they lied to me at the office because they have something against me.

Well, you sure fell for a bogus employer. We do not know what standard working conditions you have in your home country but the conditions you shared are downright illegal here in Germany. The working conditions must meet German standards! This typically means that stipulations in wage tariff agreements (salaries negotiated by employee and employer unions) must be met or exceeded, In general, your salary must be such to what a German would get in this position. This is the only real test the immigration office resp. labor agency will employ when processing your case.
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When and where can I apply for such card?

You apply as normal. This depends on your citizenship. If you are not eligible for a visa waiver, then you have to apply for an entry visa from home or where you are living and then afterwards for a residence permit from inside Germany. The fast track proceedings for employers will apply here – as normal.
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Come on, is there really no chance to apply from inside Germany? I got a Schengen visa and am reluctant to first return home. It's just hilarious such avoidable round trip to get a job with a Blue Card.

Hardly, there is a chance for you to apply from inside Germany when you are here on your visa waiver or Schengen visa. We help our clients with the best strategy for immigration. Best book your consultation by clicking this sentence!
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How long is an EU Blue Card valid?

The EU Blue Card will be usually issued for a maximum of four years. But if the employment contract says less than four years of employment you will get a permit for the duration of your employment. Germany is so eager to have you already in, they want to make sure you remain.
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How much German do I have to speak in order to get the Blue Card?

No German whatsoever is acutally required for a Blue Card – by word of immigration law. Admittedly, it will help in getting around in Germany on a practical basis. Some employers might be shy to hire someone who doesn't speak the local language. Some professions, however, require certain language abilities. As an example, an approbation requires C1 German. This requirement sort of "adjusts" immigration law. In this situation, a physician will not get a residence to practice medicine because his German language abilities do not meet the requirement of professional law. Period. There are no exceptions to this fact but there are legal workarounds. Best book your consultation by clicking this sentence!
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Little Blue Card

Some exceptions to the general rule above will entitle you to receive a Little Blue Card in Germany. We will introduce them below. The above details relate to the "big" Blue Card.

What's the difference between the Big and Little Blue Card?

The new law brings following new facilitations for:

  • MINT profession (groups 21, 221, or 25 of ISCO-08),
  • Newcomers in employment, i.e. having graduated less than three years ago prior to applying for the Blue Card,
  • Professions with a strong shortage (bottleneck professions), such are:
    • Manufacturing,
    • Mining, construction, or distribution managers,
    • Information and communications technology service managers,
    • Professional services managers,
      such as child care or health services managers,
    • Veterinarians,
    • Dentists,
    • Pharmacists,
    • Nursing or midwifery professionals,
    • School and out-of-school teachers and educators.

You will only need a reduced salary of € 3,306,90 and meet the requirements of your profeesion then you are entitled to a little Blue Card.
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I work in IT but never graduated from a university. Does this mean, I cannot get a Blue Card and never work in Germany? I thought there was so great a demand that some already speak of a bottleneck for the economy.

Yes, when you have not graduated from a university, you are as a rule will never be eligible for a Blue Card in Germany! There is a loophole when you can demonstrate that your profession belongs to the so-called "bottleneck professions" and have at least three years of comparable professional experience. This expierence has to have been obtained during the last seven years. Further your qualification is to be comparible to a university degree. Then you can exceptionally get a Blue Card. You can already qualify under the category "bottleneck professions". Though the German lawmaker wants to reduce the requirements, you still feel the German angst, that you must be qualified by training and not by experience alone.
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Family Members of a Blue Card Holder

While I can enter without a visa, my spouse needs an  entry visa. I heard this changed. Can this be?

Yes, this has changed. Your "better half" may enter with a residence from any other EU country without a special entry visa. If your spouse is still at home, this privilege is not applicable.
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My husband is dear to me but has a real hard time to learn languages. Blue Cards are supposed to be pamper applicants, I thought. Does my spouse need to have A1 German?

May your husband rejoice and be happy. A successful application for family reunion to you as a Blue Card holder does not require him to have A1 in German. I trust you all know of the practical advantages. Nevertheless, permanent residency will still require B1 German and the whole jazz as normal for permanent residency!
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What about my spouse? May he also work in Germany, while I am here on my Blue Card? Gee, he would go crazy if he were only permitted to manage the household or best play with his thumbs all day long.

Sure, your spouse will be able to work in Germany without any further restriction. He can work in any profession from scrubbing floors at Lidl, or teaching at a university, to running a company — immigration does not care.
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My colleague just had her parents relocate with her to Germany? Can this be that elderly folks can also easily follow their kids who are getting a Blue Card?

Yes, this can be! The Blue Card holder in Germany can have his or her parents follow to Germany. The practically main requirement is that their financial livelihood and health insurance is secured either by themselves. If they are financially dependant on you, then it is a matter of descretion. It remains to be determined whether the office will apply descretion to their advantage or not.
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My parents are starting to have dementia, it would be great for them to be with me and my family. They can live with me in our big flat and the kids would surely be of some help. Will this be an obstacle?

To the best of our knowledge today, this ought not to be a problem. This is a very new option, it remains to be seen what pratical experience will bring.
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While my parents will never consider to follow me to Germany, my in-laws would love to follow to Germany. Can this approach work?

Yup. This will work when their child is with you in Germany – and only then. The requirements will be just the same as for your parents.
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Permanent Residency for Blue Card Holders and their Family Members

When would I get permanent residency in Germany?

Generally, you will be entitled after 3 years of employment under a Blue Card for a permanent residency – as a rule. Further, B1 will still be required.

Will my wife get permanent residency with me or is she only eligible under the normal rules?

Your wife will also be eligible after three years, if

  • you two are still living together as a married couple,
  • you are employed for at least 20 hours / week,
  • and all the other requirements as per normal requirements for permanent residency are met.
    N.B. The 60 months premiums to a pension scheme will be waived.
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I read my spouse must have B1 German – as per the normal condition. Argh. Must this be?

Well, let me answer this way. If your spouse wants permanent residency, then your spouse requires B1 and all the other requirements. Since you hold a Blue Card, your spouse is privileged that only three years and 36 months of pension precautions have to have been paid.
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Cool, these privileges for me and my family! Will my parents and in-laws get permanent residency with us?

I regret to inform you, that they are subject to the normal rules. German parliament did not want to go that far to sponsor elderly persons that much.

 

Specimen of a Blue Card

Front Side

Sample of Blue Card EU in Germany

 

 

Back Side

Sample of a German Blue Card - reverse side