European blue card residence permit

Last update: 6 February 2024

With a European Blue Card, you can work in the Netherlands as a highly educated migrant. Find out what the requirements are and how your employer can apply for the permit.

On 20 October 2021, the revised EU Blue Card Directive came into effect. The changes to the old Directive have not yet been fully transposed into national legislation. This process has been delayed. More information about the consequences can be found in the Business Newsletter of December 20, 2023.

What is a European Blue Card

A European Blue Card is a European work and residence permit for highly educated employees from outside the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland. Your employer can apply for a European Blue Card for you in these situations:

  • You do not yet have a European Blue Card or you have had a European Blue Card for less than 12 months in one of the EU countries that participate in the European Blue Card scheme. You want to apply for a European Blue Card to work in the Netherlands.
  • You live with an asylum permit in one of the EU countries that use the European Blue Card. You now want to work in the Netherlands with a European Blue Card.
  • You have lived for at least 12 months in one of the EU countries that participate in the European Blue Card scheme, with a European Blue Card. You now want to work in the Netherlands with a European Blue Card. We call this long-term mobility.

Short-term mobility

Do you want to come to the Netherlands for work activities, such as visiting a conference or a short project? And will you not stay in the Netherlands for a total of more than 90 days within a 180-day period? Then you do not need to apply for a work and residence permit.

Highly skilled migrant residence permit

There is also a Dutch residence permit for highly educated employees. This is the highly skilled migrant residence permit. Other requirements apply to this residence permit.

Difference between European Blue Card and highly skilled migrant residence permit

Employer: sponsor or recognised sponsor

Your employer is your sponsor. The IND can also recognise your employer as a sponsor. It is faster and easier for a recognised sponsor to apply for a residence permit for employees and their family. Recognition is not required for a European Blue Card.


These are the requirements for a European Blue Card residence permit.

  • You meet the requirements that apply to everyone.
  •  You will be doing highly qualified work in the Netherlands and:
    • you have a diploma of a programme in higher education. This programme was at least 3 years. The diploma is needed for the profession or sector and is appropriate for the profession or sector. Do you have a foreign diploma? Then Nuffic must evaluate the diploma. This means that Nuffic will examine what the foreign diploma (‘credential’) is worth in the Netherlands.  
    • you do not have a higher education diploma. And you are an IT manager or IT professional. Then you must demonstrate that you have at least 3 years of relevant work experience in the period of 7 years before the application.
  • You meet the income requirements.
  • Your employment contract is valid for at least 6 months.
  • Do you have a regulated profession, such as doctor or lawyer? Then you must demonstrate that you are allowed to practice this profession in the Netherlands.
  • Your employer has not been fined for one of these reasons in the 5 years prior to application:
    • Your employer has breached Section 2 of the Aliens Employment Act (in Dutch: Wet arbeid vreemdelingen, or WAV).
    • Your employee has not paid any or has not paid enough wage tax, or employee insurance schemes or national insurance contributions.

Process and costs

These are the steps in the application process for the residence permit:

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The residence permit

Find out what else you need to know about the residence permit.

TB test

Did your employer indicate at the time of the application that you will take a TB (tuberculosis) test? Then make an appointment with the public health service (in Dutch: Gemeenschappelijke Gezondheidsdienst or GGD). Do this within 3 months after you have received your residence permit. Take with you to the appointment:

Working with European Blue Card

With this residence permit, you may work for the employer that applied for the residence permit without a work permit (in Dutch: tewerkstellingsvergunning or TWV). The back of the residence permit says in Dutch 'Arbeid als houder van de Europese blauwe kaart en als zelfstandige toegestaan, andere arbeid toegestaan met TWV' (Work as a holder of a European Blue Card and on a self-employed basis permitted; other work permitted with TWV).

 Work on a self-employed basis

With a European Blue Card you may work on a self-employed basis in addition to your work for your employer. However, you must always continue to meet the requirements for the European Blue Card.

Work permit needed for another employer

Do you want to work for another employer? Then this employer needs a TWV (work permit) for you. This employer must apply to the Employee Insurance Agency (in Dutch: Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen or UWV) for the TWV. Find out more about applying for a TWV to the UWV (only in Dutch).


Have you lost your job and is your residence permit European Blue Card still valid? Then you will be given up to 6 months to find a new job. You must have had this residence permit for 2 years or more. If you have this permit for less than 2 years, you will have a maximum of 3 months to find a new job. 
This is the search period. The search period starts on the day that your contract ends. The search period is never longer than the validity of your residence permit.

Legal obligations

As a recognised or non-recognised sponsor, your employer has the obligation to provide information and keep records. To you, only the obligation to provide information applies.

Find out more about the legal obligations of the sponsor or recognised sponsor and the foreign national’s obligation to provide information.

The IND checks whether you meet your obligations. And if you do not do so? Then, you may get an administrative fine

Validity of residence permit

The residence permit is valid up until 3 months after the employment contract has ended. Your residence permit is valid for 4 years at most.

Other applications

Replacement residence permit

Has the residence permit been damaged, lost or stolen? Then have the residence document replaced. Visit the web page residence permit damaged or change details or residence permit lost or stolen.

Extension of residence permit

Will the residence permit expire soon? Then you can extend the residence permit.

Permanent residence permit

Have you had a residence permit for 5 years? Then you can apply for a permanent residence permit. If you have a European Blue Card, you can sometimes do this after less than 5 years. Go to the page Exceptions to 5-year term for permanent residency.

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