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General Information

Aufenthaltstitel

The Settlement and Residence Act covers issuance, denial and withdrawal of residence titles for aliens residing or wishing to reside on the Federal Territory for more than six months, and the documentation of right of residence under EU law. Stays for up to six months are governed by the provisions of the Aliens Police Act. 

Residence Titles

  • "Residence Permit" (temporary time-limited right of residence)
  • "Red-White-Red – Card" (time-limited right of settlement and restricted access to the labour market)
  • "Red-White-Red – Card Plus" (time-limited right of settlement and unrestricted access to the labour market)
  • "Blue Card EU" (time-limited right of settlement and restricted access to the labour market)
  • "Settlement Permit" (time-limited right of settlement and restricted access to the labour market)
  • "Settlement Permit – gainful employment excepted" (time-limited right of settlement without access to the labour market)
  • "Settlement Permit – Dependant" (time-limited right of settlement without access to the labour market)
  • Residence Title "Family Member" (time-limited right of settlement and unrestricted access to the labour market)
  • "Long-term Resident – EU" (unlimited right of settlement and unrestricted access to the labour market)

All residence titles shall be issued in card form.

Return to topic Overview


First Applications

As a matter of principle, first applications for a residence title shall be filed abroad and in person, before entering Austria.

The application must give a detailed indication of the residence purpose. Inadmissible: filing an application covering several residence purposes, filing several applications simultaneously and filing additional applications while proceedings are still pending.

Evidence of qualifications required has to be provided.

Certain groups of persons may also file first applications in Austria:

  • Family members of Austrian nationals after lawful entry and during lawful residence,
  • Aliens within six months after the end of their lawful settlement in Austria, if they were previously not required to hold a residence permit according to the provisions of the Settlement and Residence Act,
  • Aliens within six months after loss of their Austrian citizenship or citizenship of an EEA country,
  • Children within six months after birth, if their mother holds a valid residence title,
  • Aliens entitled to enter without a visa, during their permitted stay without a visa,
  • Aliens applying for a stay permit as a researcher and their family members,
  • Holder of a job search visa (Section 24a, Aliens Police Act) applying for a “Red-White-Red – Card” pursuant to Section 41(1) of the Settlement and Residence Act (i.e. as “highly qualified specialist”) and
  • Graduates from an Austrian university applying for a “Red-White-Red – Card” while lawfully residing in Austria with a certificate under Section 64(4) of the Settlement and Residence Act

Note:
An application filed in Austria shall not grant a right of residence to the applicant beyond the time he/she is allowed to stay with or without visa. When the time allowed to stay with or without visa has expired he/she is required to depart and must await proceedings abroad.

Return to topic Overview


Applications for extension

Applications for extension have to be filed with the competent local authorities in Austria before expiry of the most recent residence title, but not more than three months earlier; applications thereafter shall be deemed to be first applications (Section 24(1) of the Settlement and Residence Act). Upon justified application, a one-time certificate may be put in the travel document (valid up to 3 months) as evidence that the application for extension was filed in due time.
This certificate implies the right to enter Austria without visa.
After filing an application for extension the applicant may continue to lawfully stay on the Federal Territory.

Competent Authority: Provincial Governor’s Office or the duly authorised district administration bodies (District Administrative or Municipal Authorities).

Information on Competent Authorities First and Extension Applications (pdf Logo 249 kB)

Return to topic Overview


Providing evidence of German language skills ("German prior to immigration")

Under Section 21a of the Settlement and Residence Act, third-country nationals, when first applying for a residence title "Red-White-Red – Card Plus", "Family Member", "Settlement Permit", "Settlement Permit – gainful employment excluded" or "Settlement Permit – Dependant" have to provide evidence of German language skills at A1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Only basic German language skills at beginner level are required.

