If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re in the process of applying for a German EU Blue Card! Congratulations! Where you are in this process determines whether you should continue reading this post, or pop back to Part I. Part I covers the part of your German EU Blue Card application that happens in your home country, while this part tackles what happens once you’ve arrived in Germany.
Read Part I of this post here!
Applying for a German EU Blue Card, Pt. II
One thing to note: the Blue Card is a fairly new permit, and not everyone is clear on the process or the conditions that need to be met. Culturally, Germans love a good rule. When rule keepers don’t know a proper rule or process, you’ll find that instead of checking with a supervisor or reference, the person you’re speaking to will stick by whatever they think is correct. This means you will likely receive contradictory information. I found the best and most reliable sources of information to be people who went through this process before and shared their experiences.
Another note of caution: careful about the “EU Blue Card” websites out there. For things regarding my visa, I only trust the official government sites and people who have also been through the process. Applying for a visa requires a lot of sensitive personal information. Make sure you give it to the right people.
Don’t know anyone who has applied for a German EU Blue Card? Don’t worry, I’ve collected some of these experiences here.
Process for applying for an EU Blue Card in Germany
Okay, so you’ve entered the country successfully, and now you’re looking for the next step in your Blue Card process. The good news is, the process isn’t too complicated. But the bad news is, you need to deal with the German bureaucratic process. Hopefully your new employers’ HR department will knowledgeably assist you. However, in both situations where I needed my HR reps to help, however, I was woefully disappointed. So it’s best to know these things for yourself:
- As soon as you arrive in Germany, make an appointment with your local Ausländerbehörde/Bezirksamt. You can check with HR to see if they have special contacts that might help get your appointment faster.
- Prepare your documents (see below)
- Attend your appointment / “interview”. You’ll submit your application for the Blue Card. If you don’t already have one, you’ll walk out with a temporary visa that allows you to work.
- Wait 4-6 weeks for application to be approved and notification sent.
- Return to your local Ausländerbehörde/ Bezirksamt to pick up your shiny new Blue Card
Again, and I can’t stress it enough—have your documents organized and arrive on time / early to every appointment.
Documents you need for your German EU Blue Card application:
- 1 recent passport photo (best practice means within 6 months)
- Rental contract
- Your three most recent pay stubs
- Proof of German health insurance
- Fee of 110 € (as of July 2016)
For safety, I also brought:
- Anmeldung – proof of city registration
- Copies of my degrees
- Copy of my employment contract
- Letter from my employer’s HR rep, stating my salary and employment conditions (in German)
Timeline for applying for an EU Blue Card in Germany:
My timeline is a little skewed because the San Francisco Consulate accidentally gave me an entry visa good for 4 years instead of 3 months. Whoops! On top of that, I struggled quite a bit with the Hamburg bureaucracy, who couldn’t give me the right information. But once I (finally!) initiated my German EU Blue Card application, things went pretty quickly.
- March 3: Date I entered Germany
- March 4-June 22: Confusion-related chaos
- June 22: Initiated a conversation with the Hamburg-Nord Bezirksamt, who were willing to process my application. Scheduled an appointment.
- August 30: Attended my appointment and submitted the paperwork for my German EU Blue Card
- September 28: Was notified that my application was approved and told to come pick up my Blue Card
- September 29: Picked up my Blue Card!
What will your German EU Blue Card look like?
Germany no longer issues residence permits as passport stickers. This meanst the Blue Card comes in the form of a tricked-out little card. It’s an eAt (elektronischen Aufenthaltstitel), or electronic permit, which means it contains biometric data. Looking at the thing is pretty cool—it’s covered in holographs and hidden patterns. You will also receive a green paper, called a Zusatzblatt. You should carry this at all times; I keep mine clipped into my passport.
- Bezirksamt – district office
- Ausländerbehörde – foreigner’s office (typically located inside or adjacent to the Bezirksamt)
- Aufenhaltstitel – residence permit
- Zusatzblatt – refers to the green paper you get with your residence permit
- Ausweis – identification