If you want to know how to move to Austria, then this is the step by step guide that you will be needing. Austria, known as the Republic of Austria, is a well-developed country in Central Europe. It provides a high quality of life for its residents, boasting breathtaking views of the Austrian Alps and pristine lakes that create charming scenery.
Austria is a popular destination for over a million expatriates from around the globe. The country excels in various areas like education, healthcare, work-life balance, and the economy. This is why it has become a prime choice for expats relocating to Europe.
Who Can Move to Austria?
If you’re considering moving to Austria, it’s important to understand the requirements based on your nationality.
For EU Citizens: EU/EEA and Swiss citizens can easily relocate to Austria without needing a visa. You have the right to stay and enjoy the same privileges as Austrian citizens, but you should register for a Certificate of Registration upon arrival.
For Non-EU Citizens: Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens planning to stay in Austria for over six months must apply for a long-stay visa (Type D) and a residence permit. These are essential for your stay.
Moving to Austria as an EU Citizen
For EU nationals, moving to Austria is relatively straightforward. You can enter without a visa and stay for up to three months. During this time, you’ll have the same rights as Austrian citizens but must register for a Certificate of Registration.
Once settled in Austria, you’re free to work, study, and live there without restrictions.
Moving to Austria as a Non-EU Citizen
Non-EU citizens seeking permanent residence in Austria should start with a Type D visa (long-stay visa). This visa allows entry, after which you can apply for the specific residence permit you need.
Long-stay visas (D visas) are granted for various purposes, including work, study, and family reunification.
Moving to Austria for Work
To work in Austria, non-EU citizens must secure a work permit and a work visa (D visa). The “Red-White-Red Card” work permit is available for highly skilled non-EU workers. You must have a job offer in Austria before applying for this work permit. The application can be submitted by you or your employer.
Alternatively, highly skilled workers can apply for an EU Blue Card if they meet the qualifications and have a job offer in Austria. This card also allows you to bring your family.
Moving to Austria for Study
Non-EU citizens coming to Austria for study should obtain a student visa (Visa D). This long-term visa can later be converted into a student residence permit. You must first enroll in an Austrian university and receive an acceptance letter before applying for the visa at your local embassy or consulate.
After obtaining the student visa, you can move to Austria and register, and subsequently apply for a student residence permit.
Moving to Austria for Family Reunification
If you are a non-EU resident legally living in Austria and wish to bring your family members to join you, you can apply for a family reunification visa at the Austrian embassy or consulate. Eligible family members include spouses, minor children, long-term partners, and other relatives under specific conditions. Your family member in Austria must possess Austrian citizenship or a residence permit.
The family reunification visa is valid for one year, renewable based on your residency type, and allows you to work in Austria.
Moving to Austria for Retirement
Austria does not offer retirement visas, but financially independent retirees can obtain a “settlement permit except gainful employment.” However, these permits have limited availability and specific requirements.
This residence permit is valid for one year and does not permit any form of employment.
Moving to Austria for Investment
For those with the means, Austria offers residency through investment programs. These involve direct investments in the country. However, the annual quota for this program is limited to 300 people. Specific requirements must be met to be eligible, and this type of residence permit does not allow you to work.
Most Popular Areas in Austria for Expats
Here are some of the most popular destinations for expats relocating to Austria:
Vienna consistently ranks as one of the most livable cities in the world. It’s not only the capital of Austria but also one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with a rich mix of culture, cuisine, and history. Vienna is perfect for shopping, dining, and sightseeing. It offers an excellent work-life balance and a high quality of life. However, it can be relatively expensive to live in Vienna, with monthly living costs averaging around €850, excluding rent.
Innsbruck, Austria’s fifth-largest city, is renowned for its breathtaking alpine scenery. It’s a haven for winter sports enthusiasts, thanks to its proximity to the Alps. Innsbruck offers a safe living environment and excels in housing, business freedom, and healthcare. However, it’s also known to be expensive, even more so than Vienna, so financial independence is essential if you plan to move here.
Nestled with a stunning view of the Eastern Alps, Salzburg combines history, culture, and beautiful architecture. It’s a vibrant city with a rich artistic heritage, being the birthplace of Mozart and a hub for contemporary art and culture. Living in Salzburg offers a high quality of life, but like many Austrian cities, it comes at a cost, primarily due to high rent prices, ranging from €550 to €1500 depending on the type and location of the apartment.
Moving to western Austria, you’ll discover the picturesque medieval town of Feldkirch. It’s a favored destination among retirees seeking the charm of an old town and Austrian architecture. Feldkirch is a more affordable option compared to larger and pricier cities in Austria. While here, you can admire historic buildings, charming fountains, and the splendid Schattenburg castle.
Graz is Austria’s second-largest city, with a population exceeding 400,000 residents. It’s a popular choice among students, boasting numerous excellent universities. Graz is known for welcoming students from around the world and providing exceptional study conditions. It’s home to one of Austria’s oldest and largest universities. Safety is also a notable feature of Graz, as it maintains low crime levels, offering residents peace of mind.
These Austrian cities each offer unique attractions and lifestyle opportunities, making them appealing destinations for expats with various preferences and interests.