DO YOU NEED A VISA OR RESIDENCE PERMIT TO ENTER AUSTRIA?
The following overview should give you an idea of whether you will need an entry permit (visa) or a residence permit to enter Austria. U.S. citizens do not need an entry permit (visa) to stay in Austria as either tourists or on a business trip for a period of up to three months. (If you enter Austria under the Visa Waiver Program, you are not allowed to take up any employment there.)
Since January 1, 2006, it is the length of your stay in Austria that determines whether you must apply for an entry permit (visa) or a residence permit.
If you are planning to take up employment in Austria, even if it is just a temporary or short-term, please make sure that you obtain all the necessary work authorization papers and (if you are not self-employed) a letter from your employer in advance. Without proper documentation, neither a visa nor a residence permit will be issued.
A) Entry Permit (Visa)
An entry permit (visa) is issued to individuals who plan to go to Austria on a temporary basis. The stay must not exceed six months (in most cases) and you are not authorized to take up any employment in Austria. In general, an entry permit is not a work authorization. However, since January 1, 2006, some exceptions to this rule--mainly concerning certain temporary job assignments--apply.
If you answer to one of the following questions is yes, you will most likely need an entry permit (visa) to enter Austria.
•Do you pass through Austria in (airport) transit?
•Do you intend to temporarily visit Austria as a tourist or to see friends or relatives who live in Austria?
•Are you on a (short-term) business trip to Austria?/ Will you take part in a conference or a seminar in Austria?
•Will you attend a German language course (up to six months)?
•Are you planning on studying or doing an internship in Austria for up to six months?
•Will you be working as a guest professor at an Austrian university for one semester?
B) Residence Permit
A residence permit is issued to foreign nationals who want to stay in Austria for more than six months.
If you answer yes to one of the following questions, you will most likely need a residence permit in order to both enter and stay in Austria.
•Are you planning on moving to Austria for an unlimited period of time because you are retiring or you are married to an Austrian citizen?
•Will you be transferred to your company's office in Austria for more than six months?
•Are you planning on studying at a university/college or on attending school (grade 1-12) in Austria for a period longer than six months?
•Will you be working as a researcher (as stipulated by Austria's "Alien Employment Act") at an Austrian university for more than six months?
•Are you planning on taking up a one-year-job as an "au-pair" in Austria?
If you intend to stay in Austria for a period longer than 6 months, you must apply for a residence permit and not for an entry permit (visa). Residence permits are issued by the authorities in Austria. They are solely issued for stays that exceed six months.
PLEASE NOTE that you must file your application for a residence permit with the Austrian Embassy or Consulate General before you actually leave for Austria. In general, you are not allowed to go to Austria as long as your application has not been approved.
Yet, spouses and minor children of EU & EFTA citizens who reside in Austria permanently may file their application after their arrival in Austria. The same is true for all foreign nationals who may enter Austria under the visa waiver-program (e.g. U.S. citizens, Canadians, Mexicans, Brazilians).
The residence permit, once issued, is to be picked up at the issuing authority in Austria. Part of the fee is payable at the time of the application and part of the fee at the time of the pick-up in Austria. In addition, (almost) all non-EU or non-EFTA citizens who both apply for a residence permit and intend to stay in Austria for more than 24 months must sign an Integration Agreement.
There are different types of residence permits in Austria:
I) Aufenthaltsbewilligung (i.e. temporary stay in Austria for a certain purpose = Temporary Residence Permit)
•Betriebsentsandter = employee sent on TDY (temporary duty) - Application form
•Rotationsarbeitskraft = rotational employee (company representative/manager/executive) - Application form
•Selbstständiger = self-employed individual - Application form
•Forscher = researcher (individual doing research at an Austrian academic, research, or educational institution) - Application form
•Künstler = artist (self-employed or employed) - Application form
•Sonderfälle unselbstständiger Erwerbstätigkeit = special employment cases, e.g. journalist, guest lecturer, au-pair, ... - Application form
•Student = student attending college/university in Austria - Application form
•Schüler = student attending primary or secondary school (grade 1-12) in Austria - Application form
II) Niederlassungsbewilligung (for foreigners who intend to live in Austria for a longer period of time = Permanent Residence Permit)
•any purpose, private reasons (e.g. move to Austria for your retirement)
•employment or self-employment under certain circumstances
•family members of aliens living in Austria, family re-unification
III) Aufenthaltstitel "Familienangehöriger" (issued to spouses and minor children of EU or EFTA citizens who permanently reside in Austria) - Application form
IV) Aufenthaltstitel "Daueraufenthalt - EG" (issued to foreign nationals who have had the right to stay in Austria for at least the last five years; Integration Agreement has already been fulfilled) - Application form
V) Aufenthaltstitel "Daueraufenthalt - Familienangehöriger" (issued to individuals who have held an Aufenthaltstitel "Familienangehöriger" (relative) for at least the last five years; Integration Agreement has already been fulfilled) - Application form
VI) Anmeldebescheinigung (EU & EFTA citizens [except Swiss] who both work and therefore take up residence in Austria; also issued to accompanying EU & EFTA spouses and minor children)
VII) Daueraufenthaltskarte (for non-EU & non-EFTA spouses and minor children of EU & EFTA citizens [except Swiss])
VIII) Red-White-Red Card
EU Blue Card
•All foreign-language papers and documents listed below from number 6. through 11. and a)-e) (no exceptions) must be translated into German by an officially certified translator (e.g. German by demand 718-544-6150, iProbe 212-489-6035, EuroNet 212-271-0401).
