EU Blue Card - Working and Living in GermanyThe German EU Blue Card (Blaue Karte) is a German residence permit for work, issued to non-EU nationals who have a university education and will work in skilled positions in Germany. To be eligible for a Blue Card, your salary must be higher than the national average.

Who Can Apply For an EU Blue Card for Germany?

You can apply for a German Blue Card if you meet the following criteria:

1.   You have academic and professional qualifications

You must have a higher education degree, either German or from a university that is recognized in Germany.

Certain professions, like health, law, teaching, and engineering, are regulated, so in addition to presenting your degree, you must also have it recognized. The recognition authorities differ based on your profession; you can see them on the “Recognition in Germany” portal.

2.   You have a job offer appropriate for your qualifications

You must have a concrete job offer from a German employer. When you apply for the Blue Card, you have to submit a work contract, which states the position and the salary you are being offered.

Remember, you must work for an employer; you cannot receive a German Blue Card as self-employed.

3.   Your salary is at least 1.5 times the national average

The salary you will receive must be at least one-and-a-half times the national salary average in Germany. In 2021, this is at least €56,800/year.

If you apply for a job in a field in shortage (science, medicine, engineering, IT, architecture, etc), you may receive a Blue Card if your salary is at least €44,304/year. To get an EU Blue Card with a lower salary, you need approval from the Federal Employment Agency.

If you are not sure your job position qualifies you for an EU Blue Card, you can reach out to professionals, such as the immigration law experts at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte. They are well-informed about all matters related to German Blue Cards.

Eligible Professions for German EU Blue Card

Some of the professions that are most in-demand in Germany are:

  • Architects and interior designers
  • Engineers
  • Information and communication technologies specialists
  • Mathematicians
  • Health professionals
  • Scientists
  • Scientific engineers
  • Urban and traffic planning specialists

The employment fields which make you eligible for a German Blue Card are those which require a university degree. If you are highly qualified in your field, then you are eligible for a German Blue Card.

Where Can I Look for Work in Germany?

You can look for work in Germany through job portals online. The German Ministry of Education and Research lists the following websites as great points of reference for job hunters in qualified professions:

  • Euraxess.de
  • Academics.com
  • EURES – ec.europa.eu/eures
  • Alumniportal-deutschland.org
  • Obboerse.arbeitsagentur.de
  • Bund.de
  • Make-it-in-germany.com

Germany EU Blue Card Application Process

You can only get an EU Blue Card from the Foreigner’s Office in Germany. So, after you find a job in Germany, you have to approach the German embassy in your country to obtain an entry visa*. Once you are in Germany, you can get your Blue Card. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Set up a visa appointment:You have to contact the German embassy or consulate in your country to set up a visa appointment.

If there is no German embassy in your country, you may have to travel to a neighbouring country for the application.

Collect the required documents:The German embassy will provide a list of documents required for a German work visa application. This includes your work contract, academic qualifications, travel health insurance, etc.
Submit the visa application:On the date of your appointment, you have to submit the visa documents and pay a fee. You may also be asked to enter an interview.

This is just an entry visa for employment. You still have to apply for the Blue Card after you get to Germany.

Wait to hear a decision:It can take one to three months to hear a decision on your visa application.
Travel to Germany:If your visa application is successful, you will receive a visa, allowing you to enter Germany.

There, you have to register your residence, obtain German health insurance, and open a bank account.

Obtain an EU Blue Card at the German Foreigner’s Authority:Once you have settled your residence, banking, and health insurance, you can submit the application for an EU Blue Card at the Ausländerbehörde (German Foreigner’s Authority).

* Citizens from Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America do not need to apply for an entry visa for employment at the German embassy. They can apply for an EU Blue Card directly at the German Foreigner’s Authority.

Applying for the Blue Card If You Are Already in Germany

If you are already in Germany, and you are offered a position that makes you eligible for a Blue Card, you can apply at the local Ausländerbehörde (German Foreigner’s Authority). You must start the process at least six weeks before your current residence permit expires.

Getting Expert Help With the German Blue Card Application

You can also hire experts to help with your EU Blue Card application. Working with immigration lawyers, like the ones at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, will save you a lot of time, effort, and anxiety.

They can offer consultation, help complete your application, and answer any questions you may come to during the entire process. For people unused to dealing with German bureaucracy, this can be extremely beneficial.

Germany Blue Card Requirements

The documents required for a Blue Card application in Germany are:

  • Your valid passport.
  • Recent 35mm x 45mm biometric picture.
  • Your employment contract.
  • Application form for a residence permit.
  • Declaration on the employment relationship. This is required if you need further approval by the Federal Employment Agency.
  • Your residence registration in Germany. When you enter Germany, you have to register your address within the first two weeks. Submit the certificate of registration as proof that you primarily live in Germany.
  • Your university or college degree.
    • If needed: Recognition of your degree by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB).
  • Proof of health insurance.
    • If you have public health insurance, submit your electronic health card along with a confirmation of health insurance.
    • If you have private insurance, submit the certificate from the insurance company along with proof you have paid your contributions.
  • Occupation practice permit. For occupations which require an occupational license, such as medicine or law.

Germany EU Blue Card Processing Time

It takes between five to six weeks to hear back a decision from the Ausländerbehörde regarding your German Blue Card application. The Foreigner’s Authority will work in cooperation with the German Federal Employment Agency to issue your residence and work permit.

What’s the Fee of the German Blue Card?

The fee for a German Blue Card is €110. However, it may range in cost between €100 to €140 in different German constituent states.

Can I Bring My Family to Germany With a Blue Card?

Yes, you can bring your immediate family members to Germany with you on a Blue Card. This includes your spouse and dependent children.  Your family members can join you with a German family reunion visa and can enjoy the same healthcare, education, and social benefits as you: they are allowed to pursue an education as well as work in any occupation.

Can I Work in the EU With a German Blue Card?

No, you cannot use the German Blue Card to work somewhere else in Europe. You will have to apply for the EU Blue Card for that other country, provided that you find a job and meet the criteria.

You can apply for an EU Blue Card in another country after you have already worked for 18 months in Germany.

Validity of the German EU Blue Card

The German Blue Card is issued for the duration of your work contract plus three months. The maximum duration it can be issued for is four years. If your contract ends before you are eligible for settlement, you have three months to look for another job and continue to live in Germany.

After 33 months of residence, you can apply for settlement in Germany, which means you do not have to renew your Blue Card, but can live in Germany indefinitely.

If you can speak German proficiently, you can apply for settlement after only 21 months of residence.

Do I Lose My German Blue Card If I Change or Lose My Job?

No, you do not automatically lose your German Blue Card if you lose or change your job.

  • If you lose your job, you have a three-month period during which you can look for another qualified position. You must then get a German Blue Card according to your new employment.
  • If you change your job, you have to notify the Foreigner’s Authority, so they can adjust your Blue Card accordingly.

After you become a settled resident, you no longer have to notify the Foreigner’s Authority when you change employers or if you lose your job.