How to Get a Blue Card in Germany

by Expath Global Mobility

What is a Blue Card and how to get one if you‘re planning on coming to Germany from outside the EU.

What Is a Blue Card?

A Blue Card is a type of work and residence permit for highly qualified specialists who come from non-EU countries.

How to Apply for a Blue Card?

In order to apply for a Blue Card you need to be registered in Germany with your address. So first of all you need to get here, and in order to come here, you will need a work visa. Or, you can come here without a work visa:

  • If you‘re from one of the eight countries whose citizens are allowed to travel to Germany visa-free and apply here (Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Israel, UK, US, Canada, and, currently, Ukraine).

  • If you‘ve had a Blue Card in another EU country for at least 18 months — with the condition of applying for a Blue Card in Germany within a month from your arrival here.

What Is Special About the Blue Card Permit?

The application process for the Blue Card is usually faster than for other types of work permits in Germany and your family members can join you more easily, f.e. your spouse will not have to prove their German knowledge in order to relocate here. The strongest advantage though is that with a Blue Card, you can apply for permanent residency in Germany after just 33 months, or 22 months if you have a B1 level of German knowledge.

What Do You Need to Apply for a Blue Card?

Documents required for a Blue Card application can differ from region to region, but generally you need to have:

  • A recognized University degree or a degree that was obtained in Germany. To check if your degree is recognized in Germany, look up the Anabin database. If your degree doesn‘t meet the minimum requirements, do not worry, you can submit an application for a degree assessment to the ZAB (the German Central Office for Foreign Education).

  • A work contract or a concrete job offer from a company in Germany

  • A job position that is in line with your degree, i.e. your studies should be relevant to the job you‘re applying or have been hired for

  • A high annual gross salary (this changes yearly so make sure to check the annual threshold relevant to the year you‘re applying for).

The Blue Card Journey

While things might differ a little from city to city, there are generally three main steps you‘ll go through, from your home country to getting a Blue Card in Germany:

  1. In order to travel to Germany as a non-EU citizen you will most probably need to apply for a visa at your local German Embassy, unless you‘re exempt from it (see above)

  2. Once arrived in Germany, you will need to do the Anmeldung (address registration)

  3. After registering your address, you can contact the local Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Authorities) to start your application process.

The documents required for a Blue Card and the waiting times are specific to the area you‘re applying from but officially, a Blue Card approval should not take longer than three months in Germany.

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