One day a noticeably puzzled doctoral student called the OeAD, saying that he had been informed by the residence authority that he could not apply for a renewal of his residence permit “Student”. (The supervisor's confirmation of positive work progress, which he had also submitted the previous year for the renewal of his residence permit, was now apparently no longer sufficient for a further renewal).
Instead, he was asked to prove that he had duly completed his doctorate. In other words: He may only continue to stay in Austria if he has achieved the goal for which he came to Austria – namely to do his doctorate – within a given time. Or, in other words: he may only stay for dinner if he has already eaten his fill.
With mixed emotions the OeAD’s legal department contacted the residence authority and explained the situation. The OeAD never received any answer from the authority but after some time the doctoral student contacted the OeAD again – and this time he was overjoyed because his residence permit was suddenly extended without a completed doctorate and he was able to complete his doctorate after all.
According to the current legal provisions students do not need a visa or a residence title if they hold a valid student residence title of another EU country (except Ireland and Denmark) and take part in a European Union or multilateral mobility programme or a similar higher education agreement. (To prove participation in such a mobility programme corresponding documents are sufficient, and the form provided on the OeAD website can also be used).
The astonishment of some students from third countries is therefore great when they act according to this knowledge but nevertheless receive information from the Austrian authorities that they need a visa or a residence title from Austria.
Fortunately, such cases and misunderstandings can usually be cleared up quickly. These examples, however, show quite vividly how important it is to provide comprehensive information to students both in order to facilitate and speed up procedures and to make them aware of their options and rights.
Authors: Tanja Raab, Tibor Szabó