Blue Card EU (§18b German Residence Act)
A new residence permit, the so-called Blue Card EU (§18b German Residence Act), was introduced in August 2012 with the new law on guidelines for highly qualified applicants. Blue Card holders and their family are authorized to enter, re-enter and stay in a particular EU country for employment. Scientists and scholars from countries outside of the EU can apply for the Blue Card EU as a temporary work permit. Applications must be submitted to the applicant’s local Foreigners’ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde).
The following prerequisites must be fulfilled in order to obtain the Blue Card EU:
- Applicants must have completed a university degree (a German university degree or a degree from a foreign university that is either recognized or comparable to a German degree).
- Applicants must have an employment contract or a binding employment offer in Germany with a minimum salary.
- Minimum gross salary is 58,400 Euro (as of 2023). Exception: minimum gross salary is 45,552 Euro (as of 2023) in so-called ‘shortage occupations’ in the subjects of math, computer science, natural sciences, technology and human medicine. It is necessary to obtain the approval of the Federal Employment Agency.
The advantages of a residence permit with the Blue Card EU are:
- The residence permit can be issued for up to 4 years, at the most, however, for the length of the employment contract plus three months.
- A permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) can be obtained after 33 months of employment or after 21 months with proof of good German language proficiency (B1).
- The holder can stay without a visa for up to 90 days in all Schengen countries.
- After 18 months, the holder can travel to another EU country and within one month can apply for the Blue Card EU in that country (not valid for Great Britain, Ireland and Denmark!).
- The holder of a Blue Card EU can stay in a country outside the EU for up to 12 months.