Practical information for living in Austria

Registration

As is common in many countries, you must register with the municipal authorities in Austria within three working days of entering the country.

This is mandatory.

You must also keep the local authorities up-to-date whenever you change address, name or citizenship status. If you come from the EU/EEA or are a Swiss national, you must also apply for a confirmation of registration (Anmeldebescheinigung) once you’ve stayed in Austria for more than 3 months.

Why do I have to register?

It is a matter of Austrian law - you must register with the authorities within three days of moving to a new address. The residence registration is connected to postal services, voting and parking fines, among other areas.

Required documents

  • A filled-in residence registration form (also available from a Registration Service Centre in the city) with your landlord’s signature, if renting.

  • Birth certificate.

  • If you hold dual (or higher) citizenship you must submit documents proving your identity, place of birth, and nationality (essentially all travel documents!).

  • Foreign citizens must submit a passport or asylum certificate (called asylausweis).

Where do I register?

There are multiple Registration Service Centres in the city, and you can attend any of these to register. This is independent of the specific district in which you work or live.

Residence registration certificate

You will receive a Residence Registration Certificate as proof of your having completed the registration successfully.

Fees

Registration is free of charge, however there are fees in place if you fail to produce the correct certificates.

Visas and permits

Do you need a visa?

If you are an EU citizen, you do not require a visa or permit to live and work in Austria. However, if you plan to live here for more than 3 months you must apply for an ID card; an EWR-Lichtbildausweis. Without being employment, you may stay for up to 6 months; if you are working, you may remain for up to 5 years.

If you are not an EU citizen, you will require a visa which must be submitted prior to visiting the country. The relevant visas are all outlined below.

Travel visa (C Visa)

This visa allows you to study and travel within Austria for up to 90 days, which is sufficient for some internships and degree programs. In order to successfully obtain this visa you will need:

  • An in-date and valid passport

  • A current passport photo

  • Booking and travel confirmation

  • Accommodation booking confirmation

  • Proof of means (i.e. sufficient money in the bank)

  • Proof of health insurance

Austrian national visa (D Visa)

Essentially a longer-term version of the C visa, this allows you to study or travel in Austria for up to 180 days. This can permit short-term employment, but only in special circumstances. To obtain this visa you will need:

  • An in-date and valid passport

  • A current passport photo

  • Booking and travel confirmation

  • Accommodation booking confirmation

  • Proof of means (i.e. sufficient money in the bank)

  • Proof of health insurance

Residence permit

To stay for more than 6 months, you will need to apply for a residence permit. This will allow you to stay for a much longer duration than the class C and D visas.

Opening an Austrian bank account

If you’re planning to work or study in Austria, you’ll need to get yourself a bank account. Fortunately, this is a much simpler process than many would have you believe! To open a bank account, you will need access to the following documents:

  • A valid passport

  • Proof of residence in Austria

  • Residence Registration Form (Meldezettel)

  • Employment details

  • Student Identification (if opening a student account)

Simply go to your bank of choice, and ask to set up an account. If you aren’t too au fait with German just yet, don’t worry - you’ll be able to sort everything in English. Once you’ve signed all the papers, your cards will be issued within a matter of days (by post) and then you’ll be sorted!

In order to receive money to your new Austrian account, you’ll to provide some information to the sender:

  • The account name (Kontoinhaber)

  • Your bank

  • IBAN number

  • Swift or BIC code (for international transactions)

That’s pretty much everything. You’ll be able to withdraw from ATMs and use chip-and-pin (or contactless) payments just like you do at home. Financially, this is far superior to using your home accounts abroad.

Getting a SIM card in Austria

Do not use your home contract here in Austria - it will cost an absolute fortune, or may not work at all. It’s sometimes a good idea to get a prepaid SIM for the first couple of weeks, so you can still call home or contact friends. Longer term, you’ll want an Austrian contract.

In terms of selecting a contract and provider, that’s really up to two things: your personal needs/preferences and the best deals which are going around at the time. At the start of the academic year, companies may run special promotions to reel you in, and you should definitely aim to take advantage of these! The most reliable cell networks are:

  • A1

  • Orange

  • Tele-ring

  • T-Mobile

  • Yesss

  • Three

When choosing your deal, remember to pay attention to the minutes and texts provided, as well as data - you’ll probably want at least a couple of GB for when you’re out of a Wi-Fi area. In addition, you may wish to choose a contract which has low-price calls abroad (to friends and family back home) or, if you generally call over Wi-Fi, a contract which is a little cheaper without those perks.

Try not to worry - thousands of other new students will be trying to do exactly the same thing, and you’ll probably all just choose the same contract anyway!


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