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Family reunification

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

  • spouses
  • 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

  • "Red-White-Red Card" holders or "EU Blue Card" holders
  • third-country nationals with a long-term residence title in Austria
  • holders of a "Red-White-Red Card plus"
  • holders of a "settlement permit" for self-employed persons
  • certain holders of a "settlement permit - special cases of dependent gainful occupation" or
  • holders of a "settlement permit - researchers"
  • refugees (where family reunification according to the Asylum Act is not possible)
  • holders of a residence card or permanent residence card
  • holders of a residence permit “Artikel 50 EUV

shall obtain the residence permit “Red-White-Red Card plus“, provided they meet the general granting requirements.

In certain cases there is a quota requirement for family reunification residence permits.
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 Member”

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 signed a liability declaration.

Other dependents 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

"Settlement Permit"

Family members of

  • holders of "settlement permits",
  • holders of "settlement permits - dependant",
  • "settlement permits artist" or
  • certain cases of "settlement permits - special cases of dependent gainful occupation"

shall obtain a settlement permit, if quota space is available and the general requirements are fulfilled.

A “settlement permit” shall also be granted to live partners or extended family members of EEA nationals or Swiss nationals, if the sponsor signs a liability declaration and the general granting requirements (except proof of adequate accommodation) are fulfilled. In this case no quota space is required. 

"Settlement Permit - Gainful employment excepted"

Family members of holders of

  • certain "settlement permits", or
  • "settlement permit - gainful employment excepted",

shall obtain a "settlement permit", if the general requirements are fulfilled and in certain cases if a quota space is available.

Please note:
There is no quota requirement regarding residence titles issued to family members of "Red-White-Red Card" holders, "EU Blue Card" holders or family members of Austrian citizens and researchers. The number of other residence titles being issued for family reunification every year is limited.

General requirements for granting a residence title

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 2021, this standard income rate amounted to € 1,000.48 for singles, € 1,578.36 for married couples and an additional € 154.37 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. This is not required for extended family members of EEA nationals or Swiss nationals. 



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Providing evidence of German language skills (“German prior to immigration”)

Family Members 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 from one of the following institutions:

  • Austrian Language Diploma German
  • Goethe-Institut e.V.
  • Telc GmbH
  • Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF)

The fulfilment of the requirements of Modules 1 or 2 of the Integration Agreement also rates as evidence of adequate German language skills.

The language diploma 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 are not yet 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 doctor appointed by an Austrian consular representation.
  • Family members of holders of a residence title “Red-White-Red Card” for Very Highly Qualified Workers, “EU Blue Card” or “settlement permit – researcher”
  • Family members of holders of a residence title “Long-term Resident - EU”, if their sponsor originally held a residence title “Red-White-Red Card”, “EU Blue Card“ or a „settlement permit – researchers”.
  • Family members of refugees
  • Persons who declare in writing, that their stay will not be longer than 24 months within three years; this declaration includes the irrevocable waiver of the submission of an extension application after the first extension application.

Competent authority

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 legal stay
  • Children within six months after birth, if the sponsor holds a valid residence title
  • Family members entitled to enter without a visa, after legal entry and during their legal stay
  • Family members of holders of a “Settlement permit – researchers” after legal entry and during their legal stay
  • Extended family members of EEA nationals or Swiss nationals who apply for a “Settlement permit” after legal entry and during legal stay
Please note:
An application filed in Austria shall in most cases 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.


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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. 

The "settlement permit" allows for time-limited settlement and entitles the holder to self-employment. 

The "settlement permit - gainful employment excepted" and "settlement permit - dependent" allow for time-limited settlement and do not entitle the holder to work.

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 and
  • resided in Austria lawfully without interruption during the previous two years.

After five years of lawful settlement without interruption, a residence title “Long-term resident – EU” may be applied for, if

The duration of the "Red-White-Red Card plus" for family members of holders of a residence title "EU Blue Card" is dependent on the validity of the permit of the sponsor.

Required documents

The following documents are in particular required for the granting of a residence permit:

  • 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

The authority may also require you to submit other documents on a case by case basis.
For example, many authorities require the submission of an extract from police records (or a certificate of good standing) in case of first time applications. If this is submitted with the application it can help to speed up the application procedure.

Please note
You have to submit originals and copies of the abovementioned documents. The authorities may request that German or English translations or certified versions of the documents be provided for a thorough examination.

Further information and useful links


  • Application:
    € 120 for persons older than 6 years; for children up to 6 years: € 75
  • Granting:
    € 20 for persons older than 6 years; for children up to 6 years: € 50
  • Costs of personalisation (fingerprints, scan of photography and signature): € 20


Laws and provisions


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