Application Procedure To European Union Traineeships Program
The application procedure consists of three steps:
- Create a EU Login account or login with an existing one
- Complete and submit the application form along with your supporting documents
- If successful, you will be invited to check the openings published on VBB portal and apply for a chosen traineeship post.
Step 1: Create an EU Login or connect with an existing account
Register on European Commission Authentication Service (EU Login) to begin your application.
If you are a new user
- click here to create an account
- fill in the sign-up form
- click ‘submit‘
- check your email account (including your spam folder) for confirmation
- in the email, follow the link to ‘create your password‘
- choose your password and submit it
- click ‘proceed‘ to the application form
- use either the email or your ECAS username to login afterwards.Candidates for EC traineeships cannot login using electronic IDs.
Step 2: Complete and submit the application form
a) Go to your candidate account, click on Send an application and choose the traineeship type to access the application form. Fill in the form section by section or jump from one section to another using the menu on the left-hand side of the page. Read and follow carefully the instructions provided for each section.
You do not have to fill in everything in a single session. Save your entries and log back in at any time to continue and submit your application. You can preview your application form at any time, before or after submitting it.
You cannot make changes to the application once it has been submitted.
Log in and complete each section of the application form following carefully the instructions provided.
You do not have to fill in the entire form in a single session. You can save your entries and log in later to make changes and submit your application using your username and password. You can also preview your application form in a printer-friendly pdf format at any time during the application period.
b) Upload your supporting documents.
You must attach the following supporting documents to your application form:
- Table of contents showing the list of documents in the PDF, point by point.
- A copy of your:
- valid ID card or passport
- university qualifications of studies completed before the deadline for applications
- Proof of
- university exchange programmes abroad, participation in EU or international programmes, seminars or workshops
- all declared language skills (other than mother tongue/s)
- all declared work experience
Please ensure that you upload all the justification documents to support every item declared on your application form, before submitting it. The pre-selection committee will reject your application if you do not provide adequate evidence of your declared studies, language knowledge, experience and other information stated on the form. Document only the items you have declared.
It is highly recommended to prepare your supporting documents well in advance to avoid missing the deadline. No additional documents or justifications will be admitted after the reception of the application.
Allow up to 3 working days for a response if you require (technical) assistance.
c) Once your application is submitted, you will need to wait for the results of its evaluation. You will be informed about the results via e-mail. In case of acceptance, you will be invited to apply to available traineeship positions.
Have you already submitted your application? Wait for the result of the evaluation phase! We will send the results via e-mail and publish them in your account. Make sure you check your account regularly.
If successful, we will invite you to apply to available traineeship positions.
Step 3: Apply for up to 3 traineeship posts in VBB
You will receive instructions to connect to Virtual Blue Book portal where Commission services and agencies propose various traineeship positions. The number of proposed positions matches the number of trainees per session. Carefully read the job description and the details of the post. You may mark as many positions as you like as favourites.
Candidates may apply for up to three posts. Applications for traineeship positions in VBB will be allowed for one week. Post openings will be unpublished as soon as the maximum number of applicants has been reached or after one week.
Please do not wait until the very last few days for applying.
Once there are enough applications registered for a specific post, the position will disappear from the list.
Can I apply again if my application is not selected?
Yes. You can apply for as many sessions as you want.
What kind of work experience should I declare in the form?
You can declare all types of work experience, including holiday or student jobs, as well as jobs carried out on a part-time basis.
The system allows you to indicate up to five work experiences.
Start with the longest one and put the following ones in the descending order of their duration.
If you have more than five work experiences, please select the 5 most relevant ones. Full-time volunteering activities or civic service count as work experience and shall be supported by the same kind of proof as any other experience.
Note: Non-continuous experiences with the same employer should be declared in separate entries in the application form.
What supporting documents should be attached to the application form?
