Why Study Abroad in Austria?

Austria is one of the countries with the best quality of life in the world. Thanks to its beautiful landscapes, historic cities, and prestigious universities, this small European nation welcomes more than 350,000 students, of which 25% are international.

Suppose you are considering studying in Austria or would like your child to enter an Austrian University. In that case, we invite you to read this article to discuss all the crucial factors to live this experience.

How to Study Abroad in Austria as a foreigner? What do you need?

If you think of studying abroad, you imagine a welcoming environment full of history and several of the best institutions in the world around you; Austria could be the destination you have been looking for so much.

The land that gave us Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the most influential musician in history, and Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, opens its doors to thousands of international students yearly.

Among its magnificent alpine geography, you will find some of the most prestigious universities in Europe, such as the imposing centenary University of Vienna.

Why Study in Austria?

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To give you an idea of ​​how important this decision could be for your future, here are 5 excellent reasons to study in Austria as a foreigner :

  1. It is located in the heart of Europe. This small country borders more than 5 nations, such as Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
  2. Variety of higher education institutions. You will have many options to study in Austria, as there are public, private, applied sciences, medicine, art, and pedagogy universities. Some appear in the most critical world rankings, such as the Technical University of Vienna in the QS Top Universities (position 191).
  3. High quality of life and social security. Regarding security, satisfaction, employment, health, and education, Austria scores highly on the OECD Better Life Index.
  4. Programs taught in English. Although the official language at Austrian universities is German, more than 250 programs are taught in English.
  5. A multicultural and artistic country. Austria is the perfect destination if you enjoy art, gastronomy, architecture, and nature. In addition, there are many sports and cultural activities to do, such as visiting museums, skiing or climbing a mountain.

Do you feel more motivated now? If the answer is yes, you are interested in knowing what visas are available to travel to this country from Latin America.

At the moment, the visas to study in Austria according to the duration of the stay are:

  • Residence Permit (Student). This permit is addressed to foreigners who do not belong to the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) and have been admitted to a higher education institution in Austria. The permit is initially valid for 1 year. To enter Austria, it is also necessary to have a “D” Visa in addition to this permit.
  • “D” visa. Visa aimed at international students outside the EU and EEA who want to study in Austria for 3 to 6 months.

If you study in Austria for less than 3 months, you may not need to process any visa. To ensure this, we recommend you open the following link and check if your country is visa-exempt.

Although there are several programs in English, it would not hurt to learn some German. This Germanic language is the most widely spoken in the country, so to help foreigners learn the language, there are several courses to learn German in Austria.

Whether it is to study a short course, apply for a university degree, or study German, you will find answers to all your questions in the following guide. Get your bags ready!

How much does it cost to study in Austria?

ActivitiesCost (in USD)
Shared room in the capital803
Shared room in another city518
2 bedroom apartment in the capital1229
2 bedroom apartment in another city1069
Bus or Metro ticket3
Ticket to the Cinema12
A beer in a bar4
A beer in a bar1
Typical Street Food9
Food in a restaurant33
Medical appointment94
Average per Month2245

The cost of living and studying in Austria is relative and depends on multiple factors. This nation is at a midpoint in the economic field because it is not the most expensive destination but is not the cheapest. Of the Western European countries (where several of its neighbors are located), Austria has a relatively low cost of living.

Making rough calculations, it is estimated that a person needs at least $2,245 a month to cover basic expenses.

This figure can vary depending on several aspects, such as the city where you will live, the program you will study, and the lifestyle you intend to lead.

Now, if what you are interested in knowing in depth is the price of tuition, the average value for a foreigner with a Student Residence Permit is $878 dollars per semester. 

You would need about $5,268 to study for a Bachelor’s degree and $3,512 for a Master’s degree.

You must consider that the Universities of Applied Sciences and private may have more expensive tuition. Also, there are cases in which a payment exemption applies, for example, if you have a scholarship or are an exchange student. 

Can you Study in Austria for Free?

Depending on your country of origin and the level of study you are applying to, it is possible to study for free in Austria through scholarships and support programs for students and researchers. Different organizations or institutions offer all scholarships and financial support.

