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Before Arrival

Entry and residence in Austria

IST Austria welcomes employees from all over the world and supports them in questions concerning entry, residence and employment in Austria. The citizenship and length of stay in Austria are crucial for these questions.

Different regulations apply to EEA citizens and persons from third countries.

EEA citizens (EU citizens and citizens from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) have the right to stay in Austria for up to three months without a visa or registration certificate and have free access to the labor market.

If the stay lasts for more than three months, an application for a so-called registration certificate must be submitted within the first four months of entry.
Attention: For Croatian citizens, either an employment permit or a confirmation of freedom of movement is required for employment in Austria. This does not apply to activities in research and science, as in these cases the Act Governing Employment of Foreign Nationals does not apply.

Persons from third countries require a visa to enter the country. A distinction is made between different visa categories, which either only permit residence in Austria or additionally enable gainful employment. Applications must be submitted to the representative authorities abroad.
Exception: Holders of a valid residence permit from a Schengen state or citizens of a state whose citizens are exempt from visa requirements may enter without a visa and stay in Austria (without employment).

If the stay lasts for more than six months, an application for a residence permit must be submitted. The residence permit is issued for a specific purpose and in cheque card format. If the respective requirements are met, an application can be made for a residence permit which permits gainful employment in Austria in addition to the stay (e.g. red-white-red card, blue card EU, …). People from third countries who will be working scientifically in Austria can apply for a “settlement permit for researchers”. In this case, the application can be made directly in Austria and family members receive a red-white-red-card plus free access to the labor market.

Please get in touch with the Human Resources team at IST Austria for more information on entry, residence and employment matters: hr@ist.ac.at

Further information can be found on the following pages:

Arrival in Austria

Registration in Austria

Anybody who takes up residence in Austria (Austrians, EU/EEA nationals, nationals of third countries) has to register with the registration office at their place of residence within three working days. The registration offices are the mayors’ offices. This means that in cities/towns the municipal authority (“Magistrat”) is the competent authority and in all other places the municipal office (“Gemeindeamt”) is in charge of registration, cancellations of registrations and changes of registrations. To register you need the following documents:

· Travel document (e.g. passport)
· Birth certificate
· Marriage certificate and/or proof of academic titles as applicable
· Registration form (must be signed both by the landlord/landlady and by the tenant)

Austria has a very good social system which includes several compulsory insurances for people who have taken up employment. The public statutory social insurance cover (“Sozialversicherung”) for employees includes accident, health and unemployment insurance and statutory pension. The employer registers the employee with relevant insurance institute and deducts the social insurance contributions from wages and salaries.

Insured persons and their family members will receive an “e-card” (social security card) which entitles them to medical care by practicing physicians, specialists, dentists and public hospitals who have a contract with the Austrian Insurance Companies (e.g. Lower Austrian Insurance Company). Services of private physicians and private hospitals are not covered by the public health insurance, but could be covered for the most part by an additional private health insurance.

Bank account

Austria’s valid currency is the Euro (€). Major credit cards are accepted in most places. You are required to present a valid identification with photo (passport, personal ID or a driver’s license) and your registration form (“Meldezettel”) in order to open a bank account. In Austria, it is common practice to do nearly all banking transactions via the Internet. An easy way to get cash is the automatic teller machine (ATM), which is called “Bankomat” in Austria. You only need a cash card from your bank and a PIN code to use a “Bankomat”.


  • Living on campus: IST Austria offers Housing on campus.
  • General information on rental and acquisition of property in Austria

Purchasing prices and rents may vary, depending on size, location, building standard, available facilities and other factors. Most Austrian properties are not rented or sold privately, but through a real estate agent. There is a large number of real estate agents with a broad portfolio of properties. Real estate agents are not paid by the hour and are only entitled to fee if a contract is actually concluded. The fee (“Provision”) depends on the length of the rental contract: for contracts up to 3 years the fee amounts to 1 month rent, for contracts for more than 3 years the fee amounts to 2 months’ rent. Irrespective if a property is rented through a real estate agent or directly from the owner, rents are not negotiable. When buying a property, it needs to be considered that additional costs (taxes, fees etc.) for the purchase amount to about 10% of the properties retail price.

  • Living in Vienna:

The current population of Vienna is approximately 1.8 million. The city has 23 districts, each one with its individual charm and qualities. Its city center (1st – 9th district) is very urban and it provides good infrastructure and public transportation possibilities. Vienna has got many districts which are quite rural and there are enough houses to be rent or bought (districts 10th to 23rd). In general the districts in the city center (1st, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th) and the 13th, 18th and 19th districts are more expensive than the others.