You should provide the following documents, preceded by a table of contents showing the list of documents in the PDF, point by point, in the following order:
1. Copy of a valid passport or identity card proving the nationality indicated in the application form.
2. Copies of all university degrees indicated in the application form and/or transcripts from the relevant university (i.e. list of subjects studied each year).
3. Copies of certifications/licenses obtained, as indicated in the application form, if applicable (eg. IT certifications, TOGAF, ITIL, Bar exams, CPA, CFA…). In order to be taken into account, the certificate must clearly state that the holder has passed the exam. Simply attending the course does not suffice and participation certificates are not considered. Please do not indicate seminars, training courses or language certificates.
4. Copies of evidence of all declared work experience in the home country, as indicated in the application form, if applicable.
This may include:
- Letters of reference from an employer, which must be headed/duly signed and stamped, dated and clearly indicate the period of work
- Contracts that clearly state the period of work
- Pay slips which clearly state the period of work (please present first and last payslip)
- Tax declarations are accepted also for freelancers provided that they cover the period in question and the employer is clearly identified
- Invoices provided that they cover the period in question and the employer is clearly identified.
5. Copies of evidence of all international experience indicated in the application form, if applicable.
Work experience may include:
- Letters of reference from an employer, which must be headed or duly signed, dated and clearly indicate the period of work
- Contracts that clearly state the period of work
- Pay slips which clearly state the period of work (please present first and last payslip).
Note: E-mails are not accepted as evidence unless they contain a valid on-line signature.
Experience of mobility abroad may include:
- Copies of diplomas obtained abroad
- Erasmus certificates
- Certificates from study exchange programmes
- Certificates of volunteer work
- Pay slips which clearly stating the period of work (please present first and last payslip).
Note: E-mails are not accepted as evidence unless they contain a valid on-line signature.
The dates in the application form and the supporting documents must match (any mismatch even small will lead to exclusion). You should declare international studies both in the education part and in the international experience part of the application form. International work experience should be declared only under international experience.
6. Copies of evidence of language skills declared in the application form.
You can prove your proficiency in a language by one of the following means:
- Certificates of language courses clearly indicating the level of knowledge achieved issued by:
- language centres such as Instituto Cervantes, Alliance française, Goethe Institut, etc.
- state-recognised language schools issuing certified attestations and that make a clear correspondence to CERF.
- Certificate of attendance of a superior level can count as proof of the immediately inferior level. Example: Certificate of attendance of a C1 level can be accepted as proof of a B2 level.
- University course: BA or MA taught wholly or partly in the language declared:
- A degree wholly taught in the declared language allows a declaration of a C2 level
- A degree partially taught in the declared language, i.e. corresponding to at least half of the credits needed to obtain the degree (this must be clear from the transcripts: the teaching must be given and the examinations taken and passed in the said language) allows a declaration of a C1 level.
- Certificates of bilingual education at secondary levelissued by European Schools, international highschools, etc. allow a declaration of a C1 level.
- Secondary level of education entirely concluded in a certain language corresponds to a C2 level.
- Mother tongues are also considered a ‘very good knowledge’. However, no points are awarded for mother tongues and you don’t have to substantiate them either.
When will I know if I have been pre-selected?
The duration of the pre-selection procedures depends heavily on the number of applications received, but it usually spans 10-12 weeks as of the closing date of the application period. At the end of this period, you will receive a notification by email and a message will be published in your Candidate Account. We encourage you to check your account regularly to avoid missing email notifications caused by spam filters.
Please do not contact the Traineeships Office about this. Every session, between 10,000-15,000 (or even more) applications are introduced and it takes some time to process all of them.
From application to selection: how does the process work?
1. Receipt of applications
You register, complete and submit your application together with all supporting documents.
For traineeships beginning in October, applications open in January.
Applications for traineeships beginning in March open in July.
2. Assessment and eligibility check
Once the application period has ended, your application is evaluated on basis of academic profile, language skills and additional competences, skills and qualities, such as having an international profile, work experience, certificates and other achievements.
