Close this search box.

Work permit

Depending on the work, research position or educational situation, different work permits exist in the EU. We have listed the five most common groups and the corresponding information below. Head to a great overview and quick check (“”) on the applicable conditions when moving to Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands for whatever your profile.

With the EU Blue Card, you have the right to live and work in the EU as a highly qualified worker from a non-EU country. 

To obtain it, you must be able to prove your higher qualification through a relevant educational degree or at least five years of professional experience. The annual gross salary of the employment contract or binding job offer (for one year at least) must show an above-average salary (conditions are different to sponsor the bluecard for partners or others). 

To obtain a blue card for oneself, the annual gross salary must be at least one and a half times the national average. 1,5x the national average would amount to a gross salary of about

– min. €5,200/month for the blue card in Belgium,

– min. €5,900/month for the blue card in Germany

– min. €4,200/month for the blue card in the Netherlands (where gross and net salaries tend to be closer)

The EU Blue Card does not apply to self-employed persons and entrepreneurs.

Directive 2014/66/EU has (adopted in 2014) has unified intra-corporate transferees from third states. Note, however, that Belgium (with an unsatisfactory application of European directives until 2020), Germany (brochure), and the Netherlands have different adaptations into their respective national legislations.

If you are an employee from a third country who is temporarily transferred by your employer to an establishment within the EU, there are a few basic requirements for obtaining a work permit.

You or your company must:

  • Prove that the EU branch belongs to the same company as your ‘home’ branch.
  • Prove that you have already been employed by your company for the last three to twelve months
  • Provide a valid employment contract
  • Prove that you have the necessary professional qualifications
  • Provide a valid travel document or visa
  • Provide evidence that you have or will have a valid health insurance policy

You may also need a letter of assignment from the employer, besides your employment contract, with information on the duration of the transfer, location of the branch, and terms of the contract.

Your salary must not be less than the average salary of a national citizen in a comparable position.

If you want to do research in an EU country for more than three months / 90 days, you need a hosting agreement with an approved research institution. This includes institutions that have been approved by national authorities to host researchers from non-EU countries.

Besides the hosting agreement, you must provide evidence of your required scientific qualifications. You must also provide evidence for sufficient financial resources for the research project and health insurance. Furthermore, you must be in possession of valid travel documents.

Find more info on the hosting agreements per country by



The Netherlands

The stay is valid for at least one year and can be extended if the necessary conditions are met. Should the project last less than one year, the residence permit is valid for the duration of the project.

As a third-state national, you are eligible for residence in an EU-country if:

– you are a full-time student to obtain a higher education degree, e.g. diploma, certificate, or doctorate

– you can cover the living and study costs as well as the costs for the return journey.

Depending on your country of study (see country profiles), you will need to prove the language proficiency of the study program. Alternatively, the higher education institution can proof to  finance the fees incurred for you.

On top, you will need valid travel documents, health insurance, and parental authorisation if you are not considered an adult in your destination country.
You will receive a residence permit of at least one year, which can be extended if you meet the required conditions. If your studies last less than one year, the permit is valid for the duration of your studies.

As a third-state national, you are entitled to a residence permit if you have a signed training agreement for unpaid work in an EU country and have sufficient financial means to maintain yourself (meaning €30-45/day). The conditions vary depending on the EU country.

Make it in Germany webpages explains the basics with a explanatory video on “Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz” (in place since March 2020) that allows for more immigration for non-academics. It focusses on of skilled workers or people doing a training on the job (“Berufsausbildung”).

Also worth reading:

National limitations

As for getting a visa, work permits are bound to a certain country and do not always allow for labour flexibility across borders. Head to the information on Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands to explore your opportunities for working in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine.

I have a question