Travelling to Austria during the pandemic

Travelling to Austria during the pandemic

Who is allowed to enter Austria?

Several groups of people are still allowed to enter Austria in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, what needs to be taken into consideration depends upon the country from which someone wants to enter Austria, the individual’s nationality and his or her family situation.  

All individuals are required to register online before entering Austria (”Pre-Travel-Clearance“). This applies to people from all countries, as well as to Austrians.

Austrians may enter Austria from all other countries. However, they will have to go into quarantine in most cases. The quarantine can first be prematurely terminated after five days on the basis of a negative PCR or antigen test. The day of entrance is day zero, not day one. This rule also applies to nationals of EU member states as well as citizens of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican and Switzerland. People who legally reside in these countries but are not nationals of these countries may also enter Austria in accordance with the same rules.

Moreover, there are specified groups of people for whom exceptional rules apply with respect to entering Austria. 

Entry for professional purposes

What is meant by “professional purposes”?

There are exceptions to the rules relating to entry bans or quarantine regulations for individuals who enter Austria for business/professional purposes (depending upon which country the person enters Austria from). These exemptions for instancve include caregivers or nurses providing 24-hour care. However, everything considered to fall under the category of “professional purposes” is not explicitly regulated. Entering Austria for the purpose of a personal job interview may be considered as being for professional purposes if the meeting is absolutely necessary. You will always have to show in a credible manner that your entering Austria is for professional purposes, for example on the basis of a business letter from a company.

Are you allowed to stay in a hotel?

Staying overnight in tourist accommodations (e.g., hotels) is only permitted for urgent, non-delayable reasons. You are not allowed to stay in a hotel overnight if you want to take a vacation in Austria, for example after your business trip.

Are you allowed to take your family with you?

Entering Austria for professional reasons is only intended in exceptional cases. For this reason, you are generally not allowed to take your family with you when entering Austria for professional reasons.

What applies to people who enter Austria for professional purposes from EU/EEA member states (except for Greece, Finland, Iceland; please refer to the next question for more information) as well as from Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco or San Marino?

Whoever enters Austria from one of these countries for professional reasons is exempt from the quarantine obligation. The pre-requisite is a medically confirmed negative PCR or antigen test. The medical certificate must fulfil specified formal requirements. The PCR or antigen test should not be older than 72 hours at the moment of entry in Austria. If you do not have a medical certificate, you will need to immediately go into quarantine for ten days after entering the country.

What entry conditions apply when you enter Austria from Australia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea or the Vatican?

In this case, you can enter Austria without any restrictions, regardless of whether it is for professional purposes or some other reason. You must have been only in Austria or one of the above-mentioned countries for the last ten days so that this exception applies to you. You have to be able to prove that this was the case. After entering Austria, you will not need to go into quarantine or take a PCR or antigen test.

Based on information provided by the Austrian Ministry of Health, this also applies to flights from those countries that do not entail a direct connection to Austria, i.e., transit flights. One may only spend time at the transit airport area that is necessary for the transit itself.

What entry conditions apply when you travel to Austria from another country?

If you do not enter Austria from any of the above-mentioned countries, you are permitted to enter the country for professional purposes, but you will be required to go into quarantine after entry. In principle, it is forbidden to travel to Austria from these countries, and only permissible in exceptional cases. When entering Austria, you must present a medical certificate together with test results or else you have to take a PCR or antigen test within 24 hours after entering Austria. In any case, you will have to remain in quarantine for five days even if the tests results are negative. You can only prematurely terminate the quarantine starting on the fifth day on the basis of a negative PCR or antigen test. The day of entrance is  day zero, not day one.

What does the landing ban mean for you?

A landing ban for passenger flights departing directly from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil has been in effect since 22 December 2020, currently until 21 March 2021.  Exceptions do exist, for example for flights to transport caregivers/nursing staff and health care workers. 

Immigration of skilled workers

You are an EU citizen but do not live in Austria. You have received a job (offer) in Austria. Are you allowed to enter the country at all? If yes, what must you keep in mind?

Yes, you are permitted to enter Austria, regardless of which country you live in. The commencement of one’s work falls under the category of professional purposes. However, the country from which you enter Austria determines whether you will have to go into quarantine or whether you can exempt yourself from quarantine on the basis of test results. You will find more information on this in the section on “Entry for professional purposes.”

If you have a family (wife, husband, registered partner, children), you can directly enter the country with all your family members, regardless of your family’s nationality. In any case, your family members must remain in quarantine and are not permitted to “exempt themselves” from the quarantine requirement starting on the fifth day after their arrival.  The day of entrance is day zero, not day one. If your family members are not citizens of an EU member state, they will have to comply with visa requirements. Not all people are allowed to enter Austria without a visa.

There is an exception if you currently live in a country which is not classified as a risk area (Australia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, and the Vatican). If you and your family enter Austria from such a country, you do not have to go into quarantine or undergo a PCR or antigen test.  

Example 1: The German national Max Mustermann lives in Germany. He has received and accepted a job offer in Austria. He does not have to go into quarantine because he enters Austria from Germany with the purpose of commencing his work. However, this only applies because he shows a medically certified negative PCR or antigen test which is not older than 72 hours upon entering Austria. If he does not have a medical certificate, he must go into quarantine, which he is first permitted to temporarily leave after five days in order to undergo a PCR or antigen test.

