Property buying guide for Austria
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Overseas property

Visas, residence permits and citizenship in Austria

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Austria is part of the Schengen area so non-EU citizens must have a visa or residence permit. The main rules on immigration in Austria can be found in the Settlement and Residence Act (Niederlassungs und Aufenthaltsgesetz).


Type C visa (tourist) Type D visa
Duration of stay Up to 90 days 3–6 months
Issuing authority Schengen Austria
Transit/travel in Schengen Travel through Schengen area permitted Up to 5 days transit through Schengen zone permitted

Residence permits in Austria

Austria doesn’t prolong visas so, for longer stays, non-EU citizens must apply for a residence permit. They are generally valid for a year and can be prolonged for another. After two or three one-year permits, you can apply for 18-month or two-year permit. You can apply for permanent residence after five years of temporary residence.

To prolong any type of residence permit, the applicant must demonstrate progress in the German language and integration into Austrian society via work, studies, participation in charity organisations and clubs, children attending day care or school.

Each federal state (Bundesland), districts (Bezirk) and even municipalities have commissions that decide on the applications and whether or not the country and local area could benefit from the individual’s presence by means of skills, knowledge or capital for example. Having income or family members with income Austria or the EU, including revenue from rented property, will increase the chances of success.

Temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis): for fixed-term stays like university studies or seasonal work.

Permanent residence (Niederlassungsbewilligung): for stays exceeding 6 months per year; for foreign citizens looking for work or to settle in Austria for a long, undetermined period.

Permanent residents in Austria are considered tax residents and have access to social/medical care and education.

How to get a residence permit

Basic knowledge of German, rented or owned accommodation and medical insurance are necessary. Other requirements depend on the type of residence permit:

1. Temporary residence without the right to work or “residence for wealthy foreigners”

  • Proof of monthly income (usually €2,000/month for each family member is enough). This amount does not include funds allocated to accommodation and medical insurance expenses.
  • Proof of funds: bank statement from an account showing at least €20,000 per adult and €10,000 per child.
  • Basic English and/or German language. For prolongation, the applicant must have a higher level.
  • Additional documents that may be required by migration authorities: criminal record check, birth certificate or university degree.
  • Quotas vary by federal state. Vienna has the most quotas and the most applicants. In general, the lesser-known states have less demand, making it easier to get temporary residence. Quotas announced on January 1st are usually filled by January 2nd, so applications should be submitted by November of the previous year.

2. Employment residence permit or “RWR Karte“

  • RWR card for employees: the red-white-red card allows foreign citizens to settle and have employed or entrepreneurial activity in Austria. It is given to individuals that can positively contribute to the country’s economy by their skills or knowledge.
  • RWR card for entrepreneurs depends on the amount of capital invested and future employment creation. The company’s director must be an EU citizen.
  • EU Blue card enables non-EU citizens to reside and be employed in the majority of EU-countries including Austria. It is valid for two years.
  • Points system: there are no quotas but applicants must get a number of points according to criteria like professional experience, education, English/German language skills, age, etc.
  • University degree from a recognised institution.
  • Employment contract with a minimum gross monthly salary of €2092.50 to €4,100 (in 2015; may vary by federal state).
Residence permit Minimum gross
monthly income,
EU Blue Card 4,100.0
Red-White-Red Card (30 and older) 2,790.0
Red-White-Red Card (younger than 30 years old) 2,325.0
Red-White-Red Card (graduate of an Austrian university) 2,092.5

3. Student visa

  • Enrolled in full-time studies in a higher education institution. If there are too many applicants for a particular course, the foreign applicant can be declined.
  • Basic German is required to apply. However, foreign students with weak German have a two-year period for German language studies before they start their actual course.
  • Employment: authorisation to work up to 10 hours per week.

How to get citizenship

1. Standard applications

Citizenship is only granted after 10 years of residence in Austria, unless you marry an Austrian citizen in which case you can apply after 2–4 years.

2. Economic investment

Citizenship may be granted on the grounds of active economic investment, meaning investment in a joint venture or directly into an Austrian company that would create employment and encourage export growth. The minimum investment is €10M. Passive investment in government bonds or real estate do not give access to citizenship.

3. No dual nationality

Any individual granted Austrian citizenship must give up their current nationality, as dual or multiple citizenship is illegal. Exceptions may be made for particularly valuable investors, refugees and subjects who received double-citizenship at birth.

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    Property buying guide for Austria
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