The Red-White-Red – Card Plus

The Red-White-Red – Card Plus (“Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte Plus”) is a residence permit for third-country nationals that aims at facilitating the long-term stay of skilled workers and their families in Austria. Among other things, the Red-White-Red – Card Plus offers you unrestricted access to the Austrian labour market. This means that you can work both as a salaried employee or be self-employed, and that you are not bound to a specific employer. The Red-White-Red – Card Plus is relevant for various target groups and is ideally valid for a period of either one, two or three years.

The Red-White-Red – Card Plus for family members of skilled workers

  • Red-White-Red – Card (“Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte”)
  • Blue Card (“Blaue Karte“)
  • Settlement Permit – Researcher (“Niederlassungsbewilligung – Forscher“)
  • Red-White-Red – Card Plus if the skilled worker had a Red-White-Red – Card, Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher beforehand
  • 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

Family members are only considered to be minor children and wives/husbands or civil partners (“eingetragene Partnerinnen/eingetragene Partner”). As a rule, children over the age of 18 are not allowed to receive a residence permit via their parents. 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.


Family members can either immigrate to Austria together with the skilled worker or come to Austria at a later date. However, as a rule, the skilled worker must first submit an application for a Red-White-Red – Card, a Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher or already have this application approved before family members are allowed to submit their applications for the Red-White-Red – Card Plus.  

As a rule, if family members apply for the Red-White-Red – Card Plus for the first time, it is valid for a period of one year. However, there is one exception, namely that family members of a skilled worker with a Blue Card are granted Red-White-Red – Cards Plus which are valid just as long as the Blue Card of the skilled worker.   


Note

If you immigrate to Austria with your family and apply for a Blue Card, your Blue Card is ideally valid for two years. The Red-White-Red – Cards Plus of your family members are in the case of simultaneous immigration also valid for two years if all their passports are valid for at least two years.


  • 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”) for all family members who are older than 14 years
    • Marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
  • Proof of German language skills at an A1 level for all family members older than 14 years
    • If the skilled worker in the family holds one of the following residence permits, family members do not have to show a German certificate:
      • Red-White-Red – Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers
      • Blue Card
      • Settlement Permit – Researcher
      • Red-White-Red – Card Plus, if the skilled worker held a Red-White-Red – Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers, a Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher beforehand
      • Long-Term Resident EU permit, if the skilled worker held a Red-White-Red – Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers, a Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher in the past
    • If you completed your studies at a recognised university, you also 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 (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 is certified and translated either into German or English.  
    • As a rule, the German certificate may not be older than one year when submitted.
    • In principle, only the following certificates are recognised: German Language Certificate Austria (ÖSD), Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF), The European Language Certificates (TELC) and the Goethe Institute.
  • Proof of long-term accommodation in Austria
    • Normally, the rental agreement (“Mietvertrag”) is presented.
    • If the apartment or house is not rented but was 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.
  • Proof of health insurance coverage in Austria
    • If the skilled worker in the family is insured with the Austrian Health Insurance Fund (Österreichische Gesundheitskasse - ÖGK), the family is usually included in the insurance coverage via co-insurance.
    • For the transition period (time during which the skilled worker is already in Austria but has not yet begun to work) and/or for the trip to Austria, it is recommended to take out travel insurance. As a rule, third-country nationals who require a Visa D to enter the country must present such a travel insurance policy when applying for their Visa D to the Austrian representative authority (embassy/consulate) in the country they live in.    
  • Fees: € 160

  • 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 Übersetzer”). 
  • 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. 

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 your Red-White-Red Card Plus to the Immigration and Residence Authority (“Aufenthaltsbehörde”). The application will then be processed for several weeks and approved. Subsequently, your Red-White-Red Card Plus will be printed. You are permitted to begin working in Austria as soon as you receive your card.


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 Red-White-Red Card Plus within these 90 days, you must leave the Schengen Area and apply for the Visa D in the country in which you currently live.


Attention

As a rule, you are only allowed to submit your application when the skilled worker in your family already has his or her residence permit (“Aufenthaltstitel”) or at least received preliminary approval. Generally speaking, it therefore does not usually make sense for the entire family to immigrate to Austria and submit all the applications together.  

 

 


Are you not permitted to enter Austria without a visa? In this case, you generally have to submit your entire application for the Red-White-Red Card Plus to the Austrian representative authority (embassy/consulate) in the country in which you currently live. Your application will then be sent to Austria by the representative authority where it will be processed and approval. After your application has been approved, you will receive an invitation from the Austrian representative authority where you will be asked to apply for a so-called Visa D within the following three months and to pick up your Red-White-Red Card Plus 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
  • Ca. 150 €

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 Red-White-Red Card Plus will then be printed. Once you receive it, you are permitted to begin working in Austria if you want. 

