Blue Card: The 5 most important questions and answers

The population in Germany and Europe is getting older, and for several years now, more and more crucial positions remain unfilled.

Blue Card
Do you have further questions about the Blue Card? We are here for you. Contact us by e-mail: or by phone at: +49 (0) 221 598 13 595

This leads to what is called a shortage of skilled workers, which the government is trying to address.

One option is the Blue Card (Blaue Karte). This EU initiative is aimed at immigrants who want to find work in Germany and the EU. The Blue Card represents a simplified residence permit and can be applied for when certain conditions are met.

We will show you the options available in this article.

You want to come to Germany or are already here? Starting over in a foreign country is always a challenge and involves a lot of effort and legal hurdles. As experienced lawyers for migration law, we are happy to help you with your immigration. Feel free to contact us for an initial consultation!


What is a Blue Card?

The Blue Card goes by many names: it is also known as the Blue Card EU or Blue Card Germany. It is a residence permit issued by a member state of the EU (§ 18b AufenthG). Individuals holding a Blue Card have the right to enter and stay in the respective country and engage in qualified employment.

The Blue Card aims to counteract the shortage of skilled workers and bring qualified labor into the country. For academics, a Blue Card is, therefore, a particularly important means of obtaining a residence and work permit in Germany.

The Blue Card also offers many advantages for immigrants and their families. It allows immigrants to quickly obtain a permanent residence permit and plan for a long-term future in Germany or the EU, which is crucial for integration and job search.

Good to know: Authorities issue such a permanent residence permit (settlement permit) after just 27 months (change in law from 18.11.2023: previously 33 months). If German language skills are demonstrated (at least B1 level), a settlement permit can be issued after just 21 months.

How long can I stay in Germany with the Blue Card?

The Blue Card is issued by the relevant foreigner's authorities in Germany or by German diplomatic missions (embassies and consulates) abroad. It can be issued for a maximum of 4 years, but typically depends on the duration of the employment contract (if it is limited).

If the employment contract is for less than 4 years, the Blue Card will be issued for that period plus an additional 3 months.

For example: If you have a fixed-term employment contract for 12 months (1 year), you will typically be issued a Blue Card for 15 months (12 months + 3 months buffer).

In the case of an indefinite employment contract, the regular duration of the Blue Card is 4 years. However, after 27 or 21 months, you can apply for a settlement permit, which is a permanent residence permit.

After 18 months, there is also the possibility to relocate to another EU country, with the time spent in Germany being counted towards this. You can also freely move within the Schengen area for tourism purposes. You can leave the EU for up to 12 months. If you stay away longer, you may risk losing your Blue Card.

Please note: Ireland and Denmark currently do not apply these regulations (known as the Highly Skilled Migrant Directive). Different rules apply if you wish to move to one of these countries, so it's important to consider these when planning a move.

Blue Card: What are the requirements that need to be met?

Not every foreign skilled worker can obtain a Blue Card. To successfully apply for one, you must be able to demonstrate that you:

  • Have a German university degree
  • Have completed a comparable tertiary education program with a minimum duration of 3 years
  • Possess a foreign university degree that is equivalent to a German one
  • Have comparable knowledge and skills in the IT field and have acquired at least 3 years of professional experience in this field within the last 7 years

Foreign professional qualifications can sometimes face challenges with recognition. We are happy to assist you in obtaining recognition for a foreign degree in Germany or legally advocating for recognition if it is missing.

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Furthermore, there are additional factors to consider:

  • A concrete job offer for at least 6 months or an employment contract must be demonstrated
  • A visa for entry must be applied for at the German embassy or consulate in your home country
  • A minimum income of 58,400 Euros gross (for 2023) is required, though for "shortage occupations," 45,552 Euros gross is sufficient

If you don't have an employment contract or job offer, you can still be granted a 6-month visa for job hunting.

