Skip to Content

How can I get a green card in Germany?

Getting a green card in Germany can be a complicated process, but it opens up many opportunities for living and working in the country long-term. The German green card is officially known as the EU Blue Card, and it functions similarly to a US green card, granting highly skilled, educated professionals from non-EU countries the right to live and work in Germany under more favorable conditions than other types of residence permits.

In order to qualify for an EU Blue Card in Germany, there are several main requirements related to professional qualifications, employment, salary level, and other criteria. Meeting all the conditions and successfully applying for the Blue Card allows you to bypass the complex traditional immigration procedures in Germany and gain privileged access to the job market.

Here is a quick overview of how to get an EU Blue Card in Germany:

  • Have a recognized university degree – minimum Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Have a concrete job offer in Germany in a high-demand field
  • Earn a minimum salary – at least 56,400 EUR gross annual salary (2022)
  • Have valid health insurance
  • Provide fingerprints and biometric data
  • File an application with the immigration office in Germany

In the following sections, we will explore the EU Blue Card requirements in more detail, the application process, documents required, processing time, length of validity, and other key questions for professionals seeking this type of German work and residence permit.

Benefits of the EU Blue Card

The Blue Card provides a range of advantages compared to other German residence permits:

  • Work and live in Germany under more favorable conditions than a regular work visa
  • Gain fast-track access to the German job market in high-demand fields
  • Option to bring your family members to Germany
  • Pathway to permanent residence after 33+ months of employment
  • Travel freely in the Schengen area
  • Equal legal status and rights as EU citizens

In addition to facilitating immigration, the Blue Card offers a more straightforward path to permanent residence and eventual citizenship in Germany, provided you meet the employment and integration requirements.

The table below summarizes the key advantages:

EU Blue Card Benefits Description
Live and work in Germany under privileged conditions Gain residency rights not available with a regular work visa
Fast-track employment in high-demand fields Immediate job market access for shortage occupations
Bring family members to Germany Spouse and children under 18 can obtain dependent visas
Pathway to permanent residence Option to apply after 33+ months of employment
Travel freely in the Schengen area 90 days visa-free travel in 26 European countries
Equal status and rights as EU citizens Access to healthcare, education, housing, etc.

So in summary, the Blue Card provides a more attractive experience than a regular work visa, with advantages for employment, residency rights, and integration into German society.

EU Blue Card Requirements

To be eligible for the EU Blue Card in Germany, there are several standard requirements related to your professional background, job offer, salary level, health insurance, and other criteria.

Here are the main Blue Card requirements:

University Degree

You must hold a university degree from an accredited academic institution. The minimum required is a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification. The degree must be recognized in Germany as equivalent to a German degree.

In most cases, a 4-year undergraduate degree meets this requirement. Certain professional degrees may also qualify, such as in engineering, IT, science, finance, healthcare, and other fields.

Job Offer in a High-Demand Field

To get the Blue Card, you need a concrete job offer in Germany in an occupation where there is high demand for labor. This includes fields like engineering, science, IT, mathematics, business, healthcare, and certain skilled trades.

Shortage occupations that qualify for the Blue Card are published in the German government’s Positive List. Your employer can confirm if your profession is eligible.

Minimum Salary Requirement

Your gross annual salary from the job offer must meet a minimum threshold, which is 56,400 EUR in 2022. Exceptions are made for professions with recognized labor shortages where the salary threshold is 43,992 EUR per year.

This minimum salary requirement ensures the EU Blue Card is granted to highly-skilled professionals in high-paying occupations.

Health Insurance

You must have valid health insurance coverage in Germany before beginning employment. Health insurance can be private or public and usually will be arranged through your employer.

Biometric Data

To finalize the Blue Card application, your fingerprints and biometric data will be collected at the immigration office in Germany. This is a standard requirement for residency permits.

Job Contract and Documentation

You have to provide documentation of your job offer and professional qualifications:
– Signed employment contract with salary conditions.
– University diplomas and transcripts.
– CV or resume.
– Documentation of prior work experience.

Meeting all the above Blue Card conditions makes you eligible to apply for residency and work privileges in Germany. Additional family members may also be sponsored.

Next, let’s look at the step-by-step process for applying.

EU Blue Card Application Process

Once you fulfill all the EU Blue Card requirements, the application process involves 5 main steps:

  1. Receive a job offer from a German company
  2. Collect required documents for application
  3. Fill out the online application form
  4. Schedule an appointment at the immigration office
  5. Attend appointment to submit application in person

Now let’s go through the stages of the process in more detail:

1. Receive a Job Offer

The first step is getting a concrete employment offer from a company in Germany. The job should match your qualifications and meet the minimum salary threshold.

The company will send you a contract outlining the position, salary, start date, and other terms. This will be a key piece of documentation to include in the Blue Card application.

2. Gather Documents

Once you accept the job offer, you can start compiling all the required documents to submit with the application:

  • Valid passport – must be valid for duration of stay in Germany
  • University diploma(s)
  • University transcripts
  • CV or resume
  • Employment contract
  • Health insurance documentation
  • Passport photos
  • Application fee of 100 EUR

It’s recommended to get certified translations of any documents not issued in German.

