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Entry into Austria and taking up residence

Exchange students are bound to the same regulations regarding entry into austria and taking up residence here as other people entering Austria and wanting to stay in Austria for a longer period of time. Which regulations apply depends on your citizenship.

Entry and residence requirements

1. Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries (third country citizens)

Exchange students with a citizenship of non-EU/EEA countries might require a visa for Austria, even if they have a residence permit from another European country

Please note that incoming students are responsible for their visa application by themselves. The International Office is not involved in the application process. As processing a visa application may take up several weeks or even months, we strongly advise you, to file your application as early as possible. As you will have to await the approval of your application in your home country, you should submit your application at least three months before you are going to arrive in Austria. 

There are different regulations depending on how long you wish to stay in Austria:

  • Entry into Austria, stays up to 6 months
    If you are going to stay in Austria for less than 6 months, you require either a Schengen Travel Visa C ("Reisevisum C, Schengenvisum") or a  National Visa D (for stays in Austria of at least 91 days up to a maximum of 6 months).

  • Stays for more than 6 months
    Third country citizens who wish to reside in Austria for more than 6 months require a Residence Permit for Students ("Aufenthaltsbewilligung Studierender"). If you are not entitled to enter Austria visa-free the application for a residence permit must generally be submitted in person at the competent Austrian representative authority (embassy, consulate general) in your country of residence before travelling to Austria. The application will be forwarded to Austria by the representative authority and processed by the competent residence authority within Austria. Since you have to await the decision regarding your application in your country of residence, you should apply at least 3 months before the intended entry to Austria. If the residence permit is granted, you have to apply for a National Visa D for entry to Austria as the residence permit itself has to be fetched in Austria.

Further information regarding entry requirements and residence regulations can be found on the website of the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD).

Further information:

2. EU/EEA and Swiss citizens

EU/EEA and Swiss citizens only require a valid passport or ID card to enter Austria.

Those who stay in Austria for more than three months are obliged to apply for a Confirmation of Registration ("Anmeldebescheinigung" at the Municipal Department 35 (Immigration and Citizenship, "Magistratsabteilung 35, Einwanderung, Staatsbürgerschaft").

Registration of your residence

According to the Registration Law (Österreichisches Meldegesetz) everybody is obliged to register their residence in Austria with the authorities within three days of their arrival at the Municipal District Office ("Magistratisches Bezirksamt"). There are no exceptions to this rule. The obligation to register applies for everybody, regardless of their citizenship.

Additionaly, any change of the residential address has to be reported to the registration office within three working days, any change of other data has to be reported within one month. Please keep your registration document ("Meldezettel") as you will require it for all kinds of applications. 

You must deregister with the authorites before you leave Austria.

Registration Procedure

You can register your residence at any Municipal District Office ("Magistratisches" Bezirksamt") or at the Municipal Department 62 ("Magistratsabteilung 62, Zentrales Meldeservice"). You can arrange an appointment for the registration online (in German), however, this is not mandatory. Please bring the following documents: 

The residence registration form is signed by your landlord ("UnterkunftsgeberIn") or the main tenant of the flat. The landlord is is the person who rents out your appartment (= owner of the flat or their property manager, "Hausverwaltung"); the appartment's main tenant ("Hauptmieter") is the person who has signed the rental agreement (e.g. in shared flats or sublease).

Main residence or secondary residence?

According to the Municipal Department 62 the term “main residence” ("Hauptwohnsitz") in the form “Meldezettel” refers to the accommodation around which somebody has centered their life and personal relations. In case this applies to several places of residence, the one to which you have the closest personal relationships will be regarded as your main residence, while the others are secondary residences. To determine somebody’s focal point of life, various criteria need to be considered, such as for example how long he/she is planning to stay there and where other family members and relatives are currently living.

Exchange students usually stay only for a period of a few months (max. up to a year) in Austria. Therefore their accommodation in Austria is considered as a secondary residence, as their personal interests and relations are still centered in their respective home country. Hence, exchange students should register their accommodation in Vienna as secondary residence.

Useful links:

Insurance

Students can purchase health insurance with the "Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse" (currently 56,74 € per month). The necessary forms for the insurance application will be provided by the International Office during the orientation session or you can download them here:

Application health insurance WGKK

Sample form

Cancellation of health insurance WGKK

Student self-insurance

Students who do not have public health insurance are advised to obtain a student self-insurance policy (student self-insurance) with the Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse, if they have taken up residence in Austria.

The student self-insurance policy can be obtained by any international student, regardless of their nationality. Students from non-EU/EEA countries who arrive in Vienna already in September or February (for example in order to attend a German course) can apply for this insurance plan only from 1 October or 1 March, respectively. 

The insurance premium is currently € 56,74 per month and covers treatments that are medically necessary during your stay in Austria; regular medical check-ups or screenings are not covered.

You will need the following documents to apply:

  • application form for self insurance (see sample form)
  • enrolment documents ("Studienblatt" and "Studienbestätigung")
  • Passport or Personal ID (which might contain your visum for Austria)
  • confirmation of registration from your Municipial District Office (Magistratisches Bezirksamt)

You can either submit your application to the headquarters of the Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse or to one of the branches in the districts. The branches, however, don’t process your application but just forward them to the headquarters – which prolongs the process. If you require the insurance as soon as possible, you might want to submit your application to their headquarters directly. 

Useful link:

University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0