Home Moving to Austria Visas & Immigration Austrian work visas and work permits
Last update on August 05, 2021
Valentine Sergon Written by Valentine Sergon

We outline the different types of Austrian work visas available as well as the requirements needed to obtain each one and how to apply for them.

Between its high standard of living, excellent healthcare, and low crime rate, Austria is a very desirable destination for expats. However, for many nationalities, living and working in the country requires an Austrian work visa, and this can be tricky to arrange. Fortunately, this handy guide is here to help by outlining the ins and outs of the process of obtaining an Austrian work visa and the various kinds available to students and family members.

The guide includes the following information:

Working in Austria

Working in Austria as a European is a fairly straightforward process. However, working in Austria as a non-European, also called a third-country national, is a bit trickier. Third-country nationals need an Austrian work visa to be able to live and work in Austria.

Visa application

Generally, the easiest way to get one is to find a job with an Austrian employer. Managed by the federal government, the immigration system tends to favor highly skilled or trained people and those who will provide added value to the Austrian market.

Who needs an Austrian work visa?

If you are a citizen of a country in the European Union or the European Free Trade Association, you don’t need an Austrian work visa. If you plan to stay in Austria for longer than three months, however, you will need to register with your municipality.

Non-Europeans, also called third-country nationals, will need an Austrian work visa. You can read our Guide to visas and immigration in Austria for more information about the different types of visas and what to do upon arrival in the country.

Applying for Austrian work visas

To begin the process of obtaining an Austrian work visa, you must first submit your application to the Austrian consulate in your home country. There, you will also be able to find details such as costs, processing times, and further required documents.

Types of Austrian work visas

Austria streamlines most of its work visas, so there are only a few different types of work visas available, which include:

  • C Visa and D Visa for gainful employment
  • Settler Permit – Researcher
  • Settlement Permit – Special cases of gainful employment
  • Settlement Permit – Artists
  • Au Pair Visa

C Visa and D Visa for “gainful employment”

These visas, called Visum C-Erwerb and Visum D-Erwerb in German, are designed for those planning to work in Austria for up to 90 days (C Visa) or between 91 and 180 days (D Visa). So, this might be a short contract, a temporary research position, or even an internship.

Requirements

Here are the application requirements:

  • Visa C or Visa D application form
  • Valid travel document
  • Passport-sized photo
  • Copy of the contract or preliminary contract with an Austrian employer, as proof of financial stability
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Sufficient travel health insurance
  • Proof of ties to your home country, such as university enrollment or family still back home

Settlement Permit – researcher

This visa is designed for third-country nationals who hold a Ph.D. degree and who are planning to conduct scientific work in Austria that requires a doctoral degree. It is important to keep in mind, however, that to qualify, you usually need to have a hosting agreement with a research institution. In some cases, the research institution will help with the application process.

Scientific researchers

The Settlement Permit – Researcher is called Niederlassungsbewilligung – Forscher in German. If everything is in order, this permit will be issued for two years.

Application requirements

Here are the application requirements:

  • Application form
  • Passport-sized photo
  • Valid travel document
  • Birth certificate
  • Hosting Agreement with a certified research institution or a research institution that does not require certification
  • Police clearance from home country
  • Sufficient funds to finance stay in Austria
  • Proof of accommodation in Austria for three months
  • Proof of health insurance

Settlement Permit – special cases of gainful employment

This permit is issued for third-country nationals who plan to conduct scientific research and teach in Austria and who don’t have a Hosting Agreement with a research institution. It also includes candidates who are working with research institutions that don’t require certification and researchers who are self-financed or financed by foreign research institutions.

University instructor

In German, this permit is called Niederlassungsbewilligung – Sonderfälle unselbständiger Erwerbstätigkeit. This permit is usually issued for 12 months.

Application requirements

Here are the application requirements:

  • Application form
  • Passport-sized photo
  • Valid travel document
  • Birth certificate
  • Employment or preliminary contract, hosting institution invitation letter, home research institution letter, or scholarship award notice
  • Police clearance from home country
  • Sufficient funds to finance stay in Austria
  • Proof of accommodation in Austria for three months
  • Proof of health insurance

Settlement Permit – artists

This visa is designed for conventionally and self-employed artists who work full-time and earn an income from their artistry. This visa is called Niederlassungsbewilligung “Künstler” in German and is usually issued for more than six months. It is also renewable.

