Alex Hammond

Digital Communications Officer, British Embassy Vienna

Guest blogger for Leigh Turner

Part of UK in Austria

24th November 2020 Vienna, Austria

Embassy Q&A for UK nationals in Austria – Thursday 26 November 2020

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO TOOK PART IN THIS Q&A. We have now responded to your comments here and on facebook. You can find a document with all of the questions and answers here.

The British Embassy Vienna is running an online Q&A session on our embassy facebook page on Thursday 26 November.

At midday on Thursday, we will publish a post where you can ask questions in the comments. The post will be open for comments until 14:00. It is important you comment only on the original post and not on shares, because we cannot always see comments on shared posts. If you are not on facebook, you can leave questions as comments on this blog post.

We will publish the answers in the week starting 30 November, here and on facebook.

We will do our best to answer everything. But we should say in advance that there are a couple of specific topics on which we cannot offer guidance.  One is about buying property in Austria after the end of the transition, which is regulated at a regional level.  You should contact the regional authorities directly.  Another is tax, where questions are best addressed to an accountant. There may be other topics where we are not in a position to give a definitive answer.

We recently updated our Living in Austria guide with more info on the new residency cards for 2021. If you haven’t already done so, please check it out and sign up for email updates on that page.

If you have any questions that you would rather not ask on social media, you can always contact the FCDO consular team.

We look forward to hearing from you.

64 comments on “Embassy Q&A for UK nationals in Austria – Thursday 26 November 2020

  1. Thanks to the Embassy team for your helpful answers! It would be great if you could also please answer James S’s question about whether the calendar year or some other method will be used by MA35 to assess the allowable temporary absences “not exceeding six months a year” for the 5 year card.
    Will holders need to keep meticulous notes and proof of every day spent in Austria or abroad?

    1. Hello Simon. We have passed the question on periods of absence to the Austrian authorities and will respond once we have confirmation. Either way, it will be a good idea to keep a note of dates if you spend a lot of time abroad.

  2. Is there any guidance on what the minimum number of employment hours required is for residency purposes?

    What checks and balances will be in place for appeals/complaints under the new “Aufenthaltstitel Art 50 EUV” from January 2021?

    Can you confirm the continuing transferability of NI contributions during the Transition Period.

    Can a contract as proof of employment be accepted when applying for the Aufenthaltstitel Art 50 EUV card even where the contract is issued with an end date only a short time in the future?

    1. There is no published minimum income or number of hours. When applying for the Article 50 residence card, you will need to provide evidence of your personal situation (as a worker, student, self-sufficient person, British family member or British spouse of an Austrian national) and proof of comprehensive health insurance.

      UK nationals and their family members have a wide range of routes of redress and complaint available to them under the Withdrawal Agreement and elsewhere.

      These routes broadly mirror those currently available to UK nationals when exercising free movement rights in the EU.

      UK nationals can complain to relevant public bodies in Member States and are granted a statutory right of appeal (administrative and judicial review) in their Member State of residence under the Withdrawal Agreement.

      UK nationals will continue to have access to the European Commission’s complaints system; Your Europe Advice; CHAPs; the European Ombudsman; and “PETI”, the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions.

      The European Commission will continue to monitor compliance with EU law via complaints or on its own initiative. This includes rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

      Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU’s social security coordination rules will continue to apply in full to individuals in full scope, including UK nationals living and/ or working in the EU and EU citizens living and/ or working in the UK by the end of December 2020, for as long as they remain in full scope.

      We have passed your question about temporary contracts to the Austrian authorities and will get back to you.

  3. Good afternoon. I have three questions:
    1. I have a BdD certificate and ID card. Are these still valid in 2021 until I can get an appointment to apply for the new card?
    2. What is our status legally in 2021 until we are able to obtain the new card? I presume this period of time is not considered a gap in legal residence when, for example, applying for Austrian nationality? Especially as we have not been given the possibility to apply before the end of 2020.
    3. What is the situation re leaving/re-entering Austria in the period from 1 January until an appointment for application for the new card is available?
    Many thanks!

    1. Hello Marie-Therese. Yes, your documents will remain valid during the 12 month application period starting 1 January 2021 until you get your Article 50 card. When leaving the country please carry your documents with you as proof of your residence when required.

