How to get Austria Tourist Visa?

With a dream of wandering in the Austrian hills to listen to the cowbells and eating buckets of cheese with wine, I applied for Austria Tourist Visa for my mom and me – The immense joy comes with excitement and a lot of confusion with a pinch of fear; because 2020 showed us that anything could change at any time. Thank god, the universe conspired it – Trust me, getting a Visa for an Indian passport isn’t a child’s play.

So this guide with all minute necessary details will help you get your Austria Tourist Visa and destress yourself in Austria’s free-spirited cities and quaint towns.

Is Austria open for tourists?

Austroan glacier in the background a rooftop resyaurant with a kid running and bird flying

Pasterze Glacier: That cheerful kid spoke of my state of mind when Austria opened for Tourists.

Yes! Austria was one of the first countries to let tourists in post-Covid. Check their official website for the latest update. I hope COVID is over and there are no more changes to the world.

How can I get a tourist visa for Austria?

Statue of a man on a giant golden ball with historical buildings in background at Salzburg, Austria

Austria is one of the 26 Schengen countries in Central Europe. The official Schengen website says – “Schengen Area signifies a zone where 26 European countries abolished their internal borders, for the unrestricted movement of people, in harmony with common rules for controlling external borders and fighting criminality by strengthening the common judicial system and police cooperation.” I am not here to discuss their trade /foreign/political policies. But you must know certain things as a foreign tourist with a weaker passport.

Which countries can I enter with my Schengen visa?

Aerial view of Hohenschwangau town, lake and castle surrounded by green mountains and fog

From Innsbruck, Austria, I went to Hohenschwangau Castle in Germany.

With a Visa from any 26 Schengen countries, you can travel to all the other 25 countries. For Example, with my Austria Visa, we travelled to Germany. But the Visa we obtained must be from that Schengen country where we first land. If you are entering Austria first and then heading to Germany, you must get Schengen Visa from Austrian Embassy.

What’s the validity of the Schengen Visa?

Classical architetcural style buildings of various colour, same hight and similar facade beautifully standing beside main road in Innsbruck

Previously Schengen visas were issued for 15/30/45/60/90 days, depending on your request and documents submitted to prove the request. For Example – My previous Schengen tourist Visa (TYPE C) from Greece was valid for 45 days. It allowed me to stay for 30 days during that period though I submitted docs that proved my travelling in the Schengen area for 18 days.

But post-COVID, it looks like things have changed – I submitted documents for exact 20 days. I thought I would get a 30-day stay visa. But I received an exact 20 days validity for 35 days! I met a few Indian travellers in Vienna who faced a similar thing. So don’t expect 30 days permit after submitting 25 days request. Be careful while mentioning the number of days.

Is it easy to get an Austrian Tourist Visa?

These fellas near Schafberg made stand-up paddle boarding look so easy – But getting a Schengen visa with an Indian Visa is quite the opposite.

Apart from Industries, agriculture and dairy, Austria’s economy depends on international tourism highly. So like everyone else in the world, Austria wanted its tourists back to boost its economy after 2020. When I sat in VFS Global office in Bangalore with mom, we observed that the highest applicants were from Germany, Netherlands, France and Switzerland. Only three applicants came to the Austrian counter in that 4 hours of waiting, including us. As many bloggers say, “The amazing landlocked country of Austria goes off the tourist radar by many.” Plus, countries like Germany and France receive a lot of business visa requests too.

So I am sure getting an Austrian tourist Visa is easier than at least in Germany, Netherlands and France. (My aunt had to wait for 45 days to get an appointment for her France Visa, and it would take 20 more days to process that) .

You must know that currently, Austria is going through shortage occupation, including at their embassies. So there may be a delay in your request processing – So be patient.

What is the shortage occupations in Austria?

Tourists walking in Salzburg old town street smiling and laughing

You rarely see these many people at once – If you see it, it is only in famous tourist places.

