Moving to Austria

Moving to Austria

Things to know before moving to Austria

Austria is one of the richest countries in the world (in terms of GDP) and it is located in Central Europe, surrounded by eight countries. The country has a population of 8,439,137 people and Vienna, the largest city in Austria has a population of 1,794,770. The life expectancy at birth is 79.5 years. According to Mercer’s 2014 Quality of Living, Survey Vienna is the top regional spot among European cities.

Austria is highly mountainous with crystal clear lakes and extended forests.  Foreigners and expats will enjoy the climate of Austria. The cold and snowy weather opens up a wide range of snow activities:  skiing, snowboarding, sleigh rides, and skating are very popular during winter. Expats who are fond of hiking can tackle the famous Austrian Alps during summer.

Expats in Vienna,Austria

A wide-angle shot of schönbrunn palace in vienna, austria with a cloudy blue sky in the background

Why should you consider moving to Austria?

Expats who are beer lovers will enjoy the superb taste of Austrian beer, not to mention Austria’s exciting nightlife. As part of your decision to move it is also necessary to learn basic German. Some other languages spoken are Croatian, Hungarian, and Slovenian. Austria is also home to famous composers like Beethoven and Mozart.  For this reason, Vienna is considered the European capital of classical music.

Expats and visitors will be amazed by the excellent transportation system ranging from underground trains to trams and buses. With a low crime rate and a stable government.

Move to Austria

General tips

  • Relocating to Austria may require shipping over some personal possessions from home, and expats will need to be aware that there will be regulations to comply with and duties.
  • Expats who are preparing to relocate to Austria will find a variety of available job opportunities, particularly in the electronics, chemical, electrical and mechanical, and steel industries.
  • Banned from entering this country are all pornographic materials in any medium.
  • European citizens do not need a visa or permit to work or stay in Austria. The only requirement is to register at the local police station within three days of arrival.

 Expat life in Austria

Culture of Austria

Austrian culture has been greatly influenced by its neighbors. Vienna has long been considered the music capital of Europe and is home to world-class music schools. Famous composers such as Johann Strauss, Joseph Hayden, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart all learned, composed, taught, and played in Vienna. This means that Vienna is also home to some of the best venues on the planet, such as the Golden Hall, the Vienna State Opera, and the Musikverein. There is always something going on in the music scene in Vienna, including numerous festivals.


Austria is a highly mountainous country and has a great love for winter sports.  For this reason, alpine skiing and ice hockey snowboarding are prominent sports in Austria. Next to these,  football, rugby, and motorsport are also widely popular.

winter sport in Austria

Public transport in Austria

Public transport in Austria offers travelers different options for exploring the country’s cities. Due to the extensive train network reaching multiple destinations is relatively easy and cheap. For instance, when tickets are booked in advance the price can be as low as around €25 ($28).

There are four main companies that connect Austria to other European countries:

  • RailJet: To Budapest and Prague
  • ICE International: To Munich and Frankfurt
  • Eurostar: To Brussels and London
  • TGV: To Marsailles and Lyon

While the national train service is provided by:

  • Eurocity: Long-distance fast trains for intercity travel.
  • REX: Regional train service calling at smaller villages and towns.
  • S Bahn: Suburban train services for big cities like Vienna and Salzburg.

Buses and Trams 

Austrian cities are well connected with both local bus and tram services. Public transportation runs daily between 5 am to 11 pm in most of the country’s biggest cities. Tickets can be purchased at railway and metro stations. You can even buy tickets on trams and buses, or at most tobacconists (marked “Tabak Trafik”).

Expat life in Austria


Vienna has its own city-wide metro system. The Metro links up the biggest local attractions and helps commuters travel easily around the country. A single ticket costs just €2.40 ($2,71). For children under five years, the metro is free.


Taxis in Austria are relatively inexpensive. For a basic 1km journey, the price is approximately €5-8 ($5,65-7). However, the taxi driver expects a 10% tip when using a taxi in Austria.

Whilst most Austrians usually hire taxis by phone, app, or at taxi ranks, it is also possible to flag down a cab on the street too as is common in the US and other European cities.

moving to Austria

You cannot enter the following items in Austria:

The following items are prohibited from checked baggage and carry-on baggage:

  • Fireworks and sparklers
  • Oxygen cylinders
  • Gasoline and fuel paste
  • Camping gas
  • Oxidizing and corrosive substances
  • Tasers
  • Paint
  • Alcohol with more than 70% strength
  • Poison and household chemicals
  • Battery-powered transportation devices, such as hoverboards

expats in austria

Visa Permits

Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland do not need a visa to visit, live or work in Austria. Whereas, citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and a number of other countries do not require a visa for visits of up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

Residents of all other countries must have a valid visa to enter Austria for any purpose. If you wish to live in Austria for longer than 90 days or to work there, and you are not a citizen of the EU, the EEA, or Switzerland, you will need a work permit and a residence permit. In order to obtain the permits, you will need to submit all the necessary documents in either German or permits in Austria

Work permits and employment-based visas

Work permits and employment visas in Austria come in several different forms. Some of the main work permits non-EU citizens may need in Austria are the “restricted work permit” (valid for one year), the standard “work permit” (valid for two years), and the “unrestricted work permit” (valid for five years).

What documents do you need?

Your application must be supported by:

  • A valid passport
  • Two identical colors, full-face passport-size photographs of yourself
  • Copies of any previous Schengen visas, if relevant
  • A cover letter explaining the purpose of your visit and your itinerary
  • Proof of Schengen Area health insurance
  • Details of your flights, with dates and flight numbers
  • Proof of accommodation in Austria

If you are with a minor child you need to provide the following documents:

  • the minor’s birth certificates (signed by both parents)
  • both parents’ passports or I.D
  • a family court order in case you are divorced and have full custody.

Requirements for a work permit in Austria

Nationals of developing countries planning to work in Austria can apply for a Red-White-Red Card. The card has a duration of 24 months and allows you to live in Austria. During this time, you can only work for the employer specified in your application.

Do you need a residence permit in Austria?

Nationals of developing countries who stay or intend to stay in Austria for more than six months require a residence permit.

EEA, EU, or Swiss citizens have to request a “confirmation of registration of Right of Residence under EU law”  from the competent authority if they want to stay longer than 3 months in Austria. If you intend to work in Austria, you may apply for a job seeker visa, a Red-White-Red Card, or a European Blue Card.

Long-term visa for Austria

Visa D, a national visa, is subject to national legislation and entitles the holder to stay in Austria for a period of 91 days up to six months. They can be issued for single or multiple entries.

A Visa D also entitles the holder to move to the territory of the other Schengen member states for up to 90 days per period of 180 days.

Long-term visa application

The purpose for the issuance of a Visa D:

  • Specific long-term stay (up to 6 months)
  • Entry Visa D with regard to collection of a residence permit granted by the relevant Austrian authorities

visa in Austria

Work visa requirements in Austria

Not every foreigner who enters Austria needs a visa. For example, European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) nationals do not need a visa. However, all applicants from outside these areas must apply at the closest Austrian embassy or consulate general in person.

Austria uses a points-based system to help determine which category applicants fall under. These categories then help determine what type of visa the applicant is eligible for.

All of these categories are eligible for a Red-White-Red Card, which is what most foreigners apply for when working in Austria. For example, to be considered a very highly qualified worker, individuals will need:

  • A passport
  • A birth certificate or equivalent document
  • A photo was taken within the last six months
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Payslips

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