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 Chris 19/11/2020 at 12:42

    Thanks for your Informative article.
    I got a question though which couldn’t find an answer for it online.
    I got a scientific job that is just below the threshold of Brutto income. I have an offer for another part-time job (which is also relevant to my degree, also scientific). If I take both I would still be occupied for around 35-38 hours per week.
    My question is “Do I qualify for a Blue card?”.
    Based on your article and other sources online (from what I understood) the main point is to be qualified and have a minimum income (and hence a minimum income tax).
    What is your opinion?
    Warm regards,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 20/11/2020 at 09:55

      Hey Chris. I don’t think that would fly because your blue card application is based on the income for that single position/job, and not a collection of income sources. This is however only an opinion based on incomplete details. Consult with an expert for a more definitive answer or call this hotline.

  • Reply Vin 17/11/2020 at 10:02

    Hi, I have a permanent contract as a junior project manager in Berlin and I was sanctioned a residence permit for 5 years i.e. until 2024. I do not have a blue card. My salary is below the minimum limit for blue card eligibility. So if I switch jobs and get above 43K per year, would it mean I can apply for Blue card?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/11/2020 at 10:27

      Hey Vin. I can’t advise on personal situations. If you meet all the criteria, then yes.

  • Reply Preeti 02/11/2020 at 08:13

    Hi Bastien
    Thanks for this post. It been immensely helpful.
    I’m from India and I’m applying for EU Blue card , as I qualify for the same( I checked with EU Blue card Network as well – my education is Annabin registered).Questsion-
    1. Will I get the EU Blue Card India itself ? Or would i get something temporary and would have to get the card once i am in germany in Jan21?
    2. Could you confirm what level of details I should write in my covering letter for my Blue Card application ? Since, i have not accommodation, as I will go 2 months in January so no booking done- is it ok? Or, do I need to make some booking? in Documents checklist nothing is mentioned –
    3. Do I need to show any subsistence / monetary proof till I get my first salary?

    Many Thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/11/2020 at 12:24

      Hey Preeti. 1. You’d need to first get a temporary permit and apply in Germany in person. 2. Don’t understand the question. 3. Not in my knowledge no.

  • Reply Steve 21/10/2020 at 20:13

    Hi, the address printed on the back of my card is of my previous apartment. I have moved since, what do I need to do? Do I need to reapply?

  • Reply Andrew 14/09/2020 at 16:51

    So I have been living and working in Germany for two years already, with a normal work visa. But I definitely qualify for a blue card, given the stated requirements. Is it possible to apply now? And If I apply for a blue card now, would the time I’ve already spent here apply retroactively towards my permanent residency possibility (5 years staying in germany) or would that “timer” start when I get the card? I cant seem to find any info online about this situation. I currently have an open ended (no time limit) contract with my company.

    • Reply Andrew 14/09/2020 at 16:54

      Correction: *normal residency permit* and normal work visa

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/09/2020 at 13:14

      Hey Andrew, not sure i quite understand. If you qualify for a blue card, then you can apply now. Are you talking about processing times during COVID? As for permanent residency, you need to have been a German resident for at least that time, regardless of your current residence permit.

  • Reply John 03/09/2020 at 11:21

    Thanks for the article!
    Which documents I’d need for the Blue Card renewal? And does it take the same amount time to get the new one?

  • Reply Venkateshwar 02/09/2020 at 12:58

    Hi I am working in Germany now, I have applied Blue card 3 weeks ago, I have received temporary resident permit document on appointment day,its valid 12-12-2020. I did not received Original Blue card(Photo ID card) yet. I am planning to bring my family to Germany in 15 days.

    Can I travel out of Germany and come back with temporary resident permit document, any issues if I travel with temporary document.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/09/2020 at 10:17

      Hey Venkateshwar. That’s hard to tell atm with the current corona situation. I’d ask either the Foreign Office here or your local German mission abroad directly.

  • Reply Blue card 21 27/08/2020 at 21:24

    Hello, I was going to apply for permanent visa after 21 months but as I was informed from Ausländerbehörde that 21 months counting begin from appointment date with the Ausländerbehörde. Starting work with temporary blue card visa does not counted. Anyone has this experience? What not counted from firstday of work with Blue Card visa?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/09/2020 at 09:52

      Interesting experience. Thanks for sharing it. I hope other people can tell more.

