Healthplan Spain


EU Blue Card In Spain: What You Need To Know Expat Tips

The EU Blue Card is a permit that grants highly-qualified non-EU workers the opportunity to reside and work in an EU member country. To be eligible for the Blue Card, individuals must possess advanced professional qualifications, like a university degree, and secure either an employment contract or a binding job offer for at least one year with a salary exceeding the average income in the EU country where the job is located.

Applicable in 25 out of the 27 EU countries, the EU Blue Card offers an attractive option for skilled workers seeking opportunities within the European Union. However, it should be noted that Denmark and Ireland do not participate in the EU Blue Card program.

What specific conditions do you need to fulfil to apply for a EU Blue Card?

  • Highly-Qualified Worker Status: You must demonstrate a minimum of 5 years of professional experience in the same sector of activity as the job offer. This means that your work experience should align with the specific field of the job you are applying for, and you should have actively worked in that sector for the required duration. Alternatively, hold a higher education qualification, typically a university degree, with a minimum duration of 3 years. These qualifications should equip you with the necessary knowledge to pursue a profession that requires high-level training or to participate in a research program.
  • Employment Contract or Job Offer: You must have a valid employment contract or a binding job offer from an employer based in one of the participating EU countries. The contract should be for a duration of at least one year.
  • High Salary Threshold: The salary offered to you must exceed the average income in the EU country where the job is located. The specific salary threshold may vary between countries.
  • Non-EU Nationality: The EU Blue Card is designed for non-EU nationals, meaning you must be a citizen of a country outside the European Union.
  • Valid Travel Documents: You must possess valid travel documents, such as a passport, and meet any other requirements related to travel and entry into the EU.

It is crucial for the applicant not to be in an irregular situation in Spain. During the application process, you are required to stay in your home country while the employer initiates the necessary procedures.

What Income is Required to Qualify for a Blue Card?

To be eligible for a Blue Card, you need to earn a gross annual salary that meets or exceeds the salary threshold specified by the Member State. In Spain, for example, the minimum salary threshold that was set in 2020 was 33,908 euros, which is at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary for the relevant profession. So, your gross annual salary, as stated in the work contract or binding job offer, must be equal to or higher than this threshold to qualify for the Blue Card in Spain.

How long can I work with an EU Blue Card?

Once granted the EU Blue Card, you are permitted to reside and work in the member state that issued the card for a duration ranging from one to four years.

In Spain, the EU Blue Card is initially issued for a duration of one year. Upon expiration, it can be renewed biannually, except when the applicant meets the criteria for obtaining a long-term residence permit. In such cases, the renewal process may differ based on the applicant's eligibility for the long-term residence status.

How much will the Blue Card cost?

The initial fee for the Blue Card amounts to 418 EUR, while the renewal fee is 112 EUR. In case of a replacement, the fee is also 112 EUR.

However, there is no additional fee for express issuance, as it is not applicable in this instance.

How long does the process take?

Spanish national law states that the maximum processing time for issuing a Blue Card in Spain is set at 45 days.

Is priority given to EU citizens' applications?

Certain Member States, including Spain, implement a Labour Market Test (LMT), which serves as a mechanism to ensure that migrant workers are considered for employment only after employers have made unsuccessful attempts to hire national workers, EU citizens (including EEA workers), or legally residing third-country nationals with authorised access to the labour market under national regulations.

What is the Labour Market Test?

The labour market test (LMT) is a mechanism designed to ensure that migrant workers are considered for employment only after employers have made unsuccessful efforts to hire local workers, EU citizens (including EEA workers), or legally residing third-country nationals who have access to the labour market according to national legislation.

The labour market test (LMT) is widely implemented and applied across most Member States. However, in some cases, certain categories of workers may be exempt from this requirement, depending on the specific national circumstances and priorities.

Different Member States adopt various methodologies for conducting LMTs. Generally, employers and public employment services play a significant role in the process, and the duration of the verification process varies among Member States.

How do I apply for an EU Blue Card?

This process is divided into three different parts:

  • Start of the application by the employer in Spain: The employer needs to begin the application by submitting the required documents to one of three places, the UGE (Large Companies Unit), the General Directorate of Immigration, as long as the company has more than 500 workers and has offices in more than one region, or the Foreigners Office that corresponds according to the region in which the company is located.
  • Visa application by the worker in their country of origin: Once the employer has completed all the required documentation and received a favourable resolution, the worker must visit the Spanish consulate in their home country to apply for their visa.

During the consulate visit, the worker needs to submit the following documents:

  • Original passport with a valid expiration date.
  • Two recent passport-sized photos.
  • The printed and completed visa application file, available for download.
  • A favourable resolution obtained by the employer in Spain.
  • A medical certificate.
  • Payment of the applicable visa fee.
  • Criminal records for the past 5 years.

Once the documentation has been submitted, the work visa will be processed in an estimated time of 72 hours and will be stamped on the passport.

Entrance to Spain and obtaining the residence card: Once the worker has their passport stamped they can enter Spain. The next step for them is to obtain their residence card, known as the TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero), which will include their NIE number.

To obtain the TIE, they need to schedule an appointment with the nearest police station or immigration office and provide the following documents:

  • Model EX17, the form required to request the foreigner's identity card.
  • Valid passport and a copy of it.
  • Work visa with the entry stamp received upon arrival in Spain.
  • The favourable resolution of the residence and work authorisation issued by the employer.
  • Census document, known as "empadronamiento" in Spanish.
  • Document proving registration with the social security system.
  • Payment of the TIE processing fee.
  • Three passport-sized photos.

Once the documentation has been submitted, the process time is approximately 20-30 days.