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How easy is it to retire to Austria?

The Local Austria
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How easy is it to retire to Austria?
Attersee in Salzkammergut is one of Austria's most beautiful lakes. The country is full of spectacular scenery and experiences for potential retirees. Photo by A Fox on Unsplash

Although Spain or Italy might have beaches and sun, Austria has plenty to offer someone looking for a place to spend their Golden Years. And while it's not the easiest place to retire to, it's still well within reach for many.


For EU nationals, retiring in Austria is fairly straightforward. You just need to register as a resident and complete some other paperwork, but you won't need a visa or residence permit.

The process is even relatively simple for non-EU nationals - as there is a type of retirement visa. You will need to renew it relatively frequently though.

The reasons are also relatively clear - with plenty of opportunities to enjoy an active lifestyle with easy access to skiiing, hiking and fresh mountain air, while at the same time partaking in the high culture of the country's opera houses, coffee houses, and more - Austria is a natural choice for many potential retirees.

it also boasts excellent services - from health care to public transport, and its central location in Europe can also make it a great place to explore from.

READ ALSO: Five reasons to retire to Austria


What visa and residence permit do I need?

If you’re from a non-EU country such as the UK, USA, or Canada you can travel to Austria for up to three months without a visa and apply for your residence permit within three months of arriving in Austria. If you are from a country that doesn't have visa-free travel with the EU, you will need to apply for a visa first and then your residence permit when you get to Austria.

The visa and residence permit you need to apply for is a "Settlement permit - gainful employment excluded". This particular permit is popular with retirees as it allows people to live in Austria, but not to work.

There are some downsides, however. For one, Austria has a quote that limits the number of these permits that are given out each year. Second, the permit lasts for only a year and thus has to be renewed regularly. After five years of continuous residence in Austria, you can apply for permanent residence.

EXPLAINED: Do your pension contributions abroad count in Austria?

Self-employment - even if working for a company that's based abroad - is not allowed under this permit. All your income must come from passive sources. These can include foreign pensions, rental income, or investment income. Singles must make at least €2,220.52 and couples a combined €3,503.12 per month from these passive income sources to qualify for this permit.

If you have dependent children - for example, perhaps grandchildren you may be taking care of full-time - you'll need to have an additional €342.62 per child.

You'll also need to prove that you have German skills at the A1 level. Luckily, this is the most basic level.

COMPARED: How to get a visa to settle in either Germany or Austria for retirement 


What healthcare arrangements will I need to have in place?

When applying for a settlement permit for Austria, you'll need to show that you have health insurance that covers you for at least €30,000 in costs. This is typically done through a private plan.

Once your residency is confirmed, you're eligible then to enrol with Austrian public health insurance, typically through the ÖGK fund. You can, of course, retain additional private health insurance on top of this. But all residents of Austria mush have public insurance - with your payments calculated as a proportion of your income.

READ ALSO: What kind of insurance do I need to have in Austria?



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