  • Reply Amrit Rao 26/08/2020 at 12:25

    Hey Bastien,
    Greetings from India! Thanks so much for this post and the website to make our move to Berlin so much easier. I’m a dependant spouse of a prospective EU Blue card holder. We are waiting for the restrictions to be lifted and the Embassy to open here in order to apply for a National Visa (Type D). I’ve been doing some research on the Blue Card process and this post has been the most informative, crisp, precise and structured. I have a couple of queries though and it would be great if you could answer them when you have the time.
    1. I understand we need to register the residence address first before the EU Blue card application. My question is, is the anmeldung enough to start work or should my wife wait for the Blue card / Fiktionsbescheinigung (temp Blue Card) to do so? She needs to get the tax number to open the salary bank account.
    2. Should the dependant spouse, in this case myself, also present the documents/form separately for the EU Blue Card or is it enough if the main applicant does it?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 27/08/2020 at 17:34

      Hey Amrit. 1. If you are coming to Germany via family reunion visa, you will first need to apply for residence here before your can start work. Source. If she is an employee a temporary or permanent residence permit is enough, no need to wait for the approved blue card it seems. 2. Confused now. How is your wife’s blue card relevant to your documents?

  • Reply Osama 25/08/2020 at 17:08

    I started my job as bauingenieur and my salary meets the requirement of shortage occupancy, still foreign office told me today that agentur für arbeit has approved my normal residence permit, not Blue Card. I told them (foreign office) that my designation is Civil Engineer, its written on contract as well and I am getting salary according to min. requirements of 2020. They said, they have to ask agentur für arbeit about it and I have to wait. Does anybody know should I do something while waiting and in case they reject it again then what to do?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/08/2020 at 10:42

      Hey Osama. Congrats on your residence permit. Well done. What is exactly your concern? If you qualify for all requirements and already have a residence permit?

  • Reply Foubs 25/08/2020 at 00:06

    I am currently fimishing my master and just awaiting my master thesis defence in September. Can I still apply for the Blue card I have not yet defended my master thesis? , because they only link between me and the university is my thesis defence.

    My school provided me with all my transcripts and certificate of enrollment.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/08/2020 at 11:02

      Hey Foubs. I honestly don’t know. I’d ask this hotline to see if certificates you can currently provide would be enough.

  • Reply Mourad 13/08/2020 at 21:32

    Hello, I want to apply for a language studies visa, will I be able to apply for a blue card during my stay in germany with the study visa?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/08/2020 at 15:29

      Hey Mourad. Depends on your country of origin. Check if your current citizenship enables you to apply for that from Germany, of if you have to apply from an embassy/consulate in your home country.

  • Reply Lada 27/07/2020 at 20:49

    Hi! If I apply for the Blue Card but get rejected, do I automatically receive simple working permit instead?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/08/2020 at 21:49

      Hey Lada. This is the first i hear of this? I really doubt that. Do you have a source to back that claim?

      • Reply Lada 03/08/2020 at 13:29

        Hi! It is a question, not a claim. I ask since I am definitely eligible for the simple working permit, but I also am potentially eligible for the Blue Card. My income is, however, a bit lower than 55k (profession is data scientist). That is why I wonder what happens if I don’t get blue card – will I have to start the process from the very beginning for the application for simple working permit? Or maybe should I apply for both?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/08/2020 at 11:00

          Hey Lada. From the information i possess, both processes are not related. You’d need to apply for each independently.

  • Reply Ankit Srivastava 27/02/2020 at 00:17

    Dear All,

    Need suggestions and help (Some links and proper steps)

    My brother was working in Nokia India and last year he got offer from Software Ag Berlin. Things was going good and 15 sep 2019 he came to Berlin and joined company.November is applied blue card due to some reason it took time and mid of January 2020 he received paper that he can be granted blue card for 4 year and he went and gave biometrics and payment (Physical card still not received expected 1 week of March). 2 days before Software AG said that they are not going to continue with him (No reasons firing many people who is on probation period).Till March 31 he has to work with Software AG because of Notice Period.

    My question :-1) If he gets new job what he should do next .
    2) Still he is in company in Notice Period should he has to inform any authority.
    3) Physical card which he is waiting and expected within 1-2 week should be impacted?

    • Reply Ankit 27/02/2020 at 21:33

      Dear admin,

      Could you pls reply me.

  • Reply Elin 25/02/2020 at 09:20


    Thank you for this post. I am a EU blue card holder in Germany since May 16, 2018 with unlimited job contract starting from April 1, 2018. I want to change my current contract to part time job contract (with half salary, which is less than 40k) in the same company for 2 years at the end of April 2020 and then change to full time again after 2 years in April 2022. (for study purpose). In this case may I keep my blue card as it is or should I apply for settlement permit (I have studied in Germany)?

    Thank you!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/02/2020 at 21:31

      Hey Elin. I honestly don’t know. Maybe give this hotline a go?

      • Reply Elin 28/02/2020 at 11:57

        Ok, thank you!

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