How to settle down in Austria
The Short Guide for Internationals by the Experts from FeelSafe.at
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If you landed on this webpage, you must be super excited about your time at WU Wien and the experiences ahead of you. Visiting new places, meeting new friends and exploring new opportunities. Yes, studying abroad promises a lot of amazing adventures and many people describe their studies abroad as the “time of their lives”.
Unfortunately, it’s not only fun and joy, there are also some important organizational steps to take and Austrian bureaucracy is not always easy. There are many stories about the infamous “MA35” – the Ministry for Immigration and Residence - and many internationals cringe when only hearing the name.
To settle down in Vienna can be quite challenging, so we are happy to give you a hand and welcome you as a foreign student, researcher or lecturer. We’ll walk you through the process step by step.
We’ll start from the beginning:
Stage 1. University application
Your application for WU Wien is approved, congratulations!
Stage 2: Apply for your visa/residence permit:
Nationals of the EU and EEA member countries as well as Swiss nationals:
You do not need visas or residence permits – you only need to confirm registration (Anmeldebescheinigung) in Austria within 4 months after arrival.
All other foreigners:
Depending on your length of stay, you either need a Visa C, Visa D or residence permit:
● 0-3 months: Visa C
● Up to 6 months: Visa D
● More than 6 months: residence permit
The application for the residence permit is separated into 3 parts:
- The residence permit application (also called “INITIAL residence permit”) starts at the Austrian embassy in your home country before entry to Austria. The application is sent to Austria for approval while you have to wait for the confirmation in your home country. Therefore it is recommended to start the process at least 3-6 months before the intended arrival in Austria.
- If your initial residence permit application is approved, you apply for Visa D to travel to Austria.
- Once you are IN Austria, you have to go to the respective ministry and pick up the “real” residence permit.
Health / Travel Insurance related to the visa & residence permit process
An essential and legally required part of the visa & residence permit process is a valid accepted insurance. Depending on the type of visa, there are different insurance products that fulfill the needs / legal requirements:
For the travels up to max. 3 months, a travel insurance (fulfilling specific legal requirements of what needs to be covered) is sufficient. The travel insurance is a rather simple product that can be bought day-specific – so you can select a start day and end day – and is paid upfront via credit card:
The travel insurance covers accidents and emergencies for your time in Austria.
For stays up to max. 6 months, equally the travel insurance from FeelSafe is legally sufficient.
However, for such a time frame you can also consider getting the full “all-risk” health insurance.
The “all-risk” health insurance is a very extensive insurance covering a lot more than the travel insurance. To buy the “all-risk” health insurance, an Austrian or other European bank account and an address in Austria are required. Thus, if you have those or know someone in Austria who can provide them for you, you can get the full health insurance instead of the travel insurance. Both will be equally accepted for the Visa D.
If you don’t have a European bank account or/and address in Austria, another option is to take the travel insurance for 1 month approx. (ending with the last day of a month) and once you are in Austria take the full “all-risk” health insurance for the remaining 5 months to have more coverage while staying in Austria.
For the residence permit you generally need an “all-risk” health insurance.
The full “all-risk” health insurance requires an Austrian or other European bank account and an address in Austria. Thus, if you have those or know someone in Austria who can provide them for you, you can get the full health insurance right away. This health insurance will be accepted for all 3 steps mentioned above:
1) The initial residence permit application
2) The Visa D application after the initial residence permit application is approved
3) The pick-up of the residence permit IN Austria
If you don’t have an Austrian bank account and/or address in Austria yet and don’t know anyone who can provide that for you, this would be the proper process for you:
- Step 1: Get the travel insurance when you are still in your home country – preferably with full flexibility to change dates and get partial or full refunds if your plans change, you need any adjustments or if it overlaps with your health insurance afterwards, you’ll get refunded for the overlapping period.
This travel insurance is fully accepted for the initial (abroad) residence permit and accepted by all Austrian embassies when applying from abroad for a residence permit and acquiring the D-Visa first.
