Whether you are already living here or would like to move to Lower Austria in the near future, the German language is an essential part of your integration. Here you can find out what you need to know about German language skills before you immigrate to (Lower) Austria or if you want to apply for an extension of your already existing residence permit.
I’m a citizen of a third country who wants to immigrate to Austria and/or remain in Austria.
You and your family would like to immigrate to (Lower) Austria? Third-country nationals (persons who are not EU citizens, other EEA citizens or Swiss nationals) 14 years of age or older must provide proof of German proficiency (at least A1 level) when applying for a residence permit for the first time if it is one of the following:
- Red-White-Red Card Plus: e.g. family members of R-W-R Card holders (exception: R-W-R Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers (‘Rot-Weiß-Rot Karte für Besonders Hochqualifizierte’).
- Settlement permit (‘Niederlassungsbewilligung’)
- Residence permit – family member (‘Aufenthaltstitel Familienangehöriger’)
- Settlement permit – relative (‘Niederlassungsbewilligung Angehöriger’)
- Settlement permit – artists („Niederlassungsbewilligung – Künstler“)
- Settlement permit – special cases of gainful employment (‘Niederlassungsbewilligung – Sonderfälle unselbstständiger Erwerbstätigkeit’)
- Settlement permit except employment (‘Niederlassungsbewilligung – ausgenommen Erwerbstätigkeit’)
If you want to apply as a citizen of a third country for the following residence permits, you do not have to provide an A1 German certificate before immigrating to (Lower) Austria:
- Red-White-Red Card (‘Rot-Weiß-Rot-Karte’) → Please note there has been a legislative reform in October 2022. You can find a summary of the updates here.
- EU Blue Card (‘Blaue Karte EU’)
- Settlement permit – researchers (‘Niederlassungsbewilligung – Forscher’)
- A Red-White-Red Card Plus as a family member of a skilled worker, if the skilled worker in your family holds one of the following residence permits:
o Red-White-Red Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers
o EU Blue Card
o Settlement Permit – Researcher
o Red-White-Red Card Plus if the skilled worker had a Red-White-Red Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers, an EU Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher beforehand
o Long-Term Resident EU permit (‘Daueraufenthalt EU’), if the skilled worker had a Red-White-Red Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers, an EU Blue Card or a Settlement Permit – Researcher in the past
GOOD TO KNOW
- Before entering Austria, an initial application for a residence permit has to be submitted to the Austrian representation authority in the respective home country if third-country nationals intend to stay in Austria for more than 6 months.
- German certificates must be submitted to the Immigration and Residence Authority (“Aufenthaltsbehörde”).
- The language diploma or certificate must not be more than one year old at the time of submission. Please note: due to a reform of the RWR card, the German certificate must not be more than five years old at the time of submission (from January 2023).
- Note: EU/EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members (wife/husband, civil partner, children) do not have to present a German certificate at any time, because they are privileged on the basis of EU law.
- Asylum seekers, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and persons entitled to asylum do not belong to the group of third-country nationals.
PROOF OF GERMAN KNOWLEDGE
may be provided in the following ways:
- By meeting the requirements – at least level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The language proficiency levels are the following:
o Level A reflects elementary language skills (basic user).
o Level B reflects independent use of the language (independent user).
o Level C reflects a proficient use of the language (proficient user).
o Each level is divided into two sub-levels, so there are six levels in total: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2.
- Basically, only German certificates from the following institutions are accepted:
o Austrian German Diploma (ÖSD)
o Goethe-Institut e.V.
o Telc GmbH
o Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF)
At the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF) you can find a list of German course providers in your home country.
EXTENSION OF RESIDENCE PERMITS
(THE INTEGRATION AGREEMENT)
So, we know now that for the granting of your first residence permit in (Lower) Austria you need to provide a certificate of at least A1 (basic knowledge of German). But what if you already live in (Lower) Austria and would like to apply for an extension of your residence permit? In this case you have to be aware that for certain extensions, you must take German language examinations (Integration Exams or ‘Integrationsprüfungen’) which are prescribed in the Integration Agreement (‘Integrationsvereinbarung’).
