Family Reunification

Austria not only offers attractive residence permits (“Aufenthaltstitel”) for skilled international employees, but also for their family members. As a rule, family members are considered to be:

 

- Wives/husbands

- Civil partners

- Children under the age of 18

Note

Are you a third-country national who is either married to an Austrian citizen or in a civil partnership (“eingetragene Partnerschaft”) with an Austrian? In this case, the so-called Residence Permit – Family Member (“Aufenthaltstitel Familienangehöriger”) is relevant for you.

Which residence permit your family members get depends on several factors. The most important one is whether is a close connection exists to the EU, EEA or Switzerland. Moreover, the type of residence permit held by the skilled employee in the family, how long this person has already been in Austria and when the family immigrates to Austria also play a role. In each case, the basis is that the skilled employee also lives in Austria. 

 

Note

If you have a close connection to the EU, EEA or Switzerland, children under the age of 21 are considered to be children who can receive a residence permit as your dependants.

Residence permits for family members

Special rules apply to the entire family if a person in the family is an EU, EEA or Swiss national. If all family members are EU, EEA or Swiss nationals, the family is privileged by the so-called freedom of movement within the European Economic Area. Here you can find out more about all important details if there is a connection to the EU, EEA or Switzerland in your family.

Are you a third-country national and are married to or in a civil partnership with an Austrian national? Then the so-called Residence Permit Family Member (“Aufenthaltstitel Familienangehöriger”) is relevant. Are you in a relationship with an Austrian but you are neither married nor in a civil partnership? In this case, the so-called Settlement Permit – Family Member (“Niederlassungsbewilligung - Familienangehörige”) could be the suitable residence permit for you. Here you can find out more about all important details if there is an Austrian national in your family.

Is there no close connection in your family to an Austrian or to an EU, EEA or Swiss national? Does this mean that all your family members are third-country nationals? In this case, the key factor is which residence permit the skilled worker in your family has.  

Does the skilled worker in your family have one of the following permits?

  • Red-White-Red – Card (“Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte”) or
  • EU Blue Card (“Blaue Karte EU”) or
  • Settlement Permit – Researcher (“Niederlassungsbewilligung Forscher“) or
  • Red-White-Red – Card Plus (“Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte Plus”) (if the skilled worker had a Red-White-Red – Card, an EU Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher beforehand) or
  • a Long-Term Resident EU permit (“Daueraufenthalt EU”) (if the skilled worker had a Red-White-Red – Card, an EU Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher in the past?)

In all of these cases, family members can apply for the Red-White-Red – Card Plus. Here you can find out more about all important details on the Red-White-Red – Card Plus.

 

Does the skilled worker in your family have one of the following permits?

  • Settlement Permit („Niederlassungsbewilligung“) as a self-employed individual or
  • Settlement Permit – Artist (“Niederlassungsbewilligung – Künstler”) or
  • Settlement Permit - Special Cases of Gainful Employment (“Niederlassungsbewilligung - Sonderfälle unselbstständiger Erwerbstätigkeit”) or
  • Settlement Permit – Relative (“Niederlassungsbewillung - Angehörige”)?

In this case, family members can apply for a Settlement Permit (“Niederlassungsbewilligung”). However, in this case a quota place must be available. Here you can find out more about all the important details on the Settlement Permit.

 

Does the skilled worker in your family have one of the following permits?

  • Residence Permit – Researcher Mobility (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung Forscher – Mobilität”) or
  • Residence Permit – ICT (= intra-corporate transferee) (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung Unternehmensintern transferierter Arbeitnehmer ("ICT") or
  • Residence Permit – Mobile ICT (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung Mobiler unternehmensintern transferierter Arbeitnehmer ("mobile ICT") or
  • Residence Permit – Special Cases of Gainful Employment (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung Sonderfälle unselbständiger Erwerbstätigkeit”) or
  • Residence Permit – Student (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung Student”)?  

In this case, family members can apply for the Residence Permit – Family Reunification (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung – Familiengemeinschaft”). Here you can find out more about this and other short-term residence permits.

Family members can also apply for a residence permit which is independent of the skilled worker in the family. In other words, you are not required to apply for a residence permit for family members. For example, if you have your own job offer, then a Red-White-Red – Card or an EU Blue Card, etc., could also be an interesting option for you.   

For other relatives of third-country nationals, Austria only offers the possibility of the so-called Settlement Permit – Gainful Employment Excepted (“Niederlassungsbewilligung – ausgenommen Erwerbstätigkeit”). However, in this case a quota place must be available.  