Evidence of language skills pursuant to Section 21a of the Settlement and Residence Act may be provided by:

  • A generally acknowledged language diploma or a course certificate from one of the following institutions:
    • Austrian Language Diploma German
    • Goethe-Institut e.V.
    • Telc GmbH
    • Austrian Integration Fund (AIF)
  • A generally acknowledged language diploma or course certificate from an institution, which has been appointed by order of the Federal Minister for European and International Affairs to provide such services within the regional scope of an Austrian consular representation abroad and has been published on the official notice board of such representation, or
  • Having fulfilled the requirements of Modules 1 or 2 of the Integration Agreement (i.e. German language skills at A2 or B1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

The language diploma or course certificate must not be older than one year when being submitted.

Evidence pursuant to Section 21a of the Settlement and Residence Act do not need to be provided by

  • Persons who are underage when applying,
  • Persons who cannot reasonably be expected to provide such evidence because of their physical or mental health condition; for such condition the third-country national has to provide a medical report issued by a public health officer or by a doctor appointed by the Austrian consular representation, or
  • Family members of holders of a residence title “Red-White-Red – Card” pursuant to Section 41(1) of the Settlement and Residence Act (i.e. family members of "highly qualified specialists"), of holders of a residence title "Blue Card EU" or of holders of a residence title "Long-term Resident  – EC". The latter shall apply only if sponsor originally held a residence title "Blue Card EU".

Persons, whose proceedings for obtaining a residence title started on or before 30th June 2011, do not need to provide evidence of German language skills before immigration.

Return to topic Overview


Integration Agreement

The Integration Agreement is intended to enable integration of aliens lawfully settled in Austria. Its purpose is to provide in-depth German language skills, in particular reading and writing skills, with an aim to enable third-country nationals to participate in the social, economic and cultural life in Austria.

The Integration Agreement is comprised of two sequential Modules. Only Module 1 is mandatory when certain residence titles have been granted.

Module 2 is not mandatory, but shall be required for obtaining a long-term residence title ("Long-term Resident – EU"), as well as for obtaining citizenship.

Module 1:

Module 1 is intended to provide German language skills for in-depth basic language use (i.e. language skills at A2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

Third-country nationals are obliged to complete Module 1 when first granted one of the following residence titles:

  • "Red-White-Red – Card" (at the same time fictitious completion, i.e. Module 1 of the Integration Agreement is deemed to have been completed when a “ Red-White-Red – Card” is granted)
  • "Red-White-Red – Card Plus"
  • "Settlement Permit"
  • "Settlement Permit – gainful employment excluded"
  • "Settlement Permit – Dependant"
  • "Family Member"

Persons not required to complete the Integration Agreement:

  • Holders of a Stay Permit
  • Holders of a "Blue Card EU"
  • Persons holding a Registration Certificate, Long-term Residence Certificate, Residence Card or Long-term Residence Card (family members of EEA/Swiss nationals entitled to move and reside freely).

The compliance term shall start when a residence title was first granted and shall be for the duration of two years.

The following groups of persons are exempted from completing Module 1 of the Integration Agreement:

  1. Third-country nationals who are still underage at the time of compliance obligation:
    This covers underage minors (aged 14 years or less), who will still be minors two years after being granted the residence title.
  2. Third-country nationals in bad health condition:
    When claiming bad mental or physical health condition, a medical report by a public health officer has to be provided.
  3. Third-country nationals, who have declared in writing, that they will not stay in Austria for more than 12 months within a 24 months period:
    By such declaration they also waive the right to file an application for an extension.

Upon application and in consideration of the personal life circumstances of applicants a twelve months grace period for completing Module 1 of the Integration Agreement may be granted.

Module 1 is deemed to be completed if the following conditions have been fulfilled:

  • Attendance of German Integration classes and evidence provided by the Austrian Integration Fund (AIF) that such classes were completed successfully (classes are held at A2 level by an institute certified by AIF   Externer Link ),
     
    Obtaining a generally acknowledged certificate of adequate German language skills; in particular from one of the following institutions:
    • Austrian Language Diploma German,
    • Goethe-Institut e.V., or
    • Telc GmbH.

