Visas for Austria

Visas for Austria
Updated 2023-10-07 19:43

If you are moving to Austria as a student, worker or entrepreneur, you may require a visa depending on your home country or country of residence. The following article contains general information on Austrian visa requirements

Austria welcomes expatriates for the purpose of travel, business, and study, but certain conditions must be met to obtain a visa. For longer-term visa types, proficiency in the German language is essential. Most immigration website information and visa application forms are also only available in German. As Austria is part of the European Union (EU), EU passport holders do not need a visa to relocate to the country for purposes of work or study.

Austria is part of the Schengen agreement, which means that if you have a visa for Austria you will be able to visit the following countries as well: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Naturally, the reason and duration of the stay are important. Should it be a tourist visit? Do you want to come to Austria because of a job or university? How long do you want to stay? For a longer holiday or visit, the tourist visa will certainly suffice.

The bureaucracy if you want to apply for a residence in Austria can be a bit confusing at the beginning. If you want to live here, officially, it's no longer called a visa but a residence permit. We will now look at all the possibilities individually.

Tourist visa for Austria

Austria does not require a tourist visa for citizens of many countries for stays under 90 days. These 90 days are valid for a period of six months, i.e., within 180 days. In this case, working is generally not permitted. If you are unsure, contact your consulate for more information. The list of countries that are not required to have a tourist visa can be found via the useful links below.

For citizens of certain countries, airport transfer and tourist visas are required.

From the EU/EEA and Switzerland: Visitors from these countries do not need a passport to enter the country, an identity card is sufficient.

Will your holiday turn into a longer stay? If you stay longer than three months, you have to report to the respective embassy and register.

Different types of visas: Visa D and Co.

Visa A:

Visa A is a flight transfer visa that is only valid for travelers from a few countries in some situations.

C: Travel visa

This is the classic tourist visa. For a maximum stay of 90 days within the mentioned period of 180 days, the visa C entitles you to enter and stay in the territory of the Schengen States. You can travel around the EU, and you will be flexible in duration. Just consult the Austrian embassy in your home country or country of residence before traveling to Austria.

When to apply? You may apply for the visa at the representative authority a maximum of six months before your planned travel date. If you plan a spontaneous trip, don't forget: Generally, you should not apply later than 15 calendar days before your planned stay in Austria.

Here you can see or download and print the form that you have to fill out in order to apply for the Visa C.

D: Residence visa

Visa D generally entitles the holder to a stay of three to six months. In exceptional cases, it is also possible to obtain a Visa D with a period of validity of up to a whole year (for example, on the basis of an international agreement) —or with a period of validity of less than three months if it is a domestic visa extension.

Good to know:

In general, the D visa can only be issued abroad. (In Austria itself, it can be extended in emergencies.) If you already are in Austria, this means that you would have to travel to another country to apply at the Austrian embassy there. Therefore, it is worthwhile to organize the visa in advance. This will save you time, money and bureaucracy.

What does this actually mean in reality? If you want to visit your partner or a family member in Austria for a longer period of time, just apply for a D visa. It cannot always be extended further, but you can apply for it again after sometime after your return. In this way, you can spend a lot of time together.

Here, you can see or download and print the form that you have to fill out in order to apply for the Visa D (for stays up to six months).

Entry permit in Austria

An entry permit or entry visa is valid for stays up to six months and may be required, depending on your reasons for entering the country. Entry permits are required for those who are:

  • Short-term business travelers coming for business or to attend a conference;
  • Tourists, depending on their country of origin;
  • Short-term students:
  • German language students.

Residence permit in Austria

As soon as you live in Austria, you have to register at the Residents' Registration Office. You will receive the so-called “Meldezettel”. It is important for many official procedures, such as opening an Austrian bank account, registering a new telephone number, etc.

If you reside in a tourist accommodation for a maximum of 2 months (e.g., hotel, hostel, guest house, camping facility, private room, touristic apartment), registration with the registration office is not needed.

Residence permits are required for non-EU residents who wish to live, work or study in the country for more than six months. Residence permits can be temporary or permanent.