Even if you live in Latin America, if you have a European Passport, that is, if you have the nationality of an EU or EEA country, you can study for free in Austria if some conditions apply.

After a while, you would have to pay a fee of $439 dollars per semester (less than the fee for foreigners from third countries).

A positive aspect when looking for scholarships to study in Austria as a foreigner is that there is an online platform with all the information you need to find the program that best suits your profile.

Later, we will present to you which are the main scholarships that you can take advantage of as an international student if you are from Latin America.

Study at the University in Austria

The university sector in Austria is quite rich and diverse, so we could say that there are institutions and programs for all tastes.

Austrian Universities offer everything a foreigner would expect to find in one of the world’s wealthiest countries, with a harmonious balance between academic tradition, research, and innovative methods.

Every major city in Austria has a traditional university, from Vienna to Innsbruck to Salzburg. You will find a comprehensive catalog of careers and programs covering different fields and study subjects.

In general, Universities in Austria are classified as follows:

  • General and Specialized Universities. The most famous worldwide is the University of Vienna and the BOKU (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences).
  • Arts Universities. Institutions focused on teaching disciplines such as music, drama, applied, and fine arts.
  • Medical Universities. The famous Austrian Medical Universities, such as the Medical University of Vienna.
  • Technical Universities. They are universities oriented to technical education, which issue qualifications of the type “BSc” (Degree in Sciences) and postgraduate degrees.
  • Universities of Applied Sciences. They are characterized by offering training oriented towards professional practice. As the number of programs is more limited, the admission process is sometimes more rigorous.

In addition to undergraduate and graduate programs, many of the universities in Austria also offer introductory courses for university programs.

These programs usually consist of courses in German as a foreign language, English, mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, geography, and history.

The most important thing to know about these courses is that you can only enroll in one when you have already been admitted to the Austrian university.

And what can you study? Well, as we have already mentioned, the range of options in the Universities of Austria is quite complete.

There are programs in Engineering, Law, Humanities, Economics, Medicine, Arts, and Natural Sciences, among others.

Of course, when you search for programs in English, the offer is considerably reduced. For more information about the careers and courses, you can study in Austria.

What are the universities going to ask you – Requirements

It is somewhat complicated to create a general list of admission requirements for Austrian universities because each institution and program may have specific requirements.

For this reason, at West Global, we recommend that you contact the university of your interest directly.

In general, the most frequent requirements to enter an Austrian University are:

  • Certificate of completion of secondary studies equivalent. If you want to study for a Bachelor’s degree, you will have to present a certificate that proves that you have completed your secondary studies. This document must be equivalent to the one issued by secondary education institutions in Austria. For more details, check the program requirements you are interested in.
  • Certificate of special qualification for university studies ( Nachweis der besonderen Universitätsreife ). It is a certificate stipulating that if you apply for the chosen career in the country where you received your Bachelor’s degree, you will be accepted. In other words, it is a document that certifies that the training you received is adequate to study in the university program.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the program’s language (English or German). Depending on the program’s language, you will most likely need to prove your command of the language to study in Austria. If you apply for a course in German, the most used exam is the DSH. IELTS, TOEFL, and CAE are the most common tests for English programs. The minimum score you must obtain depends on each university and program.
  • Copy of your passport.

Important. 

Remember that this information is indicative and that you may need to present other documents in your application. For example, it is common to take an admission exam in Medicine programs or Universities of Applied Sciences or Art.

What will they ask of you in a University College of Teacher Education?

In Austria, we also find another type of higher-level institution called the University Colleges of Teacher Education. Teacher Training University Schools can be public or private and are divided according to the level of qualification received by future teachers.

The programs are established the same way as any other Bachelor’s degree and have a duration of 8 semesters (4 years).

After obtaining this degree, it is possible to take a 1-year Master’s degree to obtain the Master of Education (MEd) title.

If you are interested in becoming a teacher at the primary or secondary level in Austria, most University Colleges of Teacher Education require a document called “Reifeprüfungszeugnis” or “Maturazeugnis.” It translates as “Graduation Certificate” and is necessary to prove that you completed your secondary studies.

