- Who is a family member?
- Which residence title will be granted to family members?
- General granting requirements
- Providing evidence of German language skills (“German prior to immigration”)
- Competent authority
- Filing an application
- Scope of residence titles and validity
- Required documents
- Further information and useful links
Third-country nationals are individuals who are neither EEA- nor Swiss citizens. Third-country nationals’ family members who intend to reside or settle in Austria for a period of more than six months require a residence title (permission to stay for more than six months) corresponding to their residence purpose.
For stays of up to six months no residence title shall be granted. Instead, a visa must be applied for if necessary.
Who is a family member?
Family members in the context of the Settlement and Residence Act are
- registered partners and
- unmarried minors including adoptive and step children
Spouses and registered partners must be 21 years of age or older when applying.
Which residence title will be granted to family members?
“Red-White-Red Card plus“
Family members of
- holders of a “Red-White-Red Card“ or a “EU Blue Card"
- third-country nationals with a long-term residence title in Austria
shall obtain the residence title “Red-White-Red Card plus“, provided they meet the general granting requirements.
The “Red-White-Red Card plus” grants its holders free access to the labour market. According to the Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals no further permissions are required for any employed activity.
Further information on the Red-White-Red Card plus can be found here.
Family members of Austrian nationals shall obtain the residence title “Family Member”, provided they meet the general granting requirements.
“Settlement Permit – Dependant”
Other dependants of Austrian nationals shall obtain the residence title “Settlement Permit - Dependant”, if the general granting requirements are met and the sponsor to whom the third-country national refers in his/her application has issued a liability declaration.
Other dependants are:
- Relatives, also of spouses or registered partners in direct ascending line, if they receive actual maintenance
- Life partners providing evidence of a long-term relationship in their country of origin and receiving actual maintenance
- Other relatives under certain circumstances
There is no quota regarding residence titles issued to family members of Red-White-Red Card holders, EU Blue Card holders or family members of Austrian citizens. The number of other residence titles being issued for family reunification every year is limited. The following persons must have a quota in the quota system:
- Family members of a third-country national who is the holder of a residence title “Long-term Resident – EU” or a “Red-White-Red Card Plus” (in certain specific cases) or any kind of settlement permit
- Family members of individuals who have been granted asylum
General granting requirements
The following requirements must be met for granting any residence title:
- Adequate means of subsistence:
The third-country national must have a fixed and regular income enabling him/her to meet his/her livelihood without resorting to welfare aid from local authorities.
The income needs to be equal to or exceed the standard income rate. In 2017, this standard income rate amounted to € 889.84 for singles, € 1,334.17 for married couples and an additional € 137.30 for each child.
- Health insurance coverage:
The third-country national must have health insurance coverage, providing benefits in Austria and covering all risks.
Family members of “Red-White-Red Card” holders, “EU Blue Card” holders or family members of Austrian citizens are usually covered by their sponsors’ health insurance (co-insurance).
- Adequate accommodation according to local standards:
The third-country national must provide evidence of a legal title to an accommodation (e.g. by providing a lease contract), considered adequate for his/her family size according to local standards.
Providing evidence of German language skills (“German prior to immigration”)
Third-country nationals have to provide evidence of German language skills on A1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, when first applying for one of the following residence titles:
- “Red-White-Red Card plus“
- “Family Member”
- “Settlement Permit – Dependant”
- “Settlement Permit”
- “Settlement Permit – Gainful Employment Excepted”
Only basic German language skills at beginner level are required.
Evidence of adequate German language skills may be provided by:
- A generally acknowledged language diploma or a course certificate from one of the following institutions:
- Austrian Language Diploma German
- Goethe-Institut e.V.
- Telc GmbH
- Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF)
Further institutions may be announced by way of publication on the official notice board of the competent Austrian representation (embassy, consulate) abroad.
- The fulfilment of the requirements of Modules 1 or 2 of the Integration Agreement (i.e. German language skills on A2 or B1 level) also rates as evidence of adequate German language skills.
The language diploma or course certificate must not be older than one year when being submitted.
