Brexit: Legal certainty for British nationals in Austria is guaranteed

Even beyond the transitional phase, which has ended on 31 December 2020, nationals from the United Kingdom can retain their right of residence in Austria

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020 after concluding a withdrawal agreement, which prevented what is called a "hard Brexit" and ensured that the body of EU legislation was preserved in 2020 and that freedom of movement and establishment as well as free access to the labour market remained in existence.

These rights have ended for British nationals on 31 December 2020. Britons who intend to take up residence in Austria as from 1 January 2021 are now subject to the general provisions for third-country nationals. Tourist stays continue to be possible without obtaining a visa. Entry controls, however, are now stricter for travellers from the United Kingdom.

In future, Britons will be required to obtain C or D visas for the purpose of exercising a short-term gainful employment in Austria. For longer stays the provisions of the Settlement and Residence Act (“Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz” - NAG) will apply.

Legal certainty for existing rights of residence and labour permits

Irrespective of this, the withdrawal agreement concluded between the European Union and the United Kingdom guarantees legal certainty for British nationals who have settled in Austria by 31 December 2020. A dedicated implementing regulation of the Federal Minister of the Interior assures that they retain their rights of residence.

All British nationals have to apply for a new residence title by 31 December 2021. This application must be submitted to the competent authority, which may be the governor (“Landeshauptmann”), the mayor (“Bürgermeister”) applications to be directed to the city administration (“Magistrat”) or the head of district authority (“Bezirkshauptmann”), depending on the place of residence of the applicant.

Application forms are available online and can be found on: Antragsformulare.

Care was taken to keep the costs for applicants as low as possible, i.e. at the level of comparable documents, such as an Austrian identity card.

All these measures are intended to ensure the least possible disruption in the lives of those affected and to enable them to continue to work or and to pursue their course of study in Austria without hindrance.