 

 


Attention

As a rule, you are only allowed to submit your application when the skilled worker in your family already has his or her residence permit (“Aufenthaltstitel”) or at least received preliminary approval. Generally speaking, it does not usually make sense for you to arrange for an appointment with the Austrian representative authority if the skilled employee in your family has not yet submitted his or her application.


Do you have a Red-White-Red Card, a Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher and you are expecting a baby in Austria? You can apply for a Red-White-Red Card Plus for your child as soon as you have the birth certificate. Find out more here about newborns. (link).


The Red-White-Red – Card Plus as an extension of residence permits

  • Red-White-Red – Card (exception: Red-White-Red – Card for Self-Employed Key Workers”
  • Blue Card
  • If you have had a Settlement Permit – Researcher (“Niederlassungsbewilligung Forscher”) for two years, you can also get a Red-White-Red – Card Plus.
  • Furthermore, family members can receive their Red-White-Red – Card Plus after one year and extend them again after two years.  
  • The following generally applies when applying for an extension (“Verlängerung”) of residence permits:  
  • You must apply to the Immigration and Residence Authority (“Aufenthaltsbehörde”) for your (extended) Red-White-Red – Card Plus. The location of the relevant office depends upon where you live. Here (link) you can find out which Immigration and Residence Authority is responsible in your case.  
  • Note: As a rule, if you live in Vienna, the office responsible for granting extensions is not the same office as the one you already got to know when you immigrated to Austria. The office responsible for you depends upon which district in Vienna you live in.  
  • You must apply for an extension of your residence permit within the three months before your current residence permit expires.  
  • Children under the age of 6 do not have to personally come to the public authority. A legal representative (“gesetzliche Vertreterin / gesetzlicher Vertreter”) (generally the mother or father) can submit the application on behalf of the child.
  • If you have submitted the application for an extension of your residence permit, but the application has not yet been processed and you have not yet received your new residence permit, you can continue to live and work in Austria. If your current residence permit has already expired, you are still waiting for the new one and you must urgently travel to another country, you can apply for a so-called emergency vignette (“Notvignette”). In this case, you must supply proof as to why you have to urgently leave Austria (e.g., invitation from business partners, death certificate in cases of death, etc.) and a travel ticket. This vignette is valid for a period of three months and is printed into your passport as a Schengen visa.  
  • You will need the following documents to get an extended Red-White-Red – Card Plus:
  • Application form (link to the form and completion guide) – please tick “Verlängerung”
  • (extension).
  • Passport
  • Passport photo fulfilling EU criteria (not older than six months)
  • German language certificate (as a rule not older than one year):
  • You have to present the A2 Integration Certificate when extending your residence permit if you:
  • previously had a Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher, after a period of two years, apply for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus which will then be valid for three years.
  • previously had a Red-White-Red – Card Plus and, after a period of two years, apply for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus which will then be valid for three years.
  • Attention: In these cases, a German certificate at an A2 level is not sufficient. An A2 Integration Exam (“Integrationsprüfung”) by ÖIF contains both a German part as well as an integration section. In other words, it is important that you take and pass the A2 Integration Exam.  You can get information about German language courses, learning materials, frequently asked questions and examinations by directly contacting the Austrian Integration Fund ÖIF (https://sprachportal.integrationsfonds.at/).
  • In any case, you do NOT have to present an A2 Integration Certificate (“Integrations-Zertifikat A2”)when extending your residence permit if you:
  • previously held a Red-White-Red – Card and, after a period of two years, apply for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus which will then be valid for three years.
  • concluded studies at a recognised university abroad. Instead of a German or Integration Certificate, you must present a university diploma to the Immigration and Residence Authority. 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 is certified and translated into German or English. 
  • already presented an A2 or B1 Integration Certificate when applying for previous residence permits.  
  • already have a B1 Integration Certificate.
  • concluded studies in Austria.  
  • completed the Austrian school-leaving certificate (“Matura”) in Austria or you have the Austrian general university entrance qualification (“österreichische allgemeine Universitätsreife”).  
  • submit an application for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus on behalf of a child who is under the age of 14.
  • submit an application for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus for a child who is 14 years old or older but is attending a school in Austria and had a positive grade in German in his or her last school report.
  • Proof of accommodations in Austria (rental agreement, last three rental payments, etc.)
  • Proof of health insurance coverage in Austria (copy of e-card, etc.)
  • Proof of sufficient financial means (last three pay slips, etc.)
  • Fees: € 160
  • Have you had a Red-White-Red – Card or a Blue Card for two years and are now applying for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus for the first time? In this case, please note that you will also have to submit so-called wage accounts (“Lohnkonten”) for at least the last 21 months of work. Only your employer can give you these documents.  

