Entry and Residence Permits
The following overview should give you an idea whether you will need an entry permit (visa) or a residence permit to enter Austria. U.S. citizens do not need an entry permit (visa) to stay in Austria as either tourists or on a business trip for a period of up to three months within a time frame of six months. (If you enter Austria under the Visa Waiver Program, you are not allowed to take up any employment there.)
It is the length of your stay in Austria that determines whether you must apply for an entry permit (visa) or a residence permit.
If you plan to take up employment in Austria, even if it is just a temporary or short-term one, please make sure that you obtain in advance all the necessary work authorization papers and (if you are not self-employed) a letter from your employer. Without proper papers, neither a visa nor a residence permit will be issued.
A) Entry Permit (Visa)
An entry permit (visa) is issued to individuals who plan to go to Austria on a temporary basis. The stay must not exceed six months (in most cases) and you do not intend to take up any employment in Austria. An entry permit is, in general, not a work authorization. However, starting January 1, 2006, some exceptions to this rule--mainly concerning certain temporary job assignments--come into effect.
If you answer yes to one of the following questions, you will most likely need an entry permit (visa) to enter Austria.
- Do you pass through Austria in (airport) transit?
- Do you intend to temporarily visit Austria as a tourist or to see friends or relatives who live in Austria?
- Are you on a (short-term) business trip to Austria?
- Will you take part in a conference or a seminar in Austria?
- Will you attend a German language course (up to six months)?
- Do you plan to study or to do an internship in Austria for up to six months?
- Will you be working as a guest professor at an Austrian university for one semester?
B) Residence Permit
A residence permit is issued to foreign nationals who plan to stay in Austria for more than six months.
If you answer yes to one of the following questions, you will most likely need a residence permit in order to both come to and stay in Austria.
- Do you plan to move to Austria permanently because you are retiring or you are married to an Austrian citizen?
- Will you be transferred to your company's office in Austria for more than six months?
- Do you plan to study at a university/college or to attend school (grade 1-12) in Austria fora period exceeding six months?
- Will you be working as a researcher (as stipulated by Austria's "Alien Employment Act") at an Austrian university for more than six months?
- Do you plan to take up a one-year-job as an "au-pair" in Austria?