Evidence of adequate German language skills to complete Module 1 of the Integration Agreement may also be provided by certificates issued by the AIF upon successfully passing an A2 level test according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

  • degreeSchool-leaving qualification providing with general eligibility for admission to university pursuant to Section 64(1), University Act 2002, Federal Law Gazette I. No. 120, or completion of a medium-level vocational school,
  • Obtaining a residence title “Red-White-Red – Card” (holders of a residence title “Red-White-Red – Card” are deemed by law to have completed Module 1 of the Integration Agreement), or
  • Completion of Module 2.

For certain family members the Federal Government shall refund 50 % of the costs of German integration classes up to a maximum amount of €750, if such classes were successfully completed within 18 months of the start of the compliance obligation.

Module 2:

Module 2 is intended to provide German language skills for in-depth autonomous language use (i.e. German language skills at B1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

Third-country nationals applying for a residence title "Long-term Resident – EU" must have completed Module 2 of the Integration Agreement when filing such application.

There is no general obligation to complete Module 2 for holders of certain residence titles and no sanctions in case of non-completion shall be imposed, but a long-term residence title or citizenship can only be obtained when Module 2 has been completed.

The following groups of persons shall be exempted from the obligation to complete Module 2 of the Integration Agreement:

  1. Third-country minors who are not yet subject to compulsory educationwhen applying:
    Pursuant to Section 2 of the Compulsory Education Act, compulsory general education starts on 1st September following completion of the sixth year of age.
  2. Third-country nationals in a permanent bad health condition:
    When claiming permanent bad mental or physical health condition, a medical report issued by a public health officer has to be provided.

Module 2 is deemed to be completed if the following conditions have been fulfilled:

  1. Evidence of adequate German language skills provided by the Austrian Integration Fund (AIF),
  2. A generally acknowledged evidence of adequate German language skills; in particular  from one of the following institutions:
    • Austrian Language Diploma German,
    • Goethe-Institut e.V., or
    • Telc GmbH.
       
      Evidence of adequate German language skills to complete Module 2 of the Integration Agreement can also be provided by certificates issued by the AIF upon successfully passing a B2 level test according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
       
  3. Being a minor and attending primary school in the frame of compulsory education,
  4. Being a minor attending secondary school and having successfully completed “German” classes,
  5. Evidence of attending a compulsory school in Austria for a minimum of five years and having successfully completed “German” classes, or having successfully completed "German" classes at a 9th grade level,
  6. Evidence of having successfully completed "German" classes at a school abroad, where "German" is taught at least at a 9th grade level of an Austrian compulsory school, or
  7. Passing an apprenticeship final exam according to the Vocational Training Act.

Note:
If requirements of Module 2 are fulfilled, the same is true for Module 1.

Return to topic Overview


Stay Permits

Purposes:

  • Rotational employees
  • Seconded employees
  • Self-employed persons
  • Artists
  • Specific cases of gainful employment
  • Pupils
  • Students
  • Social Service Workers
  • Researchers
  • Family Community

Documents to be submitted:
You will find a list of the documents to be submitted in the by-law of the Settlement and Residence Act  Externer Link.

Fees:

  • Granting fee: €100 (€80 upon application, additional €20 when granted)
    In addition:
  • Cost of personalisation (photography and signature): €10

Competent authority: Provincial Governor’s Office or the duly authorised district administration bodies (District or Municipal Administrative Authorities).

Residence Purposes (pdf Logo 258 kB)

Return to topic Overview


Residence titles providing time-limited right of settlement

Purposes:

  • "Red-White-Red – Card"
  • "Red-White-Red – Card Plus"
  • "Blue Card EU"
  • "Settlement Permit"
  • "Settlement Permit – gainful employment excepted"
  • "Settlement Permit – Dependant"
  • "Family Member"

Documents to be submitted:

The documents to be submitted are listed in the by-law of the Settlement and Reference Act  Externer Link.

Fees:

  • Granting fee: €100 (€80 upon application, additional €20 when granted)
    In addition:
  • Cost of personalisation (photography and signature): €10

Competent authority:

Provincial Governor’ Office or the duly authorised district administration bodies (District or Municipal Administrative Authorities).

