What is the EU Blue Card?

The EU Blue Card is a special residence permit for foreign academics or people with comparable qualifications that facilitates and encourages the permanent immigration of highly qualified people from non-EU countries to the EU. As of November 2023, the legal requirements for obtaining the EU Blue Card have been simplified. Find out about the changes and what else you need to know in this blog post.

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The EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is a temporary residence permit for employment, usually issued for four years. If the duration of the employment contract is less than four years, the EU Blue Card is issued for the duration of the employment contract plus three months. In any case, there must be an employment contract or a binding job offer for at least six months. An extension is possible if the conditions are met.

The EU Blue Card can be applied for in all EU member states except Denmark and Ireland. Requirements, such as minimum annual gross salary, may vary slightly between member states.

The EU Blue Card for Germany

People living outside the EU who wish to work in Germany generally require a visa issued by the relevant German diplomatic mission to enter Germany. The EU Blue Card must then be applied for at the local foreigners authority before the visa expires.

The following exceptions apply:

  • Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America may enter Germany without a visa and must apply for the EU Blue Card within three months from the date of entry at the foreigners department of place of residence. Once the EU Blue Card has been issued, employment can begin.
  • People who have held an EU Blue Card in another EU member state for at least twelve months may also enter Germany without a visa. The EU Blue Card in Germany must be applied for within one month of entering the country.
  • People who already live in Germany with another residence permit can also apply for the EU Blue Card.

Apply for the EU Blue Card: Visit the German Federal Government's website for step-by-step instructions on how to obtain the EU Blue Card.

Benefits of the EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card has many advantages: If the above requirements are met, there is a legal entitlement to the EU Blue Card. In addition, family reunification is facilitated, so that spouses, for example, are entitled to a residence permit with immediate unrestricted permission to work, even without knowledge of the German language.

Settlement permit after 27 months

You can also apply for a settlement permit in Germany after 27 months if you have been employed in a highly skilled occupation, have paid contributions to a pension scheme and can communicate in German at a basic level. If you have sufficient knowledge of German (language level B1), the period is reduced to 21 months. Other requirements include basic knowledge of the legal and social system and living conditions in Germany, sufficient living space for you and the family members living in your household, and a secure livelihood.

What has changed since November 2023

Lowered salary thresholds

The salary thresholds for obtaining an EU Blue Card in Germany have been significantly lowered. The minimum salary threshold for standard occupations is now 45,300 euros gross per year (2024).

The salary threshold for so-called bottleneck professions is even lower: the minimum salary threshold is 41,041.80 euros per year (2024), provided that the Federal Employment Agency has approved the employment.

The following occupations are considered bottleneck professions in Germany:


  • Production managers in goods manufacturing, mining, construction, logistics
  • Managers in the provision of information and communication technology services
  • Managers in the provision of specialized services such as childcare, health care or education
  • Academic professionals in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)
  • Academic professionals in architecture, spatial and transportation planning
  • Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacists
  • Veterinarians
  • Academic and comparable professionals in nursing and obstetrics
  • Teachers and educators in the school and non-school sectors

Expanded group of people

More people than before can obtain an EU Blue Card. The following groups have been added to the list:

  • Young professionals: Foreign graduates whose university degree was obtained no more than three years ago at the time of application for the EU Blue Card and who earn a gross annual salary of at least 41,041.80 euros (2024) with their job offer. This applies to entry-level jobs in all professions.
  • IT specialists: IT specialists without a university degree with at least three years of comparable professional experience within the last seven years and a concrete job offer with a duration of employment of at least six months and a gross annual salary of at least 41,041.80 Euros (2024).