If you are a non-EU citizen looking to relocate to a European Union country, an EU Blue Card may make the transition easier.
When it comes to moving abroad for work, the Blue Card scheme is a lesser-known option, but it offers a variety of benefits, including residency and work permits, as well as socioeconomic rights.
All you need to know about EU Blue Card
This article discusses whether you qualify for the card and how to apply.
What is an EU Blue Card?
The European Council launched the Blue Card scheme in May 2009, and it is aimed at highly qualified non-EU citizens who want to live and work in 25 of the 27 countries within the European Union except Denmark and Ireland, which are not subject to the proposal.
A single permit directive, described as a “demand-driven, residence and work permit,” was adopted in December 2011.
The scheme aims to attract skilled workers to the EU in order to boost competitiveness and economic growth while also addressing demographic issues caused by an ageing population.
Key Benefits of EU Blue Card
The EU Blue Card initiative provides several benefits for those seeking to relocate to an EU member state.
- One of the most important benefits is that it guarantees working and salary conditions that are equal to nationals.
- The Blue Card also allows freedom of movement within the Schengen Area (excluding Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Croatia.)
- The card entitles holders to a range of socio-economic rights, such as unemployment benefits, and makes it easier for family members to join them.
- After living in the country for two to five years, depending on the country of residence, Blue Card holders can apply for permanent residency.
How to apply for an EU Blue Card?
Here are the steps to apply for an EU Blue Card:
1. Determine if you are eligible: The Blue Card is only available for non-EU citizens, and applicants must have completed tertiary education or have 2-5 years of professional experience, depending on the country.
2. Secure an employment offer: Applicants must have a binding employment offer or an employment contract in the country they intend to live in, which must meet the minimum salary requirements.
3. Gather required documents: Applicants will need to fill out an application form and provide a passport, passport photos, evidence of educational qualifications, a CV, and proof of health insurance.
4. Schedule an appointment: The application process varies depending on the country, but you will need to arrange an appointment at the EU or a specific country’s embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
5. Submit your application: Depending on the country, submitting your application may involve just receiving an entry visa for employment or a residence permit. The Blue Card application is then completed when you move to the new country at a local immigration office.
6. Wait for processing: The processing time for an EU Blue Card is a maximum of 90 days, but the actual processing time will depend on the country and the authorities handling the application.
7. Follow up on your application: If you have not received a response within the processing time, you may need to follow up with the immigration office. Each country has a slightly different process, so be sure to consult the specific information page for the country you are applying to.
Eligibility and Salary Requirements for an EU Blue Card?
To be eligible for an EU Blue Card, you must earn roughly 1.5 times the national average gross salary. Every year, countries specify a minimum annual salary requirement.
- In France, for example, it is €53,836.50 or more
- Germany requires at least €56,400.
Other countries have significantly lower figures. The minimum requirement in Italy is €24,789 per year, while the minimum requirement in Malta is €16,036.
What is the cost of the EU Blue Card?
The cost of applying for an EU Blue Card varies by country. The most expensive is Finland, where it costs €550, while Bulgaria charges €55 and Cyprus is free.
How long does it take to obtain a Blue Card from the EU?
The maximum processing time for the EU Blue Card is 90 days. The time it takes for you to receive your card will vary depending on the country you intend to visit.