Note

As a rule, if you live in Vienna, the office responsible for granting extensions is not the same office as the one you already got to know when you immigrated to Austria. The office responsible for you depends upon which district in Vienna you live in.  


  • You must apply for an extension of your residence permit within the three months before your current residence permit expires.  
  • Children under the age of 6 do not have to personally come to the public authority. A legal representative (“gesetzliche Vertreterin / gesetzlicher Vertreter”) (generally the mother or father) can submit the application on behalf of the child.
  • If you have submitted the application for an extension of your residence permit, but the application has not yet been processed and you have not yet received your new residence permit, you can continue to live and work in Austria. If your current residence permit has already expired, you are still waiting for the new one and you must urgently travel to another country, you can apply for a so-called emergency vignette (“Notvignette”). In this case, you must supply proof as to why you have to urgently leave Austria (e.g., invitation from business partners, death certificate in cases of death, etc.) and a travel ticket. This vignette is valid for a period of three months and is printed into your passport as a Schengen visa.  

You will need the following documents to get an extended Red-White-Red – Card Plus:

Application form (link to the form and completion guide) – please tick “Verlängerung”

(extension).

Passport

Passport photo fulfilling EU criteria (not older than six months)

German language certificate (as a rule not older than one year):

You have to present the A2 Integration Certificate when extending your residence permit if you:

previously had a Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher, after a period of two years, apply for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus which will then be valid for three years.

previously had a Red-White-Red – Card Plus and, after a period of two years, apply for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus which will then be valid for three years.

 


Attention: In these cases, a German certificate at an A2 level is not sufficient. An A2 Integration Exam (“Integrationsprüfung”) by ÖIF contains both a German part as well as an integration section. In other words, it is important that you take and pass the A2 Integration Exam.  You can get information about German language courses, learning materials, frequently asked questions and examinations by directly contacting the Austrian Integration Fund ÖIF (https://sprachportal.integrationsfonds.at/).

 

In any case, you do NOT have to present an A2 Integration Certificate (“Integrations-Zertifikat A2”)when extending your residence permit if you:

  • previously held a Red-White-Red – Card and, after a period of two years, apply for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus which will then be valid for three years.
  • concluded studies at a recognised university abroad. Instead of a German or Integration Certificate, you must present a university diploma to the Immigration and Residence Authority. 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 is certified and translated into German or English. 
  • already presented an A2 or B1 Integration Certificate when applying for previous residence permits.  
  • already have a B1 Integration Certificate.
  • concluded studies in Austria.  
  • completed the Austrian school-leaving certificate (“Matura”) in Austria or you have the Austrian general university entrance qualification (“österreichische allgemeine Universitätsreife”).  
  • submit an application for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus on behalf of a child who is under the age of 14.
  • submit an application for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus for a child who is 14 years old or older but is attending a school in Austria and had a positive grade in German in his or her last school report.

Proof of accommodations in Austria (rental agreement, last three rental payments, etc.)

Proof of health insurance coverage in Austria (copy of e-card, etc.)

Proof of sufficient financial means (last three pay slips, etc.)

Fees: € 160


Attention

If you were not employed for 21 months (for example, if you changed your employer due to a change in purpose (“Zweckänderung”), you should not apply for the Red-White-Red – Card Plus. Instead, the best thing to do would be to apply for the same residence permit as the one you have now. It only makes sense to apply for the Red-White-Red – Card Plus in those cases if you already have 21 full months of employment.


Are you applying for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus on behalf of a child who lives in Austria? Please note that you also have to submit the last school report (“Schulzeugnis”) if your child is already attending school. Furthermore, you will also have to present a so-called confirmation of school attendance (“Schulbesuchsbestätigung”) which the school can give you. In addition, all applications for children must include the confirmation that you are receiving the family allowance (“Familienbeihilfe”) for this child. You can download this confirmation online via Finanz Online or request it from the Austrian Ministry of Finance (“Bundesministerium für Finanzen - BMF”).