The Integration Agreement (‘Integrationsvereinbarung’) serves to integrate third-country nationals who are legally settled in (Lower) Austria and aims at the acquisition of advanced German language skills and knowledge of the democratic system and the fundamental principles derivable from it.
The Integration Exams basically consist of two parts: a German language part and an integration or values part. Furthermore, the Integration Agreement has two modules: Module 1 and Module 2. In order to fulfil Module 1, you must take the A2 Integration Exam. To fulfil Module 2, you must take the B1 Integration Exam. The result is an ÖIF Integration Certificate (“Integrations-Zertifikat”), which is valid for two years.
So, who has to obtain which German Certificate or Integration Certificate, and when?
The fulfilment of the requirements set out in Module 1 within two years is a condition for issuing of certain types of residence permits. The requirements set out in Module 2 must be met in order to apply for a long-term-EU residence permit and Austrian citizenship.
Please note: the duty to fulfil the relevant requirements for Module 1 begins when the residence permit is first issued. The requirements of Module 1 must be fulfilled within two years from this date. You have to present an ÖIF A2 Integration Certificate (Module 1) if you want to extend your residence permit and you have had one of the following residence permits for at least two years:
- Red-White-Red Card (Please note: the granting of a Red-White-Red Card is considered as successful completion of Module 1)
- EU Blue Card
- Red-White-Red Card Plus
- Settlement permit
- Settlement permit – gainful employment excepted
- Settlement permit – special cases of dependent gainful occupation
- Settlement permit – artists
- Settlement permit – dependant
- Residence permit – family member
- Settlement permit – researcher
You do NOT have to present an A2 Integration Certificate when extending your residence permit if you:
- previously held a Red-White-Red Card and, after a period of two years, apply for a Red-White-Red Card Plus
- concluded studies at a recognised university abroad. Instead of an A2 Integration Certificate, you must present a university diploma (with verification and/or translation by a court-certified translator) to the Immigration and Residence Authority.
- already presented an A2 or B1 Integration Certificate when applying for previous residence permits.
- already have a B1 Integration Certificate.
- concluded studies in Austria.
- obtained the Austrian school-leaving certificate (‘Matura’) in Austria or have the Austrian general university entrance qualification (‘österreichische allgemeine Universitätsreife’).
- submit an application on behalf of a child who is under the age of 14.
- submit an application for a child who is 14 years old or older but is attending a school in Austria and had a positive grade in German in his or her last school report.
If you want to apply for a Long-Term Resident EU permit (‘Daueraufenthalt EU’), you have to present the ÖIF B1 Integration Certificate when you extend your residence permit. A university diploma is not considered as a substitute for a B1 Integration Certificate. However, children who are 14 years old or older can show their school report as a substitute for this certificate if they have a positive mark in German.
The completion of Module 2 is not mandatory. It is, however, a prerequisite for the granting of a long-term residence permit (‘Long-term resident – EU’). Moreover, Module 2 is generally required for the granting of citizenship.
At the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF) you can find a list of Lower Austrian language institutes, information concerning exam preparation and exam dates as well as German learning material.
I’m an EU citizen or other EEA citizen who wants to learn German.
EU/EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members (wife/husband, civil partner, children) do not have to present a German certificate when they move to (Lower) Austria, because they are privileged on the basis of EU law.
However, there is certainly no harm in improving your German skills either. If you want to do so, you can find more information concerning language courses here:
- The Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF) offers free online German courses which, however, are only to be seen as an additional measure and do not replace a language institute (no certificates are issued). There are daily live online language courses at levels A1, A2 and B1 as well as live online courses on current social and language topics.
- The Wifi institute in Lower Austria (GER) offers German language courses for all levels (A1 – C1), but they are not free of charge. In general, the cost of a German course can vary widely, from free to several hundred euros, depending on the institute, duration, and proficiency level.
- The ‘Verband der NÖ Volkshochschulen’ (GER) also offers a wide range of language courses (including German).
