Residency permits For Members

What are the common reasons why a residence permit is denied in Austria?

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected]
What are the common reasons why a residence permit is denied in Austria?
Not having enough money or the right documents are two common reasons why a residence permit is denied in Austria. (Photo by Gustavo Fring / Pexels)

Moving to Austria usually involves applying for a residence permit, but what are the chances of it being denied? Here are some common reasons to be aware of and how to avoid them.


For non-EU citizens – also known as "third-country nationals" – moving to Austria involves jumping through a series of bureaucratic hoops to obtain a residence permit.

Most of the time, the most stressful part is collecting the right documents and then waiting for a decision. But sometimes, applications are denied, leading to more paperwork and a lot of uncertainty.

We spoke to immigration experts in Austria to find out the main reasons why a residence permit application is denied, and what to do if it happens to you.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: How to apply for a residency permit in Austria

What is a residence permit?

A residence permit is the legal right to live and work in Austria as a foreigner – a requirement for any third country nationals that want to stay in Austria for more than six months.

However, the type of residence permit will depend on the individual circumstances of the applicant and there are permits for students, skilled workers, startup founders and family reunification, to name just a few.

But what they all have in common is a set of conditions that each applicant has to meet to be granted a residence permit. And if all the right boxes can’t be ticked, it can result in an application being denied.

Reasons for refusing a residence permit application

Patrick Kainz, an immigration lawyer at Law and Beyond in Vienna, told The Local that common hurdles for applicants is their financial situation and/or not having the right documents.

​​Kainz said: “A common reason for a permit to be denied is that they cannot match the salary or income requirements. Or, for example, they might have €10,000 in a bank account but they can’t provide the source of the money. 


“Another reason is that they can’t provide the required documents like a birth certificate, so it can be difficult to prove what year they were born. This then involves a strenuous step by step process in cooperation with the local Austrian embassy to have documents certified and authenticated.”

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

Dr Julia Ecker, a Vienna-based lawyer at Immigration Law, told The Local that other reasons for an application to be denied include overstaying the visa-free stay in Austria, a lack of insurance or accommodation, limited German language skills, and poor performance at school or university (for study-based applications).

Two people signing documents in an office

Photo by Gabrielle HENDERSON via Unsplash

Similarly, submitting an application in Austria when it should be made at an Austrian Embassy outside of the country can result in a residence permit application being refused.

And in some extreme cases, a person might be deemed a danger to public interest and refused residency.

To avoid an application being denied, Dr Ecker said: “Try to comply with all the strict procedural requirements and material requirements for residence permits, and get legal consultation in advance.”


What happens if a residence permit application is denied?

A refusal of an Austrian residence permit is not as final as it sounds and there are some next steps that applicants can take.

Kainz said: “You could have grounds for appeal. This will often elevate the case to a higher authority in administrative law. If that is still not successful, you could go to the high administrative court in Austria, but that is usually the end. 

“So before filing an appeal, assess whether it would be better to file a new application. For example, if you missed a deadline for one document, it could be cheaper to start again rather than going through a lengthy legal process.”

An appeal can be filed within four weeks of the original decision and an administrative court then has up to six months to make a decision on the case.

However, according to Dr Ecker, there is often an opportunity to counter the decision before an application is officially denied. 

She said: “Usually, the applicant will receive a warning or notification first, if the authority is about to reject the application. Then he or she can offer more evidence or try to convince the authorities with a written statement.”

READ ALSO: 'Bring everything you have': Key tips for dealing with Vienna's immigration office MA 35

Navigating the Austrian immigration system

To avoid the possibility of a residence permit being rejected, we asked the experts what advice they have for anyone planning to lodge an application in Austria.

Dr Ecker said: “Make yourself familiar with the complicated Austrian system. Talk to somebody with experience like a specialised lawyer or an employee of a specialised NGO.

“Try to get all the necessary documents together to ameliorate your chances from the very beginning. Consider which part of Austria might be the most appropriate in your situation, also taking into account the presumptive duration of the procedure in different parts of Austria.”


Similarly, Kainz advises applicants to familiarise themselves with the different immigration routes to ensure they are submitting the right application.

He said: “Applications in Austria always need a purpose and – depending on the purpose – there are different residence permits, so find out the requirements in advance. 

“For example, if you need German language skills at level A1, then find a local language school and get yourself up to speed.”

FOR MEMBERS: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

Useful information

As of 1 January 2023, a residence permit applicant must have a secure livelihood and earn the following:

  • Single persons: a minimum of €1,110.26 per month
  • Married couples: a minimum of €1,751.56 per month
  • For each child: an additional €171,31 per month.

Required documents when applying for a residence permit in Austria:

  • Valid passport
  • Birth certificate (or corresponding document)
  • Passport-size photograph (no older than six months)
  • Marriage, partnership or adoption certificate (if required)
  • Rental agreement or proof of accommodation
  • Proof of health insurance covering all risks
  • Proof of income (e.g. employment contract, payslip, confirmation of pension)
  • In some cases, a criminal record check might be required.

Also, documents usually have to be officially translated in German. Although English is sometimes accepted.

Useful links

BMEIA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

OeAD - Residence permit - student

Austrian Federal Government Migration Platform

Counselling Centre for Migrants


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also