  4. I am a British national and have been living in Vienna for the last three years. I understand that people who have lived in Austria for fewer than five years will obtain the 5-year version of the EU50 card. Can this be upgraded to the 10-year version after I have personally been here for five years in total (i.e. in two years time for me) or would I have to wait until the 5-year card expires before renewing to the 10-year version.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hello Dom. Yes, holders of the 5-year Art 50 card will obtain the Daueraufenthaltsrecht after 5 years of residence in the country. It’s up to you whether to apply for a 10-year card right after that point or after the expiration of your 5-year card some time later.

  5. Will the British Embassy in Austria stay neutral on the very real possibility of Scottish independence? For many of us this is our last hope of retaining our rights as EU citizens.

    1. Hi Kirsty. As the UK’s official representation in Austria, the British Embassy will continue to represent the view of the British government on any policy issue.

    1. Hello Angus and thanks for your question. UK nationals living in the EU (or EEA EFTA states and Switzerland) and who return to the UK to study will continue to be eligible for student support from Student Finance, home fee status, Further Education 19+ and apprenticeship funding provided they meet the prevailing published eligibility requirements. The Government has decided to extend this right so that UK nationals living in the EU or Switzerland will continue to be eligible for support for courses starting within seven years of the end of the transition period (1 January 2021). The devolved administrations have made similar commitments. Education and skills funding is devolved and the exact entitlements and eligibility may vary between the separate parts of the UK.

  6. I have lived in Austria for 20 years. My parents are still living in the UK. If I need to care for them as they get older can I bring them to Austria or do I have to move back? Will they get social security in Austria?

    1. Hello Angus, thanks for your question. The Withdrawal Agreement means that UK nationals in scope can be joined by close family members in their host state at any point in the future, on the basis of current EU rules, where the relationship existed before the end of the transition period.

    1. Hello A.R. You will need to renew the 10-year card with a new photo for another 10 years, but the residency status is permanent.

  7. I have a Dauer EU Bescheinigung but am currently not working (but hope to again as soon as the pandemic is over). Will I still be eligible to apply for a 10 year EU50 card? I have state health insurance through my long-term Austrian partner’s permanent, full-time employment and we have sufficient financial resources so that I do not need to claim benefits.

    When the 10 year EU50 card expires, will the renewal process be the same again for another 10 years?

    Will potential employers be able to employ holders of an EU50 card just as easily as they do EU citizens, or will this still entail extra paperwork ? (which may put some employers off)

    Please can you confirm that we may access all healthcare as normal (routine as well as emergency) before and during the application process, provided we have Austrian state health insurance.

    1. Hello and thanks for your questions.

      If you have permanent residency in Austria you can apply for an Article 50 card that will be valid for 10 years. When the Article 50 card expires, you will need to apply for a new card with an updated photo, but your residency status is permanent for as long as you stick to the terms set out in the Withdrawal Agreement. For more details and to check your personal situation, please contact the Brexit Helpline set up by the Austrian government: service@bka.gv.at (who will also be able to answer your question on healthcare).

      The Austrian government have published more details on the Article 50 card here: https://www.bundeskanzleramt.gv.at/en/topics/brexit/residency-and-access-to-the-labour-market.html

      If you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, the principle of non-discrimination on nationality grounds enables you to continue to take up employment on the same basis as citizens of your Member State of residence. In Austria, some public-sector professions are restricted by nationality.

  8. I am a Brit needing to stay in Wien now and much of next year to help care for my very ill mother in law. We are here now and will be over the end of the year. I need to drive a car here- and would like to know if I can continue to use my UK driving license?

    1. Hello Alan and thanks for getting in touch. One question, two answers… If you are resident in Austria, you should exchange your license. According to a draft Austrian law, we understand you will have 6 months to do so from 1st Jan 2021. If you are resident in the UK, your UK license would be valid for trips to Austria (but the time you can spend in Austria would be limited by Schengen visa restrictions to 90 out of 180 days).

  9. I am a Brit needing to stay in Wien now and much of next year to help care for my very ill mother in law. We are here now and will be over the end of the year. I need to drive a car here- and would like to know if I can continue to use my UK driving license?