Evidence of adequate German language skills does not need to be provided by:
- Persons who have not competed 14 years of age at the time of application
- Persons who cannot reasonably be expected to provide such evidence on grounds of their physical or mental health condition; in such a case, the third-country national must provide a medical report issued by a public health officer or by a doctor appointed by an Austrian consular representation.
- Family members of holders of a residence title “Red-White-Red Card” for Very Highly Qualified Workers, of holders of a residence title “EU Blue Card” or of holders of a residence title “Long-term Resident - EC”. The latter shall only apply if their sponsor originally held a residence title “EU Blue Card”.
Persons whose proceedings for obtaining a residence title started on or before 30 June 2011 do not need to provide evidence of German language skills before immigration. Family members of "EU Blue Card" holders and family members of very highly qualified workers also do not need to provide evidence of German language skills before immigration.
Competent first instance authorities shall be the local Provincial Governor’s Office or the duly authorised district administration bodies (District or Municipal Administrative Authorities). Local competence is governed by the (intended) domicile of the third-country national concerned.
Any complaints against decisions by the competent first instance authorities shall be handled by the locally competent Provincial Administrative Court. The authority shall decide on applications and complaints without undue delay, but not later than within six months after receipt.
Filing an application
As a matter of principle, first applications for residence titles shall be filed with the competent Austrian consular representation (embassy or specific consulates) abroad. Local competence of the consular representation depends on the applicant’s domicile.
The consular representation abroad shall examine the application for completeness and correctness and then forward it to the competent authorities in Austria.
The following family members are entitled to file their application in Austria:
- Family members of Austrian nationals after lawful entry and during their lawful residence
- Children within six months after birth, if the mother holds a valid residence title
- Family members entitled to enter without a visa, during their permitted stay without a visa
An application filed in Austria shall not grant a right of residence to applicant beyond the time he/she is allowed to stay with or without a visa. When the time allowed to stay with or without a visa has expired he/she is required to depart and must await proceedings abroad.
Scope of residence titles and validity
The residence titles “Red-White-Red Card Plus” and “Family Member” allow time-limited settlement and entitle the holder to unrestricted access to the labour market.
As a matter of principle, residence titles are granted for a period of twelve months.
The residence titles “Red-White-Red Card Plus” and “Family Member” shall be issued for a duration of three years, if
- the family member has completed Module 1 of the Integration Agreement (i.e. has given evidence of German language skills on A2 level) and
- lawfully resided in Austria without interruption during the previous two years.
After five years of lawful settlement without interruption, a residence title “Long-term resident – EC” may be applied for, if
- the general requirements have been met and
- Module 2 of the Integration Agreement has been completed (i.e. German language skills on B1 level).
Valid travel document. This requirement is waived in the case of first application of a child within six months after birth, if the child does not yet have a valid travel document.
- Birth certificate or similar document (only with first applications)
- Current photo of applicant
- If applicable
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce certificate
- Certificate of registered partnership
- Certificate of dissolution of a registered partnership
- Adoption papers
- Evidence or certificate concerning the family relationship
- Death certificate
- Evidence of a legal title to an accommodation according to local standards, including lease or sublease contracts, preliminary property contracts or ownership evidence;
- Evidence of health insurance protection covering all risks and providing benefits in Austria, including submission of the corresponding insurance policy, unless compulsory insurance coverage exists or will exist;
- Evidence of means of secure subsistence (pay slip, pay certificate, employment contracts, certificates of state pension, pension insurance or other insurance benefits, evidence of adequate amounts of invested capital or owned assets);
Please note: Evidence of social benefits which are only due when the residence title is granted, including welfare aid and differential allowances, are not permissible.
- Evidence that sponsor holds the required residence title;
- Evidence of German language skills
Further information and useful links
- Granting fee: €100 (€80 upon application, additional €20 when granted)
- Costs of personalisation (photography and signature): €20
- Application forms (German)
Laws and provisions
- Settlement and Residence Act (German)
- Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals (pdf - 538 KB; English)
- Visa requirements (German)
- Integration Agreement (English)