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EXPLAINED: What is the Austrian integration exam for non-EU nationals?

If you are a third-country citizen in Austria, you will likely have to show German skills and basic knowledge of the democratic system for a residence permit. Here's what you need to know about the Integration Exam.

EXPLAINED: What is the Austrian integration exam for non-EU nationals?

Austria is a great country to live in, but not a particularly easy one to immigrate to, especially if you are not an EU/EEA citizen. There are many hurdles to getting a residence permit and most immigrants will have to show some proof of German knowledge or even pass an “integration exam”, also in German.

The integration exam is part of Austria’s “integration agreement”, which the government says serves to “integrate third-country nationals who are legally settled in Austria”. It also aims “at the acquisition of advanced German language skills and knowledge of the democratic system”. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to apply for a residency permit in Austria

Immigrants need to take two “modules”, depending on their goals. For certain resident permits, Module 1, which serves to prove language skills at the A2 level and includes an integration exam, is mandatory.

The second module is only a prerequisite for granting a long-term residence permit and generally for granting citizenship.

Who needs to take the exam?

Third-country nationals are obliged to complete Module 1 when first granted one of the following residence permits:

  • “Red-White-Red Card”
  • “Red-White-Red Card plus”
  • “Settlement Permit”
  • “Settlement Permit – Gainful Employment Excepted”
  • “Settlement Permit – Special Cases of Dependent Gainful Occupation”
  • “Settlement Permit – Artists”
  • “Settlement Permit – Dependant”
  • “Family Member”

However, certain exceptions can be confusing. For example, a person who was granted the Red-White-Red card is considered to have successfully completed Module 1 due to the points-based system they have to go through. 

READ ALSO: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

Other exceptions include:

  • holders of a “Stay Permit”
  • holders of an “EU Blue Card”
  • holders of a “Settlement Permit – Researcher”
  • holders of a “Residence Card or Long-term Residence Card” (family members of EEA and Swiss nationals entitled to move and reside freely).

Certain groups are also exempt from the Module 1, including underage third-country nationals, third-country nationals in bad health condition (a medical report by a public health officer has to be provided) and a third-country citizen who has declared in writing that they will not stay in Austria for more than 12 months in 24 months.

You can complete Module 1 by showing proof of German and passing the Integration exam, but also by other means. For example, people with a “school-leaving certificate with general eligibility for university admission”, an equivalent to the Austrian Matura, don’t need to fulfil Module 1. If your country doesn’t have a Matura, it’s usually enough to show proof of attendance at a university level.

Holders of a “residence permit – artists”, similar to holders of the Red-White-Red, are also considered to have completed the Modul.  

READ ALSO: Visas and residency permits: How to move to Austria and stay long-term

What does the test look like?

For the completion of Module 1, the German test is to prove A2 level, and you can find an online example HERE.

The civil exam, which should prove integration and knowledge of Austria’s democratic system and history, is perhaps the one that causes more concern to those applying. You can find a training test online HERE.

The test is in German, but we have also translated some example questions into English so you can test your knowledge and how well-integrated you are in Austria.

Would you pass the integration exam? (Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash)

Can you pass these example questions?

TASK 1: Read the following statements and questions. They are either true or false (or yes or no) and only one answer is correct at a time. So check the right answer for each (answers to both tasks are at the end of this article). 

  1. Austria is a republic.
  2. A wife has a different opinion than her husband. Is she allowed to speak her mind?
  3. In Austria, parents are supposed to come to school during parent-teacher conferences and talk to teachers about their children.
  4. Someone loses his job because he is homosexual. Is that allowed in Austria?
  5. A house rule may state, for example, that you are not allowed to be loud after 10 pm.
  6. In Austria, every woman is allowed to decide for herself how many children she wants to have.
  7. My brother does not have health insurance. Can he use my e-card when he goes to the doctor?
  8. Tyrol is an Austrian state capital.
  9. Is it possible to call emergency numbers for free in Austria?

