As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic takes hold, the question that arises is whether it is possible to extend a visa to stay in Austria.
According to the Article 33 of REGULATION (EC) No 810/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 13 July 2009 on a Community Visa Code, the period of validity and / or the length of stay of a visa issued is to be extended if the competent authority of a Member State establishes that a visa holder has to provide a proof of force majeure or humanitarian reason which prevent him from leaving the territory of the Member State before the expiry of the visa or before the permitted duration of stay expires.
The OGH (Austrian Supreme Court of Justice) defines force majeure as an extraordinary event from the outside, that does not occur regularly or with a certain frequency and is unexpected, which with the utmost reasonable care, can neither be averted nor rendered harmless in regards to its consequences. In the Supreme Court’s decision 4 Ob 103/05, the outbreak of the SARS infectious disease was defined as such a case of force majeure. Therefore, it can be reasoned that the Coronavirus outbreak is, in fact, a case of force majeure.
Currently there are legal and factual reasons - caused by "force majeure" - that prevent visa holders from leaving the territory before their visa expires or before their permissible duration of stay expires.
- The provision of the § 2 no. 1 of the COVID-19 Measures Act prohibits entry into public places or the use of means of mass transportation. As a result of that, the individuals are actually prevented from leaving their current place of residence. A violation of the curfew would consist an administrative offense and committing such an offense cannot be expected from anyone.
- The air traffic is partially or completely suspended. Leaving the territory by land is also not an option, being that all neighbouring countries only allow entry to their respective citizens.
Anyhow, the application to obtain an extension of the visa must be submitted in a timely manner, before the expiry date and there are various supporting documents required by the authorities.
We can make sure that your visa extension application meets all the requirements and that necessary documents are submitted in a timely manner. We would be happy to assist you, please feel free to contact us either by email or phone.