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Apply for an EU Blue Card to work in highly qualified employment


In Germany, the EU Blue Card is the central residence permit for highly qualified specialists with a university degree. It can only be applied for in person at your local immigration authority. Spouses of EU Blue Card holders are also entitled to a residence permit.

You can obtain an EU Blue Card if you have completed a degree programme. If you do not have a German university degree, your degree must either be recognised or comparable to a German university degree. You can already recognise or establish comparability before you enter Germany. 

In addition, you must submit an employment contract or a binding job offer with a certain minimum salary. The minimum salary is set annually and amounts to EUR 55,200 in 2020. For so-called shortage occupations, in particular:

  • natural scientists,
  • Mathematicians,
  • Engineers,
  • Human physicians as well as human physicians as well as
  • IT Professionals

a lower income limit applies. This amounts to EUR 43,056 in 2020. In these cases, the Federal Employment Agency checks whether the working conditions correspond to those of comparable German employees.

The EU Blue Card is a temporary residence permit. It is granted for a period of four years in the case of permanent employment relationships. If the duration of your employment relationship is less than four years, the EU Blue Card will be issued for the duration of your employment contract plus three months. In the first two years, you need the written permission of the Foreigners' Registration Office to change jobs.

As an EU Blue Card holder, you can obtain a settlement permit if you:

  • have been employed for at least 33 months,
  • have paid contributions to the statutory pension insurance scheme or to another pension scheme with comparable benefits for that period,
  • your stay does not endanger or adversely affect the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,
  • have a basic knowledge of German languages and basic knowledge of the German legal and social system,
  • be allowed to pursue an economic activity and have all the necessary permits,
  • be able to secure the life support for yourself and your family from your income without using public benefits, and
  • have enough large living space for yourself and your family.

If you have sufficient knowledge of the German language (level B1), you can obtain the settlement permit after just 21 months. 

Exception: As a national of an EU country, you have access to the labour market due to your right to freedom of movement. You can pursue a self-employed activity or employment in Germany within the framework of the right of establishment or the free movement of workers. This also applies to nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

  • there is no interest in expulsion against you
  • intended employment must be commensurate with the qualification
  • You have:
    • a German,
    • a recognised foreign or
    • a foreign university degree comparable to a German university degree
  • You get a certain minimum salary:
    • Non-shortage occupations: EUR 55,200 (2020, no priority and comparability test, no approval of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) required)
    • Shortage occupations: EUR 43,056 (2020, working conditions and salary must be comparable to the corresponding German employee, approval of the BA required):
      • natural scientists,
      • Mathematicians,
      • Engineers,
      • Human physicians and medical physicians as well as
      • IT Professionals
  • You have a job that matches your qualifications or a specific job offer that corresponds to your qualifications.
  • when entering the country with an appropriate visa:
    • valid passport with visa
  • if there is a previous stay with a residence permit for another purpose:
    • valid passport
    • Residence permit


  • current biometric photo
  • Original of the employment contract or binding job offer
  • Original of the certificate of successfully completed higher education
  • if available: Notification of recognition, comparability of the university degree or a certificate assessment by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB)
  • Employment contract or binding job offer
  • in the case of regulated professions: Your professional licence (e.g. licence to practise or practise a profession)
  • Current registration certificate
  • Proof of your health insurance
  • Lease


Issuance of the EU Blue Card: EUR 100

  • Validity of the EU Blue Card: maximum 4 years
    • If you have a fixed-term employment contract, the EU Blue Card may also be valid for a shorter period of time. Normally, it is then 3 months longer than your employment contract.
  • Application for the EU Blue Card: at least 8 weeks before the expiry of your still valid visa or residence permit

about 6 to 8 weeks

Note: The EU Blue Card is issued as an electronic residence permit.

Locally responsible immigration authority of your city or municipality.

You can also get free advice on the topics of entry, residence and work at the "Hotline Working and Living in Germany" of the Federal Government portal for skilled workers from abroad.
Phone: 030 18151111
Service hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Forms: can be obtained from your local immigration authority
  • Online procedure possible: no
  • Written form required: yes
  • Personal appearance necessary: yes

As a rule, you must apply for your EU Blue Card in person:

  • Arrange an appointment with your city or municipality with the locally responsible immigration authority
  • During the appointment, your proofs will be checked and your fingerprints taken for the EU Blue Card.
  • If your application is granted, the Foreigners' Registration Office commissions Bundesdruckerei to produce the EU Blue Card.
  • After about six to eight weeks, you can pick up the EU Blue Card at the Foreigners' Registration Office.
  • Since the EU Blue Card is linked to an online ID function, you must pick it up in person.

The minimum salary limits are announced annually at the end of the year for the following year in the Federal Gazette by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community and also updated on the corresponding websites. As a rule, these minimum salary limits increase every year.

Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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