Blue card Germany application: this is how you do it right

Even if we can sometimes blame the EU for creating complexity in administrative matters, it also creates opportunities in others. the EU blue card for Germany is one of them. In this post, we laid out all the information you need to get started.

It’s concise. It’s plain. It’s clear. Make sure to have a cup of tea ready: this guide is long read!

EU blue card Germany

The EU Blue card, what is it and who is it for?

Europe wants to have more specialists, so this process was created for persons that are well-educated and have skills beneficial to the regional labor market. In exchange, you get to enjoy a privileged status during the visa process and special benefits if you’re approved. That’s why it’s considered the “golden ticket” for migrating to Europe!

With the EU Blue Card Germany provides an easier path to the long-term residence permit for in-demand specialists. Your alternative is the normal work visa, which isn’t as strict about financial and education requirements, but also provides less benefits. So, if you have a higher education degree and can secure a well-paying job contract in Germany, this is your best bet.

Once approved, your EU Blue Card for Germany is valid for up to four years, unless you have a limited job contract. In that case your work visa is valid for the length of your job contract, plus three months. Once your initial contract ends, you will get 3 months to find a new one that meets the requirements. Also, after 2 years you are no longer tied to the initial contract and can change to any “highly-qualified employment” instead. As an added bonus, the EU Blue Card for Germany lets your family members live and work in the country with less restrictions than with a normal work visa.

After 33 months living in Germany, you can qualify for a permanent residence permit. Get your German language skills certified at a B1 or higher level and you could qualify for that permanent residence permit after just 21 months. That’s a big improvement on the usual conditions for permanent residency and one of the biggest benefits!

What are the basic requirements?

You qualify if you have a German higher education qualification or a higher education degree that is recognized in Germany or comparable to local degrees. In addition, you need to have a job contract lined up with an annual gross income that exceeds €52.00 (€4.333 monthly). If you can’t meet that financial minimum, you still qualify if your annual gross income is at least €40.650 (€3.380 monthly) and you are employed in a so-called “shortage occupation”.

In a nutshell, eligibility = recognized higher education degree + well paid job or shortage occupation job offer.

A shortage occupation currently refers to positions in the natural science, mathematics, architecture, urban and traffic planners, designers, engineers, medical and IT fields with a full list provided by the EU (see groups 21, 221, and 25). Also note that if you take this route your application will need approval from the German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit), unless you have a German higher education degree. The agency will review whether everything checks out with your position, employer, and working conditions.

When you apply for the EU Blue Card Germany will want proof that you have the right qualifications and permits to work in your profession. You can find all the necessary information for this process on the information portal of the German government for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications. I recommend you filter by vocational sector and review similar items to make sure you have the right one. Let’s say you’re a software developer, that means you filter for “natural science, geography, computer science” and “computer science and other ICT occupations”. This helps you find various options, the competent authority, as well as a pdf that explains the process for recognition.

If your occupation requires official recognition, check the database of the Central Office for Foreign Education Affairs (Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen, ZaB) which lists foreign degrees and institutions that have already been recognized in Germany. If you find yours, check if it has a “H+”, “H-“, or “H+/-“ status. The first means the institution has been recognized and a comparison of your degree with German equivalents is possible. The second means it is not recognized and the third means further review is needed. If you can’t find your degree, you may need to get a Certificate of Equivalence for Foreign Vocational Qualifications(Gleichwertigkeitsbescheid or Anerkennungsbescheid).

What is the Blue Card Germany application process?

The road is long and sometimes steep. Good luck brave mountaineer! 🙂

For the EU Blue Card Germany requires that you apply in-person. Unless you already live in Germany, you’ll probably need a temporary visa for entry, such as a work visajob search visa, or a visa for the purpose of visiting a language class. But, if you’re a member of these countries, you don’t need to apply for an entry visa and can stay for up to 90 days while applying: Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United States of America.

