Relocation (Permanent or Temporary) to Austria: A Quick Guide

Are you ready to spread your wings a bit, by leaving your home country for a destination abroad? If you’ve selected Austria as the ideal place to continue your academic studies, do an internship or land your first job – you can be in for a treat. The country is home to an impressive history of music and art, boasts world-class skiing and is well-rated in safety, infrastructure and healthcare (1).



The benefits of moving to Austria aren’t lost on expats either. As little as two years ago, Austria was ranked the eighth best country for expats in the entire world, according to a detailed survey by InterNations (2). Also, when it comes to living in the capital city of Vienna – it isn’t just expats who love it there. Reaching the top spot on Mercer’s list of cities with the best quality of life an astonishing eight consecutive times – clearly living in Austria is something special (3).


What Does Moving Entail?

Yet, as appealing as relocating (even temporarily) to Austria sounds – moving to another country does come with a series of tasks that you’ll need to complete. First among them is finding a reputable international moving company to work with. They will not only get your belongings from point A to point B, their in-depth knowledge about the paperwork, regulations and fees involved will be invaluable to you as an inexperienced traveler.

Next, you need to familiarize yourself with the full scope of documents you’ll need to prepare, and learn about the fees you’ll have to pay. To help you get your feet wet and lower any trepidation you may have about your move – here’s a quick guide to everything you should know before you embark.


Your Household Belongings: What Import Duties Will You Pay?


Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, Vienna


Import duties can significantly increase your cost to relocate, with high rates being charged by many countries today. On this account you can breathe a sigh of relief, as Austrian customs allows you to import your household goods duty-free if you meet certain guidelines.

Requirements For Duty Exemption

First, you must have owned and personally used your goods for a minimum of six months. Second, you must have lived outside of Austria for a minimum of the last year. Third, you cannot sell any of these items for the first year after bringing them into Austria.

Finally, you must import your shipment into Austria, no later than one year after transferring your place of residence into the country. While not a requirement for duty exemption, you should also be at customs when your shipment is cleared, and a full inspection by customs agents may be performed (4).


Additional Information

Other sources differ slightly, saying that compliance with these guidelines isn’t just necessary to receive duty exemption – but required for your shipment to even be allowed into the country. It also goes on to stipulate, that if your place of residence for the last year was in another EU country, then you may have to obtain a permit called the Grundlagenbescheid. This document authorizes the duty-exempt importation of your household belongings (5).



Your Household Belongings: What Paperwork Will You Need?


Town Hall, Vienna


As already mentioned, you’ll need to have some paperwork in order for your shipment to clear customs. This includes your passport, and the Original Bill of Lading or Air Waybill (which your shipping company will provide). If you’re a citizen of another EU country or have ever lived in the EU as an immigrant – then you’ll need to give customs a completed ZBefr2a form. If you’ve never resided in any EU member country, then you’ll use form ZBefr2 instead.


Residence Registration and Receipts

Customs will also need to see your residence registration form (also called a Certificate of Change of Residence), showing that you’re relocating into the country. If you have any brand new appliances, gifts, furniture, antiques or artwork – then you’ll also need to give customs two copies of your receipts for these items (6).


Residence Permit

Though you aren’t required to prepare this paperwork beforehand – you should be aware that a Residence Permit (or Meldezettel) is needed no later than 3 days after you enter Austria (7).


Exit Certificate

In order to prove that you’ve lived for one year in another country abroad (required to receive import duty exemption), you’ll need to provide an exit certificate. Also called a Certificate of Stay Abroad, this is just a document from a landlord or employer stating that you lived or were working in your origin country. Other sources of proof can be acceptable, so speak with Austrian customs or your shipping company if you have any questions (8).


Entry Certificate

In addition to showing that you’ve lived abroad and have exited your origin country – you’ll also need to verify entry into Austria. This is done by providing customs with an Entry Certificate, which you’ll obtain from a police station in the city where you’ll be living within Austria.


Power of Attorney

When using a shipping company or other third-party agent to help you navigate customs, you’ll need to give them permission to act on your behalf. You’ll do this by submitting a Power of Attorney to Austrian customs (the original is needed, no copies allowed) (9).


EORI Number

Now required for all shipments in and out of EU member countries, you’ll need to apply for and receive an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. If you fail to do so, your shipment will be stuck in customs – so be sure to remember this important step.


