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Residence rights for same sex couples in Austria?

Vienna, Austria’s capital city hosts the Europride celebrations with a plethora of events from 1 – 16 June 2019.

Let’s take this opportunity to review which rights are available to international same sex couples who are considering taking up residence in Austria.

 

  1. Marriage

    Since 1 January 2019, Austria allows same sex couples to get married. From 1 January 2010 up until this date, same sex couples were only permitted to get a registered partnership (“eingetragene Partneschaft”). This form of partnership still exists, leaving the choice to couples to opt for one or the other.

    The country now also recognizes same sex marriages which were formalized in another jurisdiction. International couples can also get married in Vienna. Since 1 August 2019, there are also no further barriers to marriage in Austria if one of the partners holds the citizenship of a country which does not permit same sex couples to marry. (In the past, if one or both of the partners held the citizenship of a country which does not permit same sex couples to marry, a permanent residence in Austria was required before exchanging vows).

  2. Residence rights

    A foreign person who wants to spend a period of more than six months in Austria, needs a valid residence permit. People who reside in Austria legally may have the right to apply for a dependent’s residence permit for their partners/spouses.

    Austria extends the same residence rights to homosexual partners of Austrian citizens (or partners of EU/EEA citizens living in Austria) who want to spend their life together as it does to heterosexual couples. Accordingly, homosexual married couples as well as those in steady relationships (determined by staying togethter long term and the common goal to establish a shared house hold/family life) may apply for the different forms of dependents’ residence permits. These residence permits will allow the foreign partner to live and work in Austria, in some cases also serve as basis to apply for Austrian citizenship after a residence period specified by law.

  3. Same sex partners of red white red card holders

    Similar to other countries, Austria has its own system for the migration of foreigners with high skills in place (“red white red card” system). Foreigners may qualify for obtaining a red white red card by exhibting relevant education, work experience, a job offer with a commensurate salary and (German, sometimes English) language proficiency, among other factors. Red white red card holders may apply to have their partners/spouses join them. Upon filing a succesful application, the partners/spouses will be issued a red white red card “plus”. This possibility is naturally available to heterosexual as well as homosexual couples.

If you would like to explore the available avenues for you and your partner to settle in Austria, please reach out to me. I am happy to discuss the different options and draft the best strategy with you.