Austria is a Schengen member
At present the following countries are signatories of the Schengen Agreement:
Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Island (non EU-member), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein (non EU-member), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway (non EU-member), Austria, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary
Citizens of the Republic of South Africa require a valid (international) passport to travel to Austria, as well as a visa or residence permit.
For short visits to Austria of up to maximum 3 months within half a year (calculated as of the first entry), you require a category C visa (Schengen visa).
If you are planning a non-touristic stay of no longer than 6 months, e.g. as a student for one semester, as a businessman, artist, guest Researcher, etc., you require a visa of the category D.
For all stays which last longer than 6 months, you require a residence permit (see top left). Applications for a residence Permit are to be submitted at the Embassy who will forward the applicaton to the competent Austrian authority for a decision.
The Visa-Informtionsystem (VIS) in practice
The visa applicant's biometric data (10-digit finger scans) is collected. It is a simple and discreet procedure that only takes a few minutes. Biometric data, along with the data provided in the visa application form, is recorded in a secure central database.
10-digit finger scans are neither required from children under the age of 12 (visa C) and from children under the age of 6 (visa D), nor from people who cannot physically provide finger scans.
The visa holder's finger scans may be compared against those in the database at the Schengen Area's external borders.
In Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe EU Embassies represent Austria in matters of Schengen visa - see Link "On the subject".
There is no Schengen representation for Austria in Lesotho and Swaziland. Prospective applicants have to apply at the Austrian Embassy in Pretoria.