Letter From Employer

If you’ll be relocating to Austria for a job (rather than as a student), then you’ll need to give customs a letter from your employer. This should say that you’ll be working (or interning) at the company for a minimum of 12 months – and typically this letter should be written on official company letterhead (10).


Goods Inventory

Last but not least, customs will want to see a detailed inventory that lists all of the items included in your shipment. This can be written in either German or English, and you should provide three copies for customs officials (11).


Paperwork For Temporary Entry


The Belvedere, Vienna


If you’re planning to enter Austria on a temporary basis, then the documentation process can be far different. You’ll need to obtain the appropriate visa, with a student visa being a popular option. However, without transferring your residence into Austria on a long-term basis, you may not be permitted to import a shipment of household goods – and certainly not duty-free.

Yet, if you’ll just be spending a single semester abroad in Austria, or completing a short internship of 3 or 6 months – then temporary entry will likely be your best course of action.

If, however, your internship will be for a much longer time, you’ll be enrolling in an academic program that will take a year or more (like a Master’s program) or you have a work contract for a year or longer – then the documentation covered above for long-term importation of your goods is the appropriate choice.


Your Vehicle: What Import Duties Will You Pay?


Anton-Karg-Haus – Kaisergebirge, Kufstein, Austria


Though you may be on the fence about bringing your vehicle with you, Austria’s laws are quite favorable in this regard. You can import your personal vehicle without paying any duty, as long as it meets the required criteria.


Requirements For Duty Exemption

First, you must have owned and personally used your vehicle for a minimum of the last six months. Second, it must adhere to Austrian technical requirements. If it does not, it must be modified – but these can be extensive and costly, so importing a non-compliant vehicle isn’t recommended. Third, you must not sell, rent out or give away the vehicle for a full two years after importing it (12). Fourth, you must not have lived in an EU member country for a minimum of the last year. Finally, it must be imported in connection with a long-term move into Austria (13).

If your vehicle meets all of these benchmarks, then you can import it duty-free. In addition, you’ll need to have documentation of valid insurance and apply for Austrian license plates directly after importation. Also, vehicles require a customs clearance which is separate from your shipment of household belongings. Not all customs offices can perform this procedure, as it must be completed at the national customs headquarters in the capital city of Vienna (14).



While if you successfully meet all of the requirements, you can import your vehicle without paying duty – a separate NOVA (Normverbrauchsabgabe) tax will still apply. Another term for standard consumption tax, this is based upon how much gasoline your specific vehicle uses. The rate is 8 – 14% of the vehicle’s actual value, as determined by Austrian customs (15).


Your Vehicle: What Paperwork Will You Need?


Schmittenhöhebahn Top Station 2000m, Schmitten, Austria


As you likely expect, you’ll need to show your passport to customs. Some of the other paperwork required, overlaps with the documents needed to import your household goods – including a letter from your employer (which should state that you’ll be working at the company for a minimum of 12 months). An entry certificate issued by the police station in the city where you’ll be living within Austria, is also needed again.

Austrian customs will also request your international driver’s permit, and the Certificate of Title and Registration for the vehicle (issued in the country of origin). You’ll also need to provide the receipt or purchase invoice for the vehicle. A Notice of Basis Assessment (Grundlagenbescheid) is required documentation as well, and you’ll get this from the local customs office in your country of origin. You’ll also need to have your origin country license plates, and you’re required to apply for Austrian license plates directly after importing your vehicle (16).

According to A1 Auto Transport, an international shipping company with more than two decades of experience – you’ll also need an exit certificate and any local registration documents that apply (17). Finally, if you’re planning to drive your vehicle into the country, then you must apply for permission to do so. This is done through the Austrian Frontier Customs Office, using the Form T1 that’s required for authorization (18).





-Music, culture and skiing:


-Infrastructure, healthcare and safety:





Found on:


Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Austria” page.





Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Austria” page.



Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Austria” page.





Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Austria” page.


Found on Moverscom “Customs Regulations – Austria” page.



Found on Moverscom “Customs Regulations – Austria” page.



Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Austria” page.




Austria and Slovenia: Alpine neighbours with intertwined past, present and future

My name is Žiga, born and raised in Maribor, Slovenia and at the moment I am pursuing MSc in Communication Science at the University of Vienna while working at the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. As the story goes, I was always fond of adventures, especially if those adventures included travelling and experiencing unknown.

