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Information on residence permits – what you need to know in Austria

General information on the subject of residence permits

Citizens of third countries (i.e. neither nationals of EU member states, nor other EEA citizens, nor Swiss nationals) require a residence permit for a stay of more than six months in Austria. A residence permit is the authorisation that grants third-country nationals the right to reside in Austria. The granting of a residence title is generally dependent on the fulfilment of general requirements.

The general requirements for the residence title include:

Travel document
A valid travel document is usually a passport. A travel document is valid if it covers Austria (normally a passport covers all countries in the world) and the identity of the holder is unambiguous (this is not the case if, for example, the photo has been removed). The period of validity of a residence permit may not exceed that of the travel document. It is therefore advisable to have a new travel document issued before submitting an (extension) application if the old passport is only valid for less than 12 months.

In practice, the most difficult requirement to fulfil to obtain a residence permit is proof of secure means of subsistence. According to the law, the residence of the foreigner(s) must not lead to any financial burden on a regional authority (federal, provincial, or municipal).

This is not the case if the person has a fixed and regular income of their own (e.g. gainful employment, statutory maintenance claims, savings, income from letting and leasing, etc.). It is important to note that the statutory maintenance claim must be a maintenance claim and not merely a voluntary benefit. It must therefore be derived from an obligation that could also be asserted in court.

Maintenance payments are also not generally taken into account as income, but the obligor's income exempt from attachment must be taken into account in the calculation. The maintenance funds must be available for the entire period of validity of the residence permit applied for. They may also be covered by savings. These must be available to the applicant alone and at all times.

For spouses or registered partners living in the same household, monthly maintenance funds of 1,578.36 euros are sufficient, for single persons 1,000.48 euros, for each child an additional 154.37 euros, for students up to the age of 24 552.53 euros (over 24 years 1,000.48 euros).

Local accommodation
A residence permit may only be issued if the foreigner can prove that he/she has a legal entitlement to accommodation that is customary in the locality for families of a comparable size.

Health insurance
In principle, it is irrelevant whether you have statutory or private health insurance, the only important thing is that you have "health insurance that covers all risks". This is not the case, for example, if the private health insurance contains extensive risk exclusions and therefore the scope of benefits differs considerably from those of the statutory health insurance. In Vienna, self-insurance with the Vienna Regional Health Insurance Fund is usually sufficient.

No enforceable return decision
There must be no enforceable (note: not necessarily legally binding) return decision unless more than 18 months have passed since the departure. A return decision must be issued by the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum if a third-country national is not legally resident in Austria (e.g. residence despite expiry of the visa), or if the status of a person entitled to asylum is rejected or revoked.

No valid entry ban
A residence permit may not be issued if the foreigner is subject to an upright entry ban. This also applies to a return decision.

No overstay
The duration of the authorised visa-free stay or stay requiring a visa is discussed here in connection with the domestic application. The domestic application does not create a right of residence beyond the authorised visa-free or visa-required stay. The authorised visa-free stay is generally three months within six months. The authorised stay with a visa is based on the Visa Code. If the procedure for issuing a first residence permit takes longer than the authorised stay, the applicant must leave the country, await further proceedings, usually abroad, and may receive a visa to obtain a residence permit.

No threat to public safety
The stay of a foreigner is contrary to public interests if he/she would pose a threat to public order and security (for example due to criminal convictions, undocumented employment or prolonged unlawful stay in the federal territory), or if there is a close relationship to a terrorist or extremist group.

Personal application
This is usually done at an Austrian embassy in the home country.

Procedure for issuing the residence permit

Competent authorities
The competent authority of the first instance is the governor of the respective (future) place of residence. In Vienna, this is the Municipal Department 35, Immigration and Citizenship (MA 35). The Vienna Provincial Administrative Court decides on appeals against decisions made by MA 35.

An ordinary appeal is no longer possible against decisions of the Provincial Administrative Court, but under certain circumstances, an appeal can be lodged with the courts of public law, the Administrative Court and the Constitutional Court.

Abroad, the Austrian professional representation authority (embassy or consulate) of the foreigner's country of residence is responsible (please note that this does not always have to be the country of which you are a citizen).

Place of application
As a general rule, an initial application must always be submitted abroad to the competent Austrian professional representation authority and the decision on the application must be awaited abroad. You may only enter the country once the residence authority has issued a favourable decision. However, there are exceptions to this principle of applying abroad. You are entitled to submit a domestic application if you are authorised to enter Austria without a visa, after lawful entry and as long as you are lawfully resident in Austria, after lawful entry with a visa acquired for purposes other than the domestic application, during your lawful stay.

Every application for a residence permit must be submitted to the authorities in person. This applies to both foreign and domestic applications. The authority must be informed immediately of any change of address during the application process.
The embassy accepts the application documents and checks them for authenticity, completeness and accuracy of the information provided.

They will be processed for identification purposes. A fee of 20 euros will be charged for the collection of this identification data.

The content of the application is checked by the domestic authority (in Vienna MA 35). If the authority concludes that the application should be granted, it must inform the competent professional representation authority. This authority must then issue a visa D for a single entry.

You will then enter Austria. The residence permit card is then collected personally from the domestic authority, which means that the residence permit has been formally issued. If the visa is not received within three months of the authority notifying the professional representation authority (!) or the card is not received in Austria within six months, the previous procedure becomes invalid and is discontinued.

If the application is rejected, the decision will be delivered by the embassy, against which an appeal can be lodged with the provincial administrative court.
The application for a residence permit should be submitted in good time, as the authorities usually need 90 days to make a decision, or longer if additional documents are required. The legalisation of the documents required for an application can also take several months, depending on the country of origin.
In principle, the same applies to domestic applications (if you are authorised to apply domestically according to the above).

In Vienna, the application must be submitted in person to the MA 35. However, it should also be noted that procedures before the MA 35 often take longer than you are legally authorised to stay in Austria with a visa or without a visa. In any case, you are not entitled to wait for the proceedings on your application after your legal stay in Austria has expired.

In principle, all documents submitted as part of the procedure must be certified translations.

What costs are incurred in the procedure for issuing a residence permit?

The following administrative fees are payable for the issue of a residence permit:

  • Application: 80 euros (for professional representation authorities: 120 euros)
  • Acceptance of the identification data: 20 euros
  • Issuing the residence permit: 20 euros

Please take a look at our checklist in advance or contact the team at our law firm if you have any questions!

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