3. Complete Online Application

The next step is to fill out the online application form on the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees website. This registers you in their system.

You will need to provide:

  • Personal details (name, DOB, nationality, address, etc.)
  • Passport number and validity
  • Qualifications and employment details
  • Preferred immigration office location

Completing the online application generates a registration number and appointment letter.

4. Schedule Appointment

Using the appointment letter, you must schedule a specific date and time to submit the Blue Card application in person at the immigration office in Germany.

You can usually select the immigration office location in the region where you will live. Appointments may need to be scheduled several weeks in advance.

5. Attend Appointment

The last step is attending the appointment and submitting all required documents to the immigration office.

You may have an interview and fingerprints/biometrics will be collected. If approved, the Blue Card can be issued on the spot or within a few weeks.

The whole process from application to approval generally takes 2-3 months. You cannot start working until the Blue Card is issued. Communicating closely with your employer is important when going through the process.

EU Blue Card Validity and Renewal

Once issued, the EU Blue Card is valid for up to 4 years. The expiry date will be printed on the card.

Typically, the Blue Card validity period matches the duration of your work contract, with a maximum of 4 years.

Renewing the EU Blue Card is possible as long as you still meet the salary and employment requirements. The renewal application should be submitted at least 3 months before your current card expires.

For the renewal, you will need to provide:

  • Application form
  • Current Blue Card
  • Passport
  • Recent biometric photo
  • Ongoing employment contract
  • Health insurance documentation

There is a fee of 100 EUR for renewal. Approval of the renewal may take around 6-8 weeks.

With each renewal, the maximum validity will be 4 years. There is no limit on the total number of renewals, as long as you maintain employment and meet salary requirements.

Permanent Residence

One major benefit of the Blue Card is the option to apply for permanent residence after a shorter period than other German residence permits.

The requirements to apply for permanent residence are:

  • 33 months of employment with an EU Blue Card
  • Basic German language proficiency (B1 CEFR level)
  • Adequate knowledge of the German legal and social order
  • Proof of contribution to pension insurance
  • Sufficient housing

After 33 months of working with a Blue Card in Germany, you can submit an application for permanent residency. You must also demonstrate basic German ability at B1 level, pass a test on life in Germany, and meet other integration conditions.

Once granted permanent residency, you no longer need to extend the EU Blue Card and can stay in Germany indefinitely. After several years with permanent status, you may also qualify to apply for full German citizenship.

So the Blue Card provides an accelerated path for skilled professionals to gain permanent residence rights compared to most other permits.

Bringing Family Members

A great benefit of the Blue Card is that you can bring your family members to live with you in Germany as dependents.

Dependent family members that are eligible for residence permits include:

  • Spouse or civil partner
  • Unmarried children under 18
  • Parents of minor children living in Germany

Dependents can apply for their own Blue Card family residence permits. This allows them to also live and work in Germany with access to employment, healthcare, education, and all other benefits.

For children under 18 to receive a dependent permit, you need to provide documentation such as:

  • Birth certificate
  • Parental consent letter for both parents
  • School enrollment documentation
  • Health insurance for Germany

For spouses and parents, similar documentary evidence must be submitted, along with marriage certificates if applicable. Family members will also need to provide biometric data.

The process of sponsoring family takes 1-3 months after submitting all required documents. There is a fee for dependents, but children under 18 are exempt.

This makes moving to Germany much easier when you can bring your immediate family members along with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the income requirement for the EU Blue Card in 2022?

For most professions, you need to earn at least 56,400 EUR gross annual salary to qualify for the Blue Card. Lower salary requirements apply for shortage occupations on the Positive List.

How long does it take to get EU Blue Card approval?

The typical processing time is 2-3 months from submitting your application to receiving approval. You can only begin working once the card is issued. Communicate with your employer about timelines.

Can I bring my family to Germany on a Blue Card?

Yes, spouses, children under 18, and parents of minors can apply for dependent residence permits to accompany the Blue Card holder.

Do I need to prove German language ability for the Blue Card?

No, German language skills are not required for the initial Blue Card application. However, B1 German is needed later when applying for permanent residence.

What documents do I need for the EU Blue Card application?

Required documents include your valid passport, university diplomas, employment contract, CV, health insurance, application fee, biometric photos, and translations of any non-German documents.

How long can I stay in Germany with an EU Blue Card?

The Blue Card is typically valid for up to 4 years, with unlimited renewals possible as long as you maintain employment and salary level. Permanent residence can be granted after 33+ months.


The EU Blue Card provides an excellent opportunity for qualified professionals outside the EU to gain residency and work privileges in Germany. While the application process involves preparation, it offers many long-term advantages compared to regular work visas.

Meeting the Blue Card requirements for education, skilled employment, salary level and documents allows you to live and work in Germany under favorable conditions. Blue Card holders can also sponsor family members and have a clear pathway to permanent residence.

With some effort and patience, the Blue Card program can be your ticket to building a new life and career in Germany as a highly-skilled migrant. Contact German companies in your profession and have your documents ready to make the most of this valuable opportunity.