My first big leap towards studying in a foreign country was during my Bachelor’s studies, when me and my girlfriend Julija decided to go on an ERASMUS exchange for a semester to the University of Lapland, Finland. Having the opportunity to experience international academic sphere, we both agreed that our academic future lies somewhere abroad. Since I’m a bit older than Julija I’ve completed my first Master’s degree in Law and in the meantime Julija completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Seeking new challenges while feeding our “wanderlust”, we decided to move to Vienna, Austria where we are currently both pursuing our Master’s degree while working at the same time.

So, the main question that needs to be addressed is; why did we chose Vienna for our studies and work? Usually, Vienna is not a first-choice destination for most Slovenians as majority of Slovenian expats living in Austria tend to stay “closer” to the home; near the Austrian-Slovenian border where Austrian second largest city, Graz is. However, one can notice a lot of Balkan folks around in Vienna, so for those expats who share the memory of former Balkan stew, Yugoslavia, can find a lot of ex-Yugoslavians wondering around the city. So in a way meeting people from Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia certainly evokes some “home” vibes. Moving from Maribor to Vienna was not a big step, geographically speaking, but when it comes to Viennese’s charm, well that’s quite a step, even for those who are experienced travellers.

However, there is no simple answer to why exactly we chose Vienna for our next study destination and a home, and this is mainly because the reasons behind our decision are somewhat intertwined, so there is no single “because” to “why”. Nonetheless, the most prominent reason is that Vienna is considered as the second-best city in the world for people to live in, meaning, that socio-economic standard is higher in comparison to Slovenia, while still being manageable for young expats and students to build a sustainable livelihood. Apart from that, University of Vienna is well known academic-force, with many renown professors and study programmes. So, the decision to enrol into a research degree, focusing on research at the one of the oldest University in Europe, was an easy decision.

Third reason is basically twofold; historical location and geographical location of the Austrian capital city. Vienna is often referred as the cultural melting pot and because of its role throughout history and geographical location, Vienna represents a bridge between Eastern and Western part of the Europe. I would dare to make an argument that its historical role, meeting of cultures and people coming from all parts of the world to work and live in Vienna, fostered high living standards, including scientific advancements, and a good social mobility as education is mostly free for all EU nationals. On top on that, one can find many jobs available for young professionals at the beginning of their careers. And secondly, when it comes to geographical distance, Vienna and my birth town Maribor are not that far from each other; 260 kilometres is the distance that allows you to visit family and friends quite often, and we are always happy to host our friends and family members at our apartment when they drop by to say hello.

In conclusion, Vienna has a lot to offer, both academic and career-wise, and as the saying goes; luck favours the bold. Vienna fits that saying perfectly. After completing our studies, we plan to stay in Vienna a bit longer to develop professionally and to gain more work experience in our domains, but when our “wanderlust” will strike again we’re going to be ready to move somewhere else to pursue our out-of-the-box lifestyle (we might even move to Melbourne, I hear that this city is the World’s most liveable city…).

So, for all those that are still “on the fence” when it comes to studying and working abroad, this quote by Yahya might trigger your first big leap into the world: “I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the Earth, then I ask myself the same question.

And if I may add – use your wings and dare to experience the world as it is, because when “the day” is over, you can always return back home to tell the tale of your adventures in the unknown.

My study abroad in Austria

My name is Mieke, I’m from the Netherlands and I am studying mechanical engineering. In my third year, we had a semester where we had to follow a minor of our own choice. Because Germany has a huge part in the technical industry, I wanted to improve my German language skills and searched for German courses in my own country. Unfortunately, there was no university that had German classes which also focuses on technical language. I spoke with the coordinator on my school and he suggested looking for a technical study in a German speaking country. It sounded crazy and incredibly difficult to me at that time, but I’m glad that I managed to arrange it.

The choice for a destination wasn’t that hard. I visited Austria many times with my family during holiday trips and I already loved the country. So when I heard my school had partner universities in Austria, my choice was quickly made. At that time I was so excited and scared at the same time. Excited, since I would live in between mountains in Innsbruck, which felt like a dream come true (our highest ‘mountain’ in the Netherlands is only 320 meters tall). But scared, since it would be my first time living on my own, and I chose a place over 800 km away from my family and friends.

The best part about a study abroad is meeting many awesome people. As I had my courses in German, I was the only exchange student in my class at the time. This way, I got to know a lot of locals there and could learn a lot about their

culture. I also joined the Erasmus Student Network in Innsbruck so I met a lot of internationals as well. With every event they had, I made new friends. In that manner, Innsbruck is a great city to choose for your study abroad, since about one third of the people who live there are students. There is always something to do there and it makes the city feel very alive.

