EU Blue Card: What You Need to Know

Last Updated on June 26, 2024

What is the EU Blue Card? 

The EU Blue Card presents a strategic solution to Europe’s growing skills shortages and demographic changes. It provides a streamlined immigration route for highly qualified professionals from non-EU countries, facilitating their journey to explore career opportunities within the European Union (EU). This program benefits individuals seeking new horizons and empowers European employers with access to a broader talent pool. 

Delve into the benefits and key details of the EU Blue Card as our expert immigration team in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) offers their insights below. 

Advantages of the EU Blue Card 

The EU Blue Card is an attractive option for highly skilled non-EU nationals seeking to live and work within the European Union country of its issuance. It grants work and residence authorization, enhancing mobility and cross-border exploration within the EU. The Blue Card is available in all EU member states except Denmark and Ireland, aiming to simplify the integration of skilled professionals into various EU labor markets for both employers and employees. 

Blue Card holders are entitled to enter, re-enter and remain in the EU country where the card was issued. The period of stay ranges between one and four years, depending on the employment contract, and in most countries, this time period can be extended. Additionally, they can travel through other EU member states, where they may spend up to 90 days per 180-day period in each member state. However, if the holder of a Blue Card spends over 90 days in a different country, they may be required to apply for a permit there. Or, depending on the holder’s situation, they may be able to exchange their Blue card permit issued by the initial country for a Blue Card for this new country of residence.

Benefits for Employees  

EU Blue Card holders can access a wide range of career opportunities that align with their professional goals and personal interests, leveraging their skills and preferences. This mobility is instrumental in promoting cross-border cooperation and knowledge sharing, catalyzing innovation and economic growth within the EU. 

In addition, several EU nations have provisions that allow Blue Card holders to seek permanent residency within one to two years, depending on the country.  

Blue Card permissions are not specific to one employer. This means that, unlike many other work authorization types, most Blue Card granting countries do not require employees to notify local authorities if they have a change in employment.

Benefits for Employers  

The Blue Card is a significant initiative for employers in the EU that streamlines and efficiently processes hiring highly qualified non-EU professionals. It addresses skill shortages by simplifying the visa application process, which speeds recruitment. The Blue Card opens a broader talent pool and allows employers to meet labor demands across borders. 

Additionally, the prestige associated with the Blue Card, often compared to the US Green Card, helps employers attract skilled workers looking for stable, long-term opportunities in Europe. Overall, the Blue Card presents many benefits for employers, aiding in recruiting skilled employees while promoting mobility and compliance with EU standards. 

Image of Europe with a yellow star over the country's that offer an EU Blue Card.
The EU Blue Card applies in 25 of the 27 EU countries. It does not apply in Denmark and Ireland.

Requirements and Eligibility Criteria  

Eligible applicants must also meet certain minimum salary threshold requirements that vary depending on the EU member state. Some member states also maintain stricter rules when it comes to granting the Blue Card. To see the full list of requirements, visit the individual government websites or the European Union’s EU Blue Card page

Employees  

Applicants must meet certain criteria to be eligible for the EU Blue Card.  The criteria differ from country to country but generally include: 

  • Holding higher educational qualifications, such as a university degree. 
  • Securing an employment contract or a binding job offer for highly qualified employment for at least one year. 
  • Meeting the minimum salary threshold established for EU Blue Card holders in the respective country. 
  • Holding valid travel documents, like a passport. 
  • Obtaining health insurance coverage for their stay and employment in the issuing country. 

Employers

Employer requirements vary by country. However, most employers must:

  • Adhering to specific employment duration conditions as stipulated in the job offer. 
  • Completing and submitting a declaration of employment. 

Applications for the EU Blue Card should be submitted to the relevant authorities, either in the country if the applicant already holds a residence permit there or at the appointment Embassy or Consulate according to the applicant’s country of domicile. In most instances, an application fee may be applicable. The EU member states must decide on the application within a 90-day period from the date of submission, but timelines can differ case-by-case. 

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it is recommended to consult the official national websites, the European Union’s EU Blue Card page or Envoy Global’s EMEA team.  

Amendments of 2021  

The rules for the EU Blue Card were amended in 2021, and member states had until November 2023 to integrate the new rules into their legislation. These rules now apply to third-country nationals seeking highly qualified employment within the EU. 

Applying for the EU Blue Card with Envoy Global  

Envoy Global offers tailored support to individuals and employers navigating the EU Blue Card application process. From assessing eligibility to compiling necessary documentation, our team ensures a smooth and efficient experience, minimizing delays and ensuring compliance with EU immigration regulations.  

For example, in some EU member states, employers must conduct a labor market test before hiring a foreign national under the EU Blue Card. Our EMEA Team is strategically located across EU member states to ensure these local requirements are met and fully understood.  

As Europe’s demand for skilled professionals continues to rise, the EU Blue Card presents a gateway to new opportunities and experiences. With Envoy Global’s expertise, dedicated support, and industry-leading immigration management platform, you and your team can confidently navigate the EU Blue Card process. 


 

This blog was prepared in collaboration with Cailin McCaffery, Case Coordinator and Nelli Toth, Senior Global Immigration Manager, of Envoy Global’s EMEA immigration team. Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such.  

For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at Corporate Immigration Partners, P.C., or another qualified professional of your choosing. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult your Envoy representative, or another qualified representative of your choosing.