Return to topic Overview


Proceedings for granting a "Red-White-Red – Card"

General information:

The "Red-White-Red – Card" shall be issued to:

  • Very highly qualified workers
  • Other key workers
  • Graduates of Austrian universities and colleges of higher education
  • Self-employed key workers .

These residence title are not subject to the quota system.

When a "Red-White-Red - Card" is issued, Module 1 of the Integration Agreement is deemed to have been completed pursuant to Section 14a(4), clause 4 of the Settlement and Residence Act.

The application must be filed in person either with the competent Austrian representation (embassy, consulate) or directly with the competent residence authority in Austria after lawful visa-free entry. Further applications for a "Red-White-Red – Card" can be filed by the potential employer with the competent residence authority in Austria which can be the Provincial Governor (Landeshauptmann), the authorized Regional Administrative Authority (Bezirkshauptmannschaft) or Local Administrative Authority (Magistrat). An employer’s declaration has to be submitted along with the application.

Very highly qualified workers can also apply for a job search visa at the competent Austrian representation (embassy or consulate) and may apply for a Red-White-Red Card with the competent residence authority in Austria if they are able to submit an employment offer (work contract) during the period of validity of the visa.

The Austrian representation or residence authority will send the application and supporting documents to the Public Employment Service (AMS). The AMS will examine if the required number of points was reached and if the other special requirements for the respective category (highly qualified workers, skilled workers in shortage occupations, other key workers etc.) are met.

If all requirements are fulfilled, the AMS will send confirmation to the residence authority and the residence authority will then issue the Red-White-Red Card, provided that the other requirements under settlement and residence legislation are met (such as locally customary accommodation, health insurance coverage etc.).
The Red-White-Red Card entitles the holder to fixed-term settlement and employment by a specified employer.

Applications from self-employed key workers are forwarded by the competent residenc eauthority in Austria to the AMS, where an expertise analysing the general economic benefits of the applicant’s business activity has to be prepared. If the special criteria for self-employed key workers have been fulfilled, the local authority, upon receipt of the positive expertise, shall examine all other prerequisites of settlement (general granting requirements) and shall issue a "Red-White-Red – Card" if the requirements are met.

The competent local authority must decide within eight weeks upon granting the "Red-White-Red - Card".

Return to topic Overview


Residence Title Family Member

Third-country nationals, who are family members (spouses and registered partners aged 21 years or more at the time of application, or unmarried minors, including adoptive or step children) of Austrian nationals shall obtain the residence title "Family Member", provided the general granting requirements are met.

Other dependants (relatives, also of the spouse or registered partner in direct ascending line, if they receive actual maintenance; life partners providing evidence of a long-term relationship in their country of origin and receiving actual maintenance or other relatives under certain circumstances) may be granted a "Settlement Permit - Dependants" not subject to the quota system, provided the general granting requirements are met. In this case, the sponsor must issue a liability declaration.

Residence Purposes (pdf Logo 258 kB)

Family Reunification (pdf Logo 304 kB)

Return to topic Overview


Residence titles providing a long-term right of settlement

Purposes:

  • "Long-term Resident – EU"
    Third country nationals having been entitled to settle in Austria during the recent five years without interruption and having completed Module 2 of the Integration Agreement may apply for the residence title “Long-term Resident - EC”.
     
    The residence title “Long-term Resident - EC” provides unrestricted access to the labour market in Austria.
     
    The permission itself is unlimited; the card documenting the permission must be renewed every five years, however.

Documents to be submitted:

You will find a list of documents to be submitted in the by-law of the Settlement and Residence Act  Externer Link .

Fees:

  • Granting fee: €150 (€80 upon application, additional €70 when granted)
    In addition:
  • Costs of personalisation (photography and signature): €20

Competent Authority: Provincial Governor’s Office or the duly authorised district administration bodies (District or Municipal Administrative Authorities).

Return to topic Overview

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