If you’re a non-EU/EEA or Swiss national planning on studying in Austria for over six months, you’ll need to apply for a student visa and a student residence permit.
Student visas, known as Visa Ds, entitle you to study for up to six months at an Austrian university or college. However, student residence permits allow you to extend your time abroad. You should apply for these documents at least six months before you intend to arrive.
If you’re an EU, EAA, or Swiss citizen, you won’t need a student visa or residence permit. You’ll still need to register with the Austrian authorities if you plan on staying for more than three months, but this is quick and easy. As long as you have suitable health insurance, proof of accommodation, and robust financial reserves, you’re good to go.
Steps to get a student visa for Austria
- Accept an offer from your university: You might need to pay an enrollment fee or a deposit to secure your place.
- Schedule a student residence permit appointment: You’ll need to present your letter of admission, as well as proof of sufficient funds, travel insurance documents, and your passport to an Austrian embassy or consulate.
- Wait for a decision on your residence permit: The processing time for applications can be up to three months, so it’s worth applying well in advance of when you intend to arrive.
- Book a visa appointment: Once you’ve been granted your residence permit, you can apply for a visa D. It can take up to six weeks to get an appointment with the embassy or consulate, so don’t leave it until the last minute.
- Attend your appointment: Make sure to take any requested document with you, like the visa application form, photo ID, passport, and travel and health insurance documents.
- Receive a decision: A decision on your application will normally be made within four weeks.
- Register with the municipal authorities: It’s compulsory to register with the Austrian authorities within three days of arriving in the country. You’ll need to complete a registration form and report your address.
Visa processing times
Although Austria has a relatively quick visa process, it’s still best to give yourself plenty of time.
During busy spells, you might have to wait 6 weeks to get an appointment at an Austrian embassy. You’ll then need to submit your application and wait up to another 4 weeks for a decision. In total, the process can take over 2 months.
Visas for a student's family members
If your family members are hoping to join you in Austria, they’ll need to apply for their own residence permits and visas. If you’re planning to move overseas with your spouse, you must both be at least 21 years old at the time of application.
You’ll need to prove that you have sufficient financial means to support your dependents before being awarded a visa.
Austria student visa requirements
The Austrian authorities are likely to ask for the following documents when you’re applying for a visa or residence permit:
- A completed and signed visa application form
- A completed and signed residence permit application form
- An enrollment letter from your university
- Original photographs of your face against a white background
- Passport or travel documents that are valid for at least 3 months beyond your departure date
- Proof of finances
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof of travel insurance with at least €30,000 of cover
- A cover letter stating your reason for visiting Austria
- Flight dates and numbers detailing your arrival and exit from the country
Working whilst studying in Austria
It’s possible to work whilst you study in Austria, but employment terms and the number of hours you’re allowed to work will depend on your nationality.
If you’re from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you can work as much as you like and will not need a designated work permit.
However, if your home country is outside of the EU or EEA, your employer must apply for a work permit on your behalf. Your hours will be capped at 20 per week to ensure you’re paying sufficient attention to your academic studies.
If you complete unpaid internships and placements as part of your program, you won’t need a work permit and the hours won’t contribute to your weekly limit.
What to do if your student visa is denied
Receiving a visa rejection letter is disappointing, but it doesn’t mean you have to instantly abandon your study abroad plans.
If you made some mistakes in your first application, like failing to attach the required documents, you can make these corrections and apply again.
However, if you believe your initial application was error-free, you can appeal to the Austrian embassy within four weeks. Here’s a breakdown of everything your appeal letter should contain:
- Personal information: Name, address, nationality, contact details
- The date of your first application and your refusal letter
- The reason behind your visa refusal
- Why you believe the rejection was the incorrect decision (you’ll need to provide strong evidence for this)
- Your signature
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that your appeal will be successful, but it’s still worth a shot. It’s worth remembering that it can take a further 12 months for you to receive a second decision.