Immigration as a Family Member of an Austrian

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. The Residence Permit – Family Member gives you unrestricted access to the Austrian labour market. You can work both as a salaried employee or in a self-employed capacity and are not bound to a particular employer.

Attention

Family members are only considered to be underage children and wives/husbands or civil partners. As a rule, children who are third-country nationals and who are over the age of 18 are no longer allowed to receive a residence permit via their parents as dependants. Instead, they have to demonstrate that they themselves have a purpose for staying in Austria, for example if they study or work in the country.

Note

Austrians are considered to be EU nationals when they have made use of their right of residence under EU law. This means that they have verifiably lived for more than three months in another EU or EEA member state. Family members of EU, EEA or Swiss nationals can get a Residence Card (“Aufenthaltstkarte”). The advantage of the Residence Card compared to the Residence Permit – Family Member is that children who are third-party nationals can get a Residence Card until they are 21 years old and that they do not need any certificate showing their German language skills to receive their Residence Card.

You need the following documents in order to get the Residence Permit – Family Member:

  • Application form (link to the form and completion guide)
  • Passport
  • Passport photo fulfilling EU criteria (not older than six months)
  • Personal documents:
    • Birth certificate
    • Police clearance certificate (“Strafregisterbescheinigung”)
    • Marriage certificate or a certificate affirming the civil partnership
  • Proof of sufficient financial means (means of subsistence: pay slips, bank account statements, etc.)
  • Proof of health insurance coverage in Austria
  • A1 German Certificate (not older than one year) showing your German language skills
    • If you completed your studies at a recognised university, you do not need a German certificate. Instead, you need to show your university diploma to the authorities. Verifications may be necessary depending upon the country which issued the diploma. It does not matter which studies were completed and in which language. The only thing that counts is that the university is recognised and that the diploma document is translated and certified either into German or English. This diploma is considered to be a substitute for the A1 German Certificate and also for the A2 Integration Certificate (“Integrations-Zertifikat A2”).

Note

Did you do your school-leaving examination (“Matura”) or completed studies in Austria? In these cases, you also do not need to show a German proficiency certificate.

Attention

 

In principle, only German certificates from the following institutions are accepted: Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF), ÖSD, TELC and Goethe-Institut.

Proof of long-term accommodation in Austria

  • Normally, the rental agreement (“Mietvertrag”) is presented.
  • If the apartment or house is not rented but was or will be purchased, it is necessary to present an updated excerpt from the land registry (“Grundbuchauszug”).
  • As a rule, short-term apartment and hotel reservations are not recognised.
  • There has to be sufficient living space for all family members. For example, an apartment with one room of 30 m2 is not considered to be sufficient for a family of four. 
  • If you move in with someone who already lives in Austria, the rental agreement or excerpt from the land registry of this person suffices together with the right of habitation (“Wohnrechtsvereinbarung”) there (link). In this case, it is also important to ensure that too many people will not live in too little space.
  • Fees: € 160

Please note the following:

  • You will have to present one or more police clearance certificates depending upon the country in which you live. Here you can see which police clearance certificates you will have to obtain (link). 
  • Personal documents must be specially verified so that these documents are officially recognised. This depends upon the country in which the documents were issued. Here you can look to see which type of verification is necessary (link).
  • If personal documents are not available in German or English, they must be translated by a court-certified translator (“gerichtlich beeidete Übersetzerin/beeideter Überseter”).
  • If you have to show additional personal documents or if you need a Visa D, the fee to be paid may actually be higher than € 160. 

When applying for the Residence Permit – Family Member, it is important to know if you are allowed to enter Austria without a visa or not. You can find this out here.

  • Are you allowed to enter Austria without a visa? As soon as you have gathered all the necessary documents, you can come to Austria and submit your application for the Residence Permit – Family Member to your Immigration and Residence Authority (“Aufenthaltsbehörde”). The application will then be processed by the Immigration and Residence Authority for several weeks and approved. Subsequently, your Residence Permit – Family Member will be printed.

Attention

 

Please pay attention to the number of visa-free days you are entitled to! Generally, you have 90 days (out of 180) in which you can stay in the Schengen Area. If you have not received your Residence Permit – Family Member within these 90 days, you must leave the Schengen Area and apply for a Visa D in your country of residence.

Are you not permitted to enter Austria without a visa? In this case, you will have to submit your entire application for the Residence Permit – Family Member to the Austrian representative authority (embassy, consulate) in your country of residence. Your application will then be sent to Austria via diplomatic postal services where it will be processed and approved. After your application has been approved, you will receive an invitation from the Austrian representative authority in your country of residence. In this invitation, you will be asked to apply for a so-called Visa D within the following three months and to pick up your Residence Permit – Family Member in Austria within a period of six months. In order to receive a Visa D, you will need the following documents: 

 

Generally, it may take about two weeks until the Visa D is stamped in your passport. During this processing time, the representative authority will keep your passport. As soon as you have your Visa D, you can travel to Austria and have your fingerprints taken. Furthermore, you will also have to show your personal documents (passport, birth certificate, police clearance certificate, etc.). Your Residence Permit – Family Member will then be printed. Once you receive it, you are permitted to begin working as soon as you want.  

