European nationals are free to stay in Austria for an unlimited time. EEA passport holders consisting of countries such as Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, and European Union member states do not need a visa to Austria. British nationals are free to stay in Austria, but they must leave the country before the passport expires. Austria is also very lenient about restrictions with EU member states.
Persons who hold the CID or the “Travel Documents and Certificates of Identity” are required to acquire a visa even if they’re European nationals. Residents of the following countries are also required to have visas when entering Austria:
• Antigua & Barbuda
• Cape Verde
• Central African Republic
• Colombia Comores
• Congo Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo
• Cote d’Ivoire
• Dominican Republic
• Equatorial Guinea
• Ivory Coast
• The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea
• Marshall Islands
• Papua New Guinea
• Russian Federation
• Sao Tome & Principe
• Saudi Arabia
• Serbia & Montenegro
• Sierra Leone
• Solomon Islands
• South Africa
• Sri Lanka
• St. Lucia
• St. Kitts & Nevis
• St. Vincent & Grenadines
• Trinidad & Tobago
• United Arab Emirates
Passport holders of British dependent territories are also required to apply for visas when entering Austria.
British-protected persons, overseas citizens, and British subjects (individuals with no right of residency in the United Kingdom) are not exempted from this requirement.
Austrian Visa Requirements
The applicant must present a completed application form. It is necessary to answer all questions in the application form.
Non-compliance to all rules and regulations are subject to verification and denial of entry. The Austrian Embassy may also require the submission of one or more application forms whenever necessary.
Applicants below 18 must present a letter from the school. Parents or legal guardians must also sign the application form. In cases where any parent or legal guardian is unable to sign, applicants must present an agreement letter along with a photocopy of their passports.
Applicants must also tender full or completed national passports or official travel documents. The passport or travel document must be valid for three (3) months or more after the requested visa’s expiry date. It must also have a “blank visa page” to accommodate the stickers that need to be attached.
It is also important to present passport-sized pictures with plain light background. Do not damage or staple the photo.
Microchips are found inside passports of most Western countries. The necessary personal details of each passport holder are stored in these microchips. Flight delays are usually caused by damaged passport microchips. Avoid stapling or putting metals on these passports because this can damage its microchip.
Applicants must also submit documents detailing the purpose of their visit. Valid documents must be any of the following:
• Letter of Invitation (Verpflichtungserklärung) – This letter must be original and legalized by a solicitor, notary public or a competent authority. The letter must be sent along with a photocopy of the applicant’s Austrian passport or a national passport containing an Austrian residence permit and the individual’s proof of sufficient funds such as latest pay slip or latest bank statement along with a police registration (Meldezettel) or a tenancy agreement.
• Original Letter from a Business Partner – The letter must come from an Austrian citizen. The letter must also indicate that the company will cover all the expenses for the entire duration of the applicant’s stay in Austria. Also, a photocopy of the company’s registration certificate (Firmenbuchauszug) with the other requirements should be included.
• Confirmation of Tour and Hotel Reservations – Bear in mind that bookings from legitimate websites will be accepted only when confirmation receipts of a down payment or full payment for the whole duration of the reservation are included.
• Proof of Sufficient Funds – Applicants must also present documents proving that their funds are sufficient to support their visit. The Austrian Embassy accepts bank statements or checks as long as it includes the name of the individual. The applicant’s savings must be equivalent to 30 Great Britain Pounds (GBP) on a per person per day basis. The 30 Great Britain Pounds is then multiplied by the number of days the applicant is planning to stay. The embassy or airport officials do not accept credit cards and cash as proof of sufficient funds.
• Proof of Health and Travel Insurance – This health and travel insurance must cover a minimum of 15,000 GBP comprehensive medical and accident insurance. It must be valid for all Shengen Countries. Its legitimacy must go beyond the visa’s validity. Health and travel insurance from Austrian or European Union-based insurance companies, banks, post offices, BUPA insurances, or accredited travel agencies are accepted. The applicant must ensure that the document contains:
i. the applicant’s name;
ii. coverage details such as winter sports cover; and
iii. the duration of its coverage.
