EU Blue Card for Highly-Qualified Foreign Employees

One of the options for work and stay in Bulgaria available to highly-qualified nationals of non-EU Member States is the so called EU Blue Card which represents a single employment and residence permit.

The EU Blue Card is issued by the “Migration” Directorate of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior after the foreign national has obtained a permit for highly-qualified employment in Bulgaria from the Bulgarian Employment Agency and a long-term stay visa type “D” or a continuous residence permit issued on another ground.

Permit for Highly-Qualified Employment

The application for a permit for highly-qualified employment is submitted with the Employment Agency by the Bulgarian employer of the foreign national. It is granted provided that the working conditions and the pay of the foreign employee would not be less favourable than those applicable to Bulgarian employees for the same type of work. It is important to note that the general limitation restricting the number of foreign employees to 20% of the average number of Bulgarian, EU, EEA and Swiss employees hired by the same employer during the last 12 months does not apply to highly-qualified employees working under an EU Blue Card.

The third-country national is issued a permit for highly-qualified employment within 15 days of the application if the following conditions are met:

a) The foreign national must have a university degree obtained following at least a three-year educational course carried out in an educational institution recognized as a university by the respective foreign state. The higher education must be proven with a diploma, certificate or another relevant document.

b) The gross labour remuneration payable to the foreign national according to his employment agreement is at least 1.5 times higher than the average employment salary in Bulgaria for the last 12 months.

c) The employment agreement of the foreign employee is concluded for at least 12 months.

Issue Issue of an EU Blue Card

Following the issue of the permit for highly-qualified employment the foreign national may apply for the issue of the EU Blue Card. The application must be accompanied by a copy of the foreigner’s valid international passport and evidence that s/he is health insured in compliance with the Bulgarian legislation or disposes of a medical insurance. The applicant is relieved from the obligation to reside outside Bulgaria during the application process which is applicable to the other grounds for work and stay in Bulgaria.The EU Blue Card is issued by the “Migration” Directorate of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior for a period of up to 4 years and can be re-issued for another period.

Restrictions of the EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card entitles the foreign employee to work in Bulgaria only for a particular employer and only according to conditions of the permit in terms of place of work, job position and term of employment. The foreign national can change his employer during the first two years of his employment only after a written permission of the Bulgarian Employment Agency. In case the foreign employee loses his job he is entitled to seek a new job and start new work within 3 months without losing the EU Blue Card.

Residence Permit for the Members of the Family of the EU Blue Card Holder

The members of the family of the EU Blue Card holder are entitled to continuous residence permits valid for the period of the EU Blue Card if for the period of their residence they dispose of lodging, health insurance and sufficient funds to support themselves no less than the minimum monthly salary (BGN 510 for 2018).  Family members are also entitled to work in Bulgaria as employees or freelancers provided that they obtain the necessary permits.


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