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.

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