Are you looking to find your dream job in Europe and do the work you love in a pleasant environment? 

Do you have your heart set on working in a beautiful country full of rich traditions and enjoying new opportunities, experiences, and cultures?

If that’s you, we have great news! If you have a university degree, the European Union helps you tackle your goals and build a meaningful career by providing you with the opportunity to get an EU Blue Card. 

You never know, your dream job could be waiting for you in Europe! So, let’s take a closer look at the EU Blue Card requirements and eligibility criteria and see what benefits can bring you as a foreign worker. 

Table of contents: 

  1. What is an EU Blue Card?
  2. Who is eligible for the EU Blue Card program?
  3. How to apply for an EU Blue Card

1. What Is an EU Blue Card?

Working In Europe With An EU Blue Card

If you’re a non-EU/EEA national, the EU Blue Card is a work and residence permit you can get under specific circumstances. 

​​The think tank Bruegel invented the term Blue Card as an answer to the US Green Card. The Blue Card refers to the European flag, which features a circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background.

The permit enables you to enter and reside in an EU country for employment purposes, provided that you are a highly skilled professional. 

The main purpose of the EU Blue Card program is to attract highly skilled and qualified third-country nationals to jobs where there is a staffing shortage (e.g., doctors, engineers, mathematicians, etc.).

For many non-EU nationals, the idea of EU citizenship is nothing short of attractive, and this is exactly what the EU Blue Card does – it helps you smooth your path towards EU permanent residence and citizenship.

The EU Blue Card applies in 25 of the 27 EU countries, i.e.:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.  

You cannot apply for an EU Blue Card in Denmark and Ireland.

Other countries not issuing the EU Blue Card are the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. 

The EU Blue Card allows your family members to accompany you in Europe as long as they meet all the conditions to enter Europe.  

On top of that, the permit gives you the right to enjoy equal treatment with the citizens of the European country hosting you (e.g., working conditions, professional education and training, recognition of diplomas and qualifications, social security and access to goods and services).

If you hold an EU Blue Card, you can also use it to regularly work in another European country after 18 months of regular employment in the country that has issued the permit for you.

If you are eligible for the EU Blue Card and need a Schengen Visa to enter Europe, you must apply for a type-D National Visa for employment purposes. So, please be aware that you may need a Visa to enter Europe even if you are eligible for an EU Blue Card. 

Please read this post to find out whether or not you need a Schengen Visa to enter Europe.  

Typically, you can use the EU Blue Card to stay and work in Europe for a period between one and four years. You may renew the permit for the same period as long as you satisfy all the conditions.     

With that in mind, let’s see the requirements and eligibility criteria for an EU Blue Card and explore what is in it for you once you find your dream job.

2. Who Is Eligible for the EU Blue Card Program?

Schengen Visa Applicant With EU Blue Card

You are allowed to apply for an EU Blue Card if you are a citizen of one of the following countries:

Africa: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Dem. Rep.Congo, Rep., Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia, Zimbabwe. 

Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, China Tibet, China Hong Kong, China Macau SAR, East Timor, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian territories, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen.

Americas: Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago.

Europe: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Crimea, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Macedonia, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Ukraine.

Oceania: Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Melanesia Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

If you are a citizen of one of the countries listed above, you can apply for an EU Blue Card provided that you:

  • Prove that you have a higher education qualification (e.g., university degree). Some European countries may require you to show proof of having at least five years of relevant professional experience. 
  • Work as a paid employee. You cannot get an EU Blue Card if you are self-employed.
  • Already have a work contract or binding job offer in an EU country for at least one year.
  • Have a high annual gross salary in the European country you are applying for the EU Blue Card. Your salary must be at least one and a half times the national average wage – unless a lower salary threshold applies.