If you are not eligible for a Blue Card, you can try to obtain what is called a "Chancenkarte" in Germany. This works similarly to the Blue Card but is based on German law rather than the EU directive.

How do I apply for a Blue Card?

Normally, you must first apply for a visa for entry and employment, usually in your home country, through the German embassy there. This does not require approval from the employment agency or the foreigner's authorities.

After entering Germany, you can apply for the extension of the Blue Card at the German foreigner's authorities. If you are already in Germany, you can also apply directly at the foreigner's authorities.

The Blue Card can also be applied for through an expedited process. In this case, the application for the Blue Card is submitted by the employer in Germany. Typically, this process should be decided upon within 2 months.

You also have the right to bring your family to Germany with you. This is easier with the Blue Card than with other residence permits. The requirements are lower, for example, language skills are not necessary.

The residence permit for family members is valid for the same duration as the Blue Card holder's permit. Additionally, family members may also be allowed to work unrestrictedly in Germany under certain circumstances.

Blue Card - Maibaum Rechtsanwalt GmbH

How can a specialised lawyer for migration and aliens law help?

The Blue Card simplifies many aspects and makes it easier for qualified professionals to come to the EU and Germany, offering numerous advantages for smooth immigration.

However, the legal regulations can still be complex and challenging to understand. Many processes are time-consuming, and communication with German authorities can be a real challenge for non-native speakers. Additionally, integrating into a new country and settling in Germany can be a significant change that may require emotional adjustment.

That's why we are here to assist you in communicating with the authorities, discussing your applications, and helping with legal matters. For nearly 20 years, we have been supporting many individuals who wish to come to Germany, helping them establish themselves successfully and find a new home here.

Conclusion: The most important facts at a glance

  • In the EU, as well as in Germany, there has been a shortage of millions of skilled professionals for many years. The Blue Card aims to address this issue at the European level
  • The Blue Card primarily allows academics to find work in Germany and obtain a work permit and residence permit as quickly and as seamlessly as possible
  • The Blue Card can be issued for a maximum of 4 years and can then be extended. However, immigrants can already obtain a permanent residence permit after 33 months
  • To do so, a specific job offer or employment contract must be in place, and a minimum income must be met
  • Additionally, family members can join and also work in Germany

Despite the simplified regulations, the laws can still be complex and challenging for immigrants to understand. Legal advice from specialized immigration lawyers can be instrumental in ensuring a smooth start in Germany. Feel free to contact us anytime for a non-binding consultation!

Do you need assistance? We can help you with filling out applications or answering any open legal questions. Contact us via email at or by phone at +49 (0) 221 598 13 595.

FAQ: Everything you need to know at a glance

What is a Blue Card, and what is it used for?

The Blue Card is a straightforward residence permit that allows qualified workers to work and live in Germany. It is designed to make it easier for skilled professionals from non-EU countries to work in Germany and contribute their qualifications.

What are the requirements to obtain a Blue Card?

You must be able to prove that you have either a German university degree, completed a comparable tertiary education program with a minimum duration of 3 years, possess a foreign university degree that is equivalent to a German one, have comparable knowledge and skills in the IT field and have acquired at least 3 years of professional experience in this field within the last 7 years. Additionally, you must have a concrete job offer for at least 6 months or an employment contract. You should have applied for a visa for entry, and you need to demonstrate a minimum income of 58,400 Euros gross. In the case of "shortage occupations," 45,552 Euros gross is sufficient.

How long is a Blue Card valid, and can it be extended?

The Blue Card is typically valid for four years but can be extended as long as the requirements continue to be met. After 27 or 21 months of work in Germany, the Blue Card holder can also apply for a settlement permit, which represents an indefinite residence permit.

Can the family also come to Germany?

Yes, holders of a Blue Card have the right to bring their family to Germany. Family members typically receive residence permits that are synchronized with the Blue Card of the primary applicant.

Picture credits: Andriy Popov | stadtratte |

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