Residence Program Austria " Self-employed Key Manager "

AT.1: Austria " Self-employed Key Manager "


Austrian residence permit for investment

Rot-Weiss-Rote Karte (Red-White-Red Card)

Austria welcomes investors, who invest in real economic activities and useful projects. If your investment is regarded as being of "special macroeconomic benefit", you can even expect active support from the Austrian authorities, both for the project itself and for your residence permit.

Economically useful investment projects start at about 3 Mio. Euros. By this you will not only get a permanent resident permit for you and your family, but also long-term profits in one of the world's top safe-haven destinations.

Program Features

  • Minimum Investment Amount: 3 Mio. Euro

  • Return on Investment: Long-term. Investment must be profitable and shall generate jobs and taxes.

  • Visa-free Schengen: Unrestricted travel inside the European Schengen zone

  • Relocation to Austria: Required, but very generous rules for out-of-country stays

  • Tax residence in Austria: Yes, but favourable double taxation agreements with most jurisdictions

  • Right to work: Business, employment and study for all family

  • For the whole family: Spouse and children

  • Processing time: average 4 - 6 months

  • Unlimited validity: After 5 years, no renewal necessary, valid "forever"

  • Citizenship: Possibility to obtain an Austrian passport after 10 years

  • Social security: Whole family will be covered by Austrian medical insurance and pension fund

  • Quality of Life: Safe living, healthy climate, high-class lifestyle in the heart of Europe

Program overview (in English):



A foreign investor may get a residence permit in Austria for himself and his family, if the investor qualifies as a "self-employed key manager". According to AuslBG §24 Abs.1, a self-employed key manager is a person who "transfers investment capital" to Austria and by this "creates or secures a number of jobs". These jobs must be of special value for the Austrian economy as a whole ("besonderer gesamtwirtschaftlicher Nutzen") or of "importance for a region" ("Bedeutung für eine Region").

There are no strict numbers on the exact amount of investment or the number of jobs which must be created. However, our experience shows that meaningful projects under this program require at least an investment of 3 Mio. Euros.

To be a self-employed manager in the sense of this program does not mean that you have to engage in the daily business operations of the company of your investment. It is enough that you carry the economic risk of your investment, and that you control the strategy and the major decisions of it, for instance as a supervisory member of the board.

The residence permit "Red-White-Red Card" is first issued for a period of two years and then prolonged for 3 more years. Finally, after five years of residence, an unlimited permit may be issued („Daueraufenthalt - EU“), which allows a permanent residence not only in Austria, but in all member states of the European Union. This permit does not need any more prolongations, it will be valid "forever".

In addition to this, the family will be integrated into the Austrian social security system of world-class medical insurance and pension funds.

This program is the favourite tool for wealthly non-European foreigners planning to relocate to Austria, as the chances for success are very high and there is an excellent state support, if the investment project is really interesting. The program is in existence since 2011.

Russian foreign direct investment in Austria (2019): 26,7 billion Euro, which generated approx. 1,4 billion EUR of profits for its Russian beneficiaries.

Data source: OeNB Austrian National Bank.

Permits Issued (2019): 15.801 Russian citizens lived in Austria, of this 368 under the Red-White-Red Card program.

Data source: BMI Austrian Ministry of Interior

Success of application: If project is carefully planned and supported by an Austrian investment company, almost 100%.


Investment Options

  • Private Equity

    • 4 Mio. Euros

    • Buying a controlling majority of an already existing Austrian corporation and by this ensure the continuation and/or expansion of its business.

    • Medium risk investment

  • Commercial Real-Estate

    • 5 Mio. Euros

    • Buying or building a commercially active real-estate property, which maintains or creates jobs and is of regional economic importance. Typically, these are hotels or similar touristic properties like chalet resorts.

    • Low risk investment

  • Start-Up Business

    • 3 Mio. Euros

    • Founding and/or financing a start-up business in special sectors like IT, bioscience, pharmaceutics, artificial intelligence, precision engineering and so on. Typcial venture capital financing.

    • High risk investment, but also extraordinary chances for profit.

Important Note: Buying residential real-estate, no matter how valuable, buying Austrian securities or simply depositing money at an Austrian bank will not qualify for this program!


Family Members' Permit

These relatives may also get a residence permit, which is called "Red-White-Red Card Plus":

  • Spouse, married or in officially registered partnership. Spouse must be at least 21 years old.

  • Children up to the age of 18. Above this age, if they are studying in Austria.


Investor Requirements

  • Must present an investment project, which is of "special macroeconomic benefit"

  • Has the necessary financial funds for the investment by liquid means

  • No criminal record

  • Knowledge of local language not required for the investor himself, but proof of German language at level EU "A1" (very elementary) is neccessary for the family members, except for children below the age of 14.




  • Valid passport

  • Valid visa for Austria, either a Schengen visa type "C" or Austrian visa type "D", which is valid for 6 months.

  • 1 Passport photo

  • Certificate of birth

  • Proof of appropriate accomodation in Austria, e.g. a rental contract for a flat

  • Proof of medical insurance

  • Certificate of clean criminal record, from the country of last residence

Family Members

  • Valid passport

  • Valid visa for Austria, either a Schengen visa type "C" or Austrian visa type "D", which is valid for 6 months.

