For highly skilled workers from outside the European Union who are seeking to reside in one (or more) of the 27 member states, one type of work and residence permit stands out: the EU Blue Card.
This permit was created to make Europe a more attractive destination for qualified professionals from around the world by offering favourable working and living conditions.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at eligibility requirements, the necessary documents and how to make a successful application in Spain.
What is the EU Blue Card?
The EU Blue Card is a combined permit granting the right to legally reside and work throughout the European Union.
It bears a close resemblance to the highly qualified work permit, as both are designed to attract global talents, with a specific focus on highly skilled professionals possessing advanced education and skills tailored for technical roles within various companies.
However, beyond conferring legitimate work status with the applying company, this unique form of work authorisation comes with additional perks.
For example, to enhance labour mobility within the EU, the Blue Card facilitates unrestricted movement across all member states of the European Union (after a certain period) without additional procedures (unlike the traditional employee work permit, the highly skilled visa, the community card, or the long-term residency permit).
Furthermore, it extends the privilege of including immediate family members (primarily the spouse and children) in the application, granting them the right to reside within the EU for the same duration as the principal applicant.
What are the eligibility criteria for the EU Blue Card?
To be eligible for an EU Blue Card, applicants generally need to meet a number of criteria, which can vary slightly between different EU member states.
The first, of course, is to be a non-EU citizen. The second is to have a valid job offer in an EU country that pays above a certain threshold.
That said, obtaining the EU Blue Card is also contingent upon the prevailing unemployment situation within the particular country. The issuance of these cards is subject to an annually fluctuating quota set by each country.
A sufficient level of Higher Education (usually a Bachelor’s degree or higher) is also necessary. Individuals aiming to acquire an EU Blue Card should be capable of providing evidence of advanced education or training over a period of at least three years that is directly applicable to the responsibilities anticipated within the employing company and meets the standard necessary for competent performance.
In situations where these aren’t possible, proof of a minimum of five years of relevant professional experience tied directly to the field is required instead.
Additionally, those wishing to obtain an EU Blue Card must ensure that they:
- Have a clean criminal record.
- Are not subject to entry restrictions.
- Fulfil the same requirements necessary for obtaining initial employee residence and work authorisation.
How long is the EU Blue Card valid?
The duration of the EU Blue Card’s legal residency varies by country. Each EU member state can determine the validity period, typically ranging from one to four years.
In Spain, the card is valid for 12 months, while countries like France and Germany offer validity for up to 48 months.
How to apply for an EU Blue Card in Spain
It’s important to note that the application process for an EU Blue Card is not instigated by the person wishing to be granted the permit, but rather the employer or representative of the company wishing to hire the individual.
In Spain, applications for this residency card can be lodged with the Extranjería Foreigners Office, the Unidad de Grandes Empresas (UGE), or the General Directorate of Immigration (for companies with over 500 employees and operations spanning multiple provinces).
When applying for the EU Blue Card, the applicant must supply:
- A completed Ex-05 Form, plus payment of the required fee
- The employment contract which demonstrates a salary at least 1.5 times the average yearly salary in Spain
- The Tax Identification Number (NIF) of the company providing the employment contract
- Proof that the company is paying taxes and Social Security in Spain
- A clear description of the job role in the company
- Passport and a copy
- A detailed CV with all work history
- Proof of qualifications for the job
Once approved, applicants will receive a visa stamped in their passport. This visa allows them to travel to and enter Spain legally. After arrival, they can obtain the physical residency card.
How is the EU Blue Card different from the Long-Term EU Card?
Many non-EU nationals enquire about the differences between the EU Blue Card and the EU long-term card.
While these two serve similar ends (enabling foreigners to work within any EU nation), there are many differences, particularly with regard to requirements.
Regarding the long-term EU card, it’s only available to foreigners with a residence history of five years in the EU, unlike the Blue Card which can be granted while still residing in the home country.
Moreover, it’s the individual who personally carries out the application for long-term EU residency and not the employer (as is the case with the Blue Card).
Help with EU visa applications in Spain
Navigating the complexities of EU work and residency permits, including the intricate EU Blue Card process, can be overwhelming. Let us be your guide.
At CostaLuz Lawyers, our experienced team specialises in simplifying the journey, ensuring a smooth pathway to achieving your professional ambitions in the EU.
Contact us today to unlock new opportunities and let us assist you in securing your future in Spain and beyond.