Austria, one of the wealthiest countries globally based on GDP (gross domestic product), is a favourable destination for international students. Students seek to pursue undergraduate or graduate programs. With approximately 87,000 international students choosing Austria for their studies, it’s essential to understand the steps involved in applying for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.



To begin your education journey in Austria, you need to follow a structured application process that is listed below.

1. Research and Choose a University from Austria

Austria boasts 14 universities in global rankings. It includes other higher education institutions known  for their excellent student satisfaction and top-quality study programs. Check online websites and search for an institution that fits your goals.

2. Check the admission requirements 

The complications of university admissions in Austria become more manageable when you consider various types of universities. Each institution has its unique admission requirements and criteria. Here are a few aspects to keep in mind:

  1. Proficiency in German is a requirement for most Austrian universities, especially for Bachelor’s programs, which are primarily taught in German.
  2. For English-taught degrees, you must demonstrate proficiency in the English language.
  3. You must provide evidence that you are eligible to apply for your chosen degree program in the country where you obtained your last diploma, whether it’s a high school diploma or a Bachelor’s degree.
  4. Non-EU/EEA students with a degree from a non-EU/EEA country are limited to studying the same discipline or a closely related field. For instance, if you completed a Bachelor’s in Humanities, pursuing a Master’s in Business may not be an option.
  5. If you apply for a graduate degree at a university of applied sciences, relevant professional experience is a prerequisite.

3. Gather your documents and start applying

Once you meet the admission requirements, the next step involves collecting all the necessary documents. These documents may vary depending on your degree level, chosen program, the type of university, your nationality, and other relevant factors.

For students from the EU/EEA, the following documents are required:

  1. Provide a photocopy of your passport or ID card.
  2. Submit your last diploma, whether it’s a high school diploma or a Bachelor’s degree.
  3. Verify your German language proficiency with a high school leaving certificate confirming at least 4 years of German lessons or a German language diploma.
  4. Prove your English language proficiency through recognized certificates such as IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL, or Cambridge certificates.

For students from outside the EU/EEA, the following documents are necessary:

  1. Provide a photocopy of your passport or ID card.
  2. Submit your last diploma, whether it’s a high school diploma or a Bachelor’s degree.
  3. Verify your German language proficiency with a high school certificate confirming at least 4 years of German lessons or a German language diploma.
  4. Prove your English language proficiency by presenting recognized certificates like IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL, or Cambridge certificates.
  5. Provide a certificate of special qualification for university studies (Nachweis der besonderen Universitätsreife). You must prove that you’re entitled to pursue university studies in your chosen discipline.

Important Aspects of the University Application Process

It’s important to note that certain universities, particularly at the Bachelor’s level, conduct entrance examinations. These examinations usually occur six months prior to the commencement of the academic program.

Additionally, many of the Universities of Applied Sciences in Austria demand relevant professional experience related to the program, along with successful completion of a written or oral test and participation in an admission interview

4. Check the university application deadlines

In Austria, there are two standard application deadlines based on your place of origin. Ensure that all your documents reach their destination before these dates. Austria strictly adheres to punctuality, and no extensions are granted.

For applicants from outside the EU/EEA, it’s crucial to be aware of the application deadlines:

  1. For the winter semester, the deadline falls at the beginning of September.
  2. For the summer semester, the application deadline is set at the start of February.

Meeting these deadlines is essential to ensure your application is considered for the respective semester.

If you hold Austrian residency or citizenship from the EU/EEA/Switzerland, take note of the following application deadlines:

  1. For the winter semester, the deadline falls in mid-October.
  2. For the summer semester, the application cutoff is in mid-March.

Meeting these deadlines is essential for residents and citizens to ensure timely consideration of your application.

An additional application period becomes accessible exclusively if there are vacant slots:

  1. For the winter semester, this supplementary application window extends until the end of November.
  2. For the summer semester, the additional opportunity for application persists until the end of April.

Steps to take after applying to a University in Austria

Wait for acceptance letter

After submitting your application, the next step is to await the acceptance letter. This letter will be delivered to you either through email or the university website. It’s important to note that the acceptance letter will not only confirm your admission but will also provide you with essential guidance on the subsequent actions you need to complete in order to enrol at your chosen university. These guidelines will outline the necessary steps to begin your academic journey.

Follow the enrollment procedure

Proceeding with the enrollment process is a crucial phase in your academic journey. This process usually includes several key steps. These are;

  1. Submitting the original application documents to validate your place at the university.
  2. Making the required tuition payments to secure your enrollment.
  3. Obtaining your student ID, which is an essential identification document for your academic life.

Pay the tuition fees/students’ union fees

Students from the EU/EEA, attending public universities in Austria include the benefit of exemption from tuition fees. The condition is completion of degree within the scheduled time frame, with an additional 1 or 2 semesters if necessary. If your studies extend beyond this allotted time, you will be required to cover the expenses for the extra semesters.

On the other hand, if you opt for a private university or come from outside the EU/EEA, tuition fees will be applicable for your studies. In such cases, you are responsible for the financial aspects of your education.

The average tuition fees at Austrian universities break down as follows

  1. Public universities charge approximately 727 EUR per semester.
  2. Private universities, on the other hand, typically range from 6,000 to 23,000 EUR annually.

In addition to tuition fees, students should also be aware of student union fees, which amount to approximately 20-30 EUR per semester. These fees contribute to various student services and benefits within the university.

