Austria confirms no grace period for Brexit residency permits

Vienna street
Only in some special circumstances will British nationals still be able to apply for an Article 50 card. Photo: Anna Hunko/Unsplash
The New Year’s Eve 2021 deadline for applications for the Article 50 Card has now passed and the Ministry of the Interior has confirmed there will not be an extension -- but if you have a valid reason for missing the deadline, you should still apply.

By the end of November 2021, 8,886 applications for the Article 50 Card had been submitted by British citizens living in Austria.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, 7,882 post-Brexit residency permits had already been issued by November 30th. Figures from Statistics Austria show 11,529 British citizens were living in Austria at the start of 2021, although some of these people may have since left Austria, or have a different right of residence, for example if they hold another EU citizenship.

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However, despite the Ministry stating there will not be a grace period for late applicants, there is still the possibility to apply if there is a valid reason for a delay.

A spokesperson for the British Embassy in Austria said: “As set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, you can still apply if you have reasonable grounds for missing it. These include severe illness, or, for children, if their parent or guardian did not apply earlier for them.

“Contact your local Magistrat or Bezirkshauptmannschaft to apply as soon as possible. If your Article 50 Card application is refused, you may be able to apply for residence as a third country national and should do so as soon as possible.”

As part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, British people who were already living in Austria at the end of the transition period on December 31st 2020 could apply for the Article 50 Card. This allowed them to stay in Austria and retain many of the rights they enjoyed as an EU citizen.

The Austrian Federal Government has published a guide for late Article 50 Card applications.

What is the Article 50 Card?

The Article 50 Card replaces all previous residency permits held by British people in Austria who were living here under EU freedom of movement. 

In a nutshell, it’s a post-Brexit residency card and applicants were either granted a five-year or a ten-year card, depending on how long they had lived in Austria prior to the end of the Brexit transition phase of December 31st 2020.

FOR MEMBERS: Where in Austria do all the British residents live?

Any British citizens living in Austria that hadn’t applied for the Article 50 Card by the New Year’s Eve 2021 deadline could lose their rights that were protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.

The application process for the Article 50 Card opened on January 4th 2021, although many people in Vienna experienced delays throughout 2021.

In February 2021 there were also reports of some British citizens in Austria wrongly having their benefits payments suspended due to misunderstandings of the new post-Brexit rules, as reported by The Local.

The suspension of benefits went against the Withdrawal Agreement and resulted in former British Ambassador to Austria Leigh Turner reaching out to the Austrian Federal Government to resolve the issue.

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