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

 

Attention

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.

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 lives in Austria.  

This guide offers you an overview of which residence permits you can get as family members. Furthermore, you can also find out how long the residence permits are valid, whether these residence permits give you the right to work in Austria, if and how you can extend these residence permits, and which German language skills you have to present as a prerequisite.

 

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 (link EU).

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 (link AT FamAng).

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
  • Blue Card (“Blaue Karte”) 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, a 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, a 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 (link RWR 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 (link NB).

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

  • 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 (link short-term AT).

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 a 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 yes, 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, all third-country nationals who want to stay in Austria for longer than six months must personally apply for their residence permits to 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 (link Visa).

  • If you are permitted to enter Austria without a visa, it makes sense to 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).  
  • If you are not allowed to enter the country without a visa, as a rule you must submit your application to the Austrian representative authority (embassy/consulate) in your country of residence. Your application is then sent to the responsible public authorities in Austria per post. You usually have to apply for a Visa D (“Visum D”) in order to pick up your residence permit in Austria.  

 

Note

If you immigrate to Austria together as a family, you may have to wait until the skilled worker in your family has submitted her or his application. Only after this is done, the other family members can usually submit their applications.  

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 three 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.

If your child is an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you must apply for a registration certificate (“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.  

Note

You can only receive government support such as the family allowance (“Familienbeihilfe”) or the childcare allowance (“Kinderbetreuungsgeld”) with the registration certificate.  

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.

If your child was born in Austria, you require the Austrian birth certificate for the application. If you child was born in another country, you may need to have the birth certificate verified and/or translated by a court-certified translator (“gerichtlich beeideten Übersetzerin/beeideter Übersetzer”). Here you can find out more about this.​​​​​​​

Attention

You do not require a passport for your child yet in order to apply on behalf of your child in that case!

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)