Attention

Family members who are third-country nationals require a German or Integration Certificate for many residence permits. Here you can find out whether or not you need a certificate and if so, which one.

The validity of a residence permit depends on many factors, and as a rule can be valid for a period of between one year and five years. Find out about your residence permit and learn about all the relevant details, including the validity.

Applications

Generally speaking, third-country nationals who want to stay in Austria for longer than 6 months must personally apply for their residence permits at Austrian authorities. Which authority is responsible depends on the following factors, amongst others:

  • First-time immigration to Austria or extension of the residence permit
  • Residence permit of the other family members
  • Citizenship(s) of the other family members
  • Visa exemption or visa obligation
  • Country of residence
  • (Intended) place of residence in Austria

As a rule, family members who immigrate to Austria for the first time must, in particular, consider rules relating to visa exemption. Here you can find out whether you are allowed to travel to Austria without a visa or not.

  • If you are permitted to enter Austria without a visa, you may apply personally to the responsible Immigration and Residence Authority (“Aufenthaltsbehörde”) in Austria. The advantage is that you submit the application directly to the public authority which will process the application. However, it is important that you take account of your visa-free days (usually a maximum of 90 out of 180 days).  
  • Another option would be that the future employer of the skilled worker in your family files all applications, including the ones for family members, to the competent authority. This option may be chosen regardless of an applicant's nationality, whether they require a visa or not. Shortly before the issuance of the residence permit, you will need to travel to Austria for final formaities. Should you require a visa to enter Austrian territory, you would first need to apply for a Visa D in order to collect your residence permit. 
  • If you are not allowed to enter the country without a visa but prefer personal submission of your Red-White-Red – Card Plus application, you must submit your application to the Austrian representative authority (embassy/consulate) of your country of residence. Your application is then sent to the responsible public authorities in Austria by post. You usually have to apply for a Visa D in order to collect your residence permit in Austria.  
  • A special regulation exists for family members of skilled workers applying for an EU Blue Card or a Settlement Permit Researcher as well as for unmarried or unregistered life partner:s of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals: even family members who are not entitled to visa-free entry may also submit their application in person in Austria if they hold a valid visa (C or D). During the process, they may stay in Austria as long as the visa is valid. If the visa expires before the Red-White-Red Card – Plus (or Settlement Permit in case of life partners of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals) is issued, departure from Austrian territory is required. For a new entry to collect the Red-White-Red Card – Plus or the Settlement Permit, a Visa D must be applied for at the respective Austrian representative authority (embassy/consulate).

 

Note

If you immigrate to Austria together as a family, you (respectively the skilled worker's future employer) may submit your applications at the same time. Please note though that it is not possible to file any family member's application before the reunifying skilled worker's application was filed.

Note

Every family member needs a separate residence permit. This also applies to children. A legal representative (e.g., the mother or father) must apply on behalf of all children under the age of 18 and must personally go to the responsible public authority. Children who are older than six years must have their fingerprints taken when applying for the residence permit.

If you already live in Austria and would like to extend your residence permit, you must submit the application to the responsible Immigration and Residence Authority in Austria. It is important that you submit your application for extension of the residence permit in the 3 months before your current residence permit expires. Which documents you need for this depends on your specific residence permit. Here you can find out more about the extension of residence permits.

Newborns

Do you live in Austria and have recently become a mother or father? Your newborn baby also needs a residence permit if she/he is a third-country national. It is sufficient if one of the parents submits the application. You are not required to bring your child with you to the Immigration and Residence Authority. Also, you do not need the baby's passport; the birth certificate suffices.

If your child is an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you must apply for a Registration Rertificate (“Anmeldebescheinigung”) on behalf of your child. For this, you need a passport or identity card of the child as well as its birth certificate - both the original and a copy. This is also the case if you apply for a Residence Card (“Aufenthaltskarte”) on behalf of your children who are third-country nationals because either you or the other parent are an EU, EEA or Swiss national.  

If your family does not have a close connection to the EU, EEA or Switzerland, and your child is a third-country national like you are, you can directly apply to your Immigration and Residence Authority in Austria for the residence permit for your child in the first six months after her or his birth. Which residence permit your child gets depends on your own residence permit.

Note

In addition to the birth certificate, you must include all documents with your application that show that you live in Austria, are insured and have sufficient financial means to support yourself and your family.  

Legal Foundations

  • Sect. 46 Austrian Settlement and Residence Act (“Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz” - NAG)