Apply for a visa

If you require a visa to study in Austria, it’s important to create the visa application process by gathering the necessary documents. These includes:

  1. Providing proof of your enrollment at the university.
  2. Demonstrating that you possess the essential funds to sustain yourself during your study period.
  3. Acquiring a police clearance certificate.
  4. Presenting evidence of suitable accommodation arrangements.
  5. Validating that you have adequate health insurance coverage.
  6. Keeping a record of the payment receipt for the residence permit fee, which amounts to 120 EUR.
  7. Valid passport that needs to be valid for the whole duration of your stay in Austria.
  8. Passport-sized colour photographs.
  9. Receipt for paying the student visa fee.

It’s important to note that if the study program you’ve selected mandates an entry examination or admission interview, you will be required to travel to Austria as part of the admission process.

Furthermore, if you require a visa to enter Austria, you must personally apply for a residence permit at the Austrian embassy or consulate in your home country. This application should be accompanied by the provisional confirmation of admission provided by the university. This process is important to ensure that you have the necessary legal documents to study in Austria.

For international students planning to study in Austria, there are two types of student visas available:

  1. Visa C: This visa permits a stay in Austria and all Schengen countries for a maximum of 90 days (3 months). It’s not necessary if you are eligible to enter Austria without a visa initially.
  1. Visa D: If your intended stay in Austria is at least 91 days and up to 6 months, a Visa D is required.

Since the majority of international students typically intend to study in Austria for more than 6 months, it’s important to apply for a student residence permit (Aufenthaltsbewilligung – Student). This residence permit allows you to stay in the country for more than 6 months. To initiate this process, it’s advisable to contact your nearest Austrian Embassy.

Please note that student visa applications for Austria can only be submitted through official Austrian representations before your arrival. This authority is solely responsible for issuing your visa/residence permit, and it’s crucial to apply as early as possible, preferably 3 to 6 months before your estimated arrival. Renewals of student visas are not permitted in Austria.

Overall, the processing time for your student visa will typically range from 1 to 4 weeks, depending on the volume of applications, and the cost is approximately 100 EUR.

Housing options in Austria

Every year, the affordable living expenses in Austria attract not only international students but also Europeans. Despite Austria’s position as one of the world’s wealthiest countries, living costs in Austria remain relatively low in comparison to other European nations.

The cost of living is significantly influenced by your lifestyle. You opt for a private or public university, and of course, the city of your residence. Expect higher living expenses, especially in the capital city, Vienna. In contrast, cities like Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck offer a more relaxed and budget-friendly environment for students.

The most popular accommodation for international students in Austria are;

  1. Sharing an Apartment (Wohngemeinschaften or WG): Opting for this choice can significantly lower living expenses in Austria, with monthly payments ranging from 250 to 450 EUR. In a shared apartment, you split bills, rent, and common areas with your roommates while having your own private room.
  1. Residing in a Hall of Residence or Dormitory: This alternative is also accessible to international students. It offers various types of apartments with shared facilities and communal areas among fellow students. For more details regarding this type of accommodation, you can refer to the Austrian Student Union. It’s important to note that if you become a member of the “ÖH-Beitrag” Austrian Student Union, you will be required to pay a fee of 20 EUR per semester, which includes student accident insurance coverage.

Before finalising your decision regarding student accommodation, it’s essential to follow these steps:

  1. Always insist on signing a contract and thoroughly review its terms and conditions before committing to it.
  2. Ensure that the contract covers additional living costs in Austria, such as internet, electricity, heating, or TV expenses. This will help you manage your finances more effectively.

In terms of overall living expenses in Austria, including food, study materials, and accommodation, it’s crucial to be aware that accommodation costs will add approximately 1000 EUR to your monthly budget. Therefore, it’s highly advisable to create a financial plan in advance, allowing you to estimate your monthly expenditure based on the city you’re residing in. Fortunately, Austria boasts numerous discount supermarkets where you can find affordable food options.

Moreover, many universities operate their own Mensa facilities, which are self-service cafeterias offering student-friendly prices for meals. Additionally, remember that as a student, you can enjoy discounted rates on transportation, museum admissions, cinema tickets, theatre performances, and cultural events. Simply present your student card to take advantage of these savings.


What types of student visas are available for international students in Austria?

Austria offers two primary student visa types. Visa C, which allows for a stay of up to 90 days in Austria and Schengen countries. Visa D, required for stays ranging from 91 days to 6 months. For longer stays, a student residence permit (Aufenthaltsbewilligung – Student) is necessary.

How do I apply for a student visa or residence permit in Austria?

To apply for a student visa or residence permit in Austria, you should contact the nearest Austrian Embassy in your home country. You’ll need the provisional confirmation of admission from your university, along with other required documents.

What are the average tuition fees for international students in Austria?

Tuition fees vary based on your nationality and the type of university. Public universities in Austria generally do not charge tuition fees for EU/EEA students who complete their degrees within the scheduled time. However, private universities and students from outside the EU/EEA may incur tuition fees.

What are the popular accommodation options for international students in Austria?

International students in Austria can choose from several accommodation options. It includes Staying with a family, shared apartments (Wohngemeinschaften), and university dormitories (halls of residence).

How can I manage my living expenses as a student in Austria?

It’s essential to create a financial plan to estimate your monthly expenses, considering factors like accommodation, food, and study materials. Austria offers discount supermarkets and student cafeterias (Mensas) for affordable meals. As a student, you can also access discounts on transportation, museums, cinemas, theatres, and cultural events by presenting your student card.


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