Austria is one of the most progressive countries in Europe, both economically and socially. The nation boasts a strong presence in the energy, engineering, manufacturing, electronics, food, and craft industries. Furthermore, Austria proves to be a healthy environment for innovators and career starters as it is dominated by SMEs.

In addition to work opportunities, you can expect good working conditions in Austria. The country hasn’t gone lower than the 13th rank in the World Happiness Index for nearly a decade.

Together, these attract foreign nationals to migrate and work. This article outlines the process in order to work in Austria, including eligibility requirements and a checklist of documents.

Do I need a work visa in Austria?

You don’t need a work visa in Austria for the following reasons:

  • duration of stay is less than 90 days
  • passport holders from EU/EEA nations

Citizens from EU/EEA member countries and Swiss nationals do not need any special permit. However, you need to register with local authorities if you’ll be staying for over 90 days.

On the other hand, individuals from third countries who wish to work in Austria for over 90 days must apply for a work visa.

What are the requirements to apply for a work visa in Austria?

Foreign nationals may apply for a Red-White-Red Card. This authorization is the fastest and easiest visa option, which also doubles as a work permit and residence permit.

It is for highly qualified workers, workers in shortage occupations, self-employed professionals, and other key workers. But in case you do not have a job offer yet, you can apply for a Job Seeker Visa first.

For both Austrian work visa types, there is a point system where you must obtain at least 70 points to become eligible. You can calculate your points in the Austrian points calculator.

The following documents are required for criteria eligibility, as applicable to you:

Special skills and qualifications

  • Proof of graduation or successful completion of a tertiary education program
  • Document confirming completion of a program in mathematics, informatics, natural sciences, and technology
  • Proof of gross annual salary, if senior management position
  • Proof of research activities (e.g., scientific publications, patents)
  • Document confirming awards or prizes

Work experience

  • Work certificates or testimonials
  • Significant training certificates
  • Proof of business or investment, if a start-up founder
  • Proof of applicable skill, if a worker in a shortage occupation

Studied in Australia

  • Course record book, diploma, or similar document

When eligible, you must also prepare the following basic requirements:

  • Fully accomplished visa application form
  • Valid travel document or passport
  • Birth certificate or similar document
  • Photograph taken in the last six months, with dimensions 45x35mm
  • Proof of local accommodation in Austria (e.g., tenancy rights, ownership evidence, lease contracts)
  • Proof of health insurance with full risk coverage
  • Proof of sufficient financial means (e.g., payslips, insurance benefit certificates, sufficient own assets, and similar)
  • Proof of language skills (e.g., TOEFL diploma, Cambridge Certificate, Goethe-Institut Certificate)
  • Employment contract, if not a job-seeker

You must submit the original and a copy of the above-mentioned documents. They must also be in English or German and should be accompanied by valid translations if not.

Other less common options for visa application include fixated-term employment, seasonal workers, posting of workers, transnational hiring, and intra-corporate transfer. Nonetheless, these categories follow the same process of application as the Red White Red Card or Job Seeker visa, albeit with an appropriate note from the company.

If you wish to bring your family members with you, they can separately apply for the Red-White-Red Card Plus under the family reunification agreement.

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

Steps on Applying for a Work Visa in Austria

In general, Austrian work visa applications follow the same path, with the only difference being whether you have a job offer or not.

You can follow these steps:

1. Apply for a work and residence permit

If you’re applying for a Red-White-Red Card, you must already have a job offer from a legitimate Austria-based company. Your employer will apply for a work permit at the Austrian Public Employment Service Austria (AMS – Arbeitsmarktservice).

Your employer will submit your personal documents, as well as regulatory company documents for consideration. In return, they will forward an authorization for out to move forward with your application.

If you’re applying for a Job Seeker visa, you can personally apply with Austrian authorities from your place of residence, as outlined in the following step. Note that this is not an official work permit yet, but it will give you access to the Austrian job market. You can re-apply for a Red-White-Red Card once you receive a job offer in Austria.

2. Book an appointment with the embassy

Schedule an appointment with a competent Austrian representation authority. This may be an embassy or consulate in your country of residence. You will submit the above-mentioned requirements, including your employer’s authorization and a fully accomplished visa application form. You can download the forms here.

Submit your requirements and prepare for a short interview and collection of biometric data. You also need to pay processing, granting, and personalization fees as an Austrian work visa fees. Initial application costs 120 EUR (132 USD) while granting and personalization of the card cost 20 EUR (22 USD) each. These rates may vary slightly depending on the country or specific occupations.

3. Receive your authorization

Once you submitted your application, the review and approval usually take about seven weeks. After a successful application, you’ll receive the Red-White-Red Card or a Job Seeker Visa.

The Red-White-Red Card is valid for a maximum of 24 months. You are entitled to fixed-term employment and settlement. The Job Seeker Visa is valid for six months, and you can use it to look for employment in Austria legally.

4. Travel to Austria

Make your travel arrangements to Austria, and upon arrival, register with the local police station to verify your residence authorization. You can visit the Austrian migration website for information on work, housing, health, education, language, and other details on living.

After 21 months of holding a Red-White-Red Card, you will be eligible for a Red-White-Red Card Plus, where you will not be any more limited to a specific employer.


We hope this article on how to get a work visa in Austria was helpful! If you’re interested in studying in Europe, make sure to check out the Available Programs in Europe for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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