Viennese "Marriage without Borders" Initiative Assists Binational Couples in Austria

More+Work & Careers ♦ Published: February 4, 2022; 11:51 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Ehe Ohne Grenzen (“Marriage without Borders”) Initiative offers free legal advice and counseling to binational couples in Austria. Learn more about this initiative and the work that its volunteers do.

Marriage without Borders offers free legal counseling and advice to binational couples in Austria. / Picture: © BMI Bundesministerium für Inneres / Alexander Tuma

Ehe Ohne Grenzen (“Marriage without Borders”), also known as EOG, is a Vienna-based non-governmental and non-profit initiative that offers free advice and consulting to binational couples in Austria.

Like many other immigrant advocacy groups, Marriage without Borders has been very critical of the Austrian government’s immigration system, especially regarding the recent scandals at the MA35–Vienna’s immigration authority.

According to its website, "Marriage without Borders was formed in ​​response to the Alien Rights Bill introduced in 2006, which has massively affected the quality of life of binational couples in Austria."

Unfortunately for binational couples in Austria, marriage alone no longer justifies the right to residence and common family life and does not open access to the labor market.

Moreover, binational couples are often confronted with prejudices and stereotypes.

This initiative fights against legal provisions that prevent marriage and family life together.

The main goal of the initiative is equal rights for binational couples and partnerships.

Those involved with the initiative have become experts in the area of the very complex Alien Bill and are establishing a set of ‘best practice’ strategies in dealing with the discrimination on behalf of authorities.

Marriage without Borders is consistently in contact with the press and other media and thereby has direct access to the public.

Additionally, volunteers at Marriage without borders offer legal advice and counseling through individual consultations. These consultations can take place via email, phone, video conference, or in-person at their office (Zollergasse 15/2, 1070 Vienna).

One of’s employees recently used the services of Marriage without Borders after running into problems while applying for residency to remain with his wife in Austria after living in the country for three years on a student residence permit.

Due to a misunderstanding of the complex immigration laws, this employee was at risk of having to wait in his home country, away from his wife, while the MA35 processed his application, which can take upwards of six months.

After an online counseling session with Marriage without Borders, the staff member learned that he could apply for an Austrian “Aufenthaltskarte” under EU law because his wife had exercised her “freedom of movement” within the EU and lived in another EU country for more than three months.

He was also informed that the Aufenthaltskarte application rules are different, and one is allowed to wait and work in Austria while the application is processed.

Thanks to this counseling session, the young man did not have to return home, he learned all of the requirements for applying for this other residence card, and he has since been approved for the card.

Regarding this experience, the employee said, "Without the help of Marriage without Borders, my wife and I may have had to spend half a year or more thousands of miles apart. I am extremely grateful for their help navigating the confusing immigration process and keeping me and my wife together."

Ehe Ohne Grenzen - Marriage without Borders