Living in Austria

On the homepage of migration.gv you will find a compact overview of the most important areas of public and private life in Austria. Lists of links are provided for all topics, so that you can easily find more detailed information.

Working in Liechtenstein - Cross-border Commuter permit (GMB)

Within the first 10 days after starting work, cross-border commuters must register with the Foreigners and Passport Office in the Principality of Liechtenstein (APA) and apply for a cross-border commuter permit (GMB), which entitles the holder to work in Liechtenstein.

 

The Human Resources department will usually apply for the GMB for you. If the data is available, it will do this in advance and prior to your first day at work.

Living in Liechtenstein

Due to the existing provisions in Liechtenstein, taking up employment in a Liechtenstein company is not automatically equivalent to residing in Liechtenstein. About half of the 32,000 people employed in Liechtenstein are cross-border commuters, i.e. they work in Liechtenstein but live in the border area around Liechtenstein.
 
Special note on the possibility of acquiring a residency permit in Liechtenstein:
As part of a special lottery process, based on the “Green Card” process in the United States, Liechtenstein awards a total of 36 residency permits annually to citizens of the European Economic Area. The lottery takes place twice a year and the periods for registration in the lottery are from February 1 – 28/29, and from August 1 – 31.! Further details can be found on the website of the Foreigners and Passport Office. In particular, note that the fees for both stages of the two-stage lottery must be paid by the respective due date.
 

Residency Permit in Austria

All people who move into or out of accommodation in Austria are subject to the reporting obligation. People who move into or out of accommodation in Austria are therefore obliged to register and deregister at the relevant registration office or local authorities (City of Feldkirch). This must be within three days of moving into the accommodation. If your main place of residence is in Austria, you have to register your primary residence in Austria, otherwise you must register your secondary residence.
Based on experience, it is advisable to register with the municipality even if you have not yet found an apartment (register at your hotel address). When registering, if you specify that you are either Roman Catholic or Protestant, the municipality automatically informs the responsible church tax office. The relevant tax office at the place of residence is informed automatically.
Documents required for registering with the municipality

  • Public records showing surnames and first names, surnames before first marriage, date of birth, place of birth and nationality of the person taking up the accommodation (e.g. passport and birth certificate)
  • Any documentary evidence of academic degrees
  • For people taking up accommodation who do not have Austrian citizenship:
    • Travel document (e.g. passport)
  • When registering a newborn child (at the registration office):
    • The child's birth certificate

Foreign documents must be submitted with a certified German translation, although documentation in English is generally accepted without a translation.
It should be noted that if you work as a cross-border commuter in Liechtenstein and your associated permanent residence is in Austria, this leads to a shift of your center of vital interest and thus your main place of residence. Relocation of the main place of residence to Austria may require further notification obligations (e.g. tax office at the place of residence, church tax office, vehicle registration/NoVa standardized fuel consumption tax), which you should take into account in any case.
 
More details at www.help.gv.at/ in German or English

 

EU/EFTA citizens benefit from visa exemption and have the right to reside in Austria for more than three months if they have sufficient resources and comprehensive health insurance for themselves and their family members and therefore do not need to claim any social benefits or compensatory allowance during their stay.
They must indicate this to the settlement authority. As documentation of their right of residence under European Union law, upon request they will be given a "certificate of registration". A corresponding application must be submitted within four months of entering Austria. After five years of uninterrupted legal residence in Austria, they receive a request for a "certificate of permanent residence". They can also obtain a photo ID for EEA nationals (which is also considered an identity document).
 
Third-country nationals are people who

  • are neither EU citizens/EU citizens (German or English)
  • nor other EEA citizens (from Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway) (German or English)
  • nor Swiss.

Third-country nationals living in Austria for longer than six months or who hold an "ICT" residency permit from another member state and who are staying or wish to stay in Austria, need a residency permit.

Tax office

You must register as a cross-border commuter with the responsible tax office within 14 days after your arrival. The following documents are required:

  • Please fill out the "Beginn einer Tätigkeit als Grenzgänger/Grenzpendler (Verf61)" form in advance
  • Registration form of the Austrian municipality of residence
  • ID card/passport
  • Salary slip or employment contract (information about annual gross salary is sufficient in most cases)

Following registration, you will receive your cross-border commuter permit (you must carry it with you at all times) as well as your tax classification. In Austria, an advance tax payment must be made every quarter (February 15, May 15, August 16 and November 15).

