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EU Blue Card

Are you a graduate and have found a job in Germany? Learn about EU Blue Card requirements here.

The EU Blue Card (Section 18g of the Residence Act [AufenthG]) is a special residence title for foreign academics and people with comparable qualifications who want to take up qualified employment in Germany. To find out if you need a visa to enter Germany, see the “Do I need a visa?” section.

What are the EU Blue Card requirements?

  • You have a German degree or a foreign degree that is comparable to a German degree. If you do not have a traditional university degree, you must demonstrate that you have a tertiary-level qualification that took at least three years to complete in order to obtain an EU Blue Card. In Germany, this qualification must correspond to at least level 6 of the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011) or level 6 of the European Qualifications Framework. Examples of such training qualifications include “Master craftsman training / Master craftswoman training” as well as professional qualifications in educator professions. Information on the equivalence and recognition of foreign degrees can be found in the “Recognition” section 
  • You already have a specific job offer from a company in Germany. The job offer must meet the following conditions:
    • The period of employment must be at least six months.
    • The job must match your qualification (degree).
    • Your job in Germany must enable you to earn a gross annual salary of at least €45,300 (as of 2024).
  • If you are employed in a bottleneck profession, you can also obtain an EU Blue Card with a lower gross annual salary of at least €41,041.80 (as of 2024) if the Federal Employment Agency (BA) has approved your employment. The salary thresholds are published annually by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community. The following occupations are considered to be bottleneck professions in Germany:
    • Manufacturing, mining, construction and distribution managers
    • Information and communications technology service managers
    • Professional services managers, such as childcare services, health services and education managers
    • Academic STEM professionals
    • Academic professionals in architecture, spatial planning and transport planning
    • Medical doctors
    • Veterinarians
    • Dentists
    • Pharmacists
    • Academic and comparable nursing and midwifery professionals
    • School and out-of-school teachers and educators

The detailed list of bottleneck professions for the EU Blue Card can be found here

Info box

The following applies to new entrants to the labour market: If you obtained your last degree or equivalent qualification less than three years ago, you can also obtain an EU Blue Card if your job offer includes a gross annual salary of at least €41,041.80 (as of 2024). This applies to entry-level jobs in all professions. The approval of the Federal Employment Agency is also required for the visa procedure.

Special case: The EU Blue Card for IT professionals without a formal qualification

Do you want to work in Germany as an IT professional or manager without a formal qualification? Under certain conditions, you may be able to obtain an EU Blue Card. 

  • You must be able to demonstrate that you have a specific job offer as an IT professional in Germany. The period of employment must be at least six months.
  • Your job in Germany must enable you to earn a gross annual salary of at least €41,041.80 (as of 2024).
  • You must have worked in IT for at least three of the past seven years. Your professional experience must have been at university level and a prerequisite for employment in Germany.

Do you meet the above-mentioned requirements? Then you are entitled to an EU Blue Card under Section 18g of the Residence Act [AufenthG]. Find out about the entry and visa process

Tip

In some countries, it is possible to apply online for an EU Blue Card. You can find more information on the digital application process on the Consular Services Portal of the Federal Foreign Office.

Explainer video: How do I get the EU Blue Card?

Even if you do not meet the above-mentioned requirements for an EU Blue Card, there may be other options open to you. You can apply for a work visa for professionals with an academic qualification under Section 18b of the Residence Act [AufenthG].

If you are an IT professional without a formal qualification, in addition to the EU Blue Card, you may be able to enter Germany under the special regulations for individuals with practical knowledge.

At a glance: EU Blue Card

From the preparations to the application forms: This guide shows you step by step how to obtain the EU Blue Card.

What opportunities does the EU Blue Card offer?

The EU Blue Card is issued for the duration of your employment contract, plus an additional three months, and is valid for a maximum of four years. It is possible to extend the validity of this residence title in Germany if certain conditions are met. 

After 33 months, EU Blue Card holders can obtain a settlement permit  if they can prove that they have German language skills at level A1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). If language level B1 can be demonstrated, the settlement permit can be issued after only 21 months.

Do you want to live in Germany with your family? As an EU Blue Card holder, this is possible. To find out what you need to consider and what the requirements are, please see the “Family reunification” section.

Changing jobs with an EU Blue Card

Are you an EU Blue Card holder looking to change your employer in Germany? This is no problem. You will be able to start your new job with a valid EU Blue Card. However, if you change jobs within the first year of employment, you must notify your local foreigners authority of your new job. The foreigners authority will check whether you still meet the conditions for the EU Blue Card in your new job. If this is not the case, you may be granted another type of residence permit, such as a work and residence permit for qualified professionals

Do you have any questions?

Let us advise you on your opportunities to work and live in Germany. Our experts will support you with questions regarding job search, visa, recognition and learning German. 

You can find out more about the various contact options by clicking on one of the icons in the bar below.

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