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Complete guide to obtaining a visa to retire in Austria, the required documents, and procedures

Is there a better retirement destination than a highly-developed industrialised country that offers one of the highest standards of living? 

Austria has an important role in many industries and ranks high among the world’s economies. It is a perfect place for financially independent persons who want to settle in a new place and spend their retirement years there.

How Can I Retire in Austria?

Austria does not have a specific retirement visa, but there are other available options you can access for retirement.

Retired citizens from a third country wishing to retire in Australia can obtain a residence title “settlement permit except gainful employment.

The “settlement permit except gainful employment” is a type of residence permit that is issued to financially independent individuals. You must meet the general and special requirements to get a settlement permit.

NOTE: Because there is a limited number of settlement permits issued annually, you must make sure there is a quota place available beforehand for the application to be approved. 

How Long Can I Stay in Austria With a Retirement Permit?

Usually, the “settlement permit except gainful employment” is issued for a limited period of 12 months (one year). 

Eligibility Criteria to Retire in Austria

To be eligible for obtaining a retirement visa in Austria, you (a third-country national) must meet the following conditions:

  • You fulfill the general requirements for granting a residence permit.
  • There is an available place within the quota. (There is a limited number of settlement permits issued every year.)
  • You have a regular monthly income (foreign pension, income from assets, savings deposits, company shares, etc.) equivalent to the amount of the standard rates of the General Social Insurance Act (ASVG).

Austria Retirement Requirements for Foreign Nationals

To get a Settlement Permit, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must have sufficient means of subsistence. Third-country nationals are obliged to have a fixed and regular income to support themselves without having to claim public social benefits.
  • You must have health insurance coverage. Citizens of a third country must have health insurance coverage that provides benefits in Austria and covers all risks.
  • You must have customary accommodation according to the local standards. Third-country nationals must prove that they have a legal title to an accommodation. The accommodation must be adequate for his/her family.

Austria Retirement Visa Monthly Income Requirements

The standard rates for the year 2022, according to the General Social Insurance Act for Austria Retirement Visa, are as follows:

Standard RateTwice the Rate
Single$1035$2070
Married couples or partnerships$1630$3260
Dependent child$160$320

NOTE: Keep in mind that the amount of the regular passive income must be twice the normal reference rates. 

Can I Work With an Austria Retirement Visa?

Unfortunately, the settlement permit except gainful employment does not allow you to work. This type of residence permit entitles its holder to settle in Austria without gainful employment. Thus, any exercise of a gainful activity is not permitted. 

How Much Does it Cost to Retire in Austria?

Austria can feel a little expensive and over your budget, but that does not mean retirement there is impossible for you. Although it is considered an expensive country, the quality of life Austria offers you is worth spending every penny.

A single person can expect to spend a monthly amount of around $900 for his/her necessities without paying for rent. Whereas the estimated monthly costs for a family of four are around $3020.

Cities like Vienna and Innsbruck are known to be the most expensive cities in Austria; therefore, it is recommended to consider cheaper and more affordable cities like Graz and Klagenfurt.

Here is a presentation of the average living costs in Austria:

ACCOMMODATION (rent)Monthly Cost
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center$740
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center$600
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center$1340
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Center $1090
ACCOMMODATIONPRICE per m2
Price for purchasing an apartment in City Centre$5190
Price for purchasing an apartment Outside of Centre$3815
FOODCOSTS
Milk$1.30
Rice $1.18
Eggs$3.20
Tomato$1.95
Potato$2.85
Apples (kg)$2.30
UTILITIESMONTHLY COSTS (85m2)
Electricity, Water, Heating, Cooling, Garbage$235

Health Insurance For Retirees in Austria

Healthcare in Austria is a two-tier healthcare system consisting of two sectors – private healthcare and public healthcare sectors. Austria has a public-funded healthcare system that offers free access to healthcare services for low-income or no-income citizens. Still, others have to pay a small amount in social contributions. 

Austria offers two health insurance options for expats: public health insurance and private health insurance, but some citizens choose both.

  • Public health insurance is compulsory for all residents (self-employed, pensioners, unemployed, etc.), including foreigners. Patients might be required to pay for some treatments, but part of the costs will be reimbursed by the health insurance fund.
  • Private health insurance. Retired expats living in Austria can choose between private health insurance or registering for public insurance. You can register with an Austrian company or cooperate with health insurance companies with an international healthcare plan for private health insurance.

NOTE: In Austria, your dependent children are entitled to the same health benefits as you and your spouse and can be included in the insurance free of charge.

Why Retire in Austria?

Here are a few reasons why Austria is a great place to retire.

  • Life quality. Austria is known for the high-quality lifestyle it offers its citizens and is placed in second place for life quality. Many Austrian cities rank among the top most livable cities in the world due to freedom, women’s and human rights, and green spaces.
  • Healthcare. Citizens of Austria are entitled to great free healthcare. Austria has made it available for its citizens to access both public and private healthcare depending on their medical plan. The country’s healthcare is excellent, affordable, and accessible for everyone.
  • Safety. Often considered one of the safest countries in the world, Austria has attracted many expats to reside in the country. With a low crime rate of robbery, assault, car hijacking, and violent crimes occurring rarely, Austria makes the perfect place for people who want to live in a safe environment. 
  • Nature. With stunning views of the Alps and crystal clear lakes creating idyllic scenery, Austria is perfect for a quiet and peaceful retirement. The country has many natural and unique attractions and a great variety of different landscapes.

What Are the Best Places for Retirees in Austria?

Choosing a place that fulfills your needs is crucial when deciding in which part of Austria to settle. Austria offers many great places where each individual can find what they are looking for. Here are some of the best places for retirees in Austria.

Vienna

The capital city of Austria lies in the eastern region of the Danube River. Vienna is a classic tourist destination with visitors from around the world. The artistic and intellectual values of Vienna are shaped by Mozart, Beethoven, Sigmund Freud, and other famous Austrians. You will be amazed by the atmosphere, culture, elegance, and magnificence of this beautiful city and will not have a hard time blending with the locals.

Innsbruck

Austria’s alpine gem is the fifth-largest city in Austria, known for its stunning views. With the dramatic landscapes of the alps, Innsbruck has developed into a great winter wonderland with ski resorts and hosting winter sports competitions, attracting people from all over the globe. Although known for its winter sports, due to its location Innsbruck has a larger annual temperature difference than most of Central Europe

Salzburg

Another retirement option is the beautiful city of Salzburg, located on the border of Germany with views of the Eastern Alps. Salzburg has a perfect blend of history and culture and is one of the greenest cities in Austria. It is also home to Austria’s most eco-friendly public transport systems and offers many great neighborhoods where you can retire and live comfortably.

Feldkirch

The western region of Austria is great for spending your retirement. Feldkirch is a medieval town and the second most populous town in Vorarlberg. One of the best ways to see the beauty of the town while enjoying retirement is by marveling at the old buildings, charming fountains, and historical castles. 

Bregenz

With a stunning view of the beautiful Lake Constance, Bregenz offers retirees a laid-back lifestyle. Bregenz is known for the most popular European festival, the Bregenz Festival, which is held each July and August. During this time, Bregenz welcomes thousands of visitors and prominent operatic figures, and major musicians. This will be a great time if you want to meet new people and enjoy the beautiful artistic culture of Austria. 

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