Living in Austria
Advice for British people living in Austria, including information on health, benefits, residence requirements and more.
This guide sets out essential information for British national residing in Austria, including advice on health, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals. This information supplements the travel advice for Austria.
Entry and residence requirements
You will need a valid UK passport. As Austria and the United Kingdom are both members of the EU, UK nationals have the right to reside in Austria for a period of three months. If you intend to stay for more than three months you are required (as of 01 January 2006) to apply for a registration certificate (“Anmeldebescheinigung”) within a four month period from entering Austria. To gain lawful residence in Austria, you will need to prove that you * are employed or self-employed in Austria, or * have adequate means of subsistence to support yourself and your dependants and have comprehensive health insurance coverage for yourself and your family members, or * are being educated in a school or educational institution and have comprehensive health insurance coverage for yourself and your family members and have adequate means of subsistence A registration certificate (“Anmeldebescheinigung”) will then be issued.
After a five year period of continuous lawful residence in Austria you can – upon application – obtain the right of long-term residence (“Long-term Residence Certificate”). Details on the registration process and required documents for the issuance of this registration certificate can be obtained through the respective local registration authority:
Municipal Department MA35
Arndtstrasse 65-67, Stiege 1, 1st floor
The Embassy cannot provide any assistance in this respect. Within three days of moving into your new home, you are additionally obliged to register your address (“Meldepflicht”). This is done at your local registration service (Meldeservice). In Vienna these are located in the 23 district council offices (Magistratische Bezirksämter) and in the federal provinces in your local communal authority offices (Gemeindeamt). You may also apply for a European Economic Area (EEA) identity card (EWR Lichtbildausweis), which shows that you are resident in Austria. This is useful for personal identification purposes. Alternatively the original passport or a passport copy certified by a British Consulate could be used. For further details contact your local district police station (Bezirkskommissariat) or nearest district administration office (Bezirkshauptmannschaft).
The Austrian federal association of real estate trustees (Bundesinnung der Immobilientreuhänder) can provide details of registered estate agents (Immobilienmakler) throughout Austria. On their website you can search for details of member real estate agents in the region of your choice. Most local and national newspapers, such as Die Presse, Kurier and Der Standard also advertise accommodation in their weekend editions, under the section ‘Immobilien’.
If you are staying in Austria for a longer period, you are considered resident in Austria and will have to pay contributions for medical care to a local social insurance organisation (Sozialversicherungsträger). The health service providers are usually called ‘Gebietskrankenkasse’. If you are working in regular employment, your employer will normally deduct contributions to the health insurance system from your salary and make the payments on your behalf. Please ask your employer for details, or contact your local branch of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for advice before leaving the UK. When in Austria, you can also get information from your local health insurance organisation (Gebietskrankenkasse).
Due to changes in EC regulations, from 1 May 2010, if you receive pension payments from the UK or are a dependant of somebody working in the UK, the UK will now be responsible for the issue of your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) instead of the member state where you are living. For more information on the planned changes please see the NHS website.
Please note that the embassy is not able to give medical advice, nor can we advise on the quality of doctors. These links are provided by the British Embassy Vienna for the convenience of enquirers, but neither the UK government, nor any official of the embassy, take any responsibility for the competence or probity of any firm/individual on the list or for the consequence of any legal action initiated or advice given.
In order to find an English-speaking doctor, please call your regional medical association for advice. For example, the Vienna medical association (Ärztekammer für Wien) runs a Foreign Patients Service. This can provide information on medical services in Vienna, including details of English-speaking doctors in the region. For further information, visit their website or call the Foreign Patients Service hotline on +43 1 513 9595.
The Vienna City Council website also includes a search facility for doctors in Vienna. The search engine allows you to select a doctor in Vienna by field of expertise, location, opening hours and foreign languages spoken.
Important telephone numbers to remember are 144 (ambulance) and 141 (Ärztefunkdienst: general practitioners who are on duty during the night and at weekends).
Driving licences and vehicles
British driving licences are valid in Austria and need not be exchanged for an Austrian licence. As a tourist you can drive in Austria with UK licence plates for any length of time, but if you are registered as resident in Austria you must exchange them for Austrian plates at your nearest Vehicle Registration Office (Kfz-Zulassungsstelle).
