Internship Opportunities and Student Visa Requirements in Austria

Your Comprehensive Guide to Navigating Internship and Educational Opportunities in Austria

Austria, a country renowned for its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and robust economy, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for internships and educational pursuits. At Piktalent, we extend our services to Austria, offering placements in various sectors including technology, finance, arts, and more. These opportunities are designed to provide practical experience that aligns with your career aspirations.

For both EU and non-EU individuals, understanding Austria’s visa and work permit regulations is crucial. Austria offers a supportive environment for students and interns, but compliance with legal requirements is essential for a smooth experience. Austria’s blend of historical elegance and modern innovation makes it an attractive destination for those seeking enriching educational and professional experiences. Whether you’re at the beginning of your career or looking to enhance your educational journey, Austria’s dynamic environment offers a wealth of opportunities and cultural experiences.

EU citizens

1. Duration and Conditions

Internships in Austria, particularly under the dual training system, blend practical in-company experience with theoretical learning at part-time vocational schools. The duration of apprenticeships is typically two to four years, with three years being the most common. The Vocational Training Act (BAG) not only regulates the duration but also ensures a comprehensive framework covering training standards, wage regulations, holiday entitlements, and social security benefits. This act, reflecting Austria’s commitment to vocational education, has been instrumental in shaping a skilled workforce.

2. Internship Contract for Interns

The internship contract in Austria is a binding document that outlines the mutual responsibilities and rights of the intern and the employer. With the 2020 amendments to the BAG, the contract now accommodates flexible arrangements like part-time apprenticeships for individuals with caregiving duties or health constraints. This flexibility is a significant step towards inclusive vocational training, ensuring that more individuals can access and benefit from apprenticeship opportunities.

3. Remuneration and Unpaid Internships

The remuneration for internships in Austria varies significantly based on the type of internship. Compulsory internships, often part of academic programs, may not offer remuneration but are subject to labour laws, including social security coverage if they meet certain wage thresholds. Voluntary internships, on the other hand, may not provide such benefits and often involve negotiations regarding compensation. The distinction between training and employment is crucial here, as it determines the extent of legal entitlements available to the intern.

4. After Arrival in the Country for EU Citizens

For EU citizens, working in Austria is facilitated by the right to work without a work permit. However, post-arrival formalities like residence registration and health insurance arrangements are crucial. Given the comprehensive social security benefits tied to various types of internships, ensuring adequate health insurance coverage is essential. Additionally, opening a local bank account is advisable for smooth financial transactions, particularly to receive any government subsidies or training incentives.

5. Personal Identity Number

Obtaining a personal identity number is a mandatory step for every resident in Austria, including EU interns. This number is pivotal for a range of administrative processes, from taxation to accessing social security benefits. Given the diverse nature of internships and the varying degrees of social security coverage they offer, this number becomes even more significant for interns.

6. Social Security Contributions for Interns

The nature of the internship in Austria significantly influences social security contributions. For instance, compulsory internships that qualify as employment relationships are subject to the General Social Security Act, ensuring coverage for health, accident, and pension insurance. This comprehensive coverage is a key aspect of Austria’s commitment to protecting interns in the workforce.

7. Remuneration Law for Internships

Austria’s remuneration laws for interns are designed to ensure fair compensation, particularly for internships outside university curricula. Recent initiatives, such as the ‘Digi-Cheque’ program for 2023-2024, underscore the government’s commitment to supporting apprentices through funding for digitalization and climate protection training measures. These laws and initiatives collectively aim to make internships both rewarding and financially viable for participants.

8. Vital Steps for a Seamless and Enjoyable Stay

For a fulfilling internship experience in Austria, EU citizens should:

  • Thoroughly understand the updated terms of their internship contract, especially in light of the recent BAG amendments.
  • Be well-informed about the specific regulations for different types of traineeships, including their legal entitlements.
  • Complete necessary administrative procedures such as residence registration and obtaining a personal identity number.
  • Ensure comprehensive health insurance coverage, in line with the social security benefits associated with their internship type.
  • Open a local bank account to facilitate financial transactions, including receiving any government subsidies or training incentives.
  • Immerse themselves in Austrian culture and language, enhancing their social and professional integration.


