Proof of German language skills

Deutsch vor Zuzug – German before Settlement

When applying for certain residence permits for the first time, third-country nationals must be able to provide proof of German language skills at A1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This applies to applications for the following residence permits:

The required skills are elementary German language skills at the simplest level.

Language diploma from the following institutions are accepted as proof of German language skills:

  • Österreichisches Sprachdiplom Deutsch (ÖSD)
  • Goethe-Institut
  • Telc
  • Österreichischer Integrationsfonds (ÖIF)

The language diploma must not be older than one year at the time of submission.

If a person fulfils the requirements of Module 1 or 2 of the Integration Agreement, this is also considered proof of the necessary German skills. You can find more information on the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF)  website.
This is the case, for example, if a school leaving certificate is available that corresponds to the general university entrance qualification in the sense of § 64 Par. 1 University Act 2002, or a degree from a vocational middle school.

The AAIS  (Recognition, Application and Information System) of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Research can help with questions in this regard.

The following persons are not required to provide proof of German language skills:

  • Persons who have not yet reached the age of 14 at the time of application.
  • Persons who cannot reasonably be expected to provide the proof due to their physical or mental state of health. The person concerned shall provide proof of this by means of an expert opinion from a public health officer or another doctor designated by the Austrian representation authority.
  • Family members of holders of the residence permit "red white red card" for particularly highly qualified persons, the residence permit "blue card" or the "settlement permit researcher”
  • family members of holders of a residence permit "long term resident – EU", if the applicant originally held a "red white red card ", a "Blue Card" or a "settlement permit researcher”
  • Artists who are seeking a "settlement permit artist" for the exercise of an artistic activity in one of the artistic fields mentioned in § 2 para. 1 Z1 to 3 of the Art Promotion Act o Family members of persons entitled to asylum, if a residence title "red white red card plus" is applied for in accordance with § 46 para. 1 Z 2 lit. c NAG or
  • Persons who declare in writing that their stay shall not exceed 24 months within 3 years and who irrevocably waive the submission of a further extension request after the first extension request.

Upon reasoned request, the authority may refrain from requiring German language skills:

  • in the case of an unaccompanied minor to safeguard the best interests of the child
  • to maintain private and family life in the sense of Art. 8 ECHR

Such an application may be made only until the competent authority issues a decision. In appeal proceedings before the state administrative court, it is not possible to apply for an exemption from the requirement to provide proof of German before settlement.

Integration Agreement

The so-called Integration Agreement is regulated in the Integration Act. The Integration Act is the responsibility of the Federal Chancellery . You can find more information on the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF)  website.