- A large range of certified German courses in Lower Austria is offered by the platform ‘Mein Sprachportal’ of the ÖIF. Here you can also find a list of Lower Austrian language institutes and free language exercises and materials to download.
- On the website of Hilfswerk Niederösterreich you can also find information about the learning and assignment club for children whose mother tongue is not German (GER).
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At the heart of Europe. Open for big plans.
Lower Austria offers top infrastructure, political
stability and economic dynamism.
real GDP growth
€ 61.02 billion
Welcome to the heart of Europe.
Lower Austria is located in the centre of Europe with direct connections to the major cities of the region, including Vienna, Munich, Bratislava, Budapest and Prague. The area’s internationally recognised infrastructure offers the most modern transport routes and the Vienna Airport (VIE) is one of the most efficient international airports in Europe. The ecoplus business parks provide tailor-made operational infrastructure.
Take advantage of the economic potential of this region.
“As a location for our business, Lower Austria provides us with an extensive range of advantages. In particular, the central situation and excellent connections to the markets of Eastern Europe are of particular benefit to us. Thanks to the generous space available, we were able to extend our production facilities in accordance with our needs. ecoplus was able to act as a one-stop shop that actively provided us with all necessary support.”
Mark Bauder, CEO, Paul Bauder GmbH & Co.KG – Germany
Optimal economic conditions
Lower Austria is one of the leading industrial regions in Europe. This is only possible thanks to its exceptional infrastructure. Modern road, rail (ÖBB, Westbahn) and water connections, interconnected mobility, digital toll systems, optimised border clearance procedures and the nearby Vienna Airport ensure the success of companies located in Lower Austria, now and in the future.
But today’s infrastructure goes beyond this. Also required is a digital infrastructure that links businesses and people and provides access to national and global markets. As a region, Lower Austria is a technology pioneer in Europe. 5G and fibre optic internet will soon be available throughout the whole region.
Office space and more
Our business parks combine infrastructure with market potential and cater to the specific needs of various sectors. ecoplus, the Business Agency of Lower Austria, offers customised solutions at 18 locations in Lower Austria – more than 2451 acres of fully developed sites, ready and waiting for investment projects. The success of the business park concept is demonstrated by the fact that more than 1000 national and international business with some 22,000 employees have chosen to base themselves here.
Perhaps you’re more interested in a rental or leasing option? There are a total of 81 business properties available, while 243.000 m² of space in six technology and research centres offers a wealth of options for investment.
The autonomous management of each business park will facilitate the establishment of your business, support it over the long term and ensure it makes contact with already resident businesses and institutions.
Would you prefer to be located outside a business park? You You can obtain an overview of other top quality business locations available in the region using our interactive location finder.
Helps your business fly high
Lower Austria is home to one of Europe’s busiest airports: Vienna International Airport. This is a transport hub for Central and Eastern Europe and offers flights to more than 180 international destinations, of which more than 40 are in Eastern Europe. Just an hour away by air are major cities, including Munich, Stuttgart, Zurich, Budapest, Ljubljana, Prague, Zagreb, Belgrade and Sarajevo. And less than 3 hours flying time will bring you to London, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Moscow and Paris.
It incorporates a state-of-the-art office park with 90,000 m² office space along with high-tech logistics and cargo processing centres. Direct connections to the apron and special freight processing systems for sensitive pharmaceutical products and many other features make the Airport-City one of the highlights of Lower Austria’s business landscape.
A true high-tech hub
Lower Austria has become a well-known high-tech hub in Central Europe. The focus on cutting-edge technologies and the high level of funding for research and development make Lower Austria a future-oriented business location. Leading high-tech companies appreciate the networking through industry clusters, the multitude of innovative ecosystems, the availability of highly trained specialists and the advantages of the Technopoles. Centres that bring together companies, educational and research institutions. Be part of the success story.
Choose Lower Austria.
“We are able to fully exploit the potential for synergy at our facility in the Wiener Neustadt Technopole and benefit from the proximity to our various partners.”