Internships in Austria offer valuable opportunities for professional and personal growth. EU citizens looking to pursue internships in Austria should be aware of the legal framework, including contracts, remuneration, and social security contributions. By understanding these aspects and preparing accordingly, interns can ensure a rewarding experience in Austria.

Non-EU citizens

1. Visa Requirements for Non-EU Citizens Undertaking Internships

For short-term internships lasting up to 90 days within 180 days, non-EU citizens typically require a Schengen visa (Visa C) but do not need a residence permit. For internships extending beyond 90 days but less than six months, a residence visa (Visa D) becomes necessary. This is particularly pertinent for interns engaged in activities that qualify as ‘gainful employment’.

2. Residence Permit for Non-EU Citizens

Non-EU/EEA or Swiss nationals pursuing internships longer than six months in Austria must obtain a residence permit. The Red-White-Red Card, valid for 12 months, is an ideal option for qualified interns and facilitates their immigration, settlement, and employment in Austria. This card is particularly beneficial for graduates from Austrian universities and colleges seeking internship opportunities.

3. Work Permit for Non-EU Citizens

Interns from non-EU countries can apply for a restricted work permit valid for one year, which is often suitable for the duration of most internships. The application process involves submitting necessary documentation in German to the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS). The approval process typically takes about seven weeks.

4. Extensions and Special Cases

For interns whose projects extend beyond the initial permit duration, renewals of residence and work permits are possible. Austria offers different types of residence permits tailored to the needs of interns, researchers, and those engaged in specific types of gainful employment.

5. New Procedures and Post-Internship Opportunities 

While there are no new specific procedures for post-internship opportunities as of 2023/2024, the Red-White-Red Card system provides a structured pathway for interns wishing to extend their stay in Austria, potentially transitioning to full-time employment.

6. Vital Steps for a Seamless Stay

Interns from non-EU countries should ensure they obtain the correct type of visa and residence permit based on the duration and nature of their internship. Adhering to application requirements and timely renewal of permits is crucial for a hassle-free experience.

7. Additional Information for 2023/2024 

Long-term EU Residence Permits, now issued for five years, are an option for those seeking extended stays post-internship. To apply for Permanent Residence after a minimum of 5 years of temporary residence, interns will need to provide a valid passport, health insurance, proof of income and accommodation, and fulfil an integration agreement.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Internships in Austria typically last 2-4 years, with 3 years being the most common. They combine practical in-company experience with theoretical learning, as per the Vocational Training Act.

The internship contract in Austria outlines mutual responsibilities and rights, accommodating flexible arrangements like part-time apprenticeships for individuals with caregiving duties or health constraints.

Remuneration varies by internship type. Compulsory internships may not offer remuneration but ensure social security coverage, while voluntary internships often involve compensation negotiations.

EU citizens should register their residence, arrange health insurance, and open a local bank account for smooth financial transactions and to receive government subsidies.

A personal identity number is mandatory for all residents, including interns, for administrative processes like taxation and accessing social security benefits.

Interns in compulsory internships contributing to social security are covered for health, accident, and pension insurance under the General Social Security Act.

Austria’s laws ensure fair compensation for interns, with initiatives like the ‘Digi-Cheque’ program supporting apprentices with funding for digitalization and climate protection training.

EU interns should understand their contract terms, know their legal entitlements, complete administrative procedures, ensure health insurance coverage, and immerse in Austrian culture for a fulfilling experience.

Non-EU citizens need a Schengen visa (Visa C) for internships up to 90 days. A residence visa (Visa D) is required for internships between 90 days and six months.

Yes, a residence permit, like the Red-White-Red Card valid for 12 months, is necessary for non-EU/EEA or Swiss nationals interning in Austria for more than six months.

Non-EU interns can apply for a restricted work permit valid for one year through the Austrian Public Employment Service, with the process taking about seven weeks.

Yes, renewals of residence and work permits are possible for interns whose projects extend beyond the initial permit duration.

No specific new procedures for 2023/2024, but the Red-White-Red Card offers a pathway for extending stays and transitioning to employment.

Non-EU interns should obtain the correct visa and residence permit, adhere to application requirements, and timely renew permits for a hassle-free experience.

For extended stays post-internship, the Long-term EU Residence Permit, now valid for five years, is an option, leading to Permanent Residence after five years of temporary residence.

If you are interested in finding a job or internship in the Austria

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Available vacancies in the Austria

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