Please note the following:

  • If you have to show additional personal documents, the fee to be paid may actually be higher than € 160. 
  • Your Red-White-Red – Card Plus is only valid as long as your passport is. If you want to apply for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus for three years, your passport also has to be valid for at least three years.
  • Many of the Immigration and Residence Authority offices demand a so-called KSV Excerpt (excerpt from the Austrian Credit Protection Association - “Kreditschutzerband - KSV”) in extending residence permits. This KSV Excerpt is an official document which shows whether you have taken out loans in Austria: If you are married, you must always show your own KSV Excerpt and that of your partner. You can easily order the KSV Excerpt for public authorities online: (https://digitalerantrag.ksv.at/Dip/?product=infopass-fuer-behoerden&lang=en)

The Red-White-Red – Card Plus – Additional target groups

  • Family members of third-country nationals with a valid Long-Term Resident EU permit (“Daueraufenthalt EU”) if there are still quota places (“Quotenplätze”) available.
  • Family members of third-country nationals with a valid Settlement Permit – Special Cases of Gainful Employment (“Niederlassungsbewilligung – Sonderfälle unselbständiger Erwerbstätigkeit”) if this settlement permit is based on certain defined activities (Section 1 Para. 2 (i) Aliens Employment Act (“Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz” - AuslBG).
  • Family members of third-country nationals who have a Residence Permit Article 50 EUV (“Aufenthaltstitel Artikel 50 EUV”) due to Brexit (link Brexit.)
  • Third-country nationals who have a Long-Term Resident EU permit and were outside of the EU or the European Economic Area for too long and/or, in the meantime, were given a Long-Term Resident EU permit in another EU member state.

Extension

  • If you have lived in Austria for one year, and you have had a Red-White-Red – Card Plus up until now, you can submit an extension application (“Verlängerungsantrag”) for another Red-White-Red – Card Plus which is again valid for one year.  
  • If you have lived in Austria for two years, and you have had a Red-White-Red – Card Plus up until now, you can submit an extension application for another Red-White-Red – Card Plus which is then valid for a period of three years.  
  • If you have already lived in Austria for five years, and, for example, had a Red-White-Red – Card, a Blue Card, a Settlement Permit – Researcher and/or a Red-White-Red – Card Plus during these five years, you can apply for the Long-Term Resident EU permit (“Daueraufenthalt EU”) (link). For this purpose, you will need an Integration Certificate B1 by ÖIF, among other things.  
  1. You immigrate to Austria with your family. You apply for a Settlement Permit – Researcher (“Niederlassungsbewilligung Forscher”), which is valid for two years. Your family applies for Red-White-Red – Cards Plus. No family member needs a German certificate. The first Red-White-Red – Cards Plus for your family are valid for one year. After this one year, your family once again applies for Red-White-Red – Cards Plus, which are once again valid for one year. Your family members above the age of 14 need a German certificate A2 or an equivalent. After these two years are over, you and your family apply for Red-White-Red – Cards Plus, which are then valid for two years. To get these residence permits, you and your family must present Integration Certificates A2 or an equivalent. After the three years are over, you and your family have already lived uninterruptedly in Austria for five years. You all apply for the Long-Term Resident EU permit. In order to get this, you and your family have to present Integration Certificates B1.
     
  2. You immigrate to Austria with your family. You apply for a Red-White-Red – Card for Other Key Workers (“Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte für Sonstige Schlüsselkräfte”) which is valid for two years. Your family applies for Red-White-Red – Cards Plus. Your family members above the age of 14 need a German certificate A1 or an equivalent. The first Red-White-Red – Cards Plus for your family are valid for one year. After this year is over, your family once again applies for Red-White-Red – Cards Plus, which are again valid for one year. After this year is over, your family applies for Red-White-Red – Cards Plus which are then valid for three years. To get these Red-White-Red – Cards Plus, only your family must present an Integration Certificate A2 certificate or an equivalent. After those three years are over, you and your family have already lived uninterruptedly in Austria for five years. You all apply for the Long-Term Resident EU permit. Now you and your family must show Integration Certificates B1.
     
  3. You immigrate to Austria by yourself. You apply for a Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations (“Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte für Fachkräfte in Mangelberufen”) which is valid for two years. After these years are over, you apply for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus, which is then valid for a period of three years. After these three years are over, you have already lived uninterruptedly in Austria for five years. You apply for the Long-Term Resident EU permit (“Daueraufenthalt EU”). Now is the time that you have to present a German certificate for the first time, namely an Integration Certificates B1.    
      
  4. You immigrate to Austria with your family. You apply for a Blue Card. Your family applies for Red-White-Red – Cards Plus. No member of the family needs to present proof of German skills. All the cards are valid for two years. After these two years are over, you and your family apply for Red-White-Red – Cards Plus, which are subsequently valid for a period of three years. To get this, you and your family must present an Integration Certificate A2 or an equivalent. After the three years are over, you and your family have already lived uninterruptedly in Austria for five years. You all apply for the Long-Term Resident EU permit. In order to get this, you and your family have to present Integration Certificates B1.

Legal Foundations

Sections 41a, 46, 56 Para 3 Austrian Settlement and Residence Act (“Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz” - NAG)