Step 1: Arrive in Germany! Find an apartmentregister your new address, and open a bank account. I know, easier said than done. But once that’s done and you’ve started your new job, it’s time to apply for the EU Blue Card for Germany.

Step 2: Make an appointment with the Foreign Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) about 6-8 weeks before the end of your temporary visa. I highly recommend you have a German native speaker escort you, to help with any questions during the appointment. Bring these documents:

* only required for “shortage occupation” applicants

Step 3: Wait. The approval process can take as little as a week or several months if you need approval from the Federal Employment Agency.

How can i get help/guidance?

You can of course decide to talk to immigration specialist. For more general questions, you can also call a dedicated hotline setup by in cooperation with many different administrations. They can answer your questions in English. More info about this hotline this way.

Which events could cause the termination of blue card permit?

Once you have acquired your residence permit in Germany, it’s also useful to be aware of how it can be terminated. As mentioned by the German residence act, this is how it can happen:

  1. Your visa has reached expiration date, and it hasn’t been renewed.
  2. Your visa has been revoked by the German authorities or if you have been deported from the country, in case of criminal behavior for example.
  3. If you leave the country indefinitely. This means officially setting residence somewhere else or leaving for longer than 12 months in the case of blue card holders. It’s usually 12 months, but sometimes can be more if you happen to leave because you serve Germany’s interests, in the case of humanitarian campaigns for example. Always consult with the German authorities to make sure they are aware of your extended leave and if necessary, obtain an additional certificate to facilitate re-entry.

What are the most common rejection causes?

Incomplete or missing documentation

The most common reason that any application process in Germany gets delayed or results in a rejection is missing or faulty documents. This is true across all visa types, but especially with the EU Blue Card Germany’s government officials will want to see every document related to your work and educational background!

Solution: Make sure all your documents check out. Don’t try to slide some extra numbers into the forms or exaggerate things. Stick to the full truth and state everything as clearly as possible. If it’s only a case of missing documents, ask if you can submit those later.

Employer didn’t do their homework

Another problem can arise if your employer didn’t make sure in advance that they can hire foreign workers. They might not have any experience hiring from abroad, but they should still do their research.

Solution: Employers should check through the job market entry requirements (Zulassung zum Arbeitsmarkt) before offering a contract and may need to adjust your job description and/or salary to meet the requirements.

The employment agency doesn’t play ball

But the biggest headache comes with a rejection from the Federal Employment Agency when it comes to blue card Germany being denied.

That’s because each local Federal Employment Agency has its own guidelines based on the law and local economic conditions. After all, it costs much more to live in Munich than in Berlin, so your salary should show that difference. Some articles have said you need to be earning 1,5 times the national average salary (or more ), while most other sources are vaguer. This seems to be related to the job market entry requirements as well, as the Federal Employment Agency wants to make sure you’re earning enough for this profession compared to regional/national standards. The goal is to ensure that your employer isn’t purposefully paying you less because you are a foreigner, called “loan-dumping”.

Solution: Talk to your employer and get some legal help to argue your case. Check that your salary meets local conditions and national standards for the type of work you will be doing.

OK I know that all sounded pretty scary. 

But know that a rejection letter isn’t the end of the road. No matter the reason they gave you, there is usually an appeal process. Take a deep breath, write down the deadline, and talk to an immigration lawyer. They’ll be able to help you with the next steps of your blue card Germany application.

Good luck with your application and let me know in the comments if you have questions, if it’s unclear or needs more details. Good luck with it all!



  • Reply jack porteur 22/02/2020 at 18:57

    I am a foreign engineer working in Germany. I would like to know what are the differences in fees when applying to blue card in comparison to the normal residence permit.

  • Reply Olga 21/02/2020 at 17:58

    My national visa will expire at the beginning of July. Maybe my Bluecard will be not ready. But I need to go out of Germany at this time.
    What can I do in this situation?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/02/2020 at 18:01

      Hey Olga. How about asking for a temporary extension?

