HomeSearch NewsWhat is the EU Blue Card and how do I apply for it?

17 September 2021

What is the EU Blue Card and how do I apply for it?

Answers to frequently asked questions from the Integration User Guide

The European Parliament approved last September 15 a revision  of the EU Blue Card Directive.

Once published, Italy will have two years to comply with the new rules. In the meantime, the institution remains regulated by the rules introduced by Legislative Decree 108/2012 

What is the EU Blue Card? Who can apply for it?

The "EU Blue Card" can be issued to highly qualified non-EU workers. This is an entry channel that since 2012 allows the recruitment from abroad and outside the quotas set by the flow decree, of workers in possession of a post-secondary higher education (lasting at least three years) and a professional qualification recognized in Italy.

A foreign worker who has entered Italy as a highly qualified worker is issued with a residence permit known as the 'EU Blue Card'. This permit has a duration of two years, in the case of an open-ended employment contract, or, in other cases, the same duration as the employment relationship.

What is meant by entry outside of quotas?

Within the rules of the Single Text on Immigration (D.lgs. n. 286/98) dedicated to the entry and stay of foreigners for work reasons, art. 27 and following provide for a series of categories of workers for whom the “nulla osta” (authorization) for work is either not necessary or, when it is required, is issued outside of the quotas periodically established by the flow decree.

What is the procedure for obtaining the EU Blue Card?

The employer must send the application for the nulla osta exclusively online, by connecting to the Ministry of the Interior website, registering with the SPID digital identity and filling in the specific application form (form BC).
In the application, in addition to the guarantees regarding accommodation and the proposed contract of stay, the employer must also indicate the details of the proposed work of at least one year's duration, with indications regarding the CCNL applied, level, job, duration of the work relationship, the worker's salary which cannot be less than three times the minimum level provided for exemption from participation in health care costs (currently € 24,789.00), as well as possession of the necessary professional qualification.

In case of a positive opinion (to be adopted within 90 days of the application being sent), the “Sportello Unico” proceeds to forward the Nulla Osta electronically to the competent Diplomatic Representation. After the nulla osta has been issued, the foreign worker can go to the diplomatic-consular representation of his/her own country to apply for an entry visa or, if already legally residing in Italy for another reason, directly to the Sportello Unico to sign the residence contract. The work nulla osta is revoked if the worker does not go to the Sportello Unico within 8 days of entering Italy to sign the residence contract, except in cases of force majeure.

Who are the highly qualified workers who can obtain the Blue Card?

Highly qualified workers are considered to be foreigners in possession of a qualification issued by higher education institutions, certifying the completion of a post-secondary training course of at least three years' duration, with the achievement of the relative diploma and in possession of a higher professional qualification.
The professional qualification attested by the country of origin must be among those provided for in levels 1, 2 and 3 of the ISTAT classification of occupations CP 2011:
level 1: legislators, entrepreneurs and senior management;
level 2: intellectual, scientific and highly specialized professions;
level 3: technical professions.
The full list can be found at:

In the case of regulated professions, i.e., those that provide for the registration in registers or rolls, are required: the recognition of the professional qualification, by the Ministry of University and Research (MIUR) and the declaration of value of the foreign qualification, issued by the competent Italian Diplomatic Representation.
If, on the other hand, it is a matter of recognition of the title relating to unregulated professions, the procedure has been simplified and it is no longer necessary in these cases to request recognition of the professional qualification, but the declaration of value relating to the foreign qualification, issued by the competent Italian Diplomatic Representation, is sufficient.

Can Blue Card holders request family reunification?

Yes, the right to family reunification is recognized to them, regardless of the duration of the residence permit, under the general conditions provided for in Article 29 of the Single Text on Immigration (Legislative Decree no. 286/98).

Can an EU Blue Card holder change jobs after entering Italy?

For the first two years of legal employment in the national territory, EU Blue Card holders are restricted both in terms of exercising work activities other than those that are "highly qualified" and in terms of the possibility of changing employer. In the first case there is an absolute prohibition, in the second case changes must be authorized in advance by the Territorial Labor Inspectorate.

Can a foreign citizen already legally residing in Italy also apply for the Blue Card?

Yes, even a foreign citizen who is already legally residing in another European Union country, or in Italy, can obtain the EU Blue Card if he/she meets the requirements. Foreigners who are excluded from the possibility of applying for the EU Blue Card are those who
- are residing for temporary protection, or international protection, or have requested recognition of such protection and are awaiting a final decision;
- are applying for residence as researchers pursuant to art.27-ter of the Single Text on Immigration;
- are family members of European Union citizens who have exercised or are exercising their right to free movement in accordance with Community rules;
- benefit from long-term resident status and reside for reasons of self-employment or subordinate work;
- enter a Member State of the European Union under commitments contained in an international agreement facilitating the entry and temporary stay of certain categories of trade and investment-related natural persons;
- reside as seasonal workers;
- are staying in Italy as posted workers pursuant to art. 27, paragraph 1 a), g) and i) of the Single Text on Immigration;
- are the recipients of an expulsion order, even if suspended (Art. 27-quater, par. 3 of the Single Text on Immigration).