Applying For An EU Blue Card

European Union

European Union (Photo credit: erjkprunczýk)

First of all, I need to thank Yi Chen for letting me know about the existence of the EU Blue Card and writing a wonderful post about it on her blog.  Go read it!

The EU Blue Card is a work visa for highly skilled professionals giving them greater access to work in the EU and removing barriers that once made this quite difficult, like proving that someone already residing in the country couldn’t do your job.  In Germany, it also has the added bonus of fast tracking your permanent residency if you wish to apply for it.

I called up the friendly Hamburg Welcome Centre, who handle visa applications and do so in English, to make an appointment a couple of weeks ago.  They are a big improvement over just going to your local Ausländeramt, who are known for their rudeness and long wait times. My appointment was yesterday and to be honest I didn’t think I would qualify as the guidelines were not clear on whether you just needed a university degree or whether you needed a university degree in the your current profession.  I had problems getting my original work visa because my university degree is not for my current profession.  In Germany, this is unheard of because you must have official qualifications to work in every single industry.  Even the cashiers at the local supermarket have done a three year apprenticeship to be able to operate a cash register.

So I went in thinking that I would not qualify but at the very least I could talk to them about my options when my current work visa expires next year. However, it turns out that I did qualify, well at least I was given that impression. I handed over all my documents, had my fingerprints taken, paid the €110 fee and was told my PIN number for my electronic EU card would be sent to me in 28 days after which I can come pick up my brand new work visa. I’m still worried that The Powers That Be in Berlin to whom all my information was submitted to will turn me down, but then again I worry about everything.

However, if I am lucky enough to get my EU Blue card, I will be allowed to stay in Germany for the next four years and if I get my B1 German qualifications, I can apply for permanent residency in 21 months time.  If I don’t get my B1 (as unlikely as that is), I can apply for permanent residency after 36 months – this is a huge change to the previous law which allows permanent residency to be applied for only if you have your B1 and only after 5 years.  Also, after 18 months, if I choose, I can move to another EU country and work there without having to apply to that country for a work visa. Whilst I have no plans to do this, I never know where life is going to take me and it is good to have this option available. Also, I can leave the EU for up to 12 months without it affecting my right to apply for German residency, again something that is comforting to have available to me.

If you are a highly skilled professional and you meet all the requirements, I strongly recommend applying for the EU Blue Card. The advantages it gives you over the ordinary working visa are immense, especially if you are looking to stay in Germany or the rest of the EU for the long-term.

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18 thoughts on “Applying For An EU Blue Card

  1. Awesome to hear that you’re taking advantage of this new change in the law! I’m sure you’ll be successful with your application. I also used the Hamburg Welcome Center when I lived in Hamburg — what an amazing resource that is. Such a pleasant atmosphere, so much easier to get an appointment, and with friendlier employees than at the normal Ausländerämter!

  2. I’m definitely going to look into this, too! Wow. Sounds like it would be perfect me as well. I wonder if the fast track to permanent residency counts the time you have currently been working in the country?

    • I haven’t found out if the fast track to permanent residency takes into account the time you have already been in the country before you got your EU Blue card. I’ll have to ask them.

  3. Really interesting to hear from someone first hand applying for the brand spanking new EU Bluecard. I would love to read similar stories from each EU Bluecard memberstate and compare the experiences. Keep posting updates, i will be following them!

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience. Just a quick question.

    Is the blue card tied to your employer or are you free to change jobs?

    • The answer is both yes and no. Your actual Blue Card is not tied to your employer but your work visa is. When you get your Blue Card you are also given a separate paper work visa. If you change jobs and it is within the same profession and for the same or more pay all you need to do is take your contract to the Ausländeramt and get a new paper work visa.

      • Hello Riayn,
        How much time does it take to get approval from the Ausländeramt to change job?
        What if I change regular job in order to be a researcher?

        Many thanks in advance!!!

        • I have not changed jobs whilst I’ve had the EU Blue Card, so I have no idea how long it takes. I suggest contacting your local Auslnderamt and asking them. Best to get this information straight from the source.

  5. Hi Rian,

    I’d like to ask the same question to some friends above that if the fast track to permanent residency counts the time you have currently been working in the country?

    Thank you


  6. Hey! I’d love to speak with you about your experience applying for jobs before your Blue Card application. I’m currently a professional working in the USA but am looking so hard to move to Germany. It seems like a huge Catch-22: I can’t get a job without some sort of residency/legalness of being there (so says the companies I’m applying with), and I can’t get residency without a job offer. Seems that the Blue Card requirements will help fast-track residency. but it still requires a job offer, which is again, impossible to get.

    The good news is, as an American, I can come over there and search for a job on my tourist visa. The only issue is that I am not going to quit my job, move there, and risk not even getting a permanent position.

    Any suggestions? Would I be able to email you to discuss further by any chance?

    • Matt, you are always welcome to contact me via my contact page, however, I’m afraid I can not provide you with any experience of looking for jobs here in Germany. I came to Germany through an internal company transfer and therefore, didn’t have to go through the process of seeking a new job.

        • Thanks for the responses!

          My German is actually quite good (B2.1 I think) – which I know I can drastically improve if I’m in country.

          Really I’ll do anything but right now I am in purchasing (contracting) for oil and gas. Very specific but I have transferable skills as I have a business degree. I’m aware of the whole shortage of skills in certain departments like IT (I also was an IT project manager for 2 years) but a lot of these require perfect German, which I unfortunately don’t have quite yet.

          I find it a bit ironic that the Bundesagentur is so picky to employ non-EU Citizens when the government has outright acknowledged a brain drain, and they’re looking for people with GENUINE interest in relocating there. But that’s just my two cents.

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