A Germany EU Blue Card is a German residence permit title for third country nationals wishing to work in Germany. It enables qualified third-country citizens to immigrate to Germany permanently.

The Blue Card scheme helps the German labor market attract well-trained workers and reduce skilled workers’ shortage.

If you wish to work in Germany, the EU Blue Card may be the way for you. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the German EU Blue Card.

Who Needs a Germany EU Blue Card?

Everybody qualifying for a German EU Blue Card can apply for it. Yet, the nationals of several countries do not need a Blue Card to work in Germany. They can either just move to Germany and work, or move to Germany and get a work permit without the need of getting this card.

Who can Apply for EU Blue Card in Germany?

EU citizens do not need a visa or a residency permit to neither enter nor start working within Germany. The same applies for the citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. A valid passport or identity card is sufficient.

Citizens of the following states can enter Germany without a visa but cannot take up employment before applying for the EU Blue Card:

  • Australia
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • the United States of America

The time allowed to stay in Germany for the citizens of the aforementioned countries is approximately 3 months which is usually not sufficient to find employment therefore the request for an EU Blue Card is obligatory. You may apply during your stay in Germany.

Citizens of the following states may apply for a work and residence permit after entering Germany without a visa:

  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Darussalam
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Taiwan
  • Uruguay
  • the Vatican
  • Venezuela

Non-EU citizens, on the other hand, must apply for a visa – employment visa, visit, student, or other type of visa coherent with necessity – while still in their home countries. The required documentation for application should be completed in conformity with the rules of the German Embassy in your home country. Once the visa is obtained, it is obligatory to respect the period allowed to stay.

In case you found a job before entering Germany, then you can immediately apply for the EU Blue Card while in your home country by the help of your employer.

Candidates are categorized in the groups as mentioned above:

Germany EU Blue Card Eligibility Criteria

There are some strict criteria about who can get a German EU Blue Card. Despite that the German authorities take the final decision, you should still check if you are eligible before submitting an application.

When applying for a Germany Blue Card you must meet the following criteria:

  • University Degree. For a German EU Blue Card a university degree is compulsory. Depending on the type of job you may also be required a Master’s degree.
  • Work experience. You should have at least five years of experience in your field.
  • Employment contract or job offer. You should present either a work contract or a binding job offer for at least one year.
  • Salary threshold. You should meet the salary threshold of an annual gross salary of at least €53,000. There is a lower threshold of at least €41,808 for mathematicians, engineers, natural scientists, technicians and for physicians.

The Minium Salary Threshold in Germany

The annual salary expected to earn depends on the profession you occupy. You must earn at least the minimum salary set by the threshold in order to be considered a suitable EU Blue Card candidate.

  • For professions in shortage: the estimated salary is €43,056.
  • For university graduates the estimated salary is €55,200.
  • For jobs where a “special interest” is requested, the estimated salary is lower, hence, easier to obtain the EU Blue Card.

The figures presented are based on the salary thresholds in Germany since January 2020. The minimum varies on year-to-year basis although the figures are somewhat similar to the preceding years.

If You Have Not Found a Job in Germany

To obtain the EU Blue Card in Germany as a highly-qualified worker you should first find a company in Germany that is willing to bring foreign employees within their work environment and could benefit from the skills you provide. In this way, the company becomes the sponsor for the candidates’ EU Blue Card application.

If you do not find an employer while in your home country, then you can apply for a Germany Job-seeker/Employment visa. For the Job-seeker or Employment visa, you should apply in Embassy of Germany while in your home country.

Obligatory documents:

  • University degree
  • Sufficient funds to maintain yourself

The Germany Job-seeker Visa grants you a period of 6 months in order to look for a suitable job in Germany.

In case you find a job in Germany, you do not need to leave Germany while your EU Blue Card application is being processed, which may last up to 90 days.

Applicants interested in obtaining the EU Blue Card in Germany, should initially look for a suitable job corresponding to their professional qualifications or earlier work experience through internet research on pages which upload various vacancies.

The following are the pages of German government institutions posting job vacancies:

You might also have a look at:

  • Job portals
  • Newspapers
  • Local employment agencies
  • Job fairs
  • EURES job fairs
  • Personnel recruitment agencies

Or, you may:

  • Self-advertise
  • Ask Acquaintances

Application Process for a Germany EU Blue Card

The application process for a German Blue Card depends on your current residence country.  If you are outside Germany, you should follow the steps listed below:

  1. Apply for a German Employment Visa. You should complete the application process for such a visa in your country of residence. Submit your application to the competent German mission for a visa for the purpose of employment before you enter Germany.
  2. Register your address in Germany. Upon arrival in Germany, you have two weeks to register your address at the German registration office closest to your home in Germany,
  3. Apply for an EU Blue Card in Germany. After you arrive in Germany, you should apply at the immigration authorities near your registered address in Germany, for an EU Blue Card.