 

If you are not liable for income tax in Austria (e.g. main tax liability is at main place of residence) it is, however, advisable that you register with the tax office in Austria and submit a confirmation from the tax office of your main place of residence, proving that you are fully taxable in your home town. After inspecting the documents, the tax office in Austria will then also issue a registration card for cross-border commuters, stating that you are not taxable in Austria.
If there is no tax due to the amount of income, a cross-border commuter card will still be issued.
 
Further information is available from the tax office at the following address:
Finanzamt Feldkirch (FA98)            
Grenzgängerreferat (4. Stock)                       
Reichstr. 154                                                                  
6800 Feldkirch                                           
Tel. +43 50 233 233  

CONSULATE

You should register with your country’s embassy or consulate to ensure that it has been properly noted in your home country that you are living abroad.
A list of all foreign embassies and consulates in Austria can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry.
 

SEARCHING FOR AN APARTMENT

According to your integration agreement, you will be assisted by a relocation partner in the search for an apartment. To get an idea of the current housing offers in advance, visit the following websites:

Ländleimmo
Immoagent
Immobilien
Immoscout24
Privatimmobilien
Immodirekt
Miethaus
findmyhome

Once you have officially started at Hilti you will be given access to the "flea market" on REDi where you can view offers from Hilti employees.
 

Real Estate Agents

In most cases, a real estate agent is involved in the search for accommodation. A real estate agent brings together owners/landlords and prospective tenants and ensures that a rental agreement is drawn up.

Additional information:
Mietervereinigung (tenants association)

In addition, employees of Hilti AG are granted a discount of 5% off the handling fees.
When submitting a request, you must specify that you are a Hilti employee.
 
Mag. Kofler Vermögenstreuhand GmbH
A-6840 Götzis
Tel. 0043 5523 53156-27
E-mail
 

CONCLUSION OF A RENTAL AGREEMENT

A rental agreement is a verbal, written or tacit agreement between a landlord and a tenant for a specific rental property at a specific rental price. The vast majority of rental apartments in Austria are subject to the Landlord and Tenant Act, that is for many houses that were built before World War II.
The advantage of this kind of rental-protected apartment in Austria lies in the fact that there is simply better protection for you as a tenant in many areas (composition of rent, operating costs and maintenance etc.).

Therefore, always ask if the Landlord and Tenant Act (MRG) applies for the rental apartment and when the building was constructed. If possible, also define this in writing in the rental agreement.
Always check if it is a master rental agreement or a sub-rental agreement.
 

Duration of the agreement

Before signing your rental agreement, also consider how long you want to live in the apartment and whether a fixed-term or indefinite rental agreement is more attractive to you.
 
A tenancy is always fixed term if the end of the rental period is determined upon conclusion of the rental agreement and is also stated in writing, such as: "The tenancy starts on January 1, 2013 and ends on December 31, 2016".

 

In the case of rental-protected MRG apartments in Austria, irrespective of whether it is a master or sub-rental agreement, a fixed-term rental agreement must always have a statutory minimum period of three years.
 

RENT AND OPERATING COSTS

The rent is divided into net rent and operating costs. The operating costs usually include heating, water, general electricity, garbage fees and administrative fees etc. In addition, there is 10% value-added tax. If this is not listed separately, it is already included in the specified rent.

ELECTRICITY AND ADDITIONAL COSTS / ENERGY SUPPLY

To deregister, register or switch your energy supply systems (gas, electricity, district heating), contact your energy provider. In most cases, termination must be submitted in writing, under observation of a notice period.
Electricity and water charges as well as general additional costs are initially charged on a flat-rate basis. At the end of the year, the costs are then billed on the basis of the actual consumption (invoice for additional charges).

Further information as well as details for the registration of gas, water and electricity are available at the following address:
Stadtwerke Feldkirch
24-hour hotline: 05522 9000
 

DEPOSIT (RENTAL DEPOSIT)

The rental deposit is a security deposit. It serves as a default reserve for landlords for all future claims related to the tenancy, such as if the apartment is returned damaged or if the rent is not paid. It therefore only has to be paid after or upon conclusion of the rental agreement. You are not obliged to make advance payments or the like! We advise you to hand over the deposit accompanied by a written receipt and to document this in the rental agreement. If you move out of your apartment and terminate the contract, you must prove that you have handed over a deposit. It is very difficult to prove a deposit that was only agreed verbally!

