Spousal residence permits for same-sex couples in Austria?
Vienna, Austria’s capital city hosts pride celebrations annually with a plethora of events for the LGBTQ community. Let’s take this opportunity to review which immigration rights are available to international same-sex couples – with a focus on spousal visa.
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. But couples can now decide between the two.
The country now also recognizes same-sex marriages 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 there.
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 together long term and the common goal to establish a shared house hold/family life) may apply for the different forms of spousal visa/ residence permits. These residence permits will allow the foreign partner to live and work in Austria. In some cases this will also serve as basis to apply for Austrian citizenship after a longer residence period specified .
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. It is called the red-white-red-card system. Foreigners need to exhibit relevant education, work experience, a job offer with a commensurate salary and relevant 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 can receive a red-white-red-card “plus”.
If you would like to explore the available avenues for you and your partner to settle in Austria, please reach out to us. We are happy to discuss the different options and draft the best strategy with you.