Blue Card EU   

Basis of the EU Blue Card is a directive of the European Union, Directive 2009/50/EC on the Blue Card. The EU Blue Card is granted for the benefit of highly qualified third-country nationals staying in the EU. This permit is to counteract a skills shortage existing in Europe.

Hey, this blue card is out. What’s it all about? Could you give me a general idea?

Similar to the Green card in the United States, the Blue Card EU is a residence and work permit for highly skilled workers from non-EU states. Having this permit really opens the door towards the European Union. These regulations came into effect on August 1, 2012 and is now incorporated into the Residence Act in §19a AufenthG.

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!

More red tape? Not really; it is just about as much as normal. It remains to be seen how picky immigration officers will treat such candidates. You get a four year residence (including work) permit upfront – and not only maybe one or two years! That is really something big! Normally, not highly skilled employees will get a permit at first of at most two years – in the discretion of the authority. Not so here. You are entitled to four years.


When am I eligible for such Blue Card? It all sounds so awesome. Ah, Germany, here I come! Blue sounds so sad, I hope that I do not have to be sad to get the permit.

When you have the blues, you will be sad but I guess you will cry for joy when you pick up your permit. You can successfully apply when you meet the following criteria. You have

  • 1.either a German university degree or an equivalent and acknowledged foreign degree
  • 2.) passed the preference test or are exempt from it,
  • 3.) a gross annual salary of at least € 56,400 (€ 4,700 per month),
  • 4.) a concrete job offer must be shown.
In how far are we preferred? Will a priority check be performed and do we still rank after Germans, Europeans and long-term refugees?

Yes and no. Normally, the German labor force is to be recruited from Germans and Europeans. However, when you as Blue Card applicant want to pursue a profession where there is a shortage and your annual salary is € 43,992 (€ 3,666 per month) or more, then you will get the permit for that job – without such a priority check. If there is no shortage for your profession, it will be checked if no privileged person can get the job.

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 with best working conditions allowing me to work overtime without extra compensation, a minimum of three weeks of night shifts a month and a salary of 35 k€. I guess they lie to me at the office because they have something against me.

Well, you sure fell in for that bogus employer. We do not know what standard working conditions you have in your home country but here in Germany that would be practically illegal. The working conditions must meet German standards! This typically means that stipulations in wage tariff agreements (negotiated by employee and employer unions) must be met or exceeded. This is the only real test the immigration office will employ when processing your case.
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Oh! Germany has a shortage in certain job fields? Interesting! Is there anything in for me? Which professions are needed most?

This will typically be for scientists, mathematicians, engineers, physicians, and IT professionals.

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.

How long is an EU Blue Card valid?

The EU Blue Card is initially 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 plus three months on top to have time to either renegotiate with your momentary employer or find a new job. Germany is so eager to have you already in, they want to pamper you to remain.

When would I get a permanent residence in Germany?

Generally, you will be entitled after 33 months for a permanent residence permit. However, if you can speak German at level B1 then you will already be eligible after 21 months (§19a VI AufenthG). The difference to the normal route via §9 AufenthG is that have the right to remain permanently here and just the eligibility.

Having the problem that I sometimes have to stay away from my German home for an extended period, how long can this be?

Gee, you guys are surely being pampered! Normally, you can remain outside of Germany for up to six months in a row (§51 X AufenthG) but as a blue card holder, you have up to 12 months.

Gee, I love Germany so much, I would love to retire here, if it should happen that against all odds I become “of age”; um, a senior citizen. The only thing that annoys me is the itsy bitsy teeny weeny tiny detail of not yet having a job. Can’t I just come over and hunt for a job?

Well, go to the attic, pack your things, and dig out your diplomas and bank statements and apply via the normal path but on grounds for job hunt as an academic (§18c AufenthG).

Wow! I can come over to find a job. Neat! Wait a minute, this sounds so supercalifragilisticixpealdicous that there must some catch for job hunting! I doubt that the German government will just let me in, not just like that.

True. You will not get a permit just like that. You have to meet a few requirements but they are all not so complicated:

  • either a German university degree or an equivalent and acknowledged foreign degree,
  • show enough funds to secure your livelihood, this has been discussed in detail here,
  • apply for the permit as normal,

Please take these requirements serious if you do not to be banned from Germany, when you apply without a university degree or equivalent!

How long can I search for a job? I do hope that I get all the time needed.

You have six months’ time to find an occupation that fits your CV. If this semester unsuccessfully expires then you have to leave for a half year. After this half year, you can apply again for another “job hunter permit”.

Hey, a potential corporation just invited me to a job interview in 2 weeks. I am so happy about it. Hey wait my job hunting visa is about to expire in one week. Is there anything I can do against it?

There is nothing you can about the expiration but that will not mean that you will automatically have to leave by then. The main thing is that you go to your immigration office with the invitation of your potential boss and apply for an “extension”. You will get a green card in the format of a triple check card called “Fiktionsbescheinigung”. This will practically and absolutely extend your stay – though you legally do not have a residence permit anymore. It is in the discretion of the immigration officer how long this Bescheinigung will be. Do not reckon on any grace when this permission expires! Of course, should it be that you have another interview… By the way, when hitting the office, be sure to bring a good book to read and a lot of time with you.

What about my spouse? May she also work in Germany, while I am here on my Blue Card? Gee, she would go crazy if she were only permitted to manage the household or best play with her thumbs all day long.

Sure, your spouse will be able to work in Germany without any further restriction.

How much German do I have to speak in order to get the Blue Card?

No German whatsoever is required. Admittingly, it will help in getting around in Germany on a practical basis.

Does my spouse have to speak German language before entering?

No, she may enter Germany without being able to speak the language (§30 I 3 no. 5 AufenthG) and he or she will not be typically required to visit an integration course.

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