Since the programs at Teacher Training Colleges in Austria are mainly in German, you will need to prove your command of the language at level B2 or higher.

To find out precisely what documents you must have, visit the institution’s website where you want to study.

What is the process to be accepted?

As you know, the university offered to study in Austria is very diverse so the admission process can vary from one institution to another. In addition to the requirements listed above, there may be some additional documents and steps you need to take.

At the University of Vienna, for example, degree programs such as Bachelor of Biology, Bachelor of Business Administration, and Bachelor of Computer Science require an entrance test.

If you want to be sure of the process to be accepted at an Austrian University, it is best to visit its official platform directly.

Visas to Study in Austria

Are you interested in knowing how to apply for the necessary visa to study in this first-world country? Below we tell you about the types of visas, their requirements, and the process you must carry out to meet your objective.

Residence Permit (Student)

Foreigners outside the EU and EEA who want to study in Austria for more than 6 months need a Student Residence Permit. This document is issued by the Austrian authorities in the applicant’s country when he has already been accepted to a higher education institution.

Is it your case? Then look at the requirements and the process you must follow to process it.

 What I need

  • Valid passport or travel document, original and a copy.
  • Birth Certificate or equivalent document. It is only necessary if you are applying for the Residence Permit (Student) for the first time.
  • 2 ID-type photographs. The photo must be recent, in color, good quality, and 3.5 x 4.5 cm.
  • Proof of Admission to an Austrian Higher Institution. When you are accepted to study in Austria, the institution must send you a letter or certificate stating that you have been admitted to the program.
  • Proof that you have the financial funds necessary for your maintenance. If you are under 24, you must show that you have at least $667 per Month to cover your expenses. If you are over 24 years old, you must have a minimum of $1,207 per Month. The funds must be in a checking or savings account in your name, which can be accessed from Austria. You should also remember that you will likely be asked to show where the funds come from and credit them 12 months in advance.
  • Accommodation certificate. This is any document that shows where you are going to stay when you arrive in Austria. It can be a Certificate from the University Faculty that explains that you will stay in a student residence.
  • Declaration of regular expenses. Regular expenses are credit card debt, loans, accommodation payments, or any other financial burden. You can see the regular expense declaration sheet here (in German).
  • Proof that you have valid travel medical insurance. Before you can study in Austria with your Residence Permit, you must have travel health insurance. This insurance must have a minimum coverage of $36,202 dollars and cover recovery and repatriation expenses. Likewise, third-world foreigners must also have “sickness insurance that covers all risks.” To learn more about it, we recommend reading this document.
  • Police authorization certificate issued in your country of residence a maximum of 3 months before the date of application. In addition, in some cases, the authorities may ask you for a police certificate from your country of origin.
  • $193 dollars to pay for the procedure. When you apply, you must pay $145 dollars, then a fee of $24 dollars when you receive the permit, and finally, $24 more for the police authorization.

Process

  1. Identify the Austrian Consular Representative in your country. As this is a procedure you must carry out personally, you must first find the Austrian Consular Office that corresponds to you. If you have no idea how to find it, click here and choose your country of residence.
  2. Gather the documents they ask for and make your appointment (if necessary). As soon as you know where you should do the procedure, it will be time to gather the documents and make an appointment. Keep in mind that the list of requirements we leave you above is indicative and subject to change depending on the country. The German application form is available here, but you may need to apply directly to your Austrian Consular Representative.
  3. Wait for the decision of the authorities. The periods for processing an application for a Residence Permit (student) for Austria vary slightly depending on the country. The authorities usually decide within 90 days, but it could take more than 3 months.
  4. Study in Austria. Do you have your Residence Permit? Then you are ready to live this new experience and study in Austria for more than 6 months.

Important. 

Even if you have a Student Residence Permit to enter Austria and stay in the country for more than 90 days, you will also need a “D” Visa. For more information about this procedure, please visit the following page.

Can you study and work?