On the other hand, if you are already in Germany under another residence title, you should only complete the second step.

Note that you cannot apply for a German EU Blue Card if you are in Germany under a tourist visa, or another visa type as i.e. medical visa.

If you already hold an EU Blue Card issued by another EU country, you can apply for a German Blue Card only after at least 18 months after you have obtained the previous blue card.

In every case, you must meet the criteria set for a German EU Blue Card.

Germany EU Blue Card Requirements

When applying for an EU Blue Card in Germany, you will need to submit several documents. These documents should prove that you are eligible for obtaining a German EU Blue Card.

The required documents for an EU Blue Card in Germany are as following:

  • Germany EU Blue Card Application Form. The application form must be fully completed. Make sure the information you give in this form is correct and complies with the information in the rest of the documents.
  • Your Passport. Please check your passport before applying. It should be valid for at least 15 more months beyond your planned date to leave Germany.
  • Proof of legal presence in Germany. If you entered the country through a German employment visa, you should present it. If you hold another residence title, or a Blue Card issued by another country, then you should present it.
  • Two recent photos. These two photos must be identical and taken according to the ICAO standards. The photos must be in color, with white plain background and no older than three months.
  • Work contract with a German company. You should present a work contract with a German company signed by all parties involved. The contract must state the offered wage.
  • Proof of professional level. Present proof that you meet the qualification requirements. This could include your university diplomas, proof of previous work experience, etc.
  • CV.  An updated Curriculum Vitae, that includes your qualifications, and work experience.
  • Proof that your salary exceeds the average in Germany by 1.5 times or 1.2 times for professions in shortage.
  • A written declaration by your employer in Germany
  • Proof of no threat to the public policy, security or health of Germany.
  • For unregulated professions  – a recognized university diploma.
  • In case of regulated profession – present the acquired certificate.
  • Proof of application fee payment/
  • Health insurance proof.

There are additional requirements, which may vary on your case, or the immigration authorities in Germany. Make sure to submit all of these documents. They are crucial for a positive outcome of your application.

Germany EU Blue Card Fee

The application costs for a Germany Blue Card is €140. When applying to renew your EU Blue Card in Germany, you will need to pay only €100.

Germany EU Blue Card Application Processing

The processing of a German EU Blue Card takes up to three months.

Germany EU Blue Card Validity

An EU Blue Card for Germany is issued for three months longer than the duration of the employment contract. However, an EU Blue Card issued by German authorities can be valid for a maximum of 4 years.

If your job contract is valid for more than only four years, you can apply for the renewal of your EU blue card.  You can apply for a permanent settlement permit after 33 months of work in Germany.

When Can My Germany EU Blue Card be Denied?

Your application for a Germany EU Blue Card may be rejected for several reasons. The main Blue Card rejection reasons are as listed below:

  • You have not met the eligibility criteria.
  • Your home country lacks qualified workers in your sector.
  • You have provided the immigration authorities with incorrect or false information.
  • Your employer in Germany has been found guilty for employment of irregular migrants without documents.
  • You are considered a threat to public policy, public security or public health of the EU.
  • A national or EU worker, or an already present non-EU citizen could fill the vacancy.

Applying for a Settlement Permit With an EU Blue Card in Germany

If you have worked in Germany for more than 33 months in Germany with an EU Blue Card, then you can apply for an unlimited settlement permit. You should still meet the following requirements:

  • Prove you have made obligatory contributions in this period or show other proof of expenditure to obtain an entitlement to insurance benefits which are comparable to those from statutory pensions insurance.
  • Meet the other prerequisites for issuing a settlement permit.

Note that you will be able to get a settlement permit quicker if you show proof you have an adequate knowledge of German language (level B1).

What If I Lose My Job?

If for whatever reason you lose your job with which you obtained your German Blue Card, you must notify the competent immigration authority as soon as possible.

These authorities will give you a limited amount of time within which you can get another job in your field in Germany. In some cases, your card may be revoked and the immigration authorities will ask you to leave.

Are relatives of the EU blue card owners allowed to work without limits in Germany?

Yes, relatives of the owners of the EU blue card can work without delay and limits in Germany.

Can I apply for an EU Blue Card in order to seek employment in Germany?

To apply for the EU Blue Card you must already have a job offering contract and a declaration from the employer demanding and reasoning your recruitment. You cannot seek employment through the EU Blue Card, you must request the Employment visa for that matter in the corresponding Embassy in your home country.