  • 1 Passport photo

  • Certificate of birth

  • Proof of appropriate accomodation in Austria, e.g. a rental contract for a flat

  • Proof of medical insurance

  • For spouse: certificate of marriage or registered partnership

  • Certificate of clean criminal record, from the country of last residence, for all adult members of family

  • Certificate of German language at level EU "A1"

  • Proof of sufficient continous income to economically support the family members

Funds/Investment Project

  • Detailed business plan, showing the economic benefits, the number of jobs created or maintained and the expected profitabilty of the investment project. The business plan shall be in German language.

  • Company agreement of the corporation, which will be founded, in German language

  • Any type of legal entity possible, but most common is "limited liability company" (GmbH, "Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung"), comparable to Russian OOO.

  • Shareholders may be natural persons (e.g. the investor himself) or legal entities (e.g. holding structures like Liechtenstein Stiftung), which allows for tax optimization.

  • Proof of investment funds by liquid assets, either at an Austrian bank or at an internationally recognized major bank.

  • Proof of legal ownership of the investment funds. This will be required by law for the compliance check (KYC-check) at the Austrian bank handling the financial transactions.


1.) Foreign language documents must be translated into German language. Official documents from non-EU countries must be certified by apostil.


Additional Expenses

  • State processing fee for residence permit, for each applicant: 160,- EUR (145,- EUR for children below 6 years)

  • Document translation fees Russian -> German: ca. 1.500,- to 3.000,- EUR, depending on the amount of documents. Translations must be done by a state-certified translator. Approx. 180,- EUR per page. English language documents, e.g. from foreign banks or law firms, are generally accepted.

  • Legal fees and costs for company incorporation: 5.000,- to 15.000,- EUR, depending on the complexity of the legal structure (Holding companies yes/no, international beneficiaries etc.)

  • Laywer fees, tax counselling and consulting fees for development and writing of the business plan, negotiations with state authorities, handling of paperwork, general project mangement: from 20.000,- EUR for simple standard projects to 150.000,- EUR for complex, large-scale private equity investments.


Rights and Obligations

  • Permit "Red-White-Red Card" to take residence in Austria, which must be prolonged after two years. However, this is normally a pure formality, if the investment works as planned.

  • Option to apply for an unlimited residence permit "Daueraufenthalt - EU" after 5 years of uninterrupted residence, which will be valid "forever" and for all European Union member states. To get this, a proof of a working knowledge of German language at least according to EU standard "B1" is mandatory (fluent German in written and spoken in everyday life).

  • Citizenship: After 10 years of living in Austria, the investor and his family may apply for Austrian Citizenship. However, this procedure is quite strict and requires good knowledge of the German language, Austrian culture and traditions, and a perfect integration into Austrian social life.

  • Right to work in Austria for the investor, self-employed only. For the spouse, both employed or self-employed.

  • For children below 18 years: Right and obligation to visit kindergarden and school in Austria.

  • Free travel inside the Schengen area.

  • Up to 180 days stay in any country of the Schengen zone within a year. For instance, you might spend the summer months at your villa at the Côte d'Azur in France, if you really want.

  • Right to buy real-estate properties in Austria for personal residential use without the need for a special permit.

  • Full benefits from the Austrian medical insurance with European coverage for all members of the family.

  • Benefits from the Austrian state pension fund after retirement age (65 years men, 60 years women) for the investor and spouse, according to the payments made during active business life.

  • Obligation to implement the investment project, as outlined in the business plan, and keep it operative.

  • Obligation to keep an active residence in Austria, where you spend at least six months per year.

  • Obligation to pay contributions to the Austrian social security insurance: Medical insurance for each member of your family, pension fund insurance only for working adult members below pension age.


Procedure Steps and Timetable






1 week

Apply for a Schengen business visa or Austrian visa "D" at an Austrian Consulate (if necessary).


1 to 2 months

Decide on type and amount of investment, and in which Federal State ("Bundesland") of Austria you want to settle. Note: In Austria, residence permits are granted by the individual states, not by the Republic of Austria !


2 to 3 months

Preparation of business plan, negotiations with state authorities etc., preparation of organisational structures, preparation of all documents. In case of private equity investments, merger and aquisition negotiations with corporate shareholders etc.


1 day

File your application for residence permit at the regional "Bezirkshauptmannschaft" ("Major of the District"), where you want to settle.


max. 8 weeks

Processing of your application by the District government and the "Public Employment Service Austria" AMS ("Arbeitsmarktservice"). Holders of an Austrian visa type "D" may stay already in the country, as it allows 6 months of uninterrupted stay in Austria.


1 day

Pick up your Austrian Red-White-Red Card at the District Office. This document, which has the size of a credit card, is automatically also your visa for all other Schengen states.



The residence permit is issued to the investor on a "bona-fide" basis. He has now 2 years time to implement and complete the investment, depending on the scale and complexity of the project. This will be checked by the district's economic and fiscal departments.