How To Apply For A Visa In Austria

Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland do not need a visa to visit, live or work in Austria. Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of other countries – those that have a treaty with the Schengen area – do not require a visa for visits of up to 90 days in a 180-day period, whether you are visiting for tourist or business purposes. A full list of the eligible countries can be found on the Schengen Area website. For citizens in these countries who wish to stay for longer, or who are taking up employment in the country, a visa is required.

Citizens of all other countries must have a valid visa to enter Austria for any purpose. If you wish to live in Austria for longer than 90 days, or to work there, and you are not a citizen of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, you will need a work permit and a residence permit. All documentation must be submitted in German or English, and you must be at least competent in German, whether you are seeking work or residence.

Visas

If you come from a country that does not have a treaty with Austria or the Schengen Area, but you already hold a residence permit from another Schengen country, or from the USA, Canada, Japan, or any other country that guarantees you within the Schengen Area, or are the spouse or a child (under 21) of a Schengen Area citizen, you do not need to apply for a visa for a short visit (up to 90 days). If you do not have such a permit, you must apply for a visa before you can enter the country.

Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland do not need a visa to visit, live or work in Austria.

There are several different types of visa, depending on the nature of your visit. More details can be found on embassy websites. You must apply at least 15 working days before you intend to travel; at busy times, it is advisable to allow longer – you can apply up to three months in advance. You will need to book an appointment at the Austrian embassy or consulate in your home country, which can usually be done online. You must then complete the application form, which can be downloaded from embassy websites and will ask for your personal information, the reason for your visit and other details relevant to your trip.

Your application must be supported by:

• A valid passport – this must not expire for at least three months after your intended arrival date, should have at least two blank pages and should be no more than 10 years old
• Two identical colour, full-face passport-size photographs of yourself
• Copies of any previous Shengen visas, if relevant
• A cover letter explaining the purpose of your visit and your itinerary
• Proof of Schengen Area health insurance
• Details of your flights, with dates and flight numbers
• Proof of accomodation in Austria
• Proof of your status (birth certificate, marriage certificate or similar)
• Proof that you have the means to support yourself while in Austria

If you are accompanied by a minor child, you must also supply their birth certificates, an application form signed by both parents, certified copies of both parents’ passports or I.D. and, if you are divorced and have full custody of your child, a family court order.

For business trips, you must also supply:

• An invitation from the Austrian company you intend to visit, with their full address and the dates of your visit
• A certificate from your employer, stating the reason for your trip
• A recent business bank statement
• Memorandum and Article of Association, in the form of an original certified copy
• Trade insurance
• Proof of finance for the trip

Once your application is submitted, you must attend an interview, which usually lasts around 15 minutes. You will be asked about your personal circumstances, the reasons for your trip, your financial situation during the trip, your employment, your itinerary and accommodation, and, for some types of visa, your qualifications. A non-refundable fee must be paid, which, at the time of writing, is €60 per person ($67/£50). This is reduced or suspended for children, depending on their circumstances. Applications take about 15 days in most circumstances, but can take up to 30 days.

Work Permits

If you intend to work in Austria, you may apply for a job seeker visa, a Red-White-Red Card or a European Blue Card.

Job Seeker Visa

Job seeker visas are offered to very highly qualified workers who score a minimum of 70 points on the Austrian Government Migration website criteria. You will have at least a competent level of fluency in German or English; a qualification taken over a minimum of four years from an institute of higher education; and appropriate experience. You will also need to be under 45 years old. Extra points are awarded for qualifications in maths, natural sciences, technology and informatics. At the time of writing, qualified graduates in mechanics, power, telecommunications, specialist engineering, business administration, economics, and medicine are particularly sought. Once you have determined you have enough points, you must apply for the job seeker visa at the Austrian embassy or consulate in your home country. In support of your application, you must supply:

• Your passport or other valid travel document
• Your birth certificate or equivalent
• A recent passport-size photograph of yourself
• Proof of your local accommodation
• Proof of health insurance
• Proof of financial means to support yourself while seeking work
• Certificates and documents proving your academic qualifications and the status of the awarding institution
• Testimonials and any certificates relating to your work experience
• Proof of your language skills
• Proof of any other qualification, experience, status or award that you have claimed in your points’ total (prizes, patents, publications, experience at a senior position etc.)

