Procedures for third-country nationals

Responsible authority

In principle, the governor of the province is responsible for deciding on applications under the Settlement and Residence Act. In all federal states the governor has authorized the mayor (Magistrat) or the district governor (Bezirkshauptmannschaft) to make decisions. However, this authorization does not apply to all residence titles in every federal state.

You can use the authority query on ö  to find the competent authority. In Vienna the magistrate's department 35 is responsible.

The local jurisdiction depends on the (intended) residence of the applicant.

In principle initial applications must be submitted abroad to the locally competent Austrian representation authority. The local jurisdiction depends on the current residence of the third-country national. You can find out which Austrian representation authority is responsible for which states on the homepage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs .

An appeal against a decision of the settlement authority can be lodged with the locally competent Regional Administrative Court.

Decision deadlines

The authority must decide on applications as soon as possible, but no later than six months after receipt of an application.

There are special deadlines in the following cases:

The authority must decide within 8 weeks on applications for the following residence permits:

  • “red-white-red card”
  • “blue card”
  • stay permit “ICT”
  • stay permit “mobile ICT”
  • stay permit family unity for family members of holders of a residence permit “ICT” and “mobile ICT”
  • “settlement permit researcher”
  • stay permit “researcher-mobility”

The authority must decide within 90 days on applications for the following residence permits:

  • stay permit student
  • stay permit volunteer
  • „settlement permit“ for extended family members of EEA nationals or Swiss nationals

The authority must decide within 4 months on the following applications for residence permits:

  • If the applicant or the sponsor holds a residence permit "long term resident - EU" or "blue card" of another EU Member State.

Please make sure that you do not exceed your permitted length of stay due to visa exemption or visa for first-time applications.

Although the authorities will make every effort to make a decision within this time, you are not entitled to a decision before the end of your permitted stay (outside the above-mentioned periods). If you stay in Austria longer than you are allowed to stay based on visa exemption or visa, you are setting a reason for refusal.

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Initial Application

Principle of application abroad

In principle, first applications for residence permits must be submitted personally to the competent Austrian representation authority (embassy or certain consulates) abroad. As a rule, an appointment is required for this purpose. Further information can be found on the homepage of the respective representation authority.

The competence of the representation authority depends on the residence of the applicant. The representation authority abroad checks the application for completeness and correctness and forwards it to the competent authority in Austria.

It is inadmissible to submit an application for multiple/different purposes of residence, to submit several applications simultaneously and to submit further applications while proceedings are pending.

Further procedure

If the requirements are met, the settlement authority notifies the Austrian representation authority abroad of this and instructs them to issue a visa. The Austrian representation authority abroad informs the applicant (usually in writing).

The foreigner can enter Austria with the visa and pick up the residence permit personally at the competent settlement authority in Austria. Once the applicant has picked up the residence permit the further stay is permitted on that ground and can employment be taken up.

Possibility for application in Austria

The following persons may also submit the application in Austria:

  • Family members of Austrians, EEA nationals, Swiss nationals who are permanently resident in Austria and have not exercised their right of residence under EU law or the right of residence of more than three months under the EC-Switzerland Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, after legal entry and during their legal residence
  • persons until six months after the end of their legal establishment in Austria, if they have not required a permit or documentation for this establishment in accordance with the Residence and Settlement Act
  • former Austrian citizens, citizens of an EEA member state or Switzerland until six months after the loss of citizenship
  • children, in the case of family reunification, within six months of birth, provided that the sponsor, who is responsible for care and education, is legally resident
  • Persons entitled to visa-free entry during their permitted visa-free stay
  • Persons applying for a “settlement permit researcher” and their family members after legal entry during their legal residence
  • Persons applying for a stay permit as student or volunteer after legal entry during their legal stay
  • Persons who apply for a residence permit “red white red card” for highly qualified persons according to § 41 Abs. 1 NAG, during their legal stay in the federal territory with a Job-Seeker-Visa (visa according to § 24a FPG)
  • Certain persons who apply for a “settlement permit special cases of gainful employment” or a stay permit “special cases of gainful employment” after legal entry during their legal residence
  • Persons who have an Austrian school leaving certificate from a domestic or foreign school, after legal entry and during their legal residence
  • Persons holding a valid stay permit ICT or researcher from another EU member state

Filing an application in Austria does not create a right of residence beyond the permitted visa-free stay or stay on the basis of a visa. Therefore, after the end of the permitted stay, it is generally necessary to leave the country if the procedure is still ongoing. Then the procedure must be awaited abroad.

The authority may, upon reasoned application, allow the application to be filed in Austria if certain obstacles to granting the residence permit, such as the existence of an entry ban, do not exist and the third-country national's departure from Austria for the purpose of filing the application is demonstrably not possible or not reasonable:

  • In the case of an unaccompanied minor, to safeguard the best interests of the child or
  • for the maintenance of private and family life within the meaning of Article 8 ECHR

Such an application may be made only until the competent authority issues a decision.

The third-country national must always apply for the stay permit ICT abroad. An application in Austria by the employer is possible.

Possibility of application by the employer in Austria

In certain cases, the future employer can submit an application in Austria to the competent settlement authority:

  • red white red card
  • blue card
  • settlement permit artists
  • stay permit ICT

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Renewal Procedures

Residence permits are issued for a certain period of validity. If a third-country national wants to continue to reside in Austria, he must submit an application for renewal. Applications for renewal must be submitted to the competent settlement authority in Austria.

The application must be submitted in due time before the expiration of the validity of the residence permit. An application may be submitted from three months before the expiry of the residence permit.

An application for extension can be combined with an application for change of the purpose of residence until the first instance decision is issued (application for change of purpose).

During the ongoing renewal procedure, the applicant is legally resident in Austria until the authorities issue a decision. The third-country national has the same rights as when holding the residence permit, i.e. he has the same access to the labour market as before.

If an application for extension is submitted in time, a one-time confirmation can be attached to the travel document (often called emergency travel sticker). This confirmation is subject to a fee. It can be valid for up to 3 months and entitles the holder to enter Austria without a visa and to enter the Schengen area for the purpose of travel to Austria.

Applications submitted after the expiry of the residence permit are considered initial applications. This means that the regulations for first-time applications apply (for example, an application abroad is usually required). There is then also no continuous legal residence in Austria in this case. Applications submitted after the expiry of the residence permit are exceptionally considered to be applications for renewal if

  • the person making the request can credibly demonstrate that he was prevented by an unavoidable or unforeseen event from submitting the request for extension in due time and that he is not at fault at all or only to a minor degree, and
  • the application is made within two weeks after the obstacle has been removed.

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Change of purpose

A third-country national who wants to change the purpose of his stay during his legal residence in Austria with a residence permit or who needs another residence permit must notify the authorities immediately.

Applications for change of purpose for residence permits can be submitted to the competent settlement authority in Austria.

Some changes of the purpose of residence are inherent to the system. For example: After two years a holder of a red-white-red card can change to a red-white-red card plus. Likewise, a student can change to a residence permit for students to search for a job or to a red-white-red card as a graduate.

The authorities must also be informed immediately if the circumstances under which the residence permit was granted have changed. For example: If someone has a residence permit for family reunification and gets divorced or if someone loses his job as holder of a red-white-red card, he must inform the authorities immediately.

An application for extension can be combined with an application for a change of the purpose of residence until the first instance decision is issued.

If the requirements for changing the purpose of residence are not met, the application will be rejected. However, this rejection has no influence on the existing right of residence or any pending renewal proceedings.

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