After spending 15 days across Austria, I realised that there is a scarcity of manpower! The cafes, hotels, and shops were full of customers, with two or three waiters working super hard, catering to all the rush and buzz. So a recent survey said that 90% of Austria Visa application gets approved because they need more people. But your documents must be 100% perfect and legit.
I won’t say you get Austria’s work Visa easily. Suppose you can speak English and German with a decent education. In that case, you may have an opportunity to work in Austria!

How can I apply for Austria Tourist Visa without a travel agent in India?

Roman statue of two men fighting and one of them is screaming for help with arms stretched

This is how we feel while arranging and sorting out documents – It was almost 70 pages for each of us!

Applying for Schengen Visa by yourself is convenient if only your city has the visa issuance service company of the country you are visiting. For Example, my city Bangalore has an Austria Visa application centre. So submitting the documents after fixing an online appointment was easier.

Suppose your city doesn’t have a particular visa application centre, take the help of a travel agent. You must travel to another city to apply first, attend a personal interview later, and collect your approved/disapproved Visa with your passport. It is better to go through a reliable agent to avoid this hassle. But ensure you research from your end, and go through your documents though you depend on the agent.

What documents are required to get Austria tourist visa?

Spooky green stone sculpture of lady covering head at a cemetery in Salzburg

Sit like this with a cup of coffee to read ahead because the list is long.
Pic above – Cemetery at Salzburg.

The common checklist for all Schengen country visas is available online. But now, each Schengen country adds extra document requirements as COVID protocols. It is an unsaid rule to add certain proofs which aren’t there on their checklist.

I have listed below how to strengthen your docs and what extra you must add.

  • Visa Application Form – After filling out everything, ensure you have filled confirmed booking hotel address and phone number of your first stay fully. The embassies do call those accommodations sometimes to cross-verify your bookings.
  • Two recently taken photos as per visa photo requirements.  Although Greece and Austria are Schengen, their photo requirement is different. Check it on the respective visa service provider and get the photos in prior.
  • A valid Passport along with your old ones if you have any. If you had gotten a Schengen visa before, it would make the process perhaps 10% easier. Ensure to get the coloured photocopy of your passport and your previous Schengen visa to submit..
Girl Mannequins wearing traditional Austrian dress drindl with sflared kirt,apron and a white blouse

Already tired of arranging docs? Hold on.

  • Round trip reservation or itinerary. – Book refundable flight tickets to be on the safer side.
  • Travel insurance policy. A document that proves you have travel health insurance for the whole Schengen territory, with a minimum coverage of 30,000 euros in case of any medical emergency. We bought ICICI Lombard insurance valid for 28 days after arriving in a Schengen Area.
  • Proof of accommodation. A document that shows where you will be accommodated on all the days. This can be hotel/hostel/BnB booking. But make sure all travellers’ names are fully mentioned in the reservation. You need not stick to these bookings later. So I always book “Pay Later at the property” or “Fully refundable” rooms and change later to what I prefer.
Beautiful Austrian grassland on mountains with traditional tyrolean homes

Create a Day-to-Day Travel Itinerary.

  • This sounds like an organised tour or a regime plan. But you must do it. I hardly follow that itinerary on my actual trip, but it is needed to get your Visa. Avoid mentioning train or flight journeys between two cities. If you mention, you must book a train/flight ticket to prove your itinerary. Mention the commute as Private cabs between places.
  • Proof of financial means. Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself financially throughout your stay in the Schengen

What financial documents do I need for visa?

  • The previous six months’ Bank statement with the branch manager’s signature on every page though the document says, “It is digitally signed”. 
  • The address on this document and your passport should be the same. 
  • Ensure you have constant transactions in the account. Many Visa applications get rejected because the transaction would be almost nil throughout. But suddenly, there will be a huge amount, like 5 Lakh INR, in the account ten days before the Visa interview. These last-minute transactions in non-active accounts are a big No.
  • Proof of Employment -Schengen Visa paperwork is easier for those earning a regular monthly income. Because income tax returns, regular salary slips, and NOC from working places are easy to get.

