We would be lying if we said that we weren’t harbouring the European dream in our heads and hearts. But moving to Europe isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially with an Indian passport. The process to get an Austrian resident permit was a long and exhaustive process.
Initially, the plan was to move to Austria on an Investor’s visa, as the original purpose was to start a hospitality business in Vienna. Despite consultation and preparation of a thorough business plan through an Austrian company, the idea of third-country nationals moving to Europe for investment purposes was a rather unusual idea. Even the Embassy and relevant organizations had little clue about making the visa process coherent and quick. The pandemic didn’t make things any easier. Instead only added to the confusion and chaos.
While that was patiently being explored, I was exploring additional opportunities to equip myself with qualifications that could give me a fair shot in the Austrian Labor Market. A Master’s degree and relevant educational qualifications for the job hold almost legally binding importance in Europe, even for companies. Digital Marketing for Bollywood Films in a consultancy position was not exactly an easy-to-weigh-the-professional-credibility kind of situation. Plus, I did not have a Master’s degree. So, this seemed like a crazy opportunity to realize that dream and explore options that could also support business ventures. Basically, I wanted to up my game. And as luck would have it, I found a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development at a private university in Vienna, in English. Call it serendipity much?
Well, this was probably the cosmic forces paving way for the most significant change in our lives.
But getting accepted into the University seemed like a piece of cake compared to the next part of the procedure.
Getting an Austrian resident permit.
The same reason that had us stuck to start the business, was back again. Probably a little simpler and a lot more definite this time.
After a late enrollment in August 2021 for the Fall intake, I immediately started my procedure for obtaining a residence permit for students. I was also supported by a VFS consultant who specializes in Student Resident Permits, provided by my University as a part of my admission support.
Austrian Resident Permit (Student)
- The residence permit applications for Austria are made through the Embassy of Austria in New Delhi.
- To make an application, the first step is to drop an email to NEW-DELHI-KA@bmeia.gv.at with an appointment request stating your University and program details, along with your Name, Postal Address, Phone no., and Passport No. Also, attach a copy of your passport and program acceptance letter from the University.
- The Embassy can take 2-7 days to respond, with additional queries and required details to ensure all criteria for the Austrian Resident Permit (Student) are applicable.
- Following this, an appointment date will be offered to you- this could be a list of possible dates or an open window of dates, asking you to choose your preference. The entire conversation takes place over email only, so it’s best to be prompt.
- Remember, you need to prepare your documents as per requirements and go to Delhi to submit your application in person. Hence, be doubly sure of opting for an appointment date.
- Your application must be made in person with all documents at the Embassy of Austria in New Delhi. Irrespective of your place of residence, you have to travel to New Delhi for your first appointment.
The Austrian Resident Permit Application process is purely based on documents. In most cases, no interviews are conducted as a part of the process. The collected documents are approved and sent from New Delhi to Austria (to the respective States). Hence, precision in documents is of utmost importance.
List of Documents Required
- Resident Permit (Student)- Filled Application Form
- Copy of Passport (+Original)
- Passport Size Photo
- Covering Letter
- Birth Certificate (Apostilled)
- Marriage Certificate/ if applicable (Apostilled)
- Police Clearance Certificate (Apostilled)
- Language Certificate
- Austrian University Invitation/Acceptance Letter
- Confirmed Accommodation
- Financial documents (Bank statement, IT Returns, Source of funds)
- Health Insurance
- University Transcripts from previous education
- Degree Certificate
1. Police Clearance Certificate
The Police Clearance Certificate or PCC is issued by the local police in your city declaring that you’re free of any civil and criminal charges in your city.
You can apply for PCC from the Passport Seva Portal or your city’s police website. You must specify the country that you’re applying for, which will be mentioned in the PCC. It’s a fairly simple process with the requirement of a passport and passport-size photo, but could take anywhere from 3-8 weeks and involves a trip to the local police station with your original documents for verification (Similar to the police clearance process for issuance of passports).
The PCC is valid for a period of 3 months from the date of issue. Therefore, your appointment needs to be within the 3-month window for your PCC to be valid.
2. Documents Apostille
State-issued documents such as PCC, Birth Certificates, and Marriage Certificates need to be apostilled by the State Government and Ministry of External Affairs. This process alone could take anywhere between 7-12 days.
It is important to plan backwards and process your documents in accordance with the date of your appointment.
Any additional requirement of documents will be stated by the Embassy directly and may be submitted by post/ email. For faster processing of your application, it is best to have all your documents in place.
Be sure to reach the Embassy before your appointment time with all your documents and cash for the fees.
You will be allowed inside the Embassy only based on the appointment list. Walk-ins are not allowed.
During your appointment, all relevant documents will be thoroughly checked, bio-metrics will be scanned, and fees must be paid in turn of a receipt. You may be asked additional questions (e.g. Your German language proficiency, any other missing document).
The actual appointment is typically a 10-minute process (in case you need to plan your return travels from New Delhi).
You need to submit an application processing fee of Eur 140* (equivalent amount in INR at the time of application) while submitting your application at the Embassy.
After submission of your application, you need to wait for a minimum of 4 weeks to hear back from the embassy (depending on the caseload). After 4 weeks, you can write back to the same email to check on your application status. You can also mark the respective state departments in Austria for your application status (e.g. MA35 in Vienna). The email can be found on the city administration website.
In case of any document requirements, the same will be communicated to you via email. You have about 15 days to respond with the corresponding documents/details.
Once all the documents have been provided, you will receive a decision on your application from the Austrian authorities.
In case of approval, you will be requested to wait till the local embassy (Embassy of Austria in New Delhi) reaches out to you with further details.
Once you have received the confirming approval mail from the local embassy (which could take 3-10 days), you can proceed with the application for Visa D.
Visa D is a long-term visa that allows you to stay in the country for over 180 days. You need to get this visa, to travel to the country. Your approved Resident Permit Card can only be collected from the respective administrative body, after your arrival in the country. Till then, Visa D is enough to support your stay and movement in the country.
- Visa D applications for Austria are made at VFS centres across the country.
- You can book an appointment online at the nearest VFS centres for Visa D.
- Remember to keep a window of at least 15 days between your appointment date and the date of intended travel
- Based on your chosen date, you need to carry the following documents with you
Austria Visa D (Student)- Required Documents
- Filled Application Form
- Copy of Passport
- Passport Size Photos
- Resident Permit Approval Letter from Local Embassy
- Flight reservation (One-way is sufficient)
- Health Insurance
The embassy email will specify if you need to pay additional fees for Visa D at VFS.
(My email specified that I do not need to pay additional fees at VFS for the issuance of Visa D).
If you have been granted a single entry Visa D, you cannot exit the Schengen zone till you have collected the Austrian Resident Permit card to enjoy the movement benefits.
Austrian Resident Permit Card Collection
Upon landing in Austria, drop an email to the corresponding state authorities/ MA35 informing them of your arrival. Accordingly, you are likely to receive an appointment scheduled in a span of 2 to 6 weeks to collect your Austrian Resident Permit Card.
The email specifies the list of required documents that you need to carry to collect your card. Make sure to carry all documents as per the given criteria and timelines.
Till then, you can show your Visa D if and when required (insurance, bank, etc.)