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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 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 valid for a period of up to 3 years.

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

The Red-White-Red – Card Plus is a residence permit (“Aufenthaltstitel”) for third-country nationals who are family members of skilled workers with certain residence permits. This includes skilled workers who are holders of a:

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

Family members can either immigrate together with the skilled worker or come to Austria at a later stage. The Austrian employer can file both the skilled worker's application as well as his/her family members' applications to the Austrian immigration authority (this does not apply to researchers and their family members).

Family members of a skilled worker applying for/holding a Red-White-Red – Card, an EU Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher receive a Red-White-Red – Card Plus valid for the same period as the permit of the skilled worker.

If you immigrate to Austria with your family and apply for a Blue Card EU, a Red-White-Red - Card or a Settlement Permit Researcher, your residence title is ideally valid for 2 years. For this, both your passport and your job offer/employment contract must be valid for at least 2 years. The Red-White-Red - Cards Plus of your family members are also valid for 2 years if all passports are valid for at least 2 years.

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.

Every family member requires the following documents in order to receive the Red-White-Red – Card Plus:

  • Application form
  • Passport
  • Passport photo fulfilling EU criteria (not older than 6 months)
  • Personal documents:
    • Birth certificate (only for children)
    • Police clearance certificate (“Strafregisterbescheinigung”) for all family members who are 14 years or older (not older than 3 months)
    • 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
  • EU 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, an EU 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, an EU Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher in the past

If you completed your studies at a recognised university, you do not need a German certificate either. 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 is certified and translated either into German or English.  

The German certificate must not be older than 1 year when submitted.

As a rule, 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 mis 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. In this case, it is also important to ensure that not too many people will 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

Please note the following:

You will have to present one or more police clearance certificates depending upon the country in which you live.

  • 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 check which type of verification is necessary.
  • If personal documents were not issued in German or English, they must be translated by a court-certified translator (“gerichtlich beeidete:r Übersetzer:in”). 
  • 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 a family member of a skilled worker and want to immigrate to Austria? In applying for your Red-White-Red – Card Plus, it is important whether or not you are allowed to enter Austria without a visa.

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 before approval. 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.

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.

Are you not permitted to enter Austria without a visa? In this case, there are two options:

  • Your familiy member's future Austrian employer files your complete application package simultaneously with his/hers. All applications will be processed and approved by the Austrian authority. 
  • You submit your entire application package 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. This option requires a little more time.

Once your application has been approved, you will receive an invitation from your local Austrian representative authority, asking you to apply for a so-called Visa D within the following 3 months and to pick up your Red-White-Red Card – Plus in Austria within a period of 6 months. In order to receive a Visa D, you will need the following documents: 

  • Application form
  • Passport plus 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 2 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. 

A special regulation is in place for family members of skilled workers who apply for an EU Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher and cannot enter without a visa. If this applies to you and neither of the above-mentioned options of submission appeals to you, you can travel to Austria to apply for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus in person if you have a valid visa. (This also applies to third-country national skilled workers themselves who are not allowed to enter Austria without a visa, but who wish to submit their application for an EU Blue Card or a Settlement Permit Researcher in Austria).

In this case, you are entitled to stay Austria during the process as long as your visa is valid. If the visa expires before you receive your Red-White-Red – Card Plus, you would have to leave the country in time. For a new entry to collect your Red-White-Red – Card Plus, you would have to apply for a visa D at the respective Austrian representative authority (embassy/consulate).

  • You have a Red-White-Red Card, a Blue Card or a Settlement Permit Researcher and are having a child in Austria? You can apply for a Red-White-Red Card Plus for your child as soon as you have the birth certificate. Learn more about residence titles for newborns here.

Legal Foundations:

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