    • Reply Jay 17/07/2020 at 00:08

      Hi team, I got for years visa 2017 to 2021 for specialty’s cook visa next year my visa will be Expired , some body told you can’t renew your work visa after 4 years,
      You should go back to your country!!!
      Now I am confused??? Is it right ??
      My question to you can I apply for visa after 4 years When my visa will expire? can visa office allow to me work or they can extend my visa?
      My Gross Salary is 2600 euro now
      What should I do for my visa ?
      I am specialist cook visa
      I am waiting for your valuable answer
      Thank you

  • Reply Kaymi 12/01/2020 at 23:01

    Hi, i found a job in Germany and i applied for a visa in my home country and they gave me work visa with the comment below “blue card eu” because i have already studied in germany for my master degree and i had a reference letter from Arbeitsagentur für Deutschland. But the question is that even though my salary conditions does not meet the requirements, in case that i have a blue card eu comment on the visa, may i get the blue card eu?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/01/2020 at 09:37

      Hey Kaymi. I am confused now: did you not get the blue card in the end?

      • Reply KAYMI 18/01/2020 at 21:58

        I applied for the residence permit for eu blue card and termin is in march, but i don’t know whether they will give me or not. Maybe you may put forward an idea for this case, too.

  • Reply Nathan 10/01/2020 at 13:47

    Hello, thank you for this post. I am an American applying for a Blue Card in Hamburg but my application was initially denied because my company is not based in Germany – I was given a one-year work permit but I have a spouse and was seeking the Blue Card spouse visa benefits. Is there any clarity or legal support for employees from non-German companies applying for the EU Blue Card? My lawyer believes very firmly that the company does not have to be based in Germany, but the employment office believes that this is a requirement. We’re at a standstill… Any guidance is very helpful, thank you!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/01/2020 at 10:05

      Hey Nathan. I would stick by your lawyer’s expert advice. He/she has more extensive knowledge than me.

  • Reply Samyami 21/12/2019 at 00:21

    Hello, I am Blue card holder. My initial contract ends in this month and my blue card is valid till March 2020. I am expecting a job offer in a month. I would like to know if i can travel back to India(due to personal emergency) and come again by jan end with a new contract in hand and get my Zusatplatz changed at Auslanderbehoerde? By the way, I am also vacating my house in Germany this month. My plan is to come again in Jan end & get registered again at Rathaus and get the Zusatsplatz changed. Will this work?
    Could you please guide me?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/12/2019 at 15:54

      Hey Samyami. This is beyond my humble knowledge. I’d get in touch with an immigration lawyer instead.

  • Reply Lee 09/12/2019 at 13:23

    I have been working in DE for 2 years now, in the ICT field under EU FOM as a British passport holder.

    As a result of Brexit, I need to apply for a residency title. I earn a basic of 70K a year but with unsociable hours pay get around 90K in total, and my non-EU colleagues were issued Blue Cards for the role. The difficult part with the Blue Card is that I don’t have a degree, and just have my basic UK GCSE qualifications from 20 years ago (and no idea how to get evidence of those).

    Are the qualifications a red line for the Blue Card, are they seen as more important than the salary or job?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/12/2019 at 00:18

      Hey Lee. It all depends if you specific job requires a specific education recognized by the German authorities. If you are unsure, you can also try this official hotline and ask.

  • Reply Shahan 25/11/2019 at 21:33

    Hi. I’ve ZAB Equivalency Certificate and job contract of 62000 Euros per year. Can I apply for Blue Card from my Home Country instead of Work Visa?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/11/2019 at 09:54

      Hey Shahan, see the post for eligibility conditions.

  • Reply Owais Ahmed Farooqui 10/11/2019 at 16:27

    I dont have a degree and I am doing a job here in Berlin in as a Data Engineer and getting salary around 65K per annum. I have experience of 15 years in IT , Can you please confirm either I am eligible for blue card or not.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2019 at 15:30

      Hey Owais. I can’t say without much much more info. It’s better to work with a specialist on this one.

