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Visas For Members

How do I get a language study visa for Austria?

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
How do I get a language study visa for Austria?

This visa will let you study German in Austria for up to six months, and it’s relatively unbureaucratic to apply for compared to some others. Here's what you need to know.

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If you’re looking to both improve your German and potentially check to see if Austria is a place for you to come to live and work later on, the language study visa may be for you.

Not everyone necessarily needs this visa though, depending on your nationality and how long you want to stay and do German language courses in Austria. But if you’re planning on staying for more than three months to do some intensive German learning and exploring, it could well be the right bet.

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Who needs this visa?

Any non-EU/EEA or Swiss national who wants to stay in Austria to learn German for more than three months needs this visa — also called a “Category D” visa. With it, you can stay longer than three months, but less than six for the purposes of language learning and tourism. There is one special exception for Japanese nationals, who can visit Austria for up to six months without a visa.

If you’re planning on taking German language courses in Austria, but you intend to stay for three months or less, you’ll need a “Category C” visa for short stays, but there are a lot more exceptions.

In addition to EU/EEA and Swiss nationals, people from nearly 60 countries don’t need a visa to visit Austria for up to 90 days. These countries include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, the UK, and the US, among many others. You can find a full list here. Again, with the exception of Japan, people from even these countries will need a Category D visa if they intend to stay in Austria for more than three months but less than six.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How entrepreneurs can get Austria’s Red-White-Red card for skilled non-EU workers

What do I need to apply for this visa?

Whether you need a Category C or D visa, you’ll need to find an accredited German course and typically register and pay the course fee. At least part of this fee may be non-refundable in many cases. The language school should then be able to issue you a confirmation of when your course is, that you’ve registered and paid, and how long your course will last. You’ll typically need this confirmation to apply for your visa.

Along with your application form, you’re also going to need a passport photo, proof that you’re either reserved or booked accommodation, and a passport that has at least two free pages and is valid for at least three months beyond the end of your stay.

A language study visa might provide the perfect opportunity for people to explore Austria for the first time, while also improving their language skills.
(Photo by Matthew Yong on Unsplash)

You’ll also need to prove financial resources and insurance coverage. You’ll need to provide proof of health, travel, and accident insurance that covers you for at least €30,000 if something goes wrong. You’ll also need to prove that you have the financial resources to cover you during your stay, perhaps through a bank statement. You may also be asked to provide proof of a return ticket home or ties to your home country, to confirm that you plan to go back at the end of your stay.

People applying for a Category C visa — which lets you stay up to three months — will also have to pay a €60 application fee. This fee is €100 for Category D applicants, or those that want to stay between three and six months.

Once you have these things, you can pop into your Austrian Embassy or Consulate abroad and apply, typically no earlier than three months and no later than three weeks before you arrive in Austria.

READ ALSO: Germany or Austria: Where is it easier to get an EU Blue Card?

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What can’t I do with this visa?

Category C or D visas don’t let you work in Austria, which is part of why you will need to demonstrate financial resources to cover your stay. They also don’t entitle you to public healthcare, which is why you’ll be asked to prove insurance coverage.

READ ALSO: COMPARED: Germany’s Chancenkarte vs. Austria’s Red-White-Red card for skilled non-EU workers

A language study visa will also technically allow you to study other languages other than German, but you will need to justify your choice of going to Austria instead of , for example, the UK or Malta for learning English to the official at the Austrian representation abroad, though. 

Finally, no visitor visa will let you stay in Austria for more than six months. For that, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit.

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