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Your guide to living in Austria. Austrian citizenship, residence permits and more.
Why live in Austria?
There are so many reasons to live in Austria. It is a stunningly beautiful place with mountains, lakes, hiking in the summer and skiing in winter. And being in the middle of Europe allows you to easily take short trips to neighbouring countries.
But its cities are amazing too! In fact, Vienna has been rated as the most liveable city in the world by the Mercer quality of living survey for the last 10 years. They look at factors such as political stability, crime, personal freedom, healthcare, education, housing, recreation and public transport. If Vienna is such a great place to live you can be sure that the rest of Austria is pretty special too.
Then you have Austria’s location – right in the centre of Europe. Visiting other cultures and countries is a piece of cake.
Employment rates are rising and the country’s economy is growing. Importantly, this is creating new opportunities for immigrants wanting to try their luck in one of Europe’s most wealthy nations.
Austria Visas and Permits
Austria offers a range of residency and visa options. We’ll look at some of your options to live and work in Austria here.
Austria Startup Visa
The Red-White-Red Card is available to startup founders. It is managed on a points allocation basis with work experience, qualifications, startup funding, capital, language capability and membership of accelerators/incubators all being eligible to earn points.
Austria Person of Independent Means Visa
To be eligible for this visa, you must be able to show an income that will allow you to live in Austria without having to work there. This income should be a regular monthly income of at least twice the amount of the standard rates of the General Social Insurance Act (ASVG). In 2020, the amount was €1,993 for a single person, €2,994 for married couples or partnerships, and an additional €298 for each child.
Here is the official government website for more information on this visa
Austria Student and Graduate Visa
As a student or graduate of a university or college in Austria, you are allowed to work. However, you must be able to show that the work will not interfere with the study that the visa was granted to complete.
Austria Working Holiday Visa
Citizens of Hong Kong, Israel, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan aged 18–30 can apply for a 6-month and one-year Austrian working holiday visa.
Austria Family Visas
- If your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of Austria, you are probably eligible for residency. If your spouse is an Austria citizen, you can apply for Austria citizenship after being resident in Austria for a period of 6 years. Please note that your status of spouse needs to be legally recognised in this country.
- See the Austria citizenship section below for more information on residency or Austria citizenship based on descent.
Austria Tourist Visas
Austria is part of the SCHENGEN area and offers a standard SCHENGEN tourist visa.The Austria tourist visa is valid for 90 days.
Austria Work or Business Visas
The Austrian red-white-red card aims to help qualified workers from non-EEA countries to work in Austria. You can apply under the following categories:
- Very Highly Qualified Workers where if eligible under their points system, you will get a 6-month visa to find a job.
- Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations
- Other Key Workers for those who have an offer for a job where no equally qualified person registered as a jobseeker at the Public Employment Service can do it.
- Student or graduate (see below)
- Startup Founders, if you want to establish a company in Austria to deliver innovative products, services, processing methods or technologies. You need to have capital of € 50,000 minimum with an equity share of at least 50 % in the company as well as meeting other criteria such as German language skills.
- Self Employed key workers can apply if they intend on moving a minimum of € 100,000 of investment capital to Austria or if they intend on creating new jobs in Austria.
If you have a recognized university degree or professional experience as well as a work contract or binding job offer, you may be eligible for an “EU Blue Card”. The Blue Card is a four-year temporary work and residence permit. This also gives you free movement within the Schengen area and enables your family to join you. If you do not have a work contract or job offer, you can register on the EU Blue Card Network, where European employers can view your details and connect with you around job opportunities. This is also where you apply for the EU Blue Card.
Austrian citizenship and an Austrian passport are highly sought after. The Austrian passport was recently ranked as the 7th most powerful in the world. It offers visa-free travel to 185 countries and territories. Here are some of the ways you can access Austrian citizenship.
Austria citizenship through your Family
- If your mother was an Austria citizen at the time of your birth, and you were born after 1st September 1983, you are probably also an Austria citizen.
- If your father was an Austrian citizen at the time of your birth, you are an Austrian citizen if your parents were married. If they were unmarried, your father needed to have to recognised his parenthood within 8 weeks of your birth.
- If your spouse is an Austria citizen, you can apply for Austria citizenship after being resident in Austria for a period of 6 years. Please note that your status of spouse needs to be legally recognised in this country.
Austria Citizenship for an extraordinary contribution
If you have made an outstanding contribution to Austrian life you can be offered Austria citizenship in recognition. The contributions are not just financial, they can be in other sectors. Although Austria does not have a named Austria Citizenship by Investment program, effectively this functions in the same way.
Austria Citizenship by Investment
Although Austria does not have a formal Citizenship by Investment Program, they can award Austria citizenship to someone who has made an extraordinary contribution to the country. This can be a donation, an investment as well as something else such as job creation.
Whether you are eligible or not is determined by the government of the day. Our sources however say that, at a minimum, the applicant should be able to:
- Invest a minimum of €2 million in a business, create a number of local jobs, or create significant export sales.
- show that they have no criminal record and are in good standing in general
- show that they have links to Austria such family or a property or something similar.
The application process can take up to 3 years and it not easy.
Have you moved to and lived in Austria? We’d love to hear about your experiences living in this great place and also any advice you have on Austrian visas and Austrian citizenship. If you would like to share your expat story then please contact us.
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