  • Reply Monica 29/10/2019 at 14:56

    Hi: We are Americans who have lived in DE for several years with a work visa. My husband is now thinking of retiring and we are interested in a 12 month retirement visa. We can’t seem to get any concrete info from anyone about this — any thoughts? I did not see it mentioned on your website. Oh, and sadly, neither of us are at a B1 Language level (or likely to get there in the next few months). Any advice? BTW, nice website — very thorough.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2019 at 09:56

      Hey Monica. Sorry, probably best to get in touch with an immigration lawyer about this. I don’t know anything about that.

  • Reply Pratik D 11/10/2019 at 11:36

    Respected Sir/Madam,
    I have job offer from my employer as software engineer with salary of 45k but my bachelor degree from India is not from my filed?
    Is there any problem getting blue card. (I have 3+ experience in same filed (IT). I was working there as a werkstudent then they offer me full-time job.)

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/10/2019 at 15:44

      Hey Pratik. What do you mean with “not from my filed” ?

      • Reply PRATIK D 17/10/2019 at 15:35

        I have mechanical engineering degree

      • Reply Pratik 21/10/2019 at 09:31

        Any reply?

        • Reply Pratik 18/11/2019 at 16:37

          hello any update?

    • Reply Sravan 18/01/2020 at 08:22

      Hello pratik, could you please let me know what happened in ur case did u get blue card

      • Reply Pratik 21/04/2020 at 17:12

        Hi Sravan,
        Yes I got blue card

    • Reply Lijeesh 02/02/2020 at 06:11

      I have got the entry visa and I’m waiting for the visa extension letter from the immigration. Is the letter much important? What if the letter was taken by someone else?
      Can I get the EU Blue card without the letter of confirmation, from the immigration?

  • Reply ay 08/10/2019 at 11:06

    is there a site where listing the specific shortage occupations?
    for example here you listed designers as shorted other website doesn’t..

    is there any governmental website regarding that?

  • Reply Emil 29/09/2019 at 15:10

    Hi ,
    I am on job seeker visa and i got a job in Berlin. When trying to book an appointment for blue card , the nearest available date is in March 2020., but i need to join the new job before Nov 1st. Is there any other alternative ?
    Can I simply walk in to the office ( in Keplers str ) and stand in the queue to get an appointment ?

  • Reply Hammad Hassan 23/09/2019 at 03:16

    Hi there,
    I am on job seeker visa. And I might get a job with 44k/year in a start-up in IT field. Can I apply for Blue Card instead of normal work visa?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/09/2019 at 16:32

      Hey Hammad. If your job is categorized as as so called “shortage occupation”, then that would meet the financial minium yes. Don’t forget about the higher education degree as well! That’s needed for a blue card.

  • Reply Hatem 22/08/2019 at 21:10

    Hi my salary is 50k and i was in foreigner office today she told me that she need approval from local federal employment agency,,should i be worried that i cant get blue card ?!i work in IT company so it is included under shortage

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/08/2019 at 13:53

      Hey Hatem. I can’t speak for the worker over there, but it should be fine.

  • Reply Sahana Ghosh 07/08/2019 at 11:01


    I have applied for blue card 2 months back but I have not received any update yet. I need to join in my new company on August 15th and they are providing me a salary of 55k Euros gross. Kindly help.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/08/2019 at 16:27

      Hey Sahana. Sorry to hear about this issue. Is it not possible to start working for that company from abroad under a different contract, in case you don’t get your blue card fast enough?

    • Reply Hansi 16/08/2019 at 16:51

      Hey Sahana, I am kind of in the same boat as you. Also having an issue about how quickly I can get my Blue Card before the employment commencement date. I am at a loss what to do. How has it gone so far?

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