Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to study in Austria.
Nationals of EU/EEA Countries and Switzerland
If you are from an European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) member state or from Switzerland you do not require a visa to study in Austria.
Nationals of these countries may stay in Austria for an unlimited period of time, as long as they have valid travel documents (passports or national IDs).
Confirmation of registration for EEA and Swiss nationals (Anmeldebescheinigung)
If you are staying in Austria for more than three months, you need to apply for a confirmation of registration certificate in person at Municipal Department 35 (Magistrat 35) of the City of Vienna within the first 4 months of your stay.
- obtaining this confirmation of registration, in addition to a registration of residence certificate (Meldebestätigung), is a legal requirement.
- If you do not comply with this requirement, then you could be fined up to €250.
Nationals of third countries
If you are not a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, then you are considered a third country national and will need a visa or residence permit in order to be allowed to study in Austria.
If you have submitted your application for a place at one of Austria´s universities which requires an examination for admission, this institution will issue a "conditional notification of admission" (Bedingter Zulassungsbescheid). With this conditional notification and all other necessary documents you have to apply in person for a residence permit – for students (Aufenthaltsbewilligung – Student) at the competent Austrian authority in your country of residence. Furthermore, you will have to show credibly sufficient financial means and accommodation (e.g. by a confirmation of maintenance payments by your parents, a preliminary rental contract or reservation of a room in a student residence).
You should apply for the residence permit at least three months before the date of the entrance examination. It may take several months to legalize the documents required for an application.
If the residence authority in Austria decides to grant you the residence permit, you have to apply for a Visa D at that authority to be able to enter Austria,. Visa D allows you to travel to Austria and sit the entrance examination and is valid for four months.
If you pass the entrance examination you have to submit your definite notification of admission (Zulassungsbescheid/Aufnahmebestätigung) and provide documents proving sufficient financial means and proof of accommodation to the competent authority in Austria. You have to collect your residence permit within the validity period of your visa.
If the entrance examination takes place a long time before the possible start of your studies, you may also apply for a visa C at the Austrian authority, which will be issued for the period of the examination.
In case of a positive decision, your residence permit will be issued for a period of 12 months. If you applied for a shorter term or your travel document is valid for a shorter period of time, your residence permit will be issued for that period.
Residence Permit (Aufenthaltsbewilligung)
It is compulsory for students from third countries to renew their residence permit at the competent authority before the previous permit expires. This should take place at the earliest three months before the expiration date. You remain a lawfully resident in Austria until the final decision, even if your permit expires in the meantime.
You need to proof that you are still an active student. Therefore, your application has to include:
- the confirmation of your continuing university enrolment (Fortsetzungsbestätigung),
- your studies record (Studienbuchblatt) as well as
- the proof of academic success (minimum 8 semester hours per academic year or 16 ECTS credits per academic year).
All documents have to be legalized and documents in languages other than German have to be submitted together with a legalized German translation.
The residence permit is issued in a form of credit card and serves as an ID. You have to carry your card at all times to prove the legality of staying in Austria.
During its validity period you are entitles you to travel through other Schengen countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland) and to stay in these countries for a maximum duration of 90 days within 180 days.
- Important notice: in addition to a applying for a residence permit you need to register within three working days after arrival with the registration office at the place of residence (Meldeamt, Gemeindeamt, Magistratisches Bezirksamt).
We summarise the most important points above in order to give you an overview. We can support you with further information about specific requirements but we can not help you with the visa process itself.