With your Residence Permit (Student), you can only dedicate yourself to your studies. To work in Austria, you must obtain a

Work Permit.

Visa “D”

Are they thinking of studying in Austria for 3 to 6 months? The “D” Visa is the visa that corresponds to you. As non-EU/EEA foreigners, international students from Latin America must have a D Visa if they plan to take a program that lasts between 3 and 6 months.

The D Visa is also mandatory for foreigners who are going to study for more than 6 months in Austria, as it must be presented at the time of entering the country.

If we are describing your situation, pay attention to the requirements below.

What I need

  • Valid passport or equivalent travel document. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 3 months after the expected return date to your country.
  • Passport-type photograph, in color, of good quality, and measuring 3.5 x 4.5 cm.
  • Proof of economic solvency. You must prove that you have sufficient financial means to cover your living expenses when you arrive in Austria. The minimum amount required for those under 24 years of age is $667 per Month. The minimum amount for applicants over the age of 24 is $1,207 per Month. It is worth mentioning that you must prove that you have these funds for each Month you plan to study in Austria. If you will study for 4 months and you are over 24 years old, you would need $4,828 dollars at the time of your application.
  • Acceptance letter from the Austrian higher institution. The letter or document certifies that you were accepted into an Austrian program or course.
  • Reservation of flight or land trip. Only a reservation is needed. It is important not to buy the ticket until the visa is approved.
  • Proof of accommodation in Austria. The Austrian authorities need to know where you will stay when you arrive in Austria. Therefore, you must bring proof of accommodation such as a hotel reservation, room rental contract, etc.
  • Appropriate travel medical insurance. To enter Austria and start your studies, you must have appropriate travel medical insurance. This insurance must be at least $36,202 dollars and cover all expenses related to medical treatment, hospitalization, Covid-19, and repatriation. In addition, the insurance must be valid in all the countries that make up the Schengen Area.
  • Proof of family and economic ties in your country of residence. It can be an employment contract, proof of studies, or children.

Process

  1. Find the Austrian Embassy or Consulate in your country. As with the Residence Permit, the application for a D Visa must be made in person. However, to find out where the Austrian Embassy or Consulate is in your country, we suggest you go to this page and search for the official portal. Remember that you must start the process no later than 6 months before the scheduled date of your trip, but not when there are less than 2 weeks to go.
  2. Make an appointment at the office and bring the documents from the “Checklist.” The Checklist is the list that shows all the documents that you must present on the day of the appointment. Request the list of requirements and the application form at the consular office that corresponds to you. If you want to see the D Visa application form, click here.
  3. Wait for a response from the relevant authorities. Each Austrian consular representative abroad manages its evaluation periods. Most commonly, responses to visa applications are issued 90 days after receipt of documents, but in some cases, it may take longer.
  4. Travel to Austria and study for up to 6 months. Do you have your D Visa for Austria? Great news! Now you can study for 3 to 6 months or more than 6 months if you also processed a Residence Permit (Student).

For more details about the D Visa to study in Austria, visit the following link.

Can you Study and Work?

No, the D Visa does not allow you to work while you study in Austria. To participate in a paid activity (or unpaid such as internships and internships), a specific visa must be processed for that purpose.

In Which Universities Can I Study in Austria?

The offer of Universities in Austria is so varied that you may need some time to choose the one that best suits your budget and academic expectations.

To help you a bit at that stage, we leave you some of the most popular and prestigious Austrian Universities:

  • The University of Vienna.
  • University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna.
  • BOKU (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences).
  • The University of Salzburg.
  • University of Innsbruck.
  • Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU).
  • University of Klagenfurt.
  • The University of Graz.
  • BFI Vienna- University of Applied Sciences.
  • University of Applied Arts in Vienna.
  • MDW (Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts).
  • The Mozarteum University of Salzburg.
  • The University of Music and Performing Arts (KUG).
  • IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems.
  • The Medical University of Vienna.
  • WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business).
  • Vienna University of Technology.