Example 2: The German national Max Mustermann lives with his wife (also a German citizen) in Colombia. He has received and accepted a job offer in Austria. The married couple can enter Austria together. However, they will have to go into quarantine immediately after arriving because they travelled to Austria from Colombia. They are first permitted to temporarily leave the quarantine after five days in order to undergo a PCR or antigen test.

You are a third-country national and currently live in a country classified as a risk area. You want to come to Austria in order to be physically present to look for a job. Is this possible?

You cannot simply travel to Austria as in the past before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and spend visa-free days in Austria. Instead, it would make sense to first apply to the Austrian representative authority (e.g., consulate or embassy) in the country you live in for a Visa D - Job Seeker Visa (Visum D zur Arbeitssuche). This Visa D puts you in one of the exception groups which are permitted to continue to enter Austria. Otherwise, you are not permitted to travel to Austria without the Visa D if there are no other reasons for an exemption from the rules. Feel free to contact ABA Immigration and Residence Services for further information on applying for a Visa D.

You are a third-country national, live in a third country and would theoretically be allowed to travel to Austria and the Schengen Area without a visa. You are in the process of getting an Austrian residence permit and would like to come to Austria in person to complete the last part of the process (e.g., for the last appointment with public authorities). Is this possible?

You cannot simply travel to Austria as in the past before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and spend visa-free days in Austria. Instead, it would make sense to first apply to the Austrian representative authority (e.g., consulate or embassy) in the country you live in for a D Visa. This Visa D puts you in one of the exception groups which are permitted to continue to enter Austria. Feel free to contact ABA Immigration and Residence Services for further information on applying for a Visa D.

Example: The US citizen Philipp Jones lives in the USA and applied for a Red-White-Red Card. He received notification from the Austrian Immigration and Residence Authority that he only has to come to Austria to have his fingerprints taken and present his original documents. As a US citizen, he is theoretically allowed to travel to Austria without a visa. However, this is not possible at the present time due to the pandemic. For this reason, Philipp Jones applies to the Austrian Embassy in Washington for a Visa D. He is allowed to enter Austria with a Visa D in his passport. After arrival, he must immediately go into quarantine, which he is first permitted to temporarily leave after five days in order to undergo a PCR or antigen test. He is only allowed to personally go to the Austrian Immigration and Residence Authority when he has a negative PCR or antigen test.

You are a third-country national and live either in an EU member state or in Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican or Switzerland. You are in the process of getting an Austrian residence permit and would like to come to Austria in person to complete the last part of the process (e.g., for the last appointment with public authorities). Is this possible?

Yes, you are permitted to enter Austria without a special visa as long as you have a valid residence permit for the country in which you live. You only have to make sure that you have not been in the Schengen Area for more than 90 days over the last 180 days – with the exception of the country in which you live. Whether or not you are generally allowed to enter Austria without a visa because of your nationality is not relevant in this case. 

Example: The Russian national Irina Tolkova lives in Belgium and has applied for the Red-White-Red Card. She received notification from the Austrian Immigration and Residence Authority that she only has to come to Austria to have her fingerprints taken and present her original documents. Irina Tolkova is allowed to travel to Austria without a special visa because she has a valid residence permit for Belgium. After arrival, she must immediately go into quarantine, which she is first permitted to temporarily leave after five days in order to undergo a PCR or antigen test. She is only allowed to personally go to the Austrian Immigration and Residence Authority when she has a negative PCR or antigen test.

You are a third-country national and live in a third country. You are in the process of completing the process of getting an Austrian residence permit. The Austrian Embassy in the country you live requests that you apply for a Visa D. However, are you even permitted to enter Austria with a Visa D in spite of the pandemic?

Yes, individuals with a  Visa D can also enter Austria regardless of their nationality or their country of residence. Children are also entitled to obtain a Visa D. For further information on applying for a Visa D, feel free to contact ABA Immigration and Residence Services.

Example: The Russian national Irina Tolkova lives in Russia and has applied for a Red-White-Red Card. She receives notification from the Austrian Embassy in Moscow that her application has been approved and that she must now apply for a Visa D. As soon as Irina Tolkova has the Visa D in her passport, she is permitted to enter Austria. After arrival, she must immediately go into quarantine, which she is first permitted to temporarily leave after five days in order to undergo a PCR or antigen test.

If you have any questions on how you and/or your family can currently enter Austria, which public authorities you need contact, etc.,, do not hesitate to contact ABA Immigration and Residence Services.

Here, you may download the medical certificate form.

Commuters

If you commute to and from Austria on a regular basis, please be aware of the following specificities:

  • You can enter Austria with a medical certificate or a negative PCR or antigen test result. The sample extraction must not be older than 72 hours when entering the country. Otherwise, you are obliged to undergo a PCR and antigen test 24 hours upon entering Austria.
  • You must register for the “Pre-Travel-Clearance” every time you present a new medical certificate or test result. You must also register anew if you change your address of residence, etc.

You can download the medical certificate form here.

Please note that despite carrying out thorough research, the Austrian Business Agency/Work in Austria cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information and also does not assume any liability whatsoever for this. The information provided also does not claim to be complete. The Austrian Business Agency/Work in Austria is not a government authority. It does not accept any applications for residence permits nor it does make any decisions concerning applications for such residence permits. Please feel free to contact us at any time if you need further information or advice on emigrating to Austria or residing here.

Free services for skilled workers

The ABA Immigration and Residence Services offer free consulting with an official mandate by the Austrian Government.