1) Even though the fundamental freedom of free movement of persons allows EU citizens to live or work in another Member State without restrictions, some important aspects must also be observed for this group of immigrants when immigrating to Austria. This article deals with the question of what to pay attention to and what bureaucratic requirements have to be met when settling in Austria as a citizen of another EU member state and what possibilities their relatives (who may or may not be EU citizens themselves) have for legal residence in Austria.
2) The rules described below apply not only to EU citizens but also to citizens of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland. A further article on the consequences of the Brexit will be published in the next few days.
3) EU citizens are in principle entitled to stay visa-free in another Member State for a period of up to three months. If they wish to settle in Austria for a longer period, they may do so only if they are employed or self-employed in Austria or if they have sufficient means of subsistence and comprehensive health insurance cover for themselves and their family members (private individuals) or if the main purpose of the stay is for educational purposes and the person concerned has sufficient means of subsistence and comprehensive health insurance cover for himself and his family members. In both cases social security benefits must not be used.
4) Sufficient means of subsistence are deemed to exist if they are above the social assistance threshold. In Austria, this limit results from the minimum income support (depending on the province, in Vienna in 2020: an income below the limit of € 917.35 for single persons or single parents, € 688.01 [per person] for couples and € 247.68 additionally for minor children [per child]).
5) EU citizens can be expelled, for example, if they make unreasonable use of social security benefits in the host country. However, when taking a decision in this regard, the authority must take account of the individual situation of the person concerned.
6) Relatives of EU citizens who make use of their right of residence in Austria and who are themselves EU citizens are also entitled to reside in Austria. Relatives are defined as spouses, registered partners or life partners (whereby the existence of a permanent relationship must be proven). They also include certain other relatives, such as relatives in the descending line (children, including stepchildren or adopted children and grandchildren up to their 21st birthday, provided that maintenance is actually paid), relatives in the ascending line (parents or grandparents, provided that maintenance is actually paid) or other relatives (who have already received maintenance in the country of origin or have lived in a household or who require urgent personal care due to health problems).
7) EU citizens or their relatives who wish to settle in Austria based on the described requirements must notify the competent authority (in Vienna this is the MA 35) within four months. The authority must then issue a registration certificate documenting the right of residence in Austria under EU law. In addition to a valid passport or identity card, the application must be accompanied by evidence of the right of residence under EU law (e.g. employment contract, proof of sufficient financial means, confirmation of school attendance, etc.).
8) Relatives of EU citizens (who claim their right of residence in Austria) who are not EU citizens themselves also have a right of residence in Austria under EU law. This also entails unrestricted access to the Austrian labour market. The status of relatives is assessed according to the same criteria as for relatives who are themselves EU citizens.
9) Third-country nationals who are relatives of EU citizens are entitled to obtain a residence card to document their right of residence in Austria. Also, in this case the application must be submitted to the competent authority within four months of entry to Austria. This document gives free access to the labour market in Austria. Moreover, upon application, the Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) can also issue a separate confirmation of this.