Live and work in Germany
with an EU Blue Card

In a bid to attract more highly skilled workers into the country to help fill skills gaps, the government of Germany is currently working on improving the Skilled Immigration Act, which first came into effect in March 2020.

Part of the reforms include changes to Germany’s EU Blue Card scheme, to make it more accessible for specialists with a university degree.

The EU Blue Card is a European Union-wide work and residence permit which provides the holder with a pathway towards permanent residence and citizenship in an EU country. The application for an EU Blue Card is made to the competent national authorities in the country where the applicant wishes to work. For this reason, the eligibility requirements differ slightly depending on which Member State you are applying through.

Germany’s Blue Card scheme gives highly qualified workers from outside the EU the permission to live and work in Germany, provided they have higher professional qualifications such as a university degree, and an employment contract or a binding job offer with a high salary compared to the national average.

Overview of the EU Blue Card in Germany

The Blue Card scheme is aimed at qualified academic professionals employed in a position commensurate with their qualification and with a designated minimum remuneration.

The EU Blue Card is issued for the duration of your work contract, including three additional months, and is limited to a four-year period. Extending the validity of the EU Blue Card is an option, if certain requirements are fulfilled.

After 33 months, holders of the EU Blue Card may obtain a settlement permit. In some cases, a settlement permit can be issued after 21 months.

Do I need a job offer?

Yes. To apply, you must show that you have a confirmed job offer from a company in Germany. The position must be appropriate for someone with your qualifications.

What are the salary requirements?

The minimum salary you must be paid to qualify for a Blue Card is adjusted each calendar year. The annual minimum gross salary is currently €58,400. For jobs in the fields of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, engineering and human medicine (except dentistry), a reduced annual minimum gross salary of €45,552 applies.

A key change set to be introduced later this year is the lowering of the salary threshold, to allow more foreign workers to qualify for a Blue Card even if they are offered lower pay. The new salary threshold has not yet been revealed.

Do I need a degree?

The Blue Card visa category requires you to hold a German, a recognised or a comparable foreign academic degree.

Previously, those wishing to work in Germany with a Blue Card also had to show proof that they had the necessary professional experience in the sector in which they will be working. Now, having a degree in a particular sector is sufficient, and showing professional experience is optional.

Do I need to be able to speak German?

You are not required to prove your knowledge of the German language to apply for a Blue Card. However, if you wish to apply for a settlement permit after 21 months, you will need to provide proof of the required language skills at a minimum level of B1 in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Can I bring my family to Germany?

Yes. The Blue Card allows applicants to include family members in their application, as long as you and they meet all the conditions.

Can I switch employers without making a new application?

Your local German Foreigners’ Authority must approve of any job changes taking place within the first two years of employment, to confirm your new employment also falls under the eligibility criteria for the Blue Card.

Introducing SSW in Germany

As a result of continued growth and development, Smith Stone Walters is delighted to announce that we are expanding our international reach and opening a new operation in Germany.

Our Frankfurt based team will enable us to meet the growing needs of our European clients even more efficiently and locally facilitate all German inbound immigration work with the highest level of service.

SSW has over 30 years’ experience in German immigration. Our new team in Germany upholds the same service standard our clients have become accustomed to at SSW. To find out more about the services we can offer, please call 0208 461 6660 or email


Disclaimer: In accordance with the German law governing legal advice and services (RDG, section 2 subsection 1) our services do not include any legal advice.

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