Applications not meeting eligibility criteria and formal requirements or unsupported or supported only partially by justification documents are rejected.
The highest scored candidates, around 3 000 successful candidates, are included into the Virtual Blue Book (VBB).
Candidates included in the Blue Book are invited to apply for up to three traineeship positions.
You will receive instructions to connect to Virtual Blue Book portal where Commission Directorates-General (DGs), services and agencies propose various positions for the nearest traineeship session. The number of proposed positions matches the number of trainees per session.
Carefully read the job description and the details of the post. You may mark as many positions as you like as favourites. You may apply for up to three posts in parallel.
Applications for traineeship positions in VBB will be allowed for one week. Post openings will be unpublished as soon as the maximum number of applicants has been reached or after one week. During the following two weeks, Directorates-General (DGs), services and agencies will select the most suitable candidates from all candidates who applied for their posts.
Certain Commission departments or agencies entitled to select trainees might contact their candidates directly for an informal interview, while others rely solely on the application forms.
If none of your 3 applications in VBB is successful, you still have a chance to be selected by any Service whose opening has not yet been closed.
After the first selection round, DGs, services and agencies will still have access to the complete list of unselected candidates. This second selection phase will continue as long as there are vacant positions or until the VBB is closed.
Let’s take a look at some practical elements of being a Blue Book trainee.
The selection is final and becomes official only when the Traineeships Office issues the Placement Offer in your Online Account. The Placement Offer may be for one of the positions you have applied for or for a completely new position. A task description will be enclosed. Read it carefully before responding.
You receive one placement offer only. You have the choice of accepting or rejecting the offer, but if you reject the offer, it will automatically exclude you from any future offers for that session – effectively ending that session for you.
As a trainee, you will receive a grant each month to cover your living expenses.
The grant/living allowance is paid at the end of each month. However the first one will be paid only after 4 effective weeks of traineeship and it is conditioned by having all your required financial documents ready on time.
The grant does not fall under the special tax regulations that apply to EU civil servants. At the end of the traineeship, the Traineeships Office will provide a declaration of the total grant received. Consult the tax authorities in your country of residence regarding how and if your allowances will be taxed.
Trainees placed in Belgium will have to declare their grant to the Belgian fiscal authorities that will decide on the tax to be paid.
Personal health insurance coverage is compulsory for the entire duration of your traineeship.
We advise to keep your own insurance provided that you can upload a proof of it such as the European Health Insurance card (EHIC).
If you can no longer benefit from your national health insurance scheme, you can opt for the primary health insurance scheme provided by the Commission. Make sure to read the table of benefits (especially in case of hospitalization) and add a complementary insurance if necessary.
Third-party insurance is not included in the health insurance scheme.
If you choose to not to take the Commission health insurance, you should check with your local social insurance provider for information on healthcare reimbursements. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is accepted across the EU.
The Commission may reimburse visa costs and related medical fees together with travel expenditures to and from the country of your traineeship.
Although you are not required to open a bank account in the country of your traineeship, we recommend you to do so. It may prove to be cheaper and more convenient.
The Commission does not organise your accommodation. In Brussels, most trainees typically pay between €350 and €550 per month for accommodation. The Trainees Committee website and the ‘BXL A LOUER – Bouche à Oreille’ Facebook page – are good places to start searching for accommodation.
You should plan for some expenses when you first move over, such as a deposit (one to two months) for your accommodation. The cost of living might be higher than in your home country.
Working at the Commission
Commission employees work five 8-hour days – 40 hours per week in total. The ‘core’ hours, when staff are required to be in their place of work, are 9.30 – 12 .00 and 15.00 – 16.30 every day. Trainees are entitled to 2 days’ paid leave per month.
The Commission is closed on public holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, which are not deducted from your paid leave. Leave needs to be agreed in advance with your advisor and possibly your head of unit.
There is no official dress code at the Commission. However, you are expected to dress professionally.
To find out where you will be working, a list of all buildings with maps and other information is available on the following websites.