I live in the UK and want to study in Austria; where do I start and what should I consider?
Austria is a lovely place to study with tuition fees which may be lower than the UK. However, please note that following Brexit, British Citizens are now Third Country Nationals and so different rules apply. If you are a dual national EU/UK, please apply as an EU Citizen. What follows is a brief overview of some the things to consider.
We have another article on the Costs of Studying in Austria vs in the UK.
There are 72 accredited higher education institutions offering more than 2000 Degree courses in Austria, most of which are taught in German but there are courses taught in English as well. OeAD is the official source for information regarding studying in Austria.
Visas and Residency Permits
Student Visas are usually issued for courses up to 6 months and this takes the form of a Visa-D. Any course longer than that will require a Student Residency permit.
Visa-D applications are via the Austrian Embassy in London or the Austrian Consulate where you live. Student residency permits can be applied for via the responsible Austrian Consulate or via the competent residence authority in Austria (ie where you plan to study). Beware: if you apply in Austria, and your residency permit is not issued in time, you may not exceed your 90 day Schengen Visa free allowance! Consider applying for a Visa-D beforehand.
There are specific permits for researchers and other groups. Visa applicants should be aware that 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.
If you are a British national you will need a Visa or Residency permit to study in Austria. Your student residence will be conditional on several things and that includes healthcare, proof of accommodation, and where appropriate proof of sufficient financial means to support yourself. Further details are on the OeAD website:
Residency Permit Renewal
Leave plenty of time for renewing student residency permits. You will need to provide proof of academic success from the previous year. Extensions in Vienna with 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., in particular will take time.
English documents might be accepted, but be prepared to get them translated. Ask the University at the earliest opportunity.
Document Legalisation – Apostille
It is possible that you may need to get your documents legalised, please see this link for details:
Student accommodation is in short supply in Austria particularly in Salzburg, Linz and Innsbruck. Demand outstrips supply by a long way. You will need to plan early as proof of accommodation is part of the Visa/residency permit process.
Be VERY wary of the accommodation scams that are doing the rounds. Try and view the accommodation beforehand. There’s guidance on the English Speakers in Austria website around this but do not hand over large amounts of money in advance, unless you are sure it is not a scam. If in doubt, ask a local. Tell-tale signs include reasonably priced apartments in central locations, requests to pay for a viewing etc..
*** ACCOMMODATION SCAMMERS: Buyer beware, especially on Social Media!
Even though the UK Student GHIC (different process to normal GHIC) may provide you with medically necessary treatment in Austria, the Austrian Embassy in London has confirmed that the UK Student GHIC is NOT acceptable for a student Visa/Residency application. OeAD also do not list it as an acceptable form of 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. Coverage on the UK Student GHIC may also be an issue if you are working (students can work up to 20 hours per week)
Short courses (less than 6 months) require travel insurance with €30K minimum coverage which covers repatriation and Covid-19. This must cover the duration of the course. Products advertised as Schengen Visa Travel Insurance generally satisfy this requirement. When applying for a Visa during the winter, the Austrian Embassy in London advises that Winter Sports coverage is required.
For longer courses you need to take out travel insurance for at least a month or two and provide assurance that you will take out a more appropriate policy on arrival in Austria (eg. OeGK self-insurance for students)
OeGK Self Insurance for Students
The OeGK Self Insurance for students is currently €69.13 per month (2024) and provides the student with an e-Card which is easier to use in Austria, especially picking up prescriptions and recording vaccination details. The e-card is also good if you plan on staying in Austria after the course.
Private insurance is also available (see below for some examples), but the Austrian immigration authorities are very selective on healthcare insurance policies.
If students want to do off-piste skiing or snowboarding dedicated insurance to cover this is essential. Helicopter rescue can be expensive and most health insurance policies do not cover this. Some British in Austria members purchase annual membership of the Alpenverein.
Holders of the “Residence Permit – Student” will be able to get a work permit for working for up to 20 hours/week. The employer will however need to apply for a permit at the AMSArbeitsmarktservice The Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS) is Austria’s leading provider of labour-market related services, and matches candidates with job openings and assists jobseekers and companies by providing advice, information, qualification opportunities and financial assistance. BEFORE the employee takes up the job.
Austria has a very highly regulated labour market; students and researchers who are considering doing additional freelance work should seek professional advice as they may need to register as self-employed and there may well be restrictions on this activity. This needs to be done BEFORE taking up the freelance activity. The free Welcome Services Austria and the Self Employed in Austria group may be able to assist or point you in the right direction.
REMEMBER: Your primary purpose in Austria is to study and if you ignore this, you may well have issues extending your student residence permit.
It may be possible to work more than 20 hours during the summer holidays (non-term time). Employers will have to get approval from the AMS and additional work may lead to additional charges from OeGK (so please check).
Student Union Fee
In Austria it is mandatory to pay the Student Union membership fee “ÖH-Beitrag” of around €22.70 (2023-2024) per semester.
- OeAD Studying
- Working in Austria Students, Researchers etc
- Find your Course
- Tuition Fees
- .GOV.UK studying in Austria
- Austrian Embassy London
- OeGK Self Insurance for Students
OeAD health Insurance Guidance
- Feelsafe Insurance
- Care Concept DE Insurance
- Student GHIC
- Austrian Student Union – About Us