In Austria third-party car insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) is compulsory. This can be arranged via an insurance broker (Versicherungsmakler) or insurance company (Versicherungsunternehmen), which you will find listed in online versions of the Austrian telephone directories. You must produce proof of insurance before you are issued with your car licence plates (Autokennzeichen) and car registration document (Zulassungsschein). Your insurer will advise you on the procedures and make the necessary arrangements.
Please note that to drive on the motorways and ‘A’ roads in Austria it is obligatory to display a sticker, called an ‘Autobahn-Vignette’. No exceptions are made for transit traffic and visitors, and on-the-spot fines are imposed if you do not have one. You can buy the Vignette at Austrian border crossings and also at most petrol stations (including border near petrol highway patrol stations near the Austrian border), post offices and tobacconists (Tabak-Trafik).
There are also special arrangements in force for heavy vehicles, both commercial and private, using Austrian motorways. The main motoring organisations in Austria are ÖAMTC and ARBÖ. They offer a variety of insurance cover, breakdown assistance and other services to members.
As a rule, UK nationals resident in Austria pay their taxes to the Austrian tax authorities. There is a taxation agreement between Austria and the UK, to avoid double taxation and prevent tax evasion, reference Bundesgesetzblatt 390 of 1970. For advice on taxation contact your local HM Customs & Revenue office before leaving the UK. When you arrive in Austria, contact your nearest tax office (Finanzamt), which you will find listed in the local telephone book or on the Austrian Finance Ministry website, together with information on the Austrian tax system.
For details of professional tax advisers (Steuerberater) see your local Yellow Pages telephone directory or the online version of the Austrian telephone directories, under the heading ‘Wirtschaftstreuhänder / Steuerberater’, or visit the website of the professional organisation for tax advisers and accountants, the Kammer der Wirtschaftstreuhänder.
If you are taking up residence in Austria, your household goods and personal belongings may be imported from the UK free of VAT and customs duty. Used personal vehicles are also included, however there are restrictions regarding re-sale after importation. All vehicles must be registered for travel within Austria, and a one-off tax called NoVA (Normverbrauchsabgabe) is payable on registration. There might be some exceptions - please contact one of the Austrian Touring Club organisations ÖAMTC or ARBÖ for details.
An information summary on importing vehicles from an EU member state is available on the website of the Austrian Finance Ministry , in the section Zoll / Wissenswertes / Fahrzeugimport. For further information on NoVa, and other tax and customs matters related to car import, contact your local tax office in Austria, details of which are available on the above website, in the section ‘Ämter & Behörden’ of the Austrian Finance Ministry website.
There is a reciprocal agreement between Austria and the UK under which pension contributions made to the Austrian state pension system can be taken into account for your UK pension if/when you return to the UK. Similarly, if you are a British national working in Austria and plan on retiring here, the contributions you paid into the UK system can be considered towards your Austrian pension.
For specific information relating to your personal circumstances, please contact the International Pension Centre (IPC).
The International Pension Centre at the UK Pension Service
The IPC deals with questions on UK benefits payable to customers living overseas. For information on how living and working in Austria may affect your UK state retirement pension, please visit the State Pension if you retire abroad website page.
The Main Association of Austrian Social Security Institutions (Hauptverband der Sozialversicherungsträger)
In Austria, as in the UK, an employed person’s pension contributions are automatically deducted from his/her salary by the employer. These are paid to a social insurance institution (Sozialversicherungsträger), in the same way as healthcare contributions.
You may also be thinking about paying voluntary contributions to top up your pension entitlement in either country. For further information on paying voluntary contributions in the UK, contact HM Revenue & Customs. For Austria, contact the company who is providing your social security/health cover.
If you have received a life certificate from the UK Pension Service it is important that you reply as quickly as possible otherwise your benefit may be stopped.
Call the IPC on 0044 191 218 7777 with any queries.
These are the options available for signing the certificate:
a solicitor or notary can witness the declaration, but they may charge you for this service
Notarial services in Austria
A website in English is available that allows you to search for a suitable Notary in Austria.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.
Published: 10 May 2013
Updated: 1 July 2015
- Update to entry and residence requirements
- Added links to Life Certificate witness options document
- Life Certificate section - updates requested by BE Vienna Consular section. Notary search website address added - update requested by BE Vienna Consular Section.
- First published.