For members


Do Brits in Austria need to carry a residence permit at the border?

Whether you arrived in Austria before the Brexit cut-off date or moved here more recently, you may be wondering if carrying your residence title or permit is necessary when entering or leaving the country.

Passport control gates.
Passport control gates. Photo by ERIC PIERMONT / AFP.

For many Brits living abroad in the EU, the past few years have been a steep learning curve. For the first time in a generation, they have to register for their residence rights or navigate the complicated immigration rules for third-country nationals, like applying for work or study visas.

This means that even Brits who have lived in Austria for years may end up encountering situations they haven’t dealt with before, such as being asked for residence permits when applying for jobs or crossing the border into and out of Austria. 

But what are the rules in general for Brits when entering and leaving Austria? And is it necessary to always have a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) or post-Brexit residence document – known as an “Article 50 Card” (Aufenthaltstitel “Art 50 EUV”)? 

What is the status of Brits in Austria after Brexit?

Since the transition period ended, UK citizens have been treated in much the same way as other non-EU citizens in Austria – albeit with a few more perks. 

These include the right to visa-free travel in Austria (and the Schengen Area) for up to 90 days in every 180, the right to enter the country before applying for a visa and the ability to work for employers abroad while living in Austria.

In general, however, for people who didn’t live in the country before the end of the Brexit transition period, the immigration requirements are much the same as they would be for someone from, for example, Japan or the USA.

In order to live in Austria long-term, Brits now need an appropriate residence permit, such as work, family reunification or study visa, or another status such as citizenship that assures their rights.

Brits who arrived before the Brexit transition period ended on December 31st, 2020 have a special residence permit known as an Article 50 Card or “Aufenhaltstitel ‘Art 50’ EUV.” 

Without either an Article 50 Card or a regular residence permit, immigration authorities will enforce the so-called ’90-day rule’, meaning that Brits will be unable to spend more than three months out of every six in the Austria.   

READ ALSO: How Britons can move to Austria to live and work post-Brexit

Do Brits Article 50 Card holders need their residence card to cross the border?

You won’t be denied entry into Austria if you show up at the border without your Article 50 Card, provided you have a British passport. That’s because British citizens are typically allowed to visit Austria for up to three months without a visa.

But you will likely have your passport stamped if you don’t show a residence card such as the Article 50 card.

However a stamp in your passport will also not affect your rights as a legal resident of Austria. Any stamp is simply considered null and void if you later produce evidence of your residency rights. Many Brits resident in Austria and other countries have fretted about stamps after Brexit but residency rights trumps all passport stamps. However they are important for those travelling in the Schengen area because of the 90 day rule.

That said, to avoid bureaucratic headaches, official British government advice is to make sure you carry your Article 50 Card with you and to proactively present it to Austrian border control. Don’t wait until you’ve been asked to show it. Simply present it right away alongside your passport to avoid any confusion.

If you have applied for an Article 50 Card but not yet received it, for example if your passport has expired and you needed to get a new Article 50 Card, you can bring the certificate with you confirming that you’ve applied instead.

Austrian border policemen check papers of car passenger at the Austro-Hungarian border in Nickelsdorf, Austria, near Hegyeshalom, Hungary. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

The same rules generally also apply to Brits who have regular Austrian residence permits rather than Article 50 Cards.

Although Austria typically requires you to have at least three months remaining on your passport to cross the border, if you can produce your valid Article 50 Card or residence permit, you can cross into Austria with less than three months remaining on your passport – as long as it’s still valid.

If you cannot prove that you are a resident in Austria, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the EU.

READ ALSO: Reader Question: Can Britons living in EU spend more than 90 days in another Schengen country?

Do Brits who live in Austria with a visa need their residence permit to enter and/or leave?

According to official advice, foreigners can be required to show their passport whenever they cross the Austrian border, even potentially those shared with other Schengen states, and should also be able to show a residence document if required.

That means that, where possible, it’s important to have both with you if you are planning on leaving Austria for any amount of time. 

As we mentioned, Brits are allowed to enter Austria without a visa, even if you don’t have your residence permit. But having it with ensures the most hassle-free crossing.

According to recent stats, only 195 Brits were turned away at the EU border in 2022 due to the 90-day rule. 

However, this is always a risk that you face if you don’t have the required documents with you and, even if you are let in, you may have to deal with numerous questions beforehand and may even receive a passport stamp. 

READ ALSO: How many travellers are turned away at European borders because of 90 day limit

Can I still travel after my residence permit expires? 

The short answer is yes – though it is a good idea to be proactive about renewing it.  

In most cases, booking a visa appointment will automatically extend your visa until the date of your appointment, just make sure you have documents with you proving your pending appointment or application.

Remember that initial Article 50 Cards in Austria expire after five years, and no reminder is given for renewal. If your Article 50 Card expires, you may be in danger of losing many of your Withdrawal Agreement rights, even if you’re eligible for another type of Austrian residence permit.

Article 50 Cards issued after the first one are valid for 10 years. As we mentioned, people continuously resident in Austria for at least five years – whether they have Article 50 Cards or a different kind of permit – can apply for permanent residence.

READ ALSO: EES and ETIAs: The big changes for travel in Europe

READ ALSO: Visas and residency permits: How to move to Austria and stay long-term

With additional reporting by Aaron Burnett.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Growing number of Austrians see immigration negatively

Over half of Austrians now view immigration in a negative light, a new poll reveals, as migration pushes the country’s population to a new record high.

Growing number of Austrians see immigration negatively

Some 58 percent of Austrians see immigration and migration to Austria in negative terms, according to a new survey by Lazarsfeld Society.

It marks an increase of five percent who see it negatively since its last survey.

Only 13 percent of surveyed Austrians see immigration as being a net positive, while 28 percent are neutral.

Most Austrians see immigration in generally negative terms, with over half of both men and women, as well as people aged 30 and above, holding this view. Only 21 percent of people aged 16 to 29 see immigration in Austria as a net positive, compared to 37 percent who see it negatively.

Regionally speaking, attitudes to immigration are most negative in Lower Austria and Burgenland – with 66 percent of Austrian residents there viewing it negatively, compared to 51 percent in Vienna.

Voters for most Austrian political parties generally see immigration negatively – either as a plurality or as a majority. This includes 84 percent of far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) voters and 67 percent of centre-right People’s Party (ÖVP) voters.

The trend is also noticeable, if slightly less pronounced, among voters for progressive parties. 37 percent of regular Social Democrat (SPÖ) voters see immigration negatively, compared to 29 percent who see it positively. Roughly the same breakdown exists among voters for the liberal NEOS party.

Only Green voters tend to view immigration positively, with 31 percent having a favourable view of it and 15 percent saying it’s a net negative. A full 55 percent of regular Green voters consider themselves neutral on immigration.

According to the latest Austrian census, 20 percent of the population is now foreign-born, and a full quarter of the working age population. At the same time, around 20 percent of the population is now in retirement age, compared to 11 percent in 2011, with new arrivals roughly balancing out the effects of an aging population on the social insurance system.

Austria’s recorded population hit 9 million for the first time in that census.

READ ALSO: What Austria’s latest census tells us about how its society is changing