Application requirements

Here are the application requirements:

  • Application form
  • Passport-sized photo
  • Valid travel document
  • Birth certificate
  • Employment or preliminary contract, hosting institution invitation letter, home research institution letter, or scholarship award notice
  • Police clearance from home country
  • Sufficient funds to finance stay in Austria
  • Proof of accommodation in Austria
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Credit reference
  • Proof of art training or portfolio of work
  • Employed artists: employer declaration; self-employed artists: contract showing terms of the work

Au Pair Visa

The Au Pair Visa is filed under Residence Permit – Special Cases of Paid Employment.

Au pair with child

This visa grants people aged 18 to 28 the opportunity to work as an au pair in Austria for up to a year.

Application requirements

Here are the application requirements:

  • Application form
  • Passport-sized photo
  • Valid travel document
  • Birth certificate
  • Au pair contract
  • Confirmation of notification of au pair status by the Public Employment Service
  • Police clearance from home country
  • Proof of accommodation in Austria
  • Proof of health insurance

Work permits in Austria

Expats seeking to move to Austria also have the option of seeking a work permit. Specifically, work permits give you authorization to work and are usually indefinite, meaning that they are not as time-limited as work visas. So, for example, if you have a full-time job in Austria that doesn’t have an expiration date, you would probably have a work permit. Fortunately, the Austrian work permit system is quite simple.

Red-White-Red Card

The Red-White-Red Card is both a residence permit and work authorization. Notably, it is only granted in certain cases, the most common being an employment contract with an Austrian employer. Therefore, if you are a third-country national hoping to work in Austria indefinitely, you will need a Red-White-Red Card. Its length varies depending on why you received it in the first place but is usually good for 24 months.

Red White Red Card

The cost of applying for a Red-White-Red card will vary depending on translations and certifying documents, however, it generally starts at €160. Translation services such as lingoking can help translate your documents into German.

EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card grants third-country nationals the right to live and work in Austria, provided they meet certain requirements. In order to qualify, you must be a university graduate holding an employment contract with a minimum salary that is 1.5 times the national annual income in Austria (€65,579 in 2021). The EU Blue Card is usually issued for two years but it may be shorter depending on the length of the employment contract. This permit entitles you to bring your family to Austria and costs begin at €160.

Austrian work visas for students

As a student, your Study Permit does not automatically allow you to work in Austria. That said, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week during your studies. To do so, you will need an employment permit, which your employer must apply for.

Keep in mind that once you have completed your studies, you can apply for a 12-month Red-White-Red Card. This will allow you to search for jobs, work, or start a business in Austria for that time, but it is not renewable.

Austrian work visas for self-employed people, freelancers, and entrepreneurs

Third-country nationals who are looking for self-employed, freelance, or entrepreneurial work will need to obtain residence permits. If you would like to create a start-up company in Austria, there is a specific residence permit for that; however, the initial capital requirement is a minimum of €50,000.

Freelancer working

Generally, the requirements often involve a high amount of capital. Self-employed people may also apply for a residence permit, provided that their occupation creates macroeconomic benefits. You can read more about this in our guide to becoming a freelancer in Austria and our guide to starting a business in Austria.

Volunteering and work experience in Austria

If you would like to spend some time volunteering in Austria, you will need to obtain a residence permit. You will also have to be volunteering with an organization in the framework of the European Voluntary Service. To apply and learn more about costs and timelines, you will need to visit the Austrian consulate in your home country.

Austrian work visas for family members

Whether or not a family member can get a work visa in Austria will depend on the type of visa the sponsor holds. Some visas allow people to bring family members, automatically allowing them to work, while others do not.

Father playing with daughter

Requirements, costs, and timelines will also vary, so be sure to check with the consulate in your home country for more details. You can read more about family life in Austria in our Family & Pets section.

Appeals and complaints about Austrian work visas

Although they are rare, visa and permit rejections are possible, for example, if you are missing some documents, or if you are not an appropriate candidate for a work visa. In the case that your application is denied, you will be provided with information on how and when to appeal. In that case, it might be wise to seek legal counsel.