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Before Arrival

Entry and residence in Austria

The Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) welcomes employees from all over the world and helps them with their questions concerning entry, residence and employment in Austria. The citizenship of the individual and length of stay in Austria are crucial pieces of information needed to answer these questions

Different regulations apply to EEA citizens and persons from non-EEA 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 registration certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung) must be submitted within the first four months of entry.

Persons from non-EEA 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 a bank 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, etc. People from third countries who will be working scientifically in Austria can apply for a “settlement permit researcher”. 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 ISTA for more information on entry, residence and employment matters:

Further information can be found on the following pages:

Arrival in Austria

Registration in Austria

Anyone who takes up residence in Austria (Austrians, EU/EEA nationals, nationals of non-EEA countries) has to register with the local registration office within three working days. In cities and towns the registration office is the municipal authority (“Magistrat”), and in all other places the registration office is the municipal office (“Gemeindeamt”). These offices are in charge of registration, cancellation of registration and changes of registration. To register you need the following documents:

· Travel document (e.g. passport)
· Birth certificate
· Marriage certificate and/or proof of academic titles, if 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 the insurance institute and deducts the social insurance contributions from the employee’s wages or salary.

Insured persons and their family members will receive an social security card (“e-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. Austrian Social 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 a 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: ISTA 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 are a large number of real estate agents with a broad portfolio of properties. Irrespective if a property is rented through a real estate agent or directly from the owner, rents are not negotiable. When buying a property, consider that additional costs (taxes, fees etc.) for the purchase amount to about 10% of the property’s 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 provides good infrastructure and public transportation. Vienna has many districts which are quite rural and there are enough houses to be rented or bought (10th to 23rd districts). 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 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 living 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 and about 15% of Austria’s inhabitants are foreigners.


German is the national language as defined in Austria’s Federal Constitution, and about 98% of Austria’s 8.8 million inhabitants are German-speaking. Austrian German, however, can differ considerably from High German in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary and there are roughly 250 different dialects which are spoken in Austria.


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 strength has a positive effect on social stability in Austria. Social benefits such as minimum income, social health insurance, or pension insurance contribute to a high level of social security.

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

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 Club 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) and 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. Roman Catholics form the largest religious community with over 5 million members, followed by Orthodox, Muslim, and Protestant religions.

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 highways/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 on the ÖBB website. Super saver tickets (Sparschiene) and the advantage card (Vorteilscard) which offers 50% discounts on tickets, are also available.

More information:

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:

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

More information:

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

More information:

Taxi: Taxis run by taximeter. There are increased tariffs at night from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am and on Sundays and holidays. There is also a surcharge for radio taxis.

In the cities: Subways, trams and buses are operated in the federal capital, Vienna. In other cities there are only trams and buses. Smaller cities and towns have bus connections.

More information about public transport in Vienna:

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