Immigration to Austria

Introducing the Republic of Austria which can be described as one of the oldest and the most beautiful European countries. Population census performed in 2018 shows that the population of Austria is currently estimated at around 8.8 million people, with ethnic Austrians being the single biggest ethnic group at 91% of the population.

The Official currency of Austria is the Euro (EUR). Austria is a member state of the European Union and of the Schengen area, which provides many benefits for its passport holders and residents. Austria currently offers a legal economic citizenship program, allowing a direct path to citizenship or residence permit with no residency requirements for individuals and their families.

Single requirement is the applicants' capability to make a financial contribution to the Austrian government. However, currently, it is not the only country in the EU providing such opportunity, as Cyprus and Malta are also running similar citizenship-for-investments business immigration programs. If entering the country for a short stay, a certain type of visa will be required for the third-country nationals.

Immigration services

The Immigration and Citizenship Office is responsible for immigration services in Austria, which are provided through its many municipal departments. There are several different legal documents granting its holder temporary or permanent rights of immigration in Austria.

  • Visa
  • Temporary residence permit
  • EU Blue Card
  • Austrian Red-White-Red Card

Immigration service providers

Each of these documents provides certain benefits, while also having certain criteria for its acquisition. Legal companies and immigration offices may help you evaluate your personal file and provide a preliminary decision on your immigration case.

Here are three email address of companies which offer immigration services in Austria:

  • E-mail: residency@baltic-legal.com
  • E-mail: europe@forsetico.com
  • E-mail: office@law-experts.at

Lawful Immigration

In order to visit Austria legally, a visa-requiring foreigner needs to be in possession of a valid Schengen visa issued by either Austria or another Schengen member state. Austria's legal regulations on the immigration of non-EU citizens entering Austria set out the requirements for any individual. The legal regulation defines 'visa-free' countries, citizens of which do not require a visa for short term visits, as well as the issuance of such a visa by the state of Austria.

If you need to apply for a visa, the following Austrian public government institutions are responsible for immigration and issuing visas to the third country nationals:

  • the Provincial Governor (Landeshauptmann/Landeshauptfrau)
  • the authorised Regional Administrative Authority (Bezirkshauptmannschaft)
  • the Local Administrative Authority (Magistrat, in Vienna: MA 35)

You can visit the government immigration site for Austria.

Immigration Statistics

The top 10 largest groups of foreigners in Austria are:

# Country Population
1 Germany 186 891
2 Serbia 120 341
3 Turkey 117 277
4 Romania 102 242
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina 95 221
6 Hungary 77 174
7 Croatia 76 690
8 Poland 62 187
9 Syria 48 116
10 Afghanistan 45 720

Largest cities by population

The biggest city by population in Austria is Vienna with 1.84 million population. It is 6 times bigger than the second biggest city – Graz. Vienna is an ancient European center of art, culture, music and the opera. The top 5 biggest cities of Austria by population are:

# City Population
1 Vienna 1 840 573
2 Graz 273 838
3 Linz 198 181
4 Salzburg 148 420
5 Innsbruck 126 851

Services for Immigrants - Embassies in Austria

Below is a list of foreign embassies in Austria:

Migration in and out of Schengen area

The Republic of Austria is a member state of the Schengen area. Countries of the Schengen Agreement have abolished passport and immigration control at their common borders and for travel between their member states. Member countries also recognize Schengen visas issued by other Schengen states. On the external border, or upon first entry to the Schengen area, normal immigration control procedures apply, however admission to any Schengen country is considered admission to the whole Schengen area (all member countries), with no further immigration checks needed.

Foreigners can apply for the Schengen Visa in Austria since the year 1997, in which the Republic of Austria as an EU Member State had joined and became part of the Schengen Area. Only in year the 2017 alone, a total of 304 556 short-term visa applications had been submitted to the Austrian embassies in different countries. It is currently calculated that 38.6 million tourists visit Austria annually. Third-country citizens have to present immigration and identification documents when entering the country at the Austrian border. These documents are a valid passport (or valid EU ID card) and visa (or a residence permit).

Visa types in Austria

If traveling to the Republic of Austria for a short period of time (up to 90 days), then you must apply for a Schengen short-stay visa (C-type visa). Depending on the circumstances and purpose of your visit to Austria, you are required to apply for one of the following Schengen visa types:

Austrian Study Visa – for students that wish to attend a course for up to three months at an educational institution in Austria.
Austrian Airport Visa – for those who need to transit through one of the Austrian airports, to reach their travel destination country, outside the Schengen Area.
Austrian Tourist Visa – for those wishing to visit Austria for holidays or sightseeing.
Austrian Visitor Visa – for travelers who want to visit friends or family members residing in Austria.
Austrian Business Visa – for business people who need to attend business-related activities in Austria.
Austrian Visa for Official Visit – for Official Delegations coming to Austria for official events.
Austrian Medical Visa – for people seeking medical treatment in Austria.
Austrian Visa for Cultural, Sports and Film Crews – for people who are participating or organizing one of such events.

Citizens of non-EU countries wishing to stay in Austria for more than three months must apply for a residence permit, which is called Aufenthaltsbewilligungen.

Residence permit

In order to stay in Austria in excess of 90 days, you need to obtain a residence permit. Austrian immigration policy is quite strict. Residence permits are given for a certain purpose and will not be extended after the purpose is fulfilled. Some types of residence permit (such as Aufenthaltsbewilligungen) entitles the holder to bring also spouses, civil partners, and underage children, some do not. There are no quotas applied to any kind of residence permit in Austria.

A temporary residence permit is valid for temporary time-restricted residence on the territory of Austria for specific purposes, such as ICT, mobile ICT, seconded employment, self-employed persons, researcher-mobility, special cases of dependent gainful occupation, students, pupils, social services employee, volunteers, family reunification. According to Federal legislation, the main general requirements for such residence acquisition are having adequate means of subsistence, holding valid health insurance covering Austria as well as having an adequate accommodation according to local standards of living.

While offering common EU Blue Card, Austria also offers applicants, who are not nationals of EU, EEA or Switzerland opportunity to stay in the country longer than for 6 months by acquiring Austrian Red-White-Red card. It is national Federal-level alternative for skilled workers from third countries to apply for a residence with work permit in Austria. It is usually issued for a period of 24 months and applicant’s family members may apply as well (on the grounds of family reunification). According to Federal legislation, the main general requirements for the Red-White-Red Card acquisition are having adequate means of subsistence, holding valid health insurance covering Austria, having an adequate accommodation according to local standards of living as well as posing no threat to public order and security (empty criminal record).

Alternatively, third country national may apply for a Blue card, if the following criteria are met:

  • have completed a course of study at a university or other tertiary educational institution with a minimum duration of three years,
  • have received a binding job offer for at least one year in Austria and the employment corresponds to your education,
  • will earn a gross annual income of at least one and a half times the average gross annual income of full-time employees (in 2019: at least € 62,265 which is about € 4,447 gross monthly income plus special payments),
  • and the labour market test (Arbeitsmarktprüfung) shows that there is no equally qualified worker registered as a jobseeker with the Public Employment Service (AMS) available for the job.

If staying for a shorter period of time (up to 3 months), third-country nationals need to apply for a visa.

You can read more here - http://www.wien.gv.at.