Visas, residence permits and work permits for Austria
How to obtain a visa or work permit in Austria

Visa for austria: A person stamps a passport

To get a visa for Austria you can apply to your nearest Austrian embassy. © simarik /

Austria is an attractive country for visiting students or researchers to work, but their rules surrounding residency and permission to work can appear complex and bureaucratic. This article provides information about how you can meet these requirements.

Published: 2019-01-26

By: Gerard Thompson

Austria falls within the Schengen Area of Europe. This means you can apply to your nearest Austrian embassy for a Schengen visa. However, visa requirements vary greatly depending on your situation. There are different visas for tourism, business, cultural activities, work and studies. The key facts:

  • Holders of a passport from an EU/EA nation: These do not require a visa.
  • If you are staying for more than three months, you will need to apply for a registration certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung) and prove you have adequate means of subsistence or are attending a college of education.
  • After five continuous lawful years of residence, you can apply for a long-term residence certificate (Bescheinigung des Daueraufenthalts).

All applicants from outside of the EU/EEA must apply at their nearest Austrian embassy or consulate general in person. Applicants will be asked to submit biometric data (such as fingerprints).

EU/EEA citizens as well as citizens of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein do not require any special permit to enter and reside in Austria for up to 90 days per 180 days. If they wish to stay for longer, they must get a certificate of registration (Anmeldebescheinigung). If you do not obtain this, then the authorities can charge a penalty fee of 200 EUR.

If you are an EU citizen seeking to obtain a certificate of registration, you will need the following documents:

  • A current passport or personal ID
  • Confirmation from your employer
  • Proof of adequate means of subsistence
  • Proof of admission from your higher education institution

Permanent residency can be sought within four months of arrival, which you can do at a residence authority such as the state governor (Landeshauptmann) or administrative district authority (Bezirksverwaltungsbehörde).

If you do not have EU/EEA or Swiss nationality, you are considered a national of a third country. This will necessitate a residence permit to stay in Austria. The best option to obtain permanent residence in Austria is to apply for a Red-White-Red Card. This facilitates the immigration of qualified workers and their families, with the prospect of permanent settlement. Cards are issued for a period of up to 24 months and entitle the holder to settlement and employment with a specified employer. The following people are eligible:

  • Highly skilled qualified workers
  • Skilled workers in occupations that have a shortage of workers
  • Graduates of Austrian universities and colleges of higher education

For shorter stays, the following should be considered:

If you wish to stay for a period of no longer than six months you will need a travel visa (Visa C) (Schengenvisum) for a maximum of 90 days within six months, or a residence visa (Visa D) for stays of between 91 days and six months. In exceptional cases, a D visa with a validity period of up to 12 months may also be issued. In order to apply for such visa, you must visit an Austrian embassy or consulate in your country of residence.

Overview of residence for researchers from third-country nations

Residence Permit - Researcher Residence Permit – Special Cases of Gainful Employment Red-White-Red Card


In person by the researcher at the competent Austrian settlement authority

In person by the researcher at the competent Austrian representative authority

By employer at the competent settlement authority. Applicants who are not entitled to enter without a visa must await outcome of procedure abroad


Mandatory presentation of a hosting agreement at certified institution

Documentation of employment contract and accommodation as well as a police clearance certificate if asked by the authorities

Documentation of accommodation, funding for living costs, employers’ certificate, health insurance and police clearance certificate if asked by the authorities

Validity Period

24 months

12 months

12 months


Possible in Austria

Possible in Austria

Possible in Austria

Family Members

Family members may apply for Residence Permit- Family

Family members can apply for Residence Permit - Family

Family Members can apply for Red-White-Red Card Plus


For US and Canadian citizens, you do not need a visa if you are visiting Austria for less than 90 days.

As a citizen of the United States, gaining a visa in Austria is a similar process to that of any other non-EU citizen. Applicants must submit biometric data as part of their application. Frequent travellers to the Schengen Area do not need to give their fingerprints every time they apply for a visa as this information is stored.

Visas for Austria can be submitted at a VFS Visa Application Centre if you reside in certain states, or they can be submitted to an Austrian consulate general – this depends on the jurisdiction of the embassy area. Full details can be found here.

It is important to note that if you do not reside from the US, you cannot apply for an Austrian visa within the US, but your country of residence.

Like with the US, Canadian visa applicants must be made in person at the Austrian Embassy Ottawa.

Most migration from third-country nationals is done through the Red-White-Red Card, which is specifically designed to grant residence based on the skills of potential incoming workers and to fill shortages in the Austrian labour market.

To be considered as a highly qualified worker you must score more than 70 in the points-based scheme by the Austrian authority’s scale. Under this system you score different amounts of points for things like your professional qualifications, work experience and your ability to speak German.

If you need further information, then you can check the government’s migration portal.

EU/EEA citizens are free to work as they please in Austria, and do not need any permits at all for the first three months. Just like with residency, if you are planning to stay longer than 90 days, then you must apply for a certificate of registration in order to continue your stay or face a 200 EUR fine.

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Citizens of non-EU countries can apply in three different ways when you seek employment in Austria. The first is a restricted work permit (Beschäftigungsbewilligung) which will last for one year; a work permit that lasts two years (Arbeitserlaubnis), or an unrestricted work permit for five years (Befreiungsschein).

The work permits must be applied for in the sequence given above; you cannot immediately apply for the five-year permit – each permit continues to act as a level of proof that you are in employment and can support yourself.

For non-EU residents, a work permit will require a lot of supporting documentation – which has to be submitted in German at the Austrian Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS). The approval process will typically take about seven weeks, if everything goes smoothly. If approved, future employees are required to get a visa application in their usual country of residence. Work permits must be applied for by the prospective employer.

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