Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to study in Austria.
Nationals of EU/EEA Countries and Switzerland
If you are a citizen of a 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 (Magistrats-Abteilung 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’.
Entry without a visa
If you have a valid residence title of another Schengen member country or if you are a national of a country with visa-free entry you do not need a visa to enter and you can reside in Austria for up to 90 within 180 days.
Students who enter Austria without requiring a visa may also have to submit their application at the Austrian competent residence authority (Municipal Department 35 in Vienna). Furthermore, it may be possible to apply in Austria after your entry with a visa that has been lawfully acquired for purposes other than the domestic application provided that the domestic application was not the (hidden) reason for the visa application (case-by-case examination).
You are not permitted to overstay your visa-free stay, or the period of residence defined in your visa. It is highly recommended that you apply as soon as possible after entering Austria.
After you have submitted all necessary documents in person, the residence authority can take up to 90 days for processing your application.
Entry with a visa
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, your residence permit will be issued for that period.
Residence Permit (Aufenthaltsbewilligung)
Renewal of the residence permit
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 lawful resident in Austria until the final decision, even if your permit expires in the meantime.
All documents (see list on the right) have to be notarised and documents in languages other than German have to be submitted together with a notarised German translation.
The residence permit is issued in the shape of a credit card and also serves as ID. You have to carry your card at all times to prove the legality of your staying in Austria.
During its validity period you are entitled 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.
- 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 to give you an overview. We can support you with further information about specific requirements, but we cannot help you with the visa process itself.