Moving to Austria?

Connect with fellow expats in Austria
Join exciting events and groups
Get information in our Austria guides
Exchange tips about expat life in Austria

Moving to Austria

With its lush alpine meadows and picturesque towns, Austria has always attracted vast numbers of tourists and expats. Consistently topping quality of life ranking, our expat guide looks at the benefits of moving to Austria, popular expat destinations, and visa requirements.
Picture-postcard Austria has a lot more to offer than pretty alpine scenery.

At a Glance:

  • The multicultural flair and thriving international population in many cities makes Austria a popular choice for expats.
  • Home to the headquarters of many international organizations including the UN, OPEC and IAEA, Vienna has lots of employment opportunities for expats,
  • As an EU/EEA citizen you don’t require a visa or permit to live and work in Austria. Non-EU citizens can apply for an EU Blue Card which allows them to live and work in Austria for up to two years.
  • If you are considered a “key worker” or your occupation is in demand, you can apply for the Red-White-Red card. With this card you can live and work in Austria for a period of twelve months.
  • If you want to move to Austria but you don’t have an employment contract, the Jobseeker Visa gives you time to actively look for work up to six months. However, if you found employment after those six months you must still apply for a work permit.


Home to roughly 8.7 million people, Austria is a multicultural country — no surprise given its history. During the reign of the kaiserlich und königlich monarchy, people moved to Austria from all parts of the Habsburg Empire. Even after its collapse, the trend continued. Today, people from former parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire still play a major role in Austrian life and culture.

Expats relocating to Austria benefit from this international melting pot, which is most evident in Vienna. Despite appearing small and somewhat provincial compared to the capital, other Austrian cities often boast a significant international population as well.  Below, we will give you a short overview of some favorite expat destinations around Austria.

Eight Different Neighbors

Austria is conveniently located in Central Europe and shares borders with eight countries: Germany, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Its central position and very good transport connections make it an excellent base to explore the rest of Europe.

Austria isn’t called the “Alpine Republic” for nothing! Mountain lovers will be pleased to know that the Alps make up 65% of the state’s territory, while 43% is covered in forest. In the alpine regions, the climate is characterized by severe winters.

Generally speaking, expats moving to Austria will experience a mixed climate shaped by both oceanic and continental influences. While the east is known for its cold winters and hot summers with very little rainfall all year round, the climate in the west is much more moderate with mild winters, warm summers and generally more rain.

Vienna: A Dream Destination For Expats

Most expats headed for Austria settle in Vienna. The capital city is home to almost 1.8 million inhabitants, and the Vienna metropolitan region accounts for more than 20% of Austria’s total population. The combined metropolitan region of Vienna and nearby city Bratislava in Slovakia, often referred to as the Twin City, has over 3 million inhabitants.

Moving to Vienna will take you not only to the political, but also to the cultural and economic center of the country. Millions of tourists as well as a significant expat and immigrant population combine with traditional Viennese culture to make Austria’s capital an exciting place.

Many international organizations have chosen Vienna to be their regional headquarters: organizations like the UN, OPEC and IAEA are the reason why many expats relocate to Austria’s capital. Vienna is also among the top five destinations worldwide for international congresses and conventions.

Most newcomers enjoy the benefits that come with living in a city which continually features in the top ten for quality of life in surveys; in the Mercer Quality of Life Survey, Vienna ranked first for three consecutive years.

Graz and Salzburg: Cities of Design and Classical Music

With more than 280,000 inhabitants, Graz is Austria’s second largest city. This university town doesn’t only attract students and academics, it’s also known as the high-tech factory of Austria. It’s also a creative hub, and won the UNESCO Creative City Network’s City of Design award.

Salzburg is widely known as the birth place of Mozart and — just like Vienna — it’s a great place for classical music lovers. With more than 150,000 inhabitants, it is only the fourth largest city in Austria. Located in a picturesque valley on the northern edge of the Alps, Salzburg attracts great numbers of tourists every year and is also an important location for trade fairs and conferences. Expats moving to Austria often find work with one of the international companies based in Salzburg, such as Porsche Holding and SPAR. 


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

Fernando Achutegui

"InterNations events and forums have provided me with an extensive network of business and personal contacts in Vienna. "

Jayanti Malhotra

"The group of InterNations expats in Vienna is so open and friendly that it was very easy to make friends."

Global Expat Guide

Top Articles Expat Guide