Policy numbers are not considered as sufficient proof. Documents in languages aside from German or English must also be translated by certified professionals.
Applicants must also present documents detailing current student or occupation status. These required documents must be original. Recent letters of employment from employers stating the applicant’s position and monthly income are accepted. Contracts and pay slips are not considered.
Self-employed applicants are required to get letters from certified accountants, Chamber of Commerce, or solicitors. Income statements should also be included.
If you plan to take up employment in Austria, even if it is just a temporary or short-term one, please make sure that you obtain in advance all the necessary work authorization papers and (if you are not self-employed) a letter from your employer. Without proper papers, neither a visa nor a residence permit will be issued.
A) Entry Permit (Visa)
An entry permit (visa) is issued to individuals who plan to go to Austria on a temporary basis. The stay must not exceed six months (in most cases) and you do not intend to take up any employment in Austria. An entry permit is, in general, not a work authorization. However, starting January 1, 2006, some exceptions to this rule–mainly concerning certain temporary job assignments–come into effect.
B) Residence Permit
A residence permit is issued to foreign nationals who plan to stay in Austria for more than six months.
Student applicants need to get a letter from the school confirming the applicant’s status in terms of attendance and behavior.
Transport documents such as airline tickets or email confirmation receipts of rail or airline tickets are needed. Ferry confirmation receipts, evidence of legal vehicle ownership, registration documents, and insurance papers like Green Cards are required when applicants need to bring their own vehicles to the country. The Embassy may also request for an export license whenever necessary.
Applicants must submit all supporting documents or papers in photocopied and original form. Applicants must submit all requested documents to avoid problems. The Embassy will not deal with incomplete applications.
Duration of Visa Issuance
Citizens from the following countries must wait a few weeks for the completion of their applications and the issuance of their visas:
• Democratic Republic of Congo
• Equatorial Guinea
• Kazakhstan (service passports)
• North Korea
• Saudi Arabia
• Vietnam (no diplomatic and service passports)
Refugees or stateless persons with the necessary travel documents must also wait a few weeks for the completion of their applications and the issuance of their visas. Nationals of countries excluded from the list above may wait for approximately five working days for the completion of their applications, but the visas will not be issued on the same day.
Costs of visas may vary with each country. In Austria, the visa application fee is around 47.50 GBP. Due to mutual agreements, the visa application fee for the nationals of the following countries cost only 27.90 GBP:
• Russian Federation
Children below 6 years of age need not pay for their Austrian visas. The spouses and children of European Union nationals are not charged anything when they apply for Shengen Visas.
Shengen Visa holders may travel to other Schengen areas until the visa expires. Carefully check your visa before visiting Austria.
Shengen Visa holders are still controlled by Austrian immigration. This means free entry to other Schengen countries is not guaranteed for Shengen Visa holders.
Austrian Immigration Laws for Workers
Political changes in this country made many companies cautious of getting non-EEA citizens to work in Austria. However, no definite procedural alterations have been made on the immigration laws for the foreign workers of this country. This means any application properly documented and formatted will still guarantee approval regardless of the applicant’s nationality.
The duration of work permits for foreign nationals depends on the required work-related documents. The government of Austria requires many papers for work permit applications. Applicants may need a lot of time to collect these documents.
These required work-related documents must be in German. Non-German documents must be translated accordingly by certified professionals.
Application processing is completed in approximately seven (7) weeks. Foreign nationals must apply for residence visas to travel and work in Austria upon work permit approval. Applicants must possess substantial experience and skills suitable for their intended job posts.
There are two (2) ways for an applicant to acquire a work permit. These include:
1. Secured Work Certificate Application (Sicherungsbescheinigung) – The applicant is a direct employee of a big company in Austria.
2. Assignment Permit Application (Entsendebewilligung) – The applicant is a worker of a foreign company providing services to Austrian companies. The company may or may not be a recruitment agency and must present a service contract. The service contract is part of the application requirements. In this case, the Austrian accountant should manage the payroll of the applicant for the payment of all social security fees and taxes.