Alfred Zens, CEO EBG MedAustron Austria
Lower Austria, the hub of Central Europe
It is the interplay of many factors that has made Lower Austria one of Central Europe’s hubs of high-tech. The promotion of research & development and of the cooperation between various disciplines are a top priority here. This is a concept that speaks for itself and to which we have been committed on a daily basis at our Technopole centres for more than 15 years. Our Technopoles are internationally recognized R&D hubs. The institute IST Austria was ranked No. 3 in the 2018 Nature Index.. An internationally renowned organisation due to its innovative ion beam therapy treatment for cancer, MedAustron treats up to 1000 patients annually at its centre in Lower Austria.
Lower Austria – the home of cutting-edge technology.
Become part of this trailblazing location.
Technopoles. Our Technopoles unite research and educational institutes with businesses in a single location. This means transfer of know-how, of knowledge and state-of-the-art research is facilitated while platforms are provided that promote local and international collaboration. The fact that research, training and business are able to undertake interdisciplinary projects ensures that valuable partnerships come into being and there is direct access to qualified and specialist personnel. And there are four of these centres in Lower Austria – in Krems, Tulln, Wiener Neustadt and Wieselburg.
© Daniel Hinterramskogler
International centre for health technologies.
Internationally recognised centre for research in bio-based technologies.
International centre for bioenergy systems, foodstuff and agricultural technologies.
© Daniel Hinterramskogler
Leading international Technopole in the fields of medicine and material sciences.
These four Technopoles form the pillars of technology-based site development and offer you a wide range of potential benefits:
- Clean room laboratories – over 1000 m² GMP-compliant production floor space is available for your use in the Krems Technopole
- Options for collaboration with existing educational and research organisations at all Technopole centres – generate synergies through working with leading training providers on-site
- Recruitment of employees holding doctoral degrees – find the personnel you need from of a pool of job seekers with PhDs
- An extensive range of office facilities and building sites
- Leading commercial organisations and service providers that complement Technopole specialisations are on-site – a proximity that boosts cooperation
- Ideal infrastructure links – ensuring you can stay in contact with your business partners in Austria and abroad both quickly and efficiently
- Regular events and marketing campaigns – we’ll make sure your organisation is in the spotlight
High-tech initiators & trendsetters
from Lower Austria
Lower Austria – the leader in the field of technology. An ambitious claim perhaps – but we have the know-how to ensure these are more than just empty words. We deliberately set the bar high and are convinced that we are able to achieve our objective with the help of the businesses, research and education institutes at our sites – we are trendsetters and generators of stimuli in the international arena that we have planned together and intend to continue to implement in the future. This is what high-tech represents for us. And this is why we in Lower Austria consider ourselves to be the leader in the field of technology.
Lower Austria is the land of hidden champions, home to a large number of world market leaders in their industry. These hidden champions represent success stories that could only happen in Lower Austria.
The BMW i8 is the first production vehicle in the world equipped with “laser boost”, a revolutionary high-performance laser with a high beam range of approximately 600 metres and which is exceptionally compact. This is just one of a host of examples of innovative premium solutions by the ZKW Group.
The top educational institutions in the middle of the country.
Theory and practice in harmony. That is Austria’s dual education system. There are around 200 apprenticeships that can be learned in combination with theory and practice. This is the workforce of tomorrow. With sound basic knowledge and subject-specific skills.
A few of the universities in Lower Austria.
Danube University Krems – University for Continuing Education
University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten – media & digital technologies, IT & security
University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt – economics, technology, health, sport and safety
IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems – business, digitisation & technology, health and life scienceses
I.S.T. Austria– Institute for Basic Research
Karl Landsteiner Private University of Health Sciences
Life quality matters
A coherent whole: nature, culture & security
Quality of life
in Lower Austria
©Niederösterreich Werbung/ Robert Herbst, ©Niederösterreich-Werbung/Michael Liebert, ©Mostviertel Tourismus/ weinfranz.at
Out into the world with the innovative strength of Lower Austria
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