A fee of €150 ($166/£127) is payable.

Red-White-Red Card

You may apply for a Red-White-Red Card if you are a skilled worker in a shortage occupation, a key worker, a self-employed key worker, a start-up founder, or if you have received a job offer in Austria.

You can apply either via the Austrian embassy or consulate in your own country, or at the appropriate residence authority in Austria. If you already have a job offer, your future employer may also submit the application with the residence authority on your behalf. An Employer’s Declaration (Arbeitgebererklärung), containing the specific details about the employer and your potential employment with them, must accompany the application. Skilled workers and key workers must score a minimum of 33 points on the migration website criteria; start-up founders must score at least 50. There is no point system for self-employed key workers, but they must be able to prove that they will bring a macro-economic benefit to Austria. A list of the skills and professions currently sought is maintained on the Austrian Government Migration website. In support of your application, you must supply:

• A valid passport or other travel document
• Your birth certificate or equivalent
• A recent passport-size photograph
• Proof of local accommodation
• Proof of health insurance
• Proof of means of subsistence
• Proof of language skills
• Proof of your qualifications, vocational education or training, skills and experience
• Documents showing the potential economic and other benefits of your work or proposed business to Austria
• A business plan
• Evidence of transfer of capital and of the intended jobs to be created
• Any necessary craft authorisations, as is appropriate to your particular area of employment

A fee of €120 ($133/£101) must accompany the application, with a further €20 ($22/£17) payable when it is granted. A Red-White-Red Card is usually issued for a period of three years. Your spouse or civil partner, and any minor children, may accompany you to live in Austria.

EU Blue Card

You may apply for an EU Blue Card in the following circumstances:

• You have completed a degree or other qualification at a university, or equivalent organisation, over at least three years
• You have a binding job offer in Austria that is relevant to your education and qualifications
• Your salary will be at least 1.5 times the gross national income of full-time employees in Austria
• Your employer can show no equally qualified worker is registered as seeking work and available with the Public Employment Service

You can apply by yourself, at the Austrian embassy or consulate in your home country, or through your potential employer, at the relevant migration authority within Austria. The application must be supported by:

• An Employer’s Declaration (Arbeitgebererklärung), containing specific details about the employer and your potential employment with them
• Your passport or other valid travel document
• Your birth certificate or equivalent
• A recent passport-size photograph
• Evidence of health insurance
• Evidence of your completion of your course of study and the status of the awarding body
• Your marriage certificate, or certificate of civil partnership; your certificate of adoption; proof of divorce or dissolution of partnership; or proof of death of spouse/partner (as appropriate and applicable)

You may also be asked to supply proof that you have no criminal record.

The fees are the same as for the Red-White-Red Card, but you will need to pay an additional fee of €20 ($22/£17) for biometric data. The Blue Card lasts for two years, and your spouse or civil partner, as well as any minor children, may accompany you.

You can apply for an EU Blue Card by yourself, at the Austrian embassy or consulate in your home country.
Residence Permits

Most residence permits for Austria relate to employment or study. However, if you wish to retire to Austria, you may be granted a permit if you can meet the conditions listed below. Please note that only a limited number of such permits are available each year. You need to demonstrate that you have:

• A fixed and permanent regular income, which will cover your subsistence without need of local welfare assistance – this must be equal to at least twice the standard rates of the Austrian General Social Insurance Act. At the time of writing, this means a monthly income of at least €1933($2136/£1629) for single people and €2944 ($2353/£2482) for couples. If you have dependent children, you must have an additional €298 ($329/£251) per child.
• Healthcare insurance which covers you for all risks
• Proof that you have legal accommodation of sufficient size for you and your family in Austria
• No criminal record, and are no threat to public order or national security
• Proof of German language skills to at least a basic level

You must pay a non-refundable fee of €120 ($133/£101) when you apply, with a further €20 ($22/£17) payable if the visa is granted, as well as an additional fee of €20 ($22/£17) for biometric data.

Similar visas are available for artists and researchers. Details can be found on the Austrian Government Migration website.

Useful Links

The following websites are good sources of additional information:

Austrian Embassy in Washington D.C. website
Austrian Embassy in London website
Schengen Visa Info website
Migration.gv.at