Vienna hosts more than 20 universities and vocational schools and is quite the university town: beautiful and historic, filled with great spots to study and meet up with friends, and all connected via a reliable public transport system. Here’s what you need to get your student visa in Vienna and Austria.
About 10% of Vienna’s population is comprised of university students. Becoming a student is one of the easiest ways to get a residency permit. Bachelor’s degrees mean you can legally reside here during enrollment, and you can work for up to 20 hours a week with a work permit (Beschäftigungsbewilligung – Student).
Enrolling as a Master’s or Ph.D. student is another way to stay legal, giving you time to find your career footing before you enter the job market. After graduating from a graduate program at an Austrian university, you have six months to find a job before the visa runs out. The job hunt can take much longer, so start looking well before your final exams.
Getting a Student Visa in Vienna
First, you need a student visa, aka a Residence Permit for students (Aufenthaltsbewilligung – Student). For third-country nationals – in other words, non-EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens – the process begins in your country of origin, where you submit the application to an Austrian embassy or consulate. Apply for a Visa D if required to enter Austria. For EU nationals and those who don’t need visas to enter the country, the residence permit application can also be submitted from within Austria.
The residence permit is applicable to students going to a public, private, or applied sciences university, either for the degree program or a certificate (although this certificate program cannot be just to learn a language), for at least 40 ECTS credits. The permit also applies to students getting the equivalent of a foreign university degree in Austria, and extensions after
your school years are over are possible (with some added requirements).
To apply for the residence permit, you must have the following things ahead of time:
- Confirmation that you were admitted into your Austrian university
- Health insurance
- Sufficient funds to survive on your own, and proof of where those funds originate. As of 2021, students under 24 should have EUR 552.53/month and those older than 24, EUR 1,000.48/month.
- Passport and new passport photo, birth certificate, police clearance certificate
- Notarized (beglaubigt) translations of all of the necessary documents if they are not in German.
Usually, student residency permits are valid for a year at a time. To renew these, you must reapply with most of the same items as above, and additionally submit confirmation that you’re still enrolled (Fortsetzungsbestätigung), your record of studies (Studienbuchblatt), and proof that you have successfully fulfilled eight semester hours, or 16 ECTS credits, per academic year.
Because your student visa is a residence permit, you must keep it with you as a form of ID and as proof that you’re allowed in the country. It also lets you travel within the Schengen area for up to 90 days with no need for an additional visa.
Your family members can use your student residential status to apply for family
residence permits (Aufenthaltstitel Familienangehöriger). And there you have it: the ticket to your student experience. All it takes is a folder full of documents, several pages of application forms, and at least three months of waiting. In case you’ve fallen into a legal rabbit hole or face other brain-melting complications, these pages on the OeAD website and on Study in Austria provide helpful resources, and your university should provide support as well.