For holders of the 5-year card, absences “not exceeding six months a year” are allowed. The Austrian authorities have confirmed that absences will be calculated on a rolling basis, that means a total of 6 months in the last 12 months. This might catch you out if you take a long winter holiday and a long summer holiday away from Austria.
Seasonal workers leaving Austria at the end of the winter season to only return for the following winter season must take particular care about how many days they spend outside of Austria.
Holders of 10-year cards (ie permanent residence) are allowed absences of up to 5 years in a block. So, for example, a period of 2 years away, then a month back and another absence of 4 years is allowed.
Card holders who spend a lot of time abroad are in any case advised to keep a note (and as necessary proof of travel) about dates of travel. If there is any doubt as to when you were in or out of Austria, the onus is on you to prove it.
Special conditions apply for one-off longer absences in exceptional situations, such as for studying (for a year abroad), caring for an elderly relative, postings abroad by your Austrian employer, or military service.
If you break the rules and are away for too long, you risk permanently losing your residency rights under the Withdrawal AgreementWithdrawal Agreement The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020. If you are resident in Austria at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Austria. Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-withdrawal-agreement-and-political-declaration .
- HealthSozialministerium The Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection is responsible for the following fields: The health care system Initiatives for people with disabilities Consumer protection Public health and medical issues Care and support The rights of consumers and the protection of their health Senior citizens’ policy Social policy Social insurance insurance cover in Austria may be used to determine the length of absence. Ensuring that you have health insurance cover in Austria is therefore essential (a travel insurance policy does not suffice for residence purposes).
- Periods of unemployment, where there is no health insurance coverage, may also affect your future eligibility for a 10 year card.
Gov.uk – Explainer for part two (citizens’ rights) of the agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union (see para. 14 (5 year card absence rules) & para. 18 (10 year card absence Rules)
Last revised: 06.09.2022