 

In principle, the deposit including any interest must be paid back to you immediately after you have returned the apartment. Parts of the deposit may only be retained for damage to the apartment that goes beyond the usual wear and tear. If the landlord does not pay back the deposit (in full), you should request the repayment by means of a registered letter.
 

TERMINATION AND MOVING OUT EARLY

In the case of a fixed-term tenancy, you are not permitted to give notice during the first year, and thereafter with three months' notice to the end of the month. For indefinite rental agreements, the notice period that you have agreed in your rental agreement applies. If no notice period is specified in the rental agreement, the statutory notice period of one month applies. It is advisable to submit the notice of termination in writing by means of registered letter.

As a tenant, you are required to comply with the notice periods defined in the agreement or with the statutory notice periods. The landlord cannot be forced to let you move out of the apartment earlier, even if you propose a new tenant. It is only possible to move out in the case of a mutually agreed termination of the rental agreement, to which both contracting parties must agree.

 

In what condition does the apartment have to be returned?
You should always return the apartment in the same condition as when you rented it, minus all traces of normal wear and tear. The landlord must therefore accept all wear and tear that is in relation to normal living behavior and therefore occurs everywhere, unless otherwise expressly agreed. In individual cases, however, wear and tear is a matter of interpretation. All furniture that has not been rented with the apartment must be removed, and the apartment must be returned clean if it was clean at the start of the tenancy. When you move in, take photos of the condition of the apartment; this also makes it easier to prove the condition when you move out.

Do I have to paint the apartment white when I move out? The apartment must be returned in the same condition as when you took it over, minus all traces of ordinary wear and tear. If walls are painted in another color, this is also classed as standard wear and tear. However, according to case law, the landlord has the right to light-colored walls. A bright red or black wall would therefore need to be painted over. The effectiveness of the color obligations set out in the agreement is frequently fiercely debated.
 

INFORMATION/LEGAL CONSULTATION

Sample letters

All information on Austrian rental law is available from the Österreichischen Mieterverband (Austrian Tenants Association).

Further information is also available from the Mietervereinigung advisory service.
You can find further information on tenancy law for tenants in the Mietrecht für Mieter (AK Vorarlberg) brochure.
 

RADIO/TV

As radios and TV sets in Austria are subject to a fee, they must be registered.
In order to register or cancel the license fees, you must fill out the respective form and send it to the GIS. You can also register online. You can obtain the printed forms for registering, canceling or modifying the license fees

  • directly from the GIS
  • from municipal authority offices
  • Raiffeisenbank branches

TELEPHONE/INTERNET

There are different providers in Austria for Internet, mobile phones and landline phones. It is advisable to compare the costs. The portal of the Arbeiterkammer (Chamber of Labor) offers tips about telephony and the Internet. A1  is the Austrian subsidiary of the Telekom Austria Group – the leading telecommunications provider.

The international dialing code for Austria is 0043. You must then enter the number without (0).

Waste

In Austria, waste is separated and sorted according to:

  • Organic waste
  • Yellow bag for plastics
  • Residual waste + bulky waste
  • Glass
  • Paper
  • Scrap metal
  • Special waste according to separate announcement or at the recycling center

 
As a rule, garbage cans are not used in Austria. Instead, special garbage bags of various sizes are used, which can be bought from all local town councils or municipalities as well as from some grocery stores. These bags are used for organic waste  and residual waste. The yellow bags are used for clean plastic waste and are also available free of charge from the municipalities and town councils. Only waste in the municipal garbage bags is collected (for bulky waste you can buy stamps, which you simply stick onto the waste). You can ask your municipality of residence for a waste calendar specifying all details and collection dates.

 

For glass, paper and scrap metal, there are public collection points.
 
In addition to the usage-based waste costs for the bags, you will also receive a separate invoice for a basic waste fee via your electricity bill or via your municipality of residence. General waste costs are also charged in some cases via the invoice for additional charges.
Further details can be found on the websites of the Umweltverband (environmental association), the municipalities of residence, the federal state of Vorarlberg and on this homepage.

Under this link  there is a poster explaining waste separation in various languages.
 

Pets

Entry regulations vary according to the type and age of the animal, and which country you are entering from. You must agree directly with the owner/landlord whether or not you may keep a pet in the apartment.