Living and working in Austria - What do you need to consider?

Residence for EU/EEA citizens and citizens of Switzerland

EU/EEA citizens and citizens of Switzerland do not require any residence titles for Austria. They are exempt from the visa requirement and have the right to reside in Austria for a period of three months. In the case of periods of residence lasting for more than three months, the only required step is to apply for a registration certificate.

With respect to the free movement of workers and the provision of cross-border services, it is important to note that transitional arrangements and transitional periods are in effect for people from Romania and Bulgaria. A corresponding (legal) assessment must be made in each case.

EU/EEA citizens as well as Swiss nationals have the right to permanent residence in Austria after a five-year period of legal and uninterrupted residence in Austria’s federal territory. In this case, they will be issued a “certificate of permanent residence”.

There are also legal exceptions for:

  • scientific work in research and teaching (for example jobs at a university but also for private companies)

  • for spouses and children of these researchers and scientists

  • work representing diplomatic missions or for several international organizations (e.g. the United Nations).

Residence of third country nationals

Third country nationals (citizens of countries which neither belong to the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to reside in Austria for longer than six months within a specified one-year period require a residence title (Red-White-Red Card, RWR Card Plus, residence permit or “Residence title for family members“). 

Granting of a residence title – Initial application

Applications to be granted an initial residence title usually have to be submitted personally at Austria’s diplomatic missions abroad (e.g. embassies, consulates) before entering Austria from another country.

Red-White-Red Card: Qualified immigration opens up new opportunities in Austria

Austria’s Red-White-Red Card (RWR Card) comprises a transparent and flexible system to regulate immigration. The objective is to enable the long-term immigration of qualified employees from third countries and their family members to Austria on the basis of specified personalized and labor market criteria (www.migration.gv.at).

The regulation took effect on July 1, 2011, and is exclusively oriented to non-EU citizens. The RWR Card eliminates the previous quota system and replaces it with a criterion-oriented immigration model.

Employment of EU/EWR citizens

EU/EEA nationals (with the exception of Croatia) have free and unrestricted access to the Austrian labor market. They can freely move about in Austria within the context of the freedom of movement of workers and freedom of establishment. Accordingly, they are generally entitled to seek gainful employment as an employee of an Austrian business or as a self-employed individual, inasmuch as they are in possession of a valid travel document (passport or the like).