It also provides the needed "Confirmation of Intent to Purchase an All-Risk Insurance" after entering Austria, as required by the government and is purchased with a credit card in just a few clicks, entirely in English. You get the travel insurance for 1-2 months approx., making it end on the last day of a month.
- Step 2: When you arrive in Austria, the first thing to do is to register your new address (1) and open your own Austrian or other European bank account (2).
- Step 3: Then you can get all-risk health insurance (3) needed for your long-term residence permit.
Here is also a visual representation of that process:
Remember – there is a legal requirement by the Austrian government to be health insured during your entire stay in the country. So make sure that your health insurance is 100% approved by the government for your residence permit.
Your options for the “all-risk” health insurance
Once in Austria, you can either go with public health insurance (ÖGK) or private health insurance like FeelSafe.at
No problem, you may say, saving a few euros with public insurance seems to be a clever option. Our advice? Think twice! As an international, you’ll need to submit all paperwork in German on the spot. So, get ready to spend some time in waiting lines and be sure your German is quite good.
A quick close-up of public and private insurance shows that while public insurance provides the minimal coverage required (only access to public doctors), FeelSafe.at offers full private coverage with access to ALL doctors in Austria – public and private, including glasses and contact lenses, winter sports and even COVID-19 and it provides the best value for money at the market.
it’s tailor-made for foreign students and guest professors – it’s all online, even the refunds, and it’s all in English, even the contract. Plus, a live chat support team to answer your queries in real-time.
No doubt worth a few euros more!
Check the reviews on Google and Trustpilot if you are still not convinced! ?
Stage 3: The first things you need to do when arriving in Austria:
Well, now you have an idea of how to start living in Austria no matter if you’ll study or work in the country. It’s time to give you a hint about the first 5 things you need to do as an international newcomer (student, professor or researcher) upon your arrival:
- Start by getting registered with your new address.
No matter if it’s a serviced apartment, dormitory, shared apartment or private housing, you need to register at the local registry office (Meldeamt) within the first 3 days of your arrival. You have to present your passport or ID and a filled-out Meldezettel (Registry form) in German signed by the landlord or administration of your place and from you. Find out more valuable tips at FeelsLikeHome.at/Residency Registration
- Get a pre-paid phone.
○ Topups can be bought in all supermarkets, post offices, tobacco shops, ATMs, at one of many E-money universal payment machines or simply online. Mostly the activation code is just printed on the receipt. Of course, the monthly plans are normally even more cost-efficient if you register with a valid ID and an Austrian bank account. Be sure you save all the important numbers you may need ? FeelsLikeHome.at/SIM cards
- Open your own Austrian or another European bank account.
○ What for? To apply for health insurance needed for your residence permit, a scholarship or a student loan or even get a monthly plan from a telecommunication provider. The good news is that student accounts at most Austrian banks are completely free for students under 27 y.o. Remember to bring your student registration (or confirmation that you got accepted), government-issued photo ID (passport), passport picture and €50 as a starting balance to activate your account. Still needing help? Get some here: FeelsLikeHome.at/Bank
- Get all-risk health insurance valid for your residence permit.
○ As mentioned above. As mentioned above.
- Pick up your long-term residence permit at MA35.
○ The residence permit normally lasts just for one year as a student, so every year you should renew/prolong it on time. The required documents for non-Europeans are a passport, passport photo, 16 ECTS points per school year, Meldezettel, bank account statement, confirmation of inscription to any Austrian University or Fachhochschule, health insurance, rental contract (WG, Apartment or student residence). Check out more details at https://oead.at/en/to-austria/entry-and-residence
With this information in your hands, you surely can start your new journey in Austria in the quickest, easiest, most convenient and most affordable way. Now let’s go a step further and think in advance!
We are convinced that you already planned quite a few nice trips around Austria to visit historical sights or landmarks but if you still need inspiration here you go: FeelsLikeHome.at/Trips
You can thank us later!
Let your stay in Austria be Simple.Easy.Awesome