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Sweden joins EU Blue Card scheme

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As of 1st August 2013, Sweden will be part of the EU's blue card work permit scheme. Sweden is the 24th country in Europe to sign up to the scheme.

The Blue Card is a European work permit. While its name is clearly based on the US's 'green card' permanent resident visa, the two cards are not actually very similar. The EU 'blue card' for example, is not a permanent immigration visa. The EU says that the intention of the Blue Card is to allow 'high-skilled non-EU citizens to work and live in any country within the European Union'.

Now that Sweden has signed up to the scheme, the only EU countries not yet involved are the UK, Ireland and Denmark.

Europe-wide system with national variations

While it is an EU-wide system, each country is allowed to set its own different qualification criteria for their own national Blue Card. However, every country must comply with the Blue Card scheme's central principles. These are;
  • It will provide work and salary conditions equal to citizens
  • It will allow free movement within the Schengen area
  • It will allow 'favourable conditions for family reunification'
  • It is envisioned as a gateway to gaining permanent resident status.
In all countries, applicants for a Blue Card must;
  • Come from outside the European Union
  • Have a higher education qualification. This means that you must have, either
    • A bachelor's degree
    • A master's degree
  • Have a valid work contract in the EU.
To qualify for a Swedish Blue Card, you must also
  • Have at least five years' experience in a professional role
  • Have an offer of a salary at least 1.5 times the Swedish national average salary (at least US$81,600 (536,400 krone) per year)
  • Take out health insurance

Card lasts for two years

If your application is successful, your Blue Card will last for two years unless you lose your job before the two years are up. Then it will cease to be valid at the same time as your employment ends.

Sweden will allow the holders of Blue Cards from other countries to enter Sweden without a visa providing they have held their Blue Card for at least 18 months.

This means that you will be able to enter Sweden without a visa and then apply for a Swedish Blue Card if you receive an offer of employment in Sweden and meet all the other qualification criteria. Please be aware that you must file your application for a Swedish Blue Card within one month of entering Sweden.

You will be allowed to bring your family with you. They will need their own residence permits.

Blue Card scheme

The Blue Card scheme now operates in the following countries
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

If you would like to apply for a visa can help. is a specialist visa consultancy with 25 years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.