Can I interrupt my stay in Germany during EU Blue Card validity period?

Yes, you can. You are allowed to stay in non-EU countries for a year with the EU Blue Card.

This is also applicable to your family members. However, this time will not be credited when applying for a residency permit.

Working in Germany

If you have obtained the Germany EU Blue Card and you are by now working and beginning to integrate in Germany, there are a few additional components to consider.

As a legal worker within the EU, except for being entitled to your salary, benefits and rights – you may wish to know more details upon taxation and social security contributions encompassing health insurance, parental benefits, and others – which will be further explained below.

Taxes in Germany

If you find a job in Germany, you will be submitted to paying taxes since all employees are prone to paying taxes. The amount you pay depends solely on your income. You are not required to pay taxes if you work at a job that pays up to 450€ per month or 8,353€ annual earnings.
The higher the income the higher the tax you must pay – rates vary from 14% to 45%.  

Depending on marital status, taxpayers are divided into different tax groups:

  • Married
  • Single
  • Divorced
  • Children or not, etc.

The tax payments are done according to the group you are part of.

The government may refund a part of your taxation money, depending on whether you have paid more than necessary for a period of one year.

Social Security in Germany

All employees within EU member states who possess work permits are prone to taxation which then entitles you to the benefits obtained. The tax rate is shared by the employer and the employee.

There is coordination between Member States on Social Security by agreements between companies on how the rate is paid and implemented.  This coordination has been established in order to not create worse conditions for any kind of worker within the EU. Health insurance companies and national laws institutions work together upon determining the best pathways to handle workers within the EU.

Social Security Systems in the European Union include:

  • Sickness, maternity and equivalent paternity benefits
  • Benefits in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases
  • Death grants
  • Invalidity benefits
  • Old-age and survivors’ pensions
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Pre-retirement benefits
  • Family benefits
  • Special non-contributory cash benefits

Must determine which member state’s social security legislation applies to you when you are involved in more than one member state. Although, usually you are subject to the member state you work in.

The social security package also includes the health insurance fund affordable at your annual income. The payment for the health insurance is incorporated on the percentage of salary deducted for social security contributions. Your employer completes the deduction and payment process to the competent health insurance provider.

If you are no longer residing in Germany, you will still get the same old-age pension as the German citizens for the time you have worked in accordance with the legitimate rules and regulations in Germany.

Health Insurance in Germany

All employees in Germany are entitled to pensions, long-term care, accident and unemployment insurance. Out of many statutory health insurance funds offered, you are free to choose the one which offers the best services for your needs. While deciding, be careful to consider important factors for you because the process of switch or return is not as simple. Since requirements vary depending on the individual, we suggest to read https://www.krankenkassenzentrale.de/wiki/krankenkasse-wechsel to learn what to keep in mind when switching your insurance provider.

More or less, the general payment rate is the same, with exceptions to few funds which demand additional contributions.
Your employer registers and completes the payments intended for the health insurance by deducting the specified percentage from your income.

Health insurance most common benefits:

  • Outpatient care
  • Inpatient care
  • Emergency room services
  • Prescription medicine
  • Before and after birth care
  • Mental health, behavior, and substance abuse services
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Laboratory tests
  • Preventive medicine
  • Pediatric services
  • Dental services
  • Rehabilitative services and devices

Health insurance salary thresholds:

  • Public Health Insurance – earning less than the threshold of 62,550  € per year.
  • Private Health Insurance – earning 62,550 Euros per year. (i.e. PROVISIT by DR-WALTER – All persons up to the age of 69 years, staying in Germany for maximum of 2 years)

Parental Leave

When a child is born, employed parents are entitled to a 3-year leave in order to provide good care for the child. In the meantime their jobs are kept secure. Both parents can take the leave, either at the same time or consecutively.

Furthermore, the leave may be taken separately – 2 years at once while the last year of the leave can be taken before the child reaches the age of 6-8.

If the couple is divorced, the leave belongs only to the parent that is living with the child.

With your employer’s consent, you may legally work up to 30 hours a week while on parental leave, if you need more money for support.

Parental Benefits – Financial Support

Another benefit provided for workers is the special financial support known as the Parental Benefit which parents that are unable to work or in need of a reduction of their working-hours may use during the first 14 months of a child’s birth.

Around 300 to 1,800 € per month are given as a means of support to parents. To families with lower income, earning less than 1,000 € per month, as well as families that have more than one small child, like twins or triplets – additional financial aid is given.

Both parents are entitled to 12 monthly payments – either simultaneously or consecutively – or 7 equal payments for each parent.