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Because of the Europe’s aging population’s, many EU countries face a decreasing well-educated and highly qualified workforces. Recruiting such candidates from countries outside of the EU is thus one of the EU´s top priorities. A European Union Directive of 2009 (2009/50/EG) aims at granting certain highly qualified and skilled citizens of non-EU countries a possibility to obtain more easily residence/work permits in certain EU member countries.


In August 2012, the German government finalized the legislation that put this directive into practice. The primary feature of the new law is the introduction of a new type of residence permit commonly referred to as the Blue Card EU. This legislation is designed to make emigration to Germany more appealing to qualified foreigners as well as to fill the ever-growing number of jobs that require highly skilled workers. The German legal basis for the Blue Card is Art.19 of the German Residency Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz §19a).


Benefits of The Blue Card EU


Compared to other visas, the Blue Card EU has the following benefits:


  1. The Blue Card EU is valid for a maximum of four years if the employment contract is permanent or, in the case of a temporary employment contract, lasts for at least four years. In case of shorter employment contracts, the Blue Card is granted for the duration of the employment contract plus another additional three months.
  2. A holder of a Blue Card EU is to be issued with an unlimited settlement permit if they have been in possession of the Blue Card for more than 33 months. (If the candidate exhibits German language skills at the B1 level, the settlement permit will be issued earlier, after 21 months.)
  3. A holder of a Blue Card EU can stay out of the EU for up to 12 months without the Blue Card becoming invalid. A term of 6 months applies to other work visas. They also have the right, after having stayed in Germany for 18 months, to move to another country of the EU (apart from Great Britain, Ireland and Denmark).
  4. The spouse and children (under the age of 16) of the Blue Card holder may apply for residency in Germany for the purpose of family reunion A verification of German language skills at the A1 level is not required. Spouses receive immediate, unrestricted access to the labor market. Should the recipient of the Blue Card EU have legal health insurance, the entire family is automatically legally covered.
  5. Verification of German language skills is not required.


Requirements for a Blue Card EU


A citizen of a non-EU-country can apply for the Blue Card EU if:


  1. The applicant possesses a German or an accredited foreign university or university college qualification that is comparable to a German university qualification. It is possible to submit a query to the online database of the Central Office for Foreign Education Affairs (Zentrastelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen, ZAB) to determine if the foreign university or university college qualification is recognized in Germany. If the database does not contain any relevant information, applicants are required to apply to the ZAB to have their qualification specifically evaluated in exchange of a fee and need to present their qualification certificate to the ZAB


Remark: Although it is mentioned in the paragraph 19a of the German Residence Act that a specialized work experience for at least five years can also be considered equivalent to a higher educational qualification, this regulation, however, has scarcely been applied.


  1. The applicant must own an employment contract with a German company with a minimum gross income of €50,800 per year (2017). For certain occupations that suffer from shortages of skilled labor (the so-called shortage occupation), annual gross salary is €39,624 (2017) is sufficient. These professions at present are: Scientists in natural science disciplines, mathematicians, architects, interior, urban and traffic planners, designers, engineers, scientific engineers, physicians (except dentists) and those with academic qualifications in information and communications technology.


A priority check, as well as an inspection of the working conditions conducted by the German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit), will be waived if the income requirement of 50.800 EUR (from January 1st, 2017) is met. In shortage occupations, an annual gross income of EUR 39,624, and when in possession of a German university or university college qualification, not approval is required. However, when holding a foreign university or university college qualification and engaging in employment in a shortage occupation, the Federal Employment Agency must provide approval.


Application Process of the Blue Card EU


Case 1: If you meet the requirements of the EU Blue Card application and are ready to enter Germany from China for the Purpose of taking up employment in Germany.




Step 1: Visa application procedures


1. Submit visa applications to German diplomatic agencies in China (eg, German Embassy in Beijing and German Consulates in China);

2. If necessary, the German diplomatic agencies in China will conduct an official internal consultation process, which means your working conditions will be reviewed by the German Federal Employment Agency;

3. If the requirements are met, a visa will be issued which allows you to enter German territory and stay for 3 months. Employment in Germany is allowed during this period.


Step 2: Blue Card EU is issued by the German Foreigners' Registration Office


1. You should submit your application for the Blue Card EU to the German Foreigners' Registration Office of your current residence within your visa validity;

2. A Blue Card EU is issued for a longer period (up to four years);

3. A further approval by the German Federal Employment Agency is not required since the approval granted during the visa procedure continues to be valid.


Case 2: If you meet the requirements of the Blue Card EU application and have been living in Germany or have entered Germany with a work visa.




Blue Card EU issued by German Foreigners' Registration Office


1. You should submit your application to the German Foreigners' Registration Office of your current residence (in case of holding a work visa, the application should be submitted within its validity);

2. If necessary, an official internal consultation process will be conducted, which means your working conditions will be reviewed by the German Federal Employment Agency;

3. If the requirements are met, a Blue Card EU will be issued to you.


Required Documents for the Blue Card EU


Unless otherwise stated, all documents must be submitted as originals plus two copies of each document.


Documents required:


  1. Personally signed passport plus 2 copies of the photo page. The passport must be valid at least 3 months longer than the validity period of the visa.
  2. 2 completed application forms in German plus additional declaration according to Art. 53 and Art. 54 of the German Residence Act.
  3. 3 recent biometric passport photographs with white background
  4. In the case of non-Chinese applicants: Residence permit for China is required
  5. Full Curriculum Vitae in German
  6. Employment contract or binding job offer with details of gross annual salary in German
  7. German university degree or recognized foreign degree comparable to a German degree with German translation (Confirmation from the ANABIN website that you are holding a recognized degree. Please attach two copies of the query results)
  8. Certificate from your current employer with German translation
  9. Health insurance. Those with statutory health insurance are sufficiently insured. Those with private health insurance must consider the type and extent of their health insurance.


Remark: For the first two years of employment, approval by the Foreigners´ Registration Office must be obtained before any change of job.


Our Services


Rechtsanwaltskanzlei Richard Hoffmann is pleased to provide following legal assistance for your application of the Blue Card EU, which shall mainly include, but not limited to:


Individual pre-check:


  • A professional assessment of the eligibility for applying for Blue Card EU, an evaluation of the individual situation and qualifications
  • Review of the employment contract, especially with regard to the requirements of the Blue Card EU


Support with visa procedure and application for a residence permit:


  • Compilation and review of the documents to be submitted in visa procedures and procedures for immigration authorities
  • Communication with the authorities involved, in particular, with the German Consulates and Embassies, immigration authorities, registration authorities and the Federal Employment Agency (if necessary)
  • Support for transforming the visa into a residence permit (Blue Card EU)



ECOVIS Beijing is a consultancy focusing on accounting, audit, tax, legal, and FDI advisory. For more information, please visit our website or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Richard Hoffmann

Richard Hoffmann is a partner at ECOVIS Beijing China. Richard obtained an honors degree in law and worked in Germany, the United States, and China for various prestigious law firms prior to joining ECOVIS. In addition to being a member of the board of ECOVIS International, he is Supervisor for the China business of a respected German company and shares his extensive knowledge to students by teaching commercial law in China at SRH Hochschule Heidelberg. He has published more than fifty articles in international magazines, frequently speaks at high profile events in China and abroad and is often invited as a legal expert by international TV stations. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ecovis Beijing is the trusted tax and legal advisor to several embassies and official institutions in China. It specializes in mid-sized international companies and is focused on tax & legal advisory, accounting and auditing. If you’re interested in finding out more about tax and legal, don’t hesitate to sign up for our Newsletter, give us a call +86 (10) 6561 6609 or contact us directly via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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