Austria

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Friday, 13 March 2015.   This advice has been thoroughly reviewed and updated. It contains new information, including on public transport and river cruises (see Local travel). The level of this advice has not changed. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Austria.

Austria overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Austria. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
  • Avalanches, flash flooding and mudslides can be a danger in alpine areas and have resulted in a number of fatalities in recent years. The weather in alpine regions is unpredictable and can change suddenly. See Additional information.
  • There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Austria is a party to the Schengen Convention, along with a number of other European countries, which allows Australians to enter Austria without a visa in some circumstances. See our travel bulletin on the Schengen Convention for further information.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Austria for the most up-to-date information.

If you are staying in private accommodation in Austria for more than three days, you must register your place of residence with local authorities.

People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) carrying 10,000 euros or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency) are required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Under the legislation, the term "cash" includes cheques, travellers' cheques and money orders. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.

Local immigration authorities may require a letter of consent (in addition to the child's passport) from the non-travelling parent(s) of children (under 18 years of age) travelling alone or with one parent. You should check these requirements with an Embassy or Consulate of Austria for the most up-to-date information.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia.

Safety and security

Crime

Austria has a low incidence of serious crime. However, petty crime, including bag snatching and pickpocketing, is increasing, particularly on public transport and in tourist areas. Travellers are frequently targeted at Vienna’s two largest train stations (Westbahnhof and Meidling), the plaza around St Stephan’s Cathedral and the nearby shopping areas. Travellers should be cautious while sleeping on the train from Prague to Vienna as there have been reports of luggage tampering and travellers having their pockets slashed in an attempt to steal wallets and passports.

Terrorism

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.

Money and valuables

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Local travel

Driving

Road conditions are generally good although roads in alpine areas can become hazardous during winter. Some mountain roads may be closed for extended periods. Winter tyres are mandatory from 1 November to 15 April. You should also carry snow chains if driving in mountainous areas in winter.

A current highway toll sticker (vignette), is required for all vehicles using the autobahn. A vignette can be purchased at border crossings or petrol stations near the border. Random checks are conducted, and fines for not having a vignette must be paid (currently 200 euros, more if not paid on the spot).

When outside a vehicle on the hard shoulder of any road, you must place a warning triangle on the road side behind the vehicle. The driver and all passengers must wear high visibility warning vests. Ensure any rental car is fitted with the requisite equipment.

For further advice, see our road travel page.

Public Transport

Foreign visitors are often caught out by the ticket system in Austria and subsequently fined by inspectors. Follow passenger information notices, which are usually printed in English. Validate your ticket before starting your journey (before you get to the platform if travelling by U-Bahn and immediately after boarding buses, trams and trolley buses). Keep your ticket until the end of your journey and show it to inspectors on request.
Fines for travelling on public transport without a valid ticket are expensive.

River cruises

Danube river cruises are becoming increasingly popular with tourists, We strongly recommend you review the health and travelling by boat pages for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Austria.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

You are subject to the local laws of Austria, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

Under Austrian law, you are required to carry identification documents at all times.

It is illegal to preach in Austria unless you belong to a registered religious group and have a permit.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Australian/Austrian dual nationals may be required to complete national service obligations if they visit Austria. For further information, contact the Embassy or Consulate of Austria before you travel.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Health facilities in Austria are of a similar standard to those in Australia and most doctors will speak English. Medical costs are usually much higher than in Australia.

Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn.

Where to get help

Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number. To complain about tourism services, contact the service provider directly.

For criminal issues, contact the local police. The national emergency number is 112. You should also obtain a police report when reporting a crime.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:

Australian Embassy, Vienna

Mattiellistraße 2
A1040 Vienna
Telephone: +43 1 506 740
Facsimile: +43 1 513 1656
Email: austemb@aon.at
Website: www.austria.embassy.gov.au

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are travelling to Austria, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Avalanches, flash flooding and mudslides can be a danger in alpine areas and have resulted in a number of fatalities in recent years. The weather in alpine regions is unpredictable and can change suddenly. If you travel to alpine areas, you should monitor local weather and safety conditions, follow advice from local authorities, equip yourself appropriately, plan your activities carefully, and inform someone of your plans. You should also observe all written warnings and notices and stick to marked slopes and trails when in alpine areas. Ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all activities you intend to undertake (see the health section for more information).

Additional Resources

For other useful information to assist travelling in this country, see:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.