Temporary residence permits apply to students, au pairs, academic researchers, and employees who have been relocated to Austria temporarily but for a duration longer than six months. Students applying for this visa type must show proof of their enrolment within an educational facility.

Permanent residence permits apply to those who are moving to Austria for purposes of retirement or family reasons. Some employment and self-employment visas also fall under this category.

If you would like to obtain the permanent residence, you need to apply for the so called “Red-White-Red Card”. It will be issued for a period of two years, exactly 24 months.

The Red-White-Red Card

There is quite a lot of bureaucracy waiting for you. But, if you plan it well and go step by step, you will be able to manage it. You can either take these steps on your own or look for a lawyer in Austria who can support you and has a lot of experience with these processes. Depending on your possibilities and your patience, hiring a lawyer could be an option.

  1. To obtain the Red-White-Red Card, one has to belong to one of these groups:
  2. Very Highly Qualified Workers and Key Workers;
  3. Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations (such as power engineering, engineers for agricultural machinery, technicians, graduated nurses, electrical mechanics, toolmakers and many more) Here is the official list where you control if you actually fall into this group and your sector is urgently needed;
  4. Graduates of Austrian Universities and Colleges of Higher Education: If you have graduated from university here and find a suitable job in Austria a few weeks later, you meet this criterion and can apply for the red-white-red card;
  5. Regular Workers in Tourism, Agriculture and Forestry: Tourism and agriculture are two very important sectors in Austria and in these areas, it is often not difficult to find a suitable job. So, for example, if you want to work in a hotel in Austria for a few years or gain experience in a mountain hut, you fall into this group;
  6. Self-employed Key Workers or Start-up Founders

In order to be able to finance everyday life and fixed costs in Austria, one must earn a certain minimum net amount. In 2023, this means:

  • For singles: € 1,110.26
  • For couples: € 1,751.56
  • For each child additional € 171.31

Don't forget: To live in Austria, you need health insurance even before applying for the red-white-red card. Include this in the initial costs. Because insurance is compulsory.

Depending on to which group you belong, sooner or later, you will have to learn (basic) German and prove it with an official exam.

Let's look at another exciting possibility if you already have found an interesting job.

The EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card has different requirements. If you have a university degree and have found a well-paid job in Austria, it is worth applying for this card because there is no point system. But it has the disadvantage that you are tied to a specific employer. So, who is eligible for this card?

  • Persons who are entitled to asylum or subsidiary protection in Austria. To know more about where to find information and support, you can visit the Caritas website;
  • Persons who graduated (minimum Bachelor's degree) from a university or college, and have received a binding job offer for at least six months in Austria (which fits to your education), —you can also work self-employed—, and will earn at least the average gross annual income (the income: in Austria, there is no official minimum salary, but there are collective agreements. The salary must currently be at least about 46,000 euros, that means about 2.300 euros net).

This residence permit is valid for exactly two years as well.

Good to know:

If you already have obtained the Blue Card or the Red-White-Red Card and meet a few criteria, you can easily apply for the Red-White-Red plus Card. This means that you would be no longer tied to one employer.

If you already are entitled to live in Austria and would like to know what comes next (after the Blue or the Red-White-Red-card), how the point system for the Red-White-Red card works exactly, or how to apply for Austrian citizenship, go to our article Work Visas in Austria.

General visa requirements in Austria

Most Austrian visa types will require the applicant to provide the following:

  • Valid passport;
  • Fees, which vary depending on the visa type;
  • Completed application forms (in German);
  • Proof of German language ability may be required;
  • Health insurance which covers you for the duration of your stay;
  • Proof that you can sustain yourself (and any dependents) financially for the duration of your stay.

It is important to obtain all necessary visas before arriving in Austria. Otherwise, you may be denied entry into the country. Processing times can vary, so start the application process well in advance of your planned move. All supporting documents to visa applicants must be notarized if they are not original and translated into German.

Useful links:

Government of Austria 

Schengen Visa Info

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