Please visit this website for further information concerning housing in Vienna click here.

  • Living in Klosterneuburg:

Klosterneuburg has a population of about 27’000 people and is located adjacent to the northern city limits of Vienna. Klosterneuburg is located only 18 km from the city center of Vienna. The city of Klosterneuburg is known for its high standard of living. The location between the Danube and the rolling hills of the Vienna Woods with its vineyards, pastures and forests provides an excellent environment. The city offers all educational, medical, social and cultural services. Klosterneuburg offers a wide range of housing options. There are apartments and houses to rent and buy for every budget.

Living in Austria


A total of around 8.8 million people live in Austria. About 15% out of all Austrian inhabitants are foreigners (e.g. from Germany, Croatia, Hungary or Turkey).


About 98% of Austria’s 8.8 million inhabitants are German-speaking. The nationalities are diverse and so are the 250 different dialects which are spoken in Austria. German is the national language defined in the Federal Constitution, but Austrian German differs considerably from High German in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.


Austria is a very safe country. The Global Peace Index lists the most peaceful countries in the world annually and in 2017 more than 160 countries were evaluated and Austria was ranked as the fourth-safest country. Political and legal stability has a positive effect on social security in Austria. Social security benefits such as minimum income, social security or pension insurance contribute to a high level of social security.

Mercer and Economist have already ranked Vienna several times the most livable city in the world. What about the rest of the country? Low crime rates, beautiful landscapes, attractive leisure, cultural and shopping offers make Austria a popular travel destination worldwide or a country to live in.

Currency and payment options

As a member of the European Communities, Austria participates in the Economic and Monetary Union. The currency in Austria is the Euro. Austria is a SEPA and Euro group member, which means that transfers within the EU can be processed free of charge at many banks without currency exchange.

Cash can be withdrawn from ATMs throughout the country 24/7, even outside of banks. Commonly accepted credit cards are the domestic and foreign MasterCard, American Express, Visa and Diners credit cards.

The following opening hours are common in Austria:

  • Banks: usually Monday to Friday 08:00am – 12:00pm, typically 2-3 times a week open in the afternoons from 01:00pm to 03:00pm or until 05:30pm.
  • Post Office: Monday to Friday 08:00am – 12:00pm, 02:00pm – 06:00pm, Saturday either closed or open from 09:00am – 12:00am
  • Shops: Monday to Friday 08:00/09:00 am – 06:00/07:00pm, Saturday 08:00/09:00am – 12:00/01:00pm; shopping centers and shops along shopping streets in big cities are open Monday to Friday until 07:00pm, Saturday until 06:00pm.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Austria is above the EU-average, only Northern European countries and Switzerland are more expensive.


Austria has a transitional climate in Central Europe. Austria’s landscape encompasses fresh lakes and rivers, picturesque mountain landscapes, valleys and forests. About 60% of the country is mountainous with a large share of the Eastern Alps. Extensive landscapes lie to the east along the Danube. 43% of the country’s total area is forested.


About three quarters (73%) of Austrians believe in God, 63% describe themselves as religious, 29% as non-religious and 4% as convinced atheists. Catholics form the largest religious community with over 5 million members, followed by Orthodox, Muslims and Protestant Christians.

On the road in Austria

By car:

The maximum speeds applicable in Austria are 50 km/h within local areas, 100 km/h on open country roads and 130-140 km/h on motorways. If you drive with a trailer, camper or truck, other restrictions apply.

Public transport:

Rail: The Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) maintain a well-developed railway network with around 5’700 kilometers of rail tracks.

Tickets are available at ticket machines or counters, as well as online on the ÖBB website. The tickets of the “Sparschiene” can be worthwhile in terms of price, often the purchase of the “Vorteilscard”, where you receive a 50% discount, pays off.

More information: www.oebb.at

In addition, the private provider Westbahn operates between Vienna and Salzburg at regular intervals. Tickets are available on the train or online in advance.

More information: westbahn.at/

Bus: There is a very well developed bus route network in Austria. The tickets are quite cheap and available at the various transport networks in the region, at ticket counters or from the bus driver.

More information: www.postbus.at

In addition to the ÖBB, the long-distance bus company Flixbus also offers bus connections within Austria and abroad.

More information: www.flixbus.at

Taxi: Taxis run by taximeter. During the time from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am and on Sundays and holidays an increased tariff applies. There is a surcharge for the journey for radio taxis.

In the cities: A subway, trams and buses are operated in the federal capital Vienna, in many other cities mostly only trams and buses exist. In smaller cities and towns there are bus connections.

More information about public transport in Vienna: www.wienerlinien.at

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