Please find below the minimum gross salary you must get so that you can be eligible for an EU Blue Card:

Country Salary Threshold
  Austria 65,579 EUR per year
Belgium 56,111 EUR per year
Bulgaria 10,326 EUR per year
Croatia 19,338 EUR per year
Czech Republic 53,417 CZK per month (2096,03 EUR)
Estonia 2,172 EUR per month for non-shortage occupations and 1,810 EUR per month for shortage occupations
Finland 4,929 EUR per month
France 53,836 EUR per year
Germany 56,800 EUR per year
Greece 30,675 EUR per year
Hungary 598,950 HUF per month (1669,02 EUR)
Italy 24,789 EUR per year
Latvia 1,715 EUR per month
Lithuania 23,160 EUR per year
Luxembourg 78,336 EUR per year
Malta 16,036 EUR per year
Netherlands 5,567 EUR per month
Poland 7,751.21 Zloty per month (1691,39 EUR)
Portugal 24,535 EUR per year
Romania 10,858 RON per month (2193,78 EUR)
Slovakia 15,102 EUR per year
Slovenia 28,006 EUR per year
Spain 33,908 EUR per year
Sweden 54,150 SEK per month (5459,53 EUR)
  • Hold the necessary travel documents, including health insurance for yourself and any relatives who come to the EU with you.
  • Fulfil the legal requirements to practice your profession (if applicable). 

3. How to Apply for an EU Blue Card

Applying For An EU Blue Card

The process of applying and getting an EU Blue Card might seem complicated, but it is really very simple. 

If you meet all the conditions listed above, you or your employer must submit an EU Blue Card application. 

If you’re still in your country of residence and haven’t started your new job in Europe yet, you can apply for an EU Blue Card at the Embassy or Consulate of the country where your employer is located. 

If you are already in Europe, book an appointment at an Immigration Service Point in the country you are settled to submit your application.

The documents you must submit to apply for an EU Blue card are as follows:

  • Application Form fully completed and signed. Each EU country requires you to fill a specific form. For example, here is the EU Blue Card application form for work in Sweden for applicants who are not in Sweden.
  • Passport (original document and copy)
  • Signed work contract with an EU employer, valid for at least one year and meeting at least the minimum required wage
  • Proof of education (e.g., university diploma) 
  • Proof of continuous five years of professional work experience in your industry (this requirement is not mandatory for all European countries)
  • Up-to-date CV
  • Proof of application fee payment. The EU Blue Card fee varies depending on the country issuing it. But to give you some idea of the range of the fees, Germany sets a fee of EUR 110 for issuing the initial Blue Card while renewal fees are EUR 65 for three months and EUR 80 for renewals of more than three months. 
  • Proof of health insurance
  • A declaration written by your employer stating the reasons why they have employed you and that you meet all the conditions required
  • If applicable: marriage certificate, divorce certificate, certificate of registered partnership, certificate of the dissolution of the registered partnership, adoption papers, or any other documents proving your family links
  • In case of first-time applications, you may also be required to submit an extract from police records or proof that you are no threat to the hosting state’s public policy, security, or health.

Depending on the country you apply for and your personal situation, additional documents may be required. 

Please note that national authorities may reject your application if:

  • A citizen of an EU country or an already legally present non-EU citizen could fill the vacancy
  • There is evidence that your employer is employing irregular migrants without the necessary documents
  • Your home country lacks skilled workers in your industry
  • You do not meet the required conditions to get an EU Blue Card 
  • You have provided incorrect or false information
  • You present a threat to public policy, public security or public health

After submitting your documents, you need to wait up to 90 days to receive an answer concerning your application. 

Women With Schengen Visa & EU Blue Card

Conclusion: The EU Blue Card provides you with a wide array of benefits that supersede traditional national visas issued by EU countries. 

With an EU Blue Card, you can travel freely across Europe, enjoy the same rights and access the same social programs as the citizens of the country, bring your family members with you, and obtain permanent residence.

If you are still exploring the European labour market and looking for your dream job, we encourage you to check out The European Job Mobility Portal (EURES). 

EURES is a European cooperation network of employment services offering incredible work opportunities. 

If you have any questions concerning your Schengen Visa application and want to avoid bureaucratic pitfalls, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of Schengen Visa experts are here to provide you with advice, assistance, and a 100% FREE consultation to facilitate your Visa application and help you reach the most beautiful destinations in Europe.