I am a researcher with an El Salvador passport (visa-free for 90 days to Schengen area) and I will be starting a PhD course of study in Austria. For this, I have received a visa-D but the consulate issued it with a validity date which is the same as my contract start date. I would like to arrive early to set up my apartment and acclimate to the 8 hour time difference before work and school start.

This shouldn't be a problem correct? The consulate here says that's how they issue D visas and I should be able to enter visa free but it makes me nervous. I have a plan which I'll show the border officer, which details what I'll do during my visa free stay, a return ticket to London (to exit schengen) and reentry on the start of my visa d validity. I did this to show them that I'd like the two "trips" to Austria to be totally separate from each other in purpose.

Your thoughts and expertise are appreciated!

2 Answers 2


I get that you're nervous, but probably you're overthinking this, and it should be fine.

The trip to London shouldn't be necessary at all. Just stay in Austria during the day your visa starts.

The border guard shouldn't find any reason to deny you entry. After all...

  • The visa-free 90 days are possible for you
  • The visa officials were already satisifed enough with your basic circumstances
  • the risk of illegally overstaying the 90 days is no concern since you'll be there legally after 90 days too
  • working illegally is no concern either since you have a legal contract already

and so on...

Also see How to switch from Tourist visa to Resident visa status in the Schengen area? where they found some more people saying they did this successfully.
Altough one of the answers contains confused border officials because they were shown an invalid visa. Don't show your visa at the border if it isn't valid yet, just go in with your passport.

And of course don't forget to apply for a residence permit in Austria, since your Phd will likely take longer than the initial visa...

  • 1
    Thanks for your reassurance, I'll add this comment cuz I thought the info from the Austrian Foreign Police and Visa Matters Office of the BMI would be useful to others. "If the visa-free stay is short or the travel purpose for the visa-free stay is different from the one for the visa D stay (eg first tourism, then study/employment), the entry would be lawful. Whereby a visa-free entry (observing the rule: 90 days per period of 180 days) and the subsequent stay with a visa D is seamlessly possible."
    – Ozzy
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 17:52
  • 1
    Disclaimer: The above comment with quotes is a translation of mine from the email sent by the BMI in german. This comment should not be taken as legal advice and was posted for informational purposes only!
    – Ozzy
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 17:57

I wanted to add this answer to anyone with this situation. Today I flew to Vienna, AT 9 days before the validity of my Visa D. I encountered no issues and the border guard looked right at my visa. I am a visa-free national for tourism purposes.

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