EU citizens and Swiss nationals – General information on residence in Austria

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General information

* The term ‘EU citizen’ as used in this text always refers not just to EU citizens but also other citizens of the European Economic Area (from Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway) and Swiss nationals.

EU citizens do not need a visa and have the right to reside in Austria for a period of three months. This right exists regardless of any economic activity.

Under EU law, EU citizens have the right to reside in Austria for more than three months if:

  • they are employees or self‑employed workers in Austria; or
  • they have sufficient resources and comprehensive sickness insurance cover for themselves and their family members not to need to claim social assistance or compensatory allowances during their stay; or
  • the principal aim of their stay is to obtain a qualification, including a professional qualification, from a state school or legally recognised private school or educational establishment and they have sufficient sickness insurance cover and sufficient resources for themselves and their family members.

EU citizens who, under EU law, have the right to reside in Austria for more than three months are required to notify the settlement authority if they remain in Austria for longer than three months. As evidence of your right of residence under EU law, you will receive a ‘registration certificate’ upon request. This request must be made within four months of arriving in Austria. After five years’ of legal and continuous residence in Austria, you will receive a ‘certificate of permanent residence’ upon request. You can also apply for the issue of a photo ID card for EEA citizens citizens (which also serves as an identity document).


All persons who take up accommodation in Austria are required to register with the authorities in accordance with the Austrian Registration Act (Meldegesetz). Anyone who takes up or leaves accommodation in Austria is therefore required to register and de‑register with the competent registration authority.

For EU citizens with a right of residence under EU law who already settled legally in Austria prior to 1 January 2006 and registered in accordance with the Austrian Registration Act, the valid registration is regarded as the registration certificate.

There is no general obligation to carry a travel document (passport or identification card) at all times. However, carrying proof of identity is recommended because public safety bodies (police) are empowered to check identity in certain circumstances (for example, in connection with possible criminal and administrative offences, or if they strongly suspect that a person does not have a right to reside in the country). They may also detain a person for an identity check if the person is apprehended in the act of committing an offence. This involves the exercise of a coercive or restraint power which could be contested by filing an action before the relevant Regional Administrative Court within six weeks.

Legal basis

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 16 May 2024

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of the Interior