The EU Blue Card as a way for non-EU nationals to be employed and live in Bulgaria and in the rest of the EU

28 July 2021

Private Clients, Citizenship and Immigration, Expat Assistance

What is the EU Blue Card?

One of the more innovative developments of EU labour law is the so-called EU Blue Card, which is a type of residence and work permit designed for qualified foreign nationals from non-EU countries. It provides less complicated access to the EU labour market for third-country (that is, non-EU) nationals.

The EU Blue Card is governed by EU-wide rules and regulations and is issued on the basis of such common rules. However, it is issued individually by the Member States. The following criteria must be satisfied:

  • Present a valid work contract or binding job offer for at least one year’s employment
  • A documentary proof of the necessary qualifications
  • A proof of health insurance

And certain other standard documents.

After a period of use in the primary country of application and employment, EU Blue Cards can be used to access the labour market in other member states (except for Denmark and Ireland, which have opted out of the card).

How to access the Bulgarian labour market?

In order for non-EU nationals to access the labour market on an such card, they must prove that:

  • They have a qualification requiring at least three years of training
  • The gross salary specified in their employment contract is at least 1.5 times higher than the average salary in Bulgaria (at the time of submission of the application)
  • Are employed for a term not shorter than 12 months

The Blue Card can be issued for up to four years in total. During the first two years, the holder of the card may use it only in the country of issue, eg, Bulgaria.

Definition of highly-qualified professionals for the purposes of obtaining an EU Blue Card

“Highly-qualified professionals” are defined for these purposes as persons who possess a formally attested higher education qualification. The qualification must follow a course of at least three years of education. The course must be provided by an institution, formally accredited in its location.

What are the rights of an EU Blue Card holder? Porting your Blue Card rights.

The EU Blue Card enables its holder to seek employment in other Member States of the EU on Blue Card terms (except in Denmark and Ireland which have opted out). However, you can only do so after you have been employed in Bulgaria for 18 months. 

In any second or subsequent EU member state, you would be required to apply to re-base yourself in the new state within one month of arrival.

For the purposes of a qualifying period for permanent residence (which is five years), the card holders are entitled to cumulate periods of residence in different EU Member States.

Please contact our experienced team of immigration lawyers at New Balkans Law Office for efficient and effective services in the field of corporate immigration.

We pay attention to the smallest details and offer legal services tailored to your needs and budget, so get in touch today to discuss about the EU Blue card.

Please contact us at:

[email protected]
+359 (0) 2 950 6239

or at

[email protected]
+44 (0) 20 7183 0262

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The Bulgarian and dual-qualified lawyers of New Balkans Law Office are regulated by the respective Bar of their registration. New Balkans Law Office is a brand name of Legal Services EOOD, a company registered under Bulgarian law. Reg’d No. 202331677. Further details are available here.

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