Brexit: Legal certainty for British nationals in Austria is guaranteed

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020 after concluding a withdrawal agreement, which prevented what is called a "hard Brexit".

The freedom of movement rights have ended for British nationals on 31 December 2020. Britons who intend to take up residence in Austria as from 1 January 2021 are now subject to the general provisions for third-country nationals. Tourist stays continue to be possible without obtaining a visa. Entry controls, however, are now stricter for travellers from the United Kingdom.

In future, Britons will be required to obtain C or D visas for the purpose of exercising a short-term gainful employment in Austria. For longer stays the provisions of the Settlement and Residence Act (“Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz” - NAG) will apply.

Legal certainty for rights of residence and labour permits existin prior to 2021

Irrespective of this, the withdrawal agreement concluded between the European Union and the United Kingdom guarantees legal certainty for British nationals who have settled in Austria by 31 December 2020. A dedicated implementing regulation of the Federal Minister of the Interior assures that they retain their rights of residence.

All British nationals had to apply for a new residence title by 31 December 2021. They were issued with a certificate of application, which is proof of legal residence until the procedure is completed (in most cases by issuing a residence permit). This application for a residence permit had to be submitted to the competent authority, which may be the governor (“Landeshauptmann”), the mayor (“Bürgermeister”) applications to be directed to the city administration (“Magistrat”) or the head of district authority (“Bezirkshauptmann”), depending on the place of residence of the applicant.

If there are reasonable grounds for the late application, a residence title can still be granted now. Application forms are available online and can be found here: Antragsformulare.

Care was taken to keep the costs for applicants as low as possible, i.e. at the level of comparable documents, such as an Austrian identity card.

All these measures are intended to ensure the least possible disruption in the lives of those affected and to enable them to continue to work or and to pursue their course of study in Austria without hindrance.