  • Application formPassport with a copy
  • Invitation of the representative authority
  • Approval of the Immigration and Residence Authority
  • Travel insurance (coverage of at least € 30,000)      
  • Flight reservation

Validity and extension

As a rule, your first Residence Permit – Family Member is valid for a period of one year and can then be extended again for one year. After two years in Austria, you can then receive a Residence Permit – Family Member which is valid for three years. For this purpose, you must show an A2 Integration Certificate or an equivalent. After these three years, you have already been in Austria uninterruptedly for a total of five years. You can then apply for the so-called Long-Term Resident EU permit (“Daueraufenthalt EU”). In this case, you must present the ÖIF B1 Integration Certificate (“ÖIF-Integrationszertifikat B1“).

Settlement Permit - Family Member

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 - Angehöriger”) could be the suitable residence permit for you.

Attention

The Settlement Permit – Family Member does not allow you to work in Austria at all. You cannot work as a self-employed person nor pursue gainful employment as a salaried employee.

Note

If you are the life partner (“Lebenspartnerin/Lebenspartner”) of an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you can apply for a settlement permit (“Niederlassungsbewilligung”). Austrians are considered to be EU nationals when they have made use of their right of residence under EU law. This means that they have verifiably lived for more than three months in another EU or EEA member state.

In any case, you need the following documents to get a Settlement Permit – Family Member (“Niederlassungsbewilligung - Angehöriger”):

  • Application form
  • Passport
  • Passport photo fulfilling EU criteria (not older than six months)
  • Personal documents:
    • Birth certificate
    • Police clearance certificate
  • Proof of your having a life partner:
    • Proof that you are in a permanent relationship (e.g., rental agreement showing that you have already lived together abroad, proof of joint trips, proof of communication between you, etc.)
    • Declaration of liability (“Haftungserklärung”).
  • Proof of sufficient financial means (pay slips, bank account statements)
  • Proof of health insurance coverage in Austria
  • A1 German Certificate (not older than one year) showing your German language competence
    • If you completed your studies at a recognised university, you do not need a German language certificate. Instead, you need to show your university diploma to the authorities. Verifications may be necessary depending upon the country which issued the diploma (Link Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (“Bildungsministerium”): https://www.aais.at/Home/DocumentLegalizationOfForeignDocuments). It does not matter which studies were completed and in which language. The only thing that counts is that the university is recognised and that the diploma main page is translated and certified either into German or English.  This diploma is considered to be a substitute for the A1 German Certificate and also for the A2 Integration Certificate.
    • Note: Did you do your school-leaving examination (“Matura”) or completed studies in Austria? In these cases, you also do not need to show a German certificate. 
    • Attention: In principle, only German certificates from the following institutions are accepted: Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF). ÖSD, TELC and Goethe-Institut.
  • Proof of long-term accommodation in Austria
    • Normally, the rental agreement is submitted.
    • If the apartment or house is not rented but was or will be purchased, it is necessary to present an updated excerpt from the land registry (“Grundbuchauszug”).
    • As a rule, short-term apartment and hotel reservations are not recognised.
    • There has to be sufficient living space for all family members. For example, an apartment with one room of 30 m2 is not considered to be sufficient for a family of four. 
    • If you move in with someone who already lives in Austria, the rental agreement or excerpt from the land registry of this person suffices together with the right of habitation there (link). In this case, it is also important to ensure that too many people will not live in too little space.
  • Fees: € 160

Please note the following:

  • You will have to present one or more police clearance certificates depending upon the country in which you live. Here you can see which police clearance certificates you will have to obtain (link). 
  • Personal documents must be specially verified so that these documents are officially recognised. This depends upon the country in which the documents were issued. Here you can look to see which type of verification is necessary (link).
  • If personal documents are not available in German or English, they must be translated by a court-certified translator. 
  • If you have to show additional personal documents or if you need a Visa D, the fee to be paid may actually be higher than € 160. 

Hinweis

Did you do your school-leaving examination (“Matura”) or completed studies in Austria? In these cases, you also do not need to show a German certificate. 

Attention

In principle, only German certificates from the following institutions are accepted: Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF). ÖSD, TELC and Goethe-Institut.

  • Proof of long-term accommodation in Austria
    • Normally, the rental agreement is submitted.
    • If the apartment or house is not rented but was or will be purchased, it is necessary to present an updated excerpt from the land registry (“Grundbuchauszug”).
    • As a rule, short-term apartment and hotel reservations are not recognised.
    • There has to be sufficient living space for all family members. For example, an apartment with one room of 30 m2 is not considered to be sufficient for a family of four. 
    • If you move in with someone who already lives in Austria, the rental agreement or excerpt from the land registry of this person suffices together with the right of habitation there (link). In this case, it is also important to ensure that too many people will not live in too little space.
  • Fees: € 160

Please note the following:

  • You will have to present one or more police clearance certificates depending upon the country in which you live. Here you can see which police clearance certificates you will have to obtain (link). 
  • Personal documents must be specially verified so that these documents are officially recognised. This depends upon the country in which the documents were issued. Here you can look to see which type of verification is necessary (link).
  • If personal documents are not available in German or English, they must be translated by a court-certified translator. 
  • If you have to show additional personal documents or if you need a Visa D, the fee to be paid may actually be higher than € 160. 