Can I get a Schengen visa if I am unemployed?

See these pretty houses in Tirol: Isn’t your struggle to arrange documents worth the effort to see this beauty?

Yes. You must show a sponsor. A sponsor cover letter with their previous six-month salary slip, ITR, his bank statements. Plus, a document to prove your relationship with the sponsor.

How much bank balance is required for Austria visa?

As mom and I travelled in the Schengen area for 20 days, we showed a balance of 5lakhs Rupees along with other documents. So it depends on how long your stay is in the Schengen area.

Documents needed for Austria Tourist Visa that aren’t mentioned on the website are

Indian woman tourist in Austria wearing mask

Can I travel to Austria if I’m vaccinated?

Yes! Austria has lifted all COVID restriction rules. But check their website before booking tickets.

  • Vaccination proof – Update it with your passport number.
  • Declaration of entry and Transit – This is related to your COVID vaccination and health status
  • Consent form – You must sign it saying you know the embassy can take more than 15 days to process, and you won’t complain.
  • Visa Declaration form – Stating it is your responsibility to be available whenever the embassy contacts you via email/phone or asks for a personal interview. And your visa will be rejected otherwise.
  • Guarantee letter by sponsor/invitee – They are responsible for our return to India, as stated in the application form. This one is different from a sponsorship letter.

How much does an Austrian visa cost?

Collection of enamel earrings of various colours

The moment we paid Visa fees, we became sure that Austria isn’t going to be a budget trip.

Though the official website said 80Euro for adults, we had to pay around 135 euros (11000 INR)/per person. This includes visa fees, Vfs global service charges, and courier charges.

How long does it take to get a tourist Visa for Austria?

Post-Covid, most embassies and consulates are running short of employees. But fortunately, I got my Austrian Tourist Visa within ten working days of applying. There was that mad summer tourism rush for Europe. But as Austria falls off the tourist radar compared to France, Italy and Switzerland, I was lucky to get it that early.

Is it easy to clear the Immigration process at Vienna Airport?

Tourists and airhostesses wearing masks standing on escalator in Vienna

The Europe summer hype by fellow bloggers had prepared me for hours of waiting at Vienna airport to clear the immigration process. But we faced the opposite of it! Mom and I had the awful experience of getting a COVID test done that hurt our nose and throat, and they didn’t even ask us. Grrrrrrrr.

I am sure airport officers know what they are doing and whom they question. But I was flabbergasted by how the officer stamped our passports without even looking at our faces to verify the photo. There was not even one question: “why are you here? How long, show me your insurance? When will you go back etc. etc.” – This was the least questioned immigration process I ever went through.

I was informed that I must keep my vaccination certificate and COVID Negative test result handy at Dubai airport transit. Not even once did they ask me for it.

Does Vienna airport close overnight?

Austrian parliament building

Nope. It is 24hrs open airport. There are some basic things for overnight sleepers, along with luggage lockers.

How long does it take to get through Vienna airport?

The Vienna airport is not huge. I think there or 4 or 6 terminals. Maybe during skiing season, there will be a bit crowd. But when I went there in July 2022, I felt 45 minutes of layover to connect to your next flight should be fine.

Most Important note to Indians and foreigners entering India post-COVID-19.

Who needs to fill Air Suvidha form?

Air Suvidha is an online system for International passengers to submit a mandatory Self Declaration form to declare their current health status. This form is mandatory and should be filled out by everyone entering India before boarding.

If you have a laptop, it is easier to do it. This website doesn’t work well on the phone. So don’t keep it to the last minute. We have heard of many incidents where people missed their flights to India because they couldn’t submit the Air Suvidha form before boarding.

As an Indian, did you find our Austria Tourist Visa guide helpful? As a privileged passport holder, did you realize why it is tough for developing country citizens to make that “Book a flight today and leave forever” can’t happen?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Coloured tall and narrow house with soping roof by inns river side in Innsbruck

Published by Sahana Kulur

Traveller | Blogger | Architecture and history

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