 The most searched public universities in Austria

  • University of Innsbruck 
  • Technical University of Vienna
  • University of Graz
  • University of Salzburg
  • Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna
  • Vienna University of Economics
  • University of Vienna

Private universities with the best international agreements

Visa to Study German

International students interested in studying German in Austria should know that there is no specific visa for this purpose. As is the case in most cases, the visa required to take a German course depends on the duration of the course.

If you are enrolling in a program that lasts between 3 to 6 months, you already know that the “D” Visa is valid for that period. On the other hand, if you are going to study for more than 6 months, you will likely need to apply for a Residence Permit (Student).

Where can I Study German in Austria?

We understand that the idea of ​​studying in Austria as a foreigner is fascinating, but before embarking on the adventure, you should think about some details.

Even if you are going to study a program in English, if you do not master German, it can form an uncomfortable barrier in your daily life.

Other languages are ​​spoken in Austria, such as Hungarian and Bavarian, but German is the official language and, therefore, the most common.

Most university programs are taught in this language, so if you want to expand your options, we recommend taking a German course at one of these institutions:

  • ActinguaLanguage academy in Vienna with more than 30 years of experience teaching German to foreigners. It offers different courses in terms of duration and objectives and distance programs for you to learn German before traveling to Austria.
  • German in Austria – University of KlagenfurtThe Institute belongs to the University of Klagenfurt, founded in 1979. The center has various German and other language ​​courses for foreigners over 17 years of age.
  • German in GrazGerman school in Graz with a diversified offer of distance, intensive, and summer courses. Enjoy the wonderful old town while learning the official language of Austria.

To find other German institutions or academies in Austria, visit this page.

 What are the language institutes or academies going to ask you for?

As is often the case, language institutes and academies in Austria may have different requirements depending on your level, the type of course, and your country of residence.

If we talk about basic requirements, you will most likely have to apply for a visa (if the course lasts more than 3 months) and pay the fee before being admitted.

To be sure, it is best to visit the academy’s official website and ask about the requirements.

What is the process to be accepted?

Generally, to pre-register for a German course in Austria, you only have to fill out the online form on the academy’s website, enter your data, make the payment, and start the visa process (if applicable). Most payments are handled by bank transfer or credit cards.

If the authorities representing Austria in your country consider it necessary, you must bring proof that you have paid for the course when you apply for your visa.

Scholarships and Grants to Study in Austria

Did you look at the tuition fees of the Universities in Austria, and did you find them expensive? Well, there is still an option available for you to fulfill your dream.

There are many options because Austria has thousands of scholarships and financial support sponsored by different institutions and organizations.

Although most of the scholarships valid for Latin American students are indeed for postgraduate studies or research, it is possible to receive aid in undergraduate programs or specific semesters of the career. Some of the scholarships you can apply for if you live in Latin America are:

To see the complete list of scholarships, click here and enter your country of residence, the type of scholarship you are looking for, and the level of study.

Study and Work in Austria

It stands to reason that many international students in Austria want to work while they study to cover living expenses. Policies and regulations for foreigners from EU and EEA countries are flexible, but the same is not valid for those from third countries.

Having a Residence Permit (Student) does not automatically give you the right to work in Austria.

To engage in paid employment, subject to the Austrian Law on the Employment of Foreigners, you must apply for the appropriate permit.

In this European nation, there are two types of jobs:

  • Those that are by the employment contract.
  • Those you do on your own with an employment contract.

In any of the cases, it is of the utmost importance that the work does not affect your studies, since your training must be the main reason for your stay in Austria. To learn more about it, we recommend you look at this guide.

Have you finished your studies and want to stay and work in Austria?

After studying in a welcoming and safe environment like Austria, you will likely want to stay and work. As we mentioned in the previous section, you will need a Work Permit for this.

The good news is that by having your Student Residence Permit and obeying its regulations, you should be able to process your Work Permit without any problem.

You can work shifts of up to 20 hours a week when you are already authorized to work. 

To learn more, click here.

We strive to create comprehensive, up-to-date guides that motivate readers to study abroad.

If you want to study in Austria or any other country in the world, our team of expert advisers can provide you with all the information you need.

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