•If the applicant is a minor, the application must be signed by both parents or legal guardians. These signatures must be notarized by a notary public.
•The Austrian Embassy will accept only complete applications.
•Applications must be submitted in person (no exceptions).
•Public hours: Monday through Friday, 10:30 am until 01.00 p.m.; closed on U.S. and Austrian Legal Holidays
•Please note that there is no legal claim on obtaining the residency permit applied for.
•Please allow at least one month processing time since all applications must be sent to Austria.
The following documents (if applicable) must be submitted:
1.valid and signed passport (passport must be valid for at least three months beyond date of return and must have a blank page to affix the residence permit)
2.copies of previous passports
3.Part of the consular fee must be paid at the time of your application and part of the fee has to be paid at the time of the pick up in Austria
4.application form (see above I)) - completed and signed (available only in German; application forms pertaining to categories II) to VII) are listed on the website of the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior.)
5.one recent picture (passport format, color, front view)
6.original or notarized copy of birth certificate including apostille
7.original Certificate of Good Conduct/Criminal Record with apostille (available at local police station; not older than three months)
8.proof of health/travel/accident insurance (original letter from insurance company confirming coverage in Austria)
9.proof of sufficient financial means (e.g. scholarship, letter of grants, bank statement of last two months [parent's account accepted for students only], other proof of income)
10.proof of lodging in Austria (e.g. lease contract, ownership papers)
11.Statement of Financial Liability (Haftungserklärung; available only in German) if stay in Austria is sponsored by someone residing in Austria (does not apply to au-pair applicants)
12.one set of fotocopies of all supporting documents
Please note: All foreign documents can only be accepted with an apostille.
In addition to the above documents, the following items must be submitted, too:
•employee: work permit (issued by the Austrian Employment Service AMS), statement of salary or income, confirmation letter issued by employer
•self-employed: last income tax statement, contract letter, business plan, letter of agreement, etc.
•family reasons/reunion: marriage certificate, divorce certificate, death certificate, certificate giving evidence of relationship to another individual; students: original letter of admission to Austrian school or university/college
•au-pair: au-pair contract (signed by both au pair and host family), letter of certification (issued by the Austrian Emplyment Service AMS)
Proof of basic language proficiency in German
Third country nationals must submit proof of basic language proficiency in German when first applying for the following residence permit:
•Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte plus
•Niederlassungsbewilligung – ausgenommen Erwerbstätigkeit
•Niederlassungsbewilligung – Angehöriger
Proof may be presented in the form of a publicly recognized language diploma or a language course certificate issued by a certified language school, confirming in writing that the individual concerned has reached at least a basic level of proficiency in the German language (level A1). The following language schools are recognized:
•Österreichisches Sprachdiplom Deutsch
•Telc GmbH or
•Österreichischer Integrationsfonds (ÖIF)
The diploma or the certificate may not be older than one year at the time of the application. Austrian representations abroad will be able to tell you which language schools in your country of origin are certified.
The following individuals are exempt from the obligation to provide proof:
•Individuals who are under-age at the time of their application
•Individuals for whom the procedure would present an undue burden due to physical or psychological health problems (these must be confirmed by a public health officer)
•Relatives of or holders of the following residence permits: the Austrian Red-White-Red Card, the EU Blue Card, or Daueraufenthalt-EG (the latter is accepted only if the person in question was initially in possession of the blue EU card).
Source: Embassy of Austria Washington, D.C. www.austria.org