The “Blue Card” Europe’s Answer to the US Green Card

Matteo Tisato, Senior Immigration Analyst in our Italy Practice Group, examines the requirements for a European Blue Card.


After a tough few months in Europe, which saw tens of thousands of deaths from the global pandemic, cities in lockdown, and borders closed, early signs of normality are appearing as European countries are reopening their borders to foreign travelers, with some exclusions.

In the last few days, our offices in London, Rome, and Florence are experiencing a massive volume of calls from all around the world from people seeking information about how they can work and legally reside in Europe.

We take this opportunity to offer an insight of the European Blue Card, which has been specifically created to make Europe a more attractive destination for highly qualified non-EU/EEA nationals. The European commission chose the name ‘blue card’ to signal potential immigrants that the Blue Card is the European alternative to the American Green Card.

The European Blue Card is a residence permit that provides comprehensive socio-economic rights and a possible path towards permanent residence and European citizenship. It is valid in all EU member states, except Denmark, Ireland, and the UK.

It is a merit-based system where applicants must prove they have a college degree, and have been offered a job for at least 12 months with a gross annual salary equal to or higher than the relevant salary threshold defined by the Member State.

For example, in Germany the minimum annual salary for EU Blue Card applicants is in the range of EUR 55,200 (or EUR 43,056 for shortage occupations, such as doctors, engineers, natural scientists, mathematicians, and IT-specialists).

Work permits issued pursuant to the Blue Card program are not subject to any quota system and are not allowed for temporary assignments or self-employed activities. If EU Blue Card holders lose their job they are given three months to remain in the country and look for work, and are entitled to claim social security benefits.

Amongst many exceptional advantages gained by becoming an EU Blue Card holder, additional key beneficial components include: obtaining equal work and salary conditions to national citizens; having free movement within the Schengen area; having social rights, having a great and affordable education and health care system, family reunification; and potentially obtaining permanent-residency rights.

In fact, after five years of legal and continuous stay, it is possible to apply for an EU long-term residence permit, and enjoy the same rights as nationals, including access to any employment and self-employed activity.

Contact our team to discuss your interest in the European Blue Card and other European and international residency & citizenship programs.


This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice. Please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.


Live your Italian Dream through the Elective Residency Visa

By Matteo Tisato. Matteo is a Senior Immigration Analyst in our Italy Practice Group. Connect with Matteo on LinkedIn.

With offices across Italy, Davies & Associates is able to help foreign nationals obtain the right to live, work or claim citizenship, collect debts, and pay taxes in the country.

In the first of a series of blogs from the Italy Practice Group, Matteo Tisato examines the benefits, requirements, and timelines of the elective residency visa.

The Italian elective residency visa allows entry into Italy for an open, long-term visit to foreigners who intend to establish their residence in Italy and who are able to do so by showing financial incomes without the need of employment.

Individuals must submit suitable and documented proof of housing (to be purchased or rented) in Italy and an income of more than EUR 32,000 of regular and stable financial resources which are likely to remain steady in the future. Resources must derive from prolific revenues (annuities, rents, pensions, bonds), properties ownership, stable economic-financial activities or other sources other than subordinate employment. This type of visa allows these individuals to enter Italy for an indefinite period of time.

The visa application will involve completing the relevant application form and providing supporting documentation. The Consulate has the right to issue the visa within 90 days, but the processing time is usually between four to eight weeks, depending on the Consulate’s workload, time of year, and applicant’s nationality. The applicant will need to show assets from a portfolio. The Consulate may request original financial statements from banks, investments/brokerage firms, or social security, all indicating current balances.

As soon as the Elective Residence Visa is issued, the foreigner may enter Italy and apply for the Permit of Stay, also called “Permesso di Soggiorno”, within eight days of arrival. Once the Permit of Stay is issued, the immigration process is completed and the foreigner will have proper legal status in Italy.

An individual who obtains an elective residence visa shall not pay taxes in Italy if: (1) is not registered in the City Hall (Comune) of the place where living; (2) and lives in Italy less than 183 days during the fiscal year (January to December); (3) and does not have his habitual abode in the country (e.g. his family lives in Italy and he has in Italy his principal center of business and interests)

Holders of an elective Permit of Stay can apply for the EC Permit of Stay for long-term residents after 5 years of legal stay in Italy. In order to be eligible, they must have registered as residents of Italy and filed tax returns. After 10 years of legal residency in Italy, an individual should be eligible to apply for Italian citizenship.

TIMELINE

Elective Residence Visa Application2-6 Weeks
Residence Permit Application3-5 Months
Residency Registration1-3 Months

This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice. Please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.