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The process and ease of acquiring a work permit in a foreign country will largely depend on your nationality. Below you will find useful information on work permits and visas for different countries:


EU Countries

In many EU countries obtaining a work visa is a relatively straightforward and speedy process, especially if you have a job offer and hold a university degree.

If you are a legal citizen of an EU member state, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland, you’re entitled to work in any other EU country without a permit.

If you are a non-EU citizen, you can apply for the EU Blue Card, a Europe-wide residence and work permit that allows highly qualified professionals from outside the EU to live and work anywhere in the EU (excluding Denmark and Ireland).

If you are a non-EU citizen and a qualified worker, you must also meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a university degree. In exceptional cases, 5+ years of relevant professional experience may be enough. According to the official website of the European Commission, only some EU Member States (including France, Sweden, Poland, Portugal, and Spain) may accept relevant work experience as proof of having higher professional qualifications.
  • Have an offer for employment for at least 12 months.
  • Meet the minimum salary threshold in your relocation destination. This is set nationally, and varies from country to country.

Processing of EU Blue Card applications typically takes a maximum of 90 days. The card is issued for the duration of your employment contract, plus three months, but never for more than four years. You can read more about the EU Blue Card rules here.

The EU Blue Card is not the only option though. Most EU countries offer alternative permits with far less paperwork.

For example, if you have an employment contract with a Netherlands-based employer, applying for a Highly skilled migrant residence permit might be a good alternative. Keep in mind however, that your employer must be a recognized sponsor by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IN