READ ALSO: ‘Citizenship is problem child’: How Vienna’s immigration office MA35 is changing

TASK 2: Read the following statements. There are three possible answers to the questions (a, b and c), but only one is correct. Tick the one right answer 

1. When my computer is broken…
a) I take it to a special waste disposal place
b) I put it on the street
c) I throw it in the residual waste

2. What is a fundamental human right in Austria?
a) Women may vote from the age of 21
b) Women and men have the same rights
c) Men are allowed to have two wives

3. I am unemployed and the AMS has found me a job in a company. What do I have to do now? I have to…
a) Go there and introduce myself
b) Not go there because I get money from AMS
c) Only go there if I like the company

4. Austria has about…
a) 5.5 million inhabitants
b) 8.5 million inhabitants
c) 12.5 million inhabitants

5. Who is allowed to take the mother-child passport examination?
a) All family members
b) Children up to 16 years
c) Pregnant women

6. Parliament…
a) Decides on religious laws
b) Passes state laws
c) Elects the Federal President

7. A woman wants to become a car mechanic. She has to do an apprenticeship and…
a) Study at the university
b) Attend a technical college
c) Go to vocational school

8. In Austria, it is forbidden for adults to…
a) Drink alcohol
b) Hurt their partner
c) Change their religion

9. From when can one freely choose one’s religion in Austria?
a) From 12 years
b) From 14 years
c) From 18 years

The answers to task 1:

1.True; 2.Yes; 3.True; 4.No; 5.True; 6.True; 7.No; 8.False; 9.Yes

The answers to task 2:

1.a; 2.b; 3.a; 4.b; 5.c; 6.b; 7.c; 8.b; 9.b

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New appointment dates: How Vienna’s MA 35 is speeding up citizenship and immigration requests

Immigrants moving to Vienna have faced long lines and complex bureaucracy in the city citizenship and immigration office, the MA 35. But now the city wants to improve the service - here's how.

New appointment dates: How Vienna's MA 35 is speeding up citizenship and immigration requests

The often criticised, long waiting times at Magistratsabteilung 35 (MA 35) – responsible for immigration and citizenship – will be shortened. In the future, consultations will occur in groups, and the staff will also be increased, the City of Vienna said.

Starting from April 8th, information and consultation dates for groups of up to 170 participants will take place monthly. In addition, the staff will be increased by about 90 additional employees, the responsible city councillor Christoph Wiederkehr (NEOS) announced in a release on Tuesday. 

This is intended to speed up the procedures.

READ ALSO: How foreigners can get fast-track citizenship in Austria

Increased demand

The demand for Austrian citizenship has increased enormously since last year. Around 1,300 people per month are interested in an information appointment at MA 35, whereas a year ago, this number was about 600, it said. 

The goal, Wiederkehr said, is to make procedures more efficient through these measures and to increase the authority’s capacity by 50 percent by fall. “In the long term, however, the citizenship law urgently needs to be modernised and renewed to prevent lengthy procedures,” Wiederkehr demanded.

According to the city, of a total of 20,606 naturalisations in Austria in 2022, almost 70 percent were carried out in Vienna by MA 35. 14,167 persons were naturalised in Vienna in the previous year — a large proportion related to applications for citizenship submitted for Nazi victims and their descendants.

READ ALSO: Why is the number of people becoming Austrian on the rise?

MA 35 has repeatedly been criticised for its long waiting times and difficult accessibility. 

People looking for a first meeting on citizenship requirements usually have to wait about one year – and then from six months to another year to submit the documents. 

READ ALSO: ‘Bring everything you have’: Key tips for dealing with Vienna’s immigration office MA 35

ÖVP and FPÖ react

In a statement, the Vienna centre-right ÖVP welcomed the announced personnel measures. However, its constitutional spokesman Patrick Gasselich questioned whether holding of initial information meetings in the form of group meetings was appropriate. 

He also took issue with the fact that Wiederkehr wanted to “once again shift responsibility to the federal government.”

READ ALSO: Could Austria change the rules around citizenship?

The far-right Freedom Party also criticised Wiederkehr for wanting to “soften” the citizenship law. 

“Citizenship is a valuable asset and must not be allowed to degenerate into a junk good due to incompetent bureaucratic processing,” said Stefan Berger, a member of the Vienna FPÖ parliament. Wiederkehr should “do his homework and put the scandalous conditions in MA 35 in order”, he added.