Working in Europe after graduation: The EU Blue Card

Publication date: 06/08/2021

Discover the benefits of an EU Blue Card for non-EU / EEA graduates, how to apply and its conditions.

Hand holding a small, blue card containing the EU flag to the sky

What is the EU Blue Card?

The EU Blue Card is a work and residence permit for non-European Union (EU) / European Economic Area (EEA) nationals. 

It gives holders comprehensive socio-economic rights, alongside a path towards permanent residence and eventually, the possibility of citizenship in the country of residence.

Why should I apply for an EU Blue Card? 

The card gives provides

  • equal working and salary conditions as for EU nationals
  • free movement within the Schengen area
  • entitlement to a series of socio-economic rights (e.g. unemployment benefits under national conditions)
  • favourable conditions for family reunification
  • eventual permanent residence prospects

How does it work?

If you are currently in Europe under a student visa, upon completion of your studies, you may continue to reside in Europe under the EU Blue Card. 

Through the EU Blue Card, EU Member States offer the possibility to stay within the EU for 12 consecutive months after graduation to search for a job in the host country.

What are the conditions for an EU Blue Card?

You should be a non-EU/EEA citizen with

  • higher professional qualifications
  • and/or professional experience 
  • an employment contract or binding employment offer
  • a high salary compared to the average in the respective EU country 

Find out more about the conditions to apply for an EU Blue Card.

How can I apply?

As a recent graduate in Europe, you should submit your application within the EU Member State in which you want to work. 

You will need to check national procedures with the relevant national authority. 

Your employer might be able to submit the application on your behalf. 

Before your application, your employer must be able to prove that they advertised the job opening for at least 10 days and could not find a suitable candidate who is an EU national.

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Header image: © iStock/thumb, 2014.