Designed as an incentive for working professionals to move to the European Union countries, the EU Blue Card Program is a work and residence permit.
It’s been often compared to the USA’s Green Card program. Read to learn about whether you are eligible for the card and how to go about the application process.
What Is EU Blue Card?
The EU Blue Card is a visa and residency permit that allows the card-holder to work in the EU. The card is applicable in 25 EU countries. Denmark and Ireland are not part of this program.
This program gives the cardholder access to social programs like healthcare, education, travel, etc. This is a merit-based system. The applicant either has the skills and certifications required or not. The countries issuing this card are:
- Czech Republic
EU Blue Card Validity
The EU Blue Card is initially granted for 3 years or the duration of the individual’s work contract if the contract is for more than 1-year but less than 3-years.
In case of the latter, the EU Blue Card will be valid for the duration of the contract and an additional 3 months. This time may be used to find another job in the country or to extend the existing contract. On expiry, the card may be renewed.
Who Is Eligible For The EU Blue Card?
The EU Blue card has 7 categories:
- Intra-corporate transfers
- Highly-qualified or skilled workers
- Vocational trainees
- Seasonal workers
The eligibility criteria depend on the category. However, there are a few basic requirements.
- Non-EU citizenship
- A Master’s Degree or professional qualifications of +3 years
- Work experience of over 5 years
- A job offer or 1-year work contract for a position in an EU country
- The position should offer a salary at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary threshold of the country
- Necessary valid health insurance and travel documents
In the case of regulated professions, the applicant must also meet the national legal requirements.
Applying For An EU Blue Card
The application process varies from country to country. The EU Blue Card can be applied for by an individual or the individual’s employer.
Some member states accept online applications while others require the candidates to set an appointment with the Embassy or Consulate to submit the application and supporting documents.
Member states can also set a limit as to the number of non-EU citizens permitted to enter the country with an EU Blue Card. On average, an application takes 90 days to be processed.
Documents Required To Apply For An EU Blue Card
The documents required include:
- Two copies of the application form filled and signed by the applicant
- A passport that is valid for at least 15 months beyond the intended validity of the EU Blue Card. It should also have at least 2 blank pages.
- Photocopies of the first page of the passport and the pages with visa stamps and stickers.
- Any previous passports held by the individual
- Two recent passport-sized colour photographs that meet the ICAO standards. The photographs should have been taken within the last 3 months.
- Copy of a valid job offer or work contract with an EU-based employer. The offer should have been signed by all parties and be valid for at least a year. It must also specify the salary and show that it meets the minimum wage requirements.
- Proof of educational and work qualifications
- In the case of a position in regulated professions, a copy of relevant certifications is also required
- Proof of health insurance held by the individual
- Proof of having paid the application fee. A fee of 140 Euros is payable at the time of applying.
- A declaration by the employer stating the benefits gained and reasons for employment
- Proof that the applicant does not pose any threat to the state in terms of health, public policy or security.
- Copy of the individual’s up-to-date CV
Applying For Qualification Recognition
In the case of regulated occupations such as law, medicine, engineering, education, etc. the applicant must have a certificate or license that permits them to work in the chosen field. The application for this certification must be applied from the applicant’s home country.
Rights Of An EU Blue Card Holder
There are many advantages to holding an EU Blue Card. This includes:
- Freedom to move anywhere in the EU as a tourist for up to 90 days in 180 days.
- Access to social rights such as health services, education, and human, cultural and economic rights
- The right to bring your family with you. This includes your spouse, registered partner or your unmarried minor children.
- The ability to go back to one’s home country or any other country outside the EU for up to 12 consecutive months without losing ownership of the EU Blue Card.
- Equal right to salary payable and work conditions as available to the member state’s citizens
- Improved eligibility for a permanent residency permit
Converting Blue Card Status to Permanent Residency
The Blue Card can also be seen as a route to permanent residency. If the cardholder has achieved B1 language level certifications for the country’s national language, he/she will be eligible for permanent residency after spending 21 months in the country. Else, he/she is eligible for permanent residency after 33 months in the country. It is important to note that any time spent outside the country will not be credited towards a permanent residency application.
Work Permits Vs The EU Blue Card
The EU Blue card is not the only way to legally work in the EU. Individuals can also apply for a work permit to work in specific countries. There are a few key differences between holding a work permit and an EU Blue Card.
A work permit limits the individual to work in the country which issued the permit while EU Blue Cardholders can apply for a job anywhere in the 25 EU countries that accept this program. The eligibility requirements are also different.
An individual doesn’t need to have a Master’s Degree if he/she only wants a work permit. A work permit does not make the applicant eligible for permanent residency just based on time spent in the country. Lastly, the path to family reunification is simpler for EU Blue Card holders.
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