During my time abroad 5 months had felt so long. But when I look back now, I would almost say that it was too short. It was long enough to make me feel at home there, but being back home in the Netherlands it almost feels as if it never happened. I really want to go back there sometime or travel to the countries of the internationals I have met. I would definitely recommend everyone to go abroad. It simply is a wonderful experience. Especially in Austria that keeps amazing me with her nature and culture.

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure” – William Feather


My way to Innsbruck

My name is Žana and I am currently completing my Master degree program in Management, communication and IT, at Management center Innsbruck in Austria. I was Born and raised in a small village in the Alps of Slovenia. From the early age I always had great entrepreneurial skills. After high school I knew that Economics are my passion, so I decided to go to Slovenian biggest city, and study there at Faculty of Economics, UL. Being energetic, curious, hardworking, and always looking for new challenges, small Slovenia was soon too small for me, so I decided to study abroad. First, I spend my Erasmus exchange in Ireland, and currently I’m studying in Austria.

So, why did I chose Austria? A lot of people still ask me that, and I have many different answers. First of all, Austria was always very appealing. Being raised at the border of Austria and Slovenia already from the early age I could see how different the conditions are in Austria, which has a higher standard of living than Slovenia. I knew people who left Slovenia and move to Austria and they were really pleased with their decision, and their happines was infecting me. So, after I finished my Bachelor degree I was decided I am going to apply for a Master program in Austria. Secondly, Austria even though the language is different than the one home, has a similar culture and atmosphere than Slovenia. This two points were the main reason why I applied for a Master program in Austria. And what do I think now, after a year living there? I would just say it was the best decision of my life. After moving, my German was not that good, but people were so nice that they talked English to me, so it was easy to find friends. I like the feeling Innsbruck gives me everytime I come there, it is warm and feels like home, even though I am in the different country. I like the mountains, and how active people are around here, I like how my Master program is structured, and how well they take care of their students.

Since I am finishing now my study program, I am pretty sure that even after I will stay in this beautiful country. They offer so much more than my country can. For example I was searching for a student job in the summer, and I literaly found it in a month, that would never happen in Slovenia where job oportunities for young people are really low. As said before, I think going to Austria was best decision in my life, and I would recommend it too everyone who wants to experience something new, but in the same culture as home, and is searching for limitless  after their degree.



From Indonesia to Austria

I will introduce myself, my name is Rebecca, I’m and Indonesian who is currently pursuing my master degree in Communication Science program, in the University of Vienna.

How did I choose Austria as my destination?

To be honest, it was a mere coincidence. My ultimate aim was to study in a developed western country such as Australia, U.K., U.S.A, or any countries in Europe. I tried to get in to some universities in these countries, some accepted me, and some didn’t. After evaluating all universities who accepted me, I chose Austria, specifically Vienna because I always want to live in a big city where I can have an international environment and meeting new young people, but also not a big nasty metropolitan city such as a city where I lived before (I don’t want to say a name :p). So I thought Vienna is perfect for the criteria that I required.

What are my obstacles getting a place to study in Austria?

Visa, or getting the permission to stay here legally. I kept hating my passport during the visa process because there is a rule that as an Indonesian, I have more things to fulfill compare to people from other nationalities (even from Indonesia’s Asian neighbor countries).

What are my obstacles living in Austria?

There is no tough obstacle other than getting the visa. I feel living here is easy and chilled. I have a good life quality, I can bike in the city (which I never did before), I can spend time with friends, studying, reading. All in all, I feel happy living here.

How do I like Austria so far?

I like it so much. Austria is one of the blessed countries in the world that I’ve ever visited. It has amazing natures like the Alps view in Tyrol and Salzburg, the constellation of the lakes in Carinthia, the old city like Hallstatt, and of course the beautiful capital city, Vienna. I am always thanking God for giving me a chance to live in Vienna, one of the most beautiful capital city and the most livable city in the world.

Special message for anyone who’s still deciding where to study?

Please do study abroad or even overseas (any countries will be good as long as it’s not your country). See more of this world. There are so many things to study and learn from other countries and cultures. It will help you to learn about life, to know yourself, your potential and in the end, you will be a better person who has an open mind and a big heart.



If you want to know more about me and or want to read some stories about my traveling diaries, please visit my blog at 😉