Austria is one of the most economically developed countries in Europe. As such it provides its workers with a variety of opportunities to work and succeed. Great work conditions, benefits, and high salaries attract foreign nationals to migrate for work purposes in Austria.

But, in order to do so, the majority of people are required to have an Austria work permit as well as a visa. An Austria work visa varies in terms of length and in terms of employment mobility. The most common type of work visa in Austria is a Red-White-Red Card.

Below you’ll find details regarding who is eligible for a work permit in Austria, what types of work visas are there, and how to apply for one.

Do I Need a Visa to Work in Austria?

Yes, you do. In order to work in Austria, you must first apply for a work permit. The only exception to this rule are residents from within the EU or EEA.

However, citizens from EU/EEA countries are able to live and work in Austria only for up to 90 days, afterwards, they must apply for a certificate of registration in order to continue their stay.

You can find more details on who needs a visa for Austria here.

What Is a Red-White-Red Card?

A Red-White-Red Card is a work permit and residence permit that allows its holder to stay and work in Austria for a period of up to 2 years. Not everyone is eligible for this type of visa since it’s issued to highly skilled individuals from other countries who wish to work in Austria. The eligibility criteria for this permit are measured with a points system. Within the system personal attributes such as language skills, professional achievements, age, and work experience are all scored accordingly.

You will qualify for a Red-White-Red Card if you fall in any one of these categories:

  • Very highly qualified workers.
  • Skilled workers in shortage occupations.
  • Other key workers.
  • Graduates of universities and colleges of higher education in Austria.

The permit is issued in the form of a card with a picture and it serves as an ID. For this reason, it’s important to keep it in person in cases where you need to prove your residence status.

Requirements for an Austria Work Visa

In addition to the basic Austria visa requirements, you’ll need some specific documents for a work permit, including:

  • Statement of the Employer. Your employer must provide you with a statement according to the Act Governing Employment of Foreign Nationals (AuslBG).
  • Proof of Professional Qualifications. These include references and employment verification.
  • Evidence of Language Skills. You must provide proof of German or English language skills with an internationally verified diploma.
  • Research Activities. You also need to submit any research publication or declaration from a University that you worked as a researcher or at a research center.
  • Patent Registration. A patent registration by an excerpt from the national/regional register of patents (if applicable).
  • Proof of Last Year’s Annual Gross Salary. These include tax statements proving your salary.
  • Proof of Your Previous Position. You must provide a declaration from your previous employer that you worked in a leadership position.
  • Proof of Your Previous Company’s Status. You must also provide documentation that the company you worked at is listed on the stock exchange.
  • Proof that You Studied In Austria. These include confirmation by means of your record of studies (Studienbuch) and relevant exam certificates.
  • Proof the Habilitation. This is a postdoctoral lecturing qualification that recognizes you as a qualified individual to do research or teach within a scientific field.
  • Employment Contract. You need to provide a copy of your contract from your current employer in Austria that states your annual gross salary.

How to Apply for an Austrian Work Visa?

In order to apply for a Red-White-Red Card, there are a few steps you need to follow.

  1. Secure a job.
  2. Apply for the work permit.
  3. Apply for a work visa.
  4. Travel to Austria.

Step 1: Secure a job in Austria

You must have a job ready for you in Austria before you apply for the work permit. If you do not have evidence of work (work contract), you are not allowed to apply for the Red-White-Red Card visa.

Step 2: Apply for the work permit

Once you are employed by someone in Austria you are eligible to apply for a work permit. Your employer can apply for the permit for you in their local residence authority or you can apply personally at a representative authority within your residence country.

Step 3: Apply for a work visa

While an Austria work permit allows you to work and live within Austria for a lengthy period, unfortunately, you can’t enter Austria without a D visa. You must apply for a national D visa before you move to Austria.

A national visa lets you stay in Austria for up to 6 months, in this case, this visa’s only purpose is to allow you entry in Austria, and once you pick up your Red-White-Red card the visa won’t be necessary.

Remember: You have three days after you enter Austria to register with the registration office.

Step 4: Travel to Austria.

Once you have secured a work visa you can travel to Austria freely, pick up your work permit and start your new life in Austria. After a two-year period, you can apply for a Red-White-Red Card Plus which enables you to stay in Austria for two more years.

Where Do I Apply for an Austria Work Visa?

For your national D visa, in order to enter Austria, you have to apply at your local office, either an embassy or consulate.

For your work permit, you can also apply at a local representation, but your employer may also apply for you in Austria. You should apply for your work permit first – if you get the permit then the visa process should go much easier since you’re already registered as a future employer in Austria.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Austria Work Visa?

The processing time for an Austria work visa usually takes about 8 weeks. You should hear from the embassy by then. Though, keep in mind that sometimes delays happen for a number of reasons.

How Long Does an Austria Work Visa Last?

An Austria Work Visa lasts two years. During this time you can work and live freely within Austria just like any other resident in Austria. If your employment contract is over before the two years are up your visa will last for the time frame of your work plus an extra three months.

Can I Extend an Austria Work Visa?

If you want to extend your work permit, once it is about to expire, you can apply for an extension of your Red-White-Red Plus card, which lets you stay for two more years in Austria. Moreover, after you’ve had a Red-White-Red Plus card for two years you can apply for another card and this time you’ll be able to stay for 3 years.

You must apply for the extension three months before your visa expires.

If you’ve been living with a work permit for 5 years in Austria you are qualified to apply for a residence title “long-term resident-EU (Daueraufenthalt – EU)”. Your residence permit needs to be renewed too.

*Please note that in order to qualify for an extension, you must also fulfill module 1 of the integration agreement. Completing module 1 means that you have basic knowledge of the German language according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Can I Switch Employers With an Austria Work Visa?

No, you can’t switch employers with an Austria Work Visa. A Red-White-Red permit is issued with only a specific employer. If you wish to work for someone else you must apply again for the work permit.

You can work for another employer if you hold a Red-White-Red Plus card.

Other Types of Austria Work Visa

There are a few other types of Austria Work visas that you can apply for depending on what suits your situation best.

  • EU Blue Card. An EU Blue Card is a type of work permit that is not based on a points system. In order to qualify for an EU Blue Card, you need to meet a few criteria.
    • You’ve completed your tertiary education at an accredited University (at least a three-year program).
    • Your salary is at least 1.5 higher than the annual salary in Austria. In 2021 the amount is around 65,000€.
    • There is no one qualified for the position that is registered as a job seeker with the Public Employment Service.
    • You must have secured work at least for the period of one year in Austria.
  • Austrian Job Seeker Visa.

A job seeker visa allows you to stay in Austria for 6 months while you search for employment. Please note that only very highly skilled individuals are eligible to apply for a job seeker visa. Only those who achieve 70 points or higher in the points system will get a job seeker visa.

You can use the points calculator to see how many points you score.

*Please note, even if you score high points in the calculator that is your personal assessment and all final decisions rest with the embassy/consulate.

Can I Bring My Dependents to Austria With a Work Visa?

Yes, you can. If you hold a Red-White-Red Card your family members can apply for a Red-White-Red Card Plus which allows them to work and live in Austria for 1 up to 2 years. Family members are considered:

  • Spouse.
  • Same-sex registered partner.
  • Minor children.

How Much Does the Austria Work Permit Cost?

An Austria work permit in its whole will cost about 160€. You have to pay 120€ when you submit the application, an additional 20€ when you receive the permit, and 20€ for the police identification data.