Apply for a residence permit European blue card

Last check: 28-04-2022

A European blue card residence permit allows a highly skilled employee to live and work in the Netherlands. On this page, you can find out about the conditions and how to apply for the residence permit.


Who can apply for a European blue card?

A European blue card is a work and residence permit for highly skilled employees (expats) who are nationals of a country outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland. Check which countries belong to the EU and EEA. The information on this page applies in the following cases:

  1. You live outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland. You want to apply for a European blue card to work in the Netherlands.
  2. You already live in one of the EU countries that are part of the European blue card scheme and hold a European blue card residence permit. You now want to work in the Netherlands as a European blue card holder.
  3. You are an employer. You want to employ a foreign employee with a European blue card.

Highly skilled migrant residence permit

In the Netherlands, another residence permit for highly skilled employees is also available. This is the Highly skilled migrant residence permit. Different conditions apply for this permit. Find out more about the highly skilled migrant residence permit.

Employer: sponsor or recognised sponsor

If you are hiring a foreign worker, then you are the sponsor of that worker. As an employer, you can become a recognised sponsor. Recognised sponsors can easily and quickly apply for residence permits for employees and their family members. Employers do not have to become a recognised sponsor to hire an employee for a European blue card: becoming a recognised sponsor is completely voluntary. Find out more about applying to the IND to become a recognised sponsor.

General conditions for a residence permit

There are some general conditions which apply to everyone who applies for a residence permit

Conditions European blue card

The following conditions also apply to the European blue card residence permit:

  • The employee has a contract in the Netherlands for highly qualified work. Highly qualified work is work that requires a higher education qualification.
  • The employee's salary is sufficiently high. Find out what salary criterion applies to the European blue card.
  • The employment contract is for a period of at least 12 months.
  • The employee has a higher education degree. The degree course lasted at least 3 years. The degree must be required for and in line with the profession or relevant sector to which the application relates. Does the employee have a degree that was awarded abroad? Please let Nuffic evaluate the degree. This means that Nuffic will assess the status of the foreign degree in the Netherlands. More information about degree evaluation is available on the Nuffic website.

  • Does the employee have a protected profession, such as doctor or lawyer? If so, you must prove that he or she meets the statutory requirements for being allowed to practise that profession in the Netherlands.
  • In the 5 years prior to the application, the employer must not have received a fine for violating Article 2 of the Foreign Nationals Employment Act, or for failing to pay the necessary income tax, employee insurance premiums or national insurance contributions.

Turkish nationals and their family members

Find out which other conditions may apply to Turkish citizens and their family members.

Documents you need

You must have documentation showing that you satisfy the conditions for the European blue card residence permit. The following documents are needed for the European blue card application:

  • A copy of the page in your passport that contains the personal data and the period of validity. You should also send a copy of the pages with travel stamps.
  • A copy of the employment contract or the appointment decision, in which it is stated that the employee will work for at least 12 months.
  • An employer's declaration.
  • The appendix 'Declaration by sponsor (employment)' for non-recognised sponsors. This appendix is attached to the application form. This declaration must be completed in full and signed by the employer.
  • The appendix 'Antecedents Certificate'. This appendix is attached to the application form. The researcher should fill in all sections of the Antecedents Certificate and sign it.
  • A copy of the payslips for the past 3 months (as far as possible).
  • If the employee has a Dutch degree: a certified copy of the degree certificate.
  • If the employee has a foreign degree: a copy of the degree certificate and the original degree evaluation from Nuffic.
  • If the employee has a protected profession: evidence that he or she meets the statutory requirements for being allowed to practise that profession in the Netherlands.

Legalisation and translation of official foreign documents

Official foreign documents must be legalised and translated into Dutch, English, French, or German. Find out more about legalising and translating foreign documents.

Provisional residence permit (mvv)

The employee will need a visa to travel to the Netherlands. That visa is known as a provisional residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf – mvv). In some situations, no mvv is required, for example if the employee has held a European blue card in another EU country for at least 18 months. Find out more about provisional residence permits (mvv).

Written application forms

Only the employer can apply for the residence permit. The employer applies for the mvv and the residence permit at the same time. This can only be done in writing. There are various application forms.

Application form for application by a recognised sponsor

Application form for application by a sponsor

How to submit your written application

  1. Download and print the form.
  2. Complete the form. Also complete the appendix or appendices that apply to your situation.
  3. Put the application form, appendices and supporting documents in one envelope. Never send original documents to the IND. Make clear copies that are easy to read.
  4. Send your application to the IND. The address is on the application form.

Cost application

The employer pays the application fees. This can be done by Direct Debit, if you are a recognised sponsor. Alternatively, the IND sends a letter regarding payment of the application costs (fees).

The application for a European blue card residence permit costs € 345.

Decision on your application

The IND has 90 days to adopt a decision on your application for a European blue card. This is known as the decision period. This period is determined by law. The employer will receive a letter stating the date by which the IND will adopt a decision on the application.

For recognised sponsors, the IND aims to make a decision within 2 weeks

The IND aims to handle the application of a recognised sponsor within 2 weeks. This is conditional on the application being complete. 

Track your application online

Apply for review of the decision

You can apply for review of the decision within 4 weeks. The decision letter explains how to do this. Find out more about applying for review or appealing a decision from the IND.

If the IND decides late

Has the decision period passed and you have still not received a decision on your application or review? Then the IND is late in deciding. Find out what you can do if the IND is late with its decision.

Validity of the European blue card residence permit

The residence permit is valid 3 months longer than the employment contract. But it is valid for a maximum of 4 years.

Working in the Netherlands with a European blue card

This residence permit allows the employee to work without a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning – TWV) for the employer who applied for the residence permit. The back of the residence permit states: 'Arbeid als houder van de Europese blauwe kaart en als zelfstandige toegestaan, andere arbeid toegestaan met TWV' (Work as a European blue card holder and as a self-employed person allowed; other work allowed with a TWV).

Work permit (TWV)

Do you want to work for another employer as well? If so, that employer will have to obtain a TWV for you. The employer should apply to the UWV (Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency) for the work permit. Find out more about applying to the UWV for a work permit (Dutch only).

Work as a self-employed

As an employee with a European blue card, you are also allowed to work as an entrepreneur in addition to your job with your employer.  But you will still have to meet the conditons for the European blue card.


Have you lost your job and is your residence permit still valid? You have up to 3 months to find a new job. This is known as a search period. The search period starts on the day your contract ends. The search period is never longer than the validity of your residence permit.

Legal obligations

The employee and the employer must comply with several legal obligations.

Rules and regulations

Go straight to


Immigration and Naturalisation Service