Assessing travel and visa obligations in Austria

When traveling to Austria, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you require work authorization. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to Austria, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Attend business meetings without providing any kind of service
  • Attend interviews
  • Attend conferences or trade fairs


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for Austria?

Nationals of the European Union, the United States and many other select countries are eligible for a visa waiver and are not required to obtain a visa in order to enter and conduct business activities in Austria.

Austria is a member of the Schengen Area, a free-travel zone comprised of 27 European countries. If your nationality is not eligible for a visa waiver in the Schengen Area, you will be required to obtain a Schengen Visa prior to travel. Visa-waivered nationals, as well as those who are required to obtain a visa, are authorized to travel to Austria and throughout the Schengen Area. Please note that travelers may not spend more than 90 days within any 180-day period inside the Schengen Area.

Working in Austria

What types of activities require work authorization?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Austrian law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in Austria, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Auditing
  • Conducting or attending training
  • Consulting

In limited circumstances, foreign nationals may engage in certain professional activities without obtaining work authorization while on assignment under the Van der Elst rules, although strict preconditions must be met. An individual assessment is required before deciding whether an assignment exemption is applicable.


If I am traveling to Austria for work, what type of work authorization do I need?

The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in Austria. The most common types of work authorization for Austria are:

  • Posting Permit and Visa for Gainful Employment (short-term assignments up to four months)
  • Employment Permit and Visa for Gainful Employment (short-term assignments over four months)
  • “Project Staff” Work Permit (short-term employment for specific projects for up to six months)
  • Employment Permit and Residence Permit for Posted Workers (long-term assignments of over six months)
  • ICT Residence Permit (work authorization for the transfer of senior management, specialists and trainees of a company located outside the EU to a local branch belonging to the same company or group of companies)
  • Residence Permit for Mobile ICT (work authorization for third-country nationals who already hold an EU ICT Card from another EU member state)
  • Red-White-Red Card (long-term work authorization for local hires; may be based on a points system depending on the category)
  • EU Blue Card (long-term work authorization for highly skilled direct hires)


Is it possible to be exempted from work authorization requirements?

Nationals from the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland and third-country nationals who are dependents of an EU/EEA/Swiss national, are not required to obtain work authorization in order to work in Austria. Additional groups, including scientific researchers, foreign media correspondents, and select exchange students may be eligible for work authorization exemptions. However, registrations or other formalities may be required prior to working or residing in Austria. Please consult your immigration counsel prior to travel to determine your eligibility for an exemption.

What else should I know?

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which governs post-Brexit relations between the EU and the U.K., has altered immigration regulations in the affected countries. Please be sure to contact your immigration representative for full details regarding the TCA’s impact in Austria.

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.