.  

Note

In addition to life partners of Austrian nationals, other relatives (e.g., uncles, aunts, adult children) can apply for a Settlement Permit – Family Member under certain circumstances. The prerequisite for this is that these relatives of the Austrian national already received support from the Austrian in their home country, lived together in the same household in their country of origin or can show serious health grounds which make it absolutely necessary for the Austrian national to provide personal care. 

In applying for the Settlement Permit – Family Member, it is important to know if you are allowed to enter Austria without a visa or not. You can find this out here (link).

  • Are you allowed to enter Austria without a visa? As soon as you have gathered all the necessary documents, you can come to Austria and submit your application for the Settlement Permit – Family Member competent Immigration and Residence Authority. The application will then be processed by the Immigration and Residence Authority for several weeks and approved. Subsequently your card will then be printed.
    • Attention: Please pay attention to the number of visa-free days you are entitled to! Generally, you have 90 days (out of 180) in which you can stay in the Schengen Area. If you have not received your Residence Permit – Family Member within these 90 days, you must leave the Schengen Area and apply for the Visa D in the country in which you currently live.
  • Are you not permitted to enter Austria without a visa? In this case, you must submit your entire application for the Settlement Permit – Family Member to the Austrian representative authority (embassy, consulate) in your country of residence. Your application will then be sent to Austria via diplomatic postal services where it will be processed and approval. After your application has been approved, you will receive an invitation from the Austrian representative authority in your country of residence. In this invitation, you will be asked to apply for a so-called Visa D within the following three months and to pick up your Settlement Permit – Family Member in Austria within a period of six months. In order to receive a Visa D, you will need the following documents: 
  • Application form (link)
  • Passport with a copy
  • Invitation of the representative authority
  • Approval of the Immigration and Residence Authority
  • Travel insurance (coverage of at least € 30,000)      
  • Flight reservation

Generally, it will take about two weeks until the Visa D is stamped in your passport. During this processing time, the representative authority will keep your passport. As soon as you have your Visa D, you can travel to Austria and have your fingerprints taken.  Furthermore, you will also have to show your personal documents (passport, birth certificate, police clearance certificate, etc.). Your Settlement Permit – Family Member will then be printed.

 

Attention

Please pay attention to the number of visa-free days you are entitled to! Generally, you have 90 days (out of 180) in which you can stay in the Schengen Area. If you have not received your Residence Permit – Family Member within these 90 days, you must leave the Schengen Area and apply for the Visa D in the country in which you currently live.

Are you not permitted to enter Austria without a visa? In this case, you must submit your entire application for the Settlement Permit – Family Member to the Austrian representative authority (embassy, consulate) in your country of residence. Your application will then be sent to Austria via diplomatic postal services where it will be processed and approval. After your application has been approved, you will receive an invitation from the Austrian representative authority in your country of residence. In this invitation, you will be asked to apply for a so-called Visa D within the following three months and to pick up your Settlement Permit – Family Member in Austria within a period of six months. In order to receive a Visa D, you will need the following documents: 

 

Generally, it will take about two weeks until the Visa D is stamped in your passport. During this processing time, the representative authority will keep your passport. As soon as you have your Visa D, you can travel to Austria and have your fingerprints taken.  Furthermore, you will also have to show your personal documents (passport, birth certificate, police clearance certificate, etc.). Your Settlement Permit – Family Member will then be printed.

  • Application form
  • Passport with a copy Invitation of the representative authority
  • Approval of the Immigration and Residence Authority
  • Travel insurance (coverage of at least € 30,000)      
  • Flight reservation

Validity, extension and family

As a rule, your first Settlement Permit – Family Member is valid for a period of one year and can extended again for one year (link Extension). After two years in Austria, you can then receive a Settlement Permit – Family Member which is valid for three years. For this purpose, you must show an A2 Integration Certificate or an equivalent (link German). After these three years, you have already been in Austria uninterruptedly for a total of five years. Then you can apply for the so-called Long-Term Resident EU permit. In this case you must present the ÖIF B1 Integration Certificate.

Note

Family members (e.g., children up to the age of 18) of individuals with a Settlement Permit – Family Member can apply for a settlement permit. For this purpose, they need a quota place (“Quotenplatz”).

Note

Under certain circumstances, you can also get a Red-White-Red – Card Plus (“Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte Plus”) after you have the Settlement Permit – Family Member for two years. In this case, the Austrian Public Employment Service AMS must confirm that permission for you to pursue employment is warranted on the basis of your particular social and family roots in Austria. In addition, you also need a quota place. In this case, you must be prepared for a complex process lasting several months until you receive your residence permit. 

Legal Foundation

Sect. 47 Austrian Settlement and Residence Act (“Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz” - NAG)