The following provides a brief overview of the different types of Visa and Residency Permits that are available to British Nationals wanting to move to Austria or spend longer than 90 days here.
Please note that none of these permits allow you to live or work in any country other than Austria.
Visa vs Residence Permit
Many people moving to Austria are confused by these two terms and frequently refer to a Visa when they actually mean a Residence Permit.
In general terms in Austria, a Visa is used for short term/temporary visits (usually max. 6 months), whereas a residence permit is for those who want to spend a longer time in Austria or make that permanent move.
Visas come under the jurisdiction of the Austrian Foreign Ministry/BMEIA (e.g. Austrian Embassy, London) and Residence Permits come under the Austrian Federal Ministry of the InteriorBMI The Bundesministerium für Inneres (BMI) - Austria's Ministry for the Interior - is the competent ministry for issues related to residency and citizenship./BMIBundesministerium für Inneres The Bundesministerium für Inneres (BMI) / Ministry for the Interior (UK counterparty: the Home Office) is competent for public security, policing, border control as well as residency and citizenships. It is also responsible for elections and direct democracy instruments as well as the civil service in the respective provinces, as well as municipal level where they are not covered by the Federal Chancellery. (e.g. MA35Magistratsabteilung 35 Residency and citizenship issues in Vienna are handled by Magistratsabteilung 35 (MA35). It has several offices in Vienna and where you need to go depends on whether or not you are an EU citizen (you go to one or other of its EU Referat offices depending on the district you live in), or its premises for third country nationals.).
Tourist Visa Exemption
British Citizens have a Visa exemption from the EU for stays of up to 90 days in any 180 day period (throughout the Schengen AreaSchengen Area The Schengen Area is European border control-free travel area, consisting of all EU Member States except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.). Please note that this does NOT allow you to work in Austria (even home working).
Third Country National3rd country nationals Third country nationals are citizens of non-EU/EEA countries. Residency and naturalisation procedures for third country nationals are more complicated than for citizens of EU Member States or EEA signatory states. family members who are not British Citizens may have to apply for a Visa-C to enter Austria.
Note: the European Commission has advised us that Article 50 card holders in Austria are exempt from EES and ETIASEuropean Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) The European Commission's proposed European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is intended to strengthen security checks on those persons who travel visa-free to the EU, currently nationals from over 60 countries. The largely automated IT system will identify any security or irregular migratory risks posed by visa-exempt visitors travelling to the Schengen area, whilst at the same time facilitating crossing borders for the vast majority of travellers who do not pose such risks. Non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for a travel authorisation through the ETIAS system prior to their trip. It is due to go live in 2024..
For those wanting to stay in Austria for longer than 90 days or work/study there is the Visa-D which allows you to stay in Austria for up to 180 days.
It seems to come in a number of flavours including a Tourist Visa-D and Work Visa-D. The Austrian Authorities have advised us that a Tourist Visa-D does NOT allow you to work; this would include home working/remote working.
Details can be found from the Austrian Embassy in London and you will most probably be required to apply for it whilst in the UK.
For a Work Visa-D, you will first need an employer based in Austria who will act as your sponsor. We have an FAQ about the process for hiring a third country national in Austria.
The Austrian Embassy in London has advised that when travelling between November and April winter sports insurance must be included in the travel insurance policy. One option might be annual membership of the Austrian Alpenverein.
Permanent Residency Permits
There are a number of different residency permits available for Austria and British Citizens who want to re-locate to Austria will have to apply for one, with some exclusions (e.g. Article 50 card for Austria, Dual National). The table below provides a brief summary of the more common types of residency permit:
|The Red-White-Red Card is issued for a period of 24 months and entitles you as the holder to fixed-term settlement and employment by the employer specified in your application. Note the fixed employer. Does not allow you to move between jobs without permission.
|EU Blue CardRot-Weiss-Rot, Daueraufenthalt EU and Blaue Karte EU Titles The EU Blue Card is issued in the shape of a bank card and is a combination of residence permit and employment permit. If you are the holder of an EU Blue Card, you are entitled to temporary settlement and to employment with a specific employer. It is issued for a validity period of two years. If you held an EU Blue Card for two years, you may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus, provided you were employed for at least 21 months during the previous 24 months in a job matching your qualification. The Red-White-Red Card is a combination of residence permit and employment permit. It is valid for two years and entitles you as the holder to settlement and employment with a specific employer. If you change your employer within the first two years, you have to apply for a new Red-White-Red Card. The Red-White-Red Card plus entitles its holder to settlement and unrestricted employment. If you are the holder of a Red-White-Red Card plus, you may change your employer at any time without having to apply for a new permit. If you held a Red-White-Red Card for two years, you may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus, provided you were employed in accordance with the eligibility requirements for a minimum of 21 months during the previous 24 months. Family members of Red-White-Red Card holders and of holders of an EU Blue Card may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus right away.
|This targets those with a University degree or equivalent and have a binding job offer with a salary paying at least as much as the national average.
|Red-White-Red Card Plus
|This allows unlimited access to the labour market in Austria and can be applied for if you have worked for over 21 months whilst in the possession of a Red-White-Red Card
|These are special permits for family members. For further info, check out this FAQ.
|Long-term Resident – EU
|Someone who has lived in Austria for over 5 years can apply for this permit and it allows “limited” freedom of movement in the EU. It is understood that Article 50 holders can apply for this permit in addition to the Article 50 card (once they have qualified)
|Settlement permit – gainful employment excepted
|This is for someone who wants to retire to Austria but does not want to work. Please note that these permits are in very short supply and subject to an annual quota. You will need to plan in advance and seek professional assistance.
|If you are married or a registered partner of an EU national who is also moving to Austria you can apply for an Aufenthaltskarte. Once approved your are permitted to work with this card.
Please note that there are fees associated with these permits in addition to having an acceptable 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 Policy (a UK EHIC/GHIC is not acceptable)
Please note that following Brexit your UK qualifications may not be automatically recognised in Austria and you may need to go through a formal assessment process including Nostrification to get your qualifcations recognised. More details here on the UK Government Site.
German Language Skills
Austria is a Germanic speaking country and as such certain roles will require German language skills and/or German language speakers will be preferred. Nursing for example requires B1 or B2 German. Please do your research before making that move.
Article 50 Residency Permit
The Article 50 residency permit is only available for people who were legally resident in Austria prior to 31st December 2020. The deadline for initial applications for this permit was 31st December 2021. This residency permit confers 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 rights to the beneficiary and allows recipients to live, work, study in Austria and be treated “similar” to the EU nationals they were before Brexit. Please note that these rights are only available in Austria and do not include onward Freedom of Movement (FoM) rights, and also do not include things such as voting rights.
Note: Every British Citizen living in Austria from 1st January 2022 now either has to have an Article 50 residency permit (or proof of applying) or a residency permit similar to the ones above, regardless of how long they have been living in Austria.
Where to seek Additional Assistance
Additional Useful Links
- migration.gv.at General Information for Third Country Nationals
- Migration Lawyers Vienna
- oesterreich.gv.at Types of Visa for Austria
- Working in Austria: Residency and Employment
- Working in Austria: Settlement Permit (Life Partners)
- bmi.gv.at: Settlement in Austria
- bmi.gv.at: Proof of German language skills
- Working in Austria: German Language Skills
- bmi.gv.at: Sample Residency Permits
- OeGK Self Insurance
- OeGK Co-insurance
- Vienna list of approved private health insurance policies
- Working in Austria: Immigration Guide
- Working in Austria: Legal Reform RWR Oct 2022