If you are currently outside Germany, you should apply to the competent German mission abroad for a visa for the purpose of employment before you enter Germany. As a matter of principle, this also applies in cases in which visa-free entry would otherwise be possible. See the next paragraph for details of exceptions. Under no circumstances should you enter Germany with a tourist visa, as this type of visa can only be extended in the form of a residence title in exceptional cases. As a rule, it is otherwise necessary to leave and then re-enter the country. The visa for the purpose of employment entitles you to enter Germany and then to apply to the immigration authority that is competent for your place of residence for the EU Blue Card to be issued. You will find the contact details of the German missions abroad worldwide here:
Exceptions apply to nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United States of America. They can enter Germany on a visa-free basis and can apply to the competent immigration authority in Germany for their future place of residence for an EU Blue Card within three months of entering Germany.
Individuals who enter the country on a visa-free basis may not as a rule work immediately after entering the country as they do not hold a visa permitting them to engage in gainful employment. This is only permitted when they have received the appropriate residence title. Since it can take several weeks for one to be issued, it is recommended to apply for a visa from the competent mission, even if no visa is required, in order to be able to take up gainful employment at a later date.
If you have already held an EU Blue Card issued by another Member State of the European Union for at least 18 months, you many also submit your application in Germany. This application must be made to the competent immigration authority for your place of residence within one month after you enter Germany.
If you are currently already resident in Germany and hold a different residence title for the purpose of studying or employment, you can change this title to an EU Blue Card by applying to your competent immigration authority, provided that you fulfil the general preconditions.
Applications for an EU Blue Card and, where applicable, for the subsequent immigration of family members are to be made in person by the persons in question to the competent German mission abroad or, if the nationals mentioned above are exempt from the visa requirement, to the competent German immigration authority.
If you have any questions regarding the duration of the procedure and the documents that need to be submitted, please contact your competent German mission abroad or immigration authority, as there may be differences in the way the process is handled and it is not therefore possible to make any generally valid statements in this respect.