  10. My adult son, late thirtes, British citizen, has had mental health problems for many years (depression, autism as far as we know) and has struggled to lead a ‘normal’ life for several years. He has lived in Austria for about 25 years, went to school and university here and was in employment on and off. Unfortunately he does not admit to his mental problems and refuses to discuss them with us, his parents. He gets aggressive every time we try to start the subject and discuss his options re Brexit, what he needs to do to stay in Austria legally. I am pretty sure he has no BdD and I fear he would find it difficult to meet the employment requirements if he applies for Art.50EUV card next year. Needless to say, we are extremely worried and don’t know what to do. My question: where can we/he get help (legal, social security, perhaps even legal guardianship)? Both parents have Austrian or dual A./Br. citizenship (ironically he could have had dual citizenship too when we moved to A. all those years ago – too late now).

  11. If as a UK citizen you meet the right of residence criteria under the Withdrawal Agreement in more than one EU country (for example you may have gained permanent residence in one EU country after more than five years working there, and recently, before the end of the Transition Period, you moved to work and reside in another EU country), can you apply for protection of your Withdrawal Agreement rights in more than one country?

    1. Hello Simon, thanks for your question.

      If you have gained a permanent residence in one EU country, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement if you return there within five years of your departure (however, depending on the host country rules, you may have to apply for a new permanent residence status under the Withdrawal Agreement). You can apply for protection of your Withdrawal Agreement rights in another EU country, but still to retain the rights to permanent residence in a country you lived before for a certain period. Please have a look at the relevant Living in Guides for the countries you’re interested in which you can find on GOV.UK.

  12. As a professor in a private university in Austria, I also have this question. Is it necessary to apply for recognition of my UK degrees before Dec 31?

  13. You advise to change UK driving licences for an Austrian one before the end of Transition Period. But what if you’ve already exchanged your UK driving licence in another EU country, and have since moved to Austria with your (non-Austrian) EU licence? Should you still exchange your EU license for an Austrian one before Dec 31? (The question arises because Austria does not always permit exchange of EU licenses that were themselves obtained by exchange from third country licenses.)

    1. Hello Simon and thanks for your question.

      Our advice is to exchange UK driving licences for an Austrian one. Holders of licences issued in other jurisdictions must abide by Austrian regulations for that jurisdiction.

      If you have an licence from another EU country, you are not required to exchange your licence when you move within the EU. However, if you are, or intend to be, a long-term resident, it may be advisable to exchange your licence for an Austrian one.

  14. My wife and I moved to Austria in 2010 from the UK (both British from birth). I took Austrian citizenship before the birth of my first child here so that she could have dual nationality. As a former British citizen, I still have all my family in the UK, I’m repaying my student loan, and I’m also studying part-time by distance at a UK university. Therefore, we return home regularly, and this won’t change after Brexit. In fact, I may need to spend longer than 6 months in the UK if my relatives fall ill, and obviously I wouldn’t be able to organise a job that meets the minimum income requirement of £26,000 in advance. We might also want to return to the UK in the future, for example after inheriting property.

    I’ve tried contacting the EU settlement scheme many times to enquire about my situation, but it’s impossible to speak to anyone. From all the documentation I’ve read, it appears that I can register for settled status. I’ve started the EU settlement scheme application online, but from the automatic check of my NI number, the system says it requires more information as I haven’t earned money in the UK in the previous 5 years.

    Could you please provide information about whether I am eligible to apply for the settled or pre-settled status (using my parents’ address), and, if so, which documentation I could feasibly use to prove my link to the UK (e.g. bank account statement, student status etc.)?

    With thanks.

  15. I have received a letter from my bank that they want to close my account as I am living in Austria by year-end. I have tried to get an online account elsewhere,but they wont let me register from a non-British address and some of my payments cant be moved to my Austrian bank – due to needing sort codes and not IBAN. What can I do?

    1. Hello Theresa and thanks for your question.

      We expect banks to treat customers fairly and provide them with timely communications that enable them to make appropriate decisions. The FCA continues to engage with firms to ensure they are meeting these expectations. However, the provision of banking services is a commercial decision for firms based on a variety of factors, including the local law and regulation of specific EU countries. Please contact your bank directly.

  16. Does every British national have to apply for the new ID card as of January 2020? I am a British national married to a German national and we have been living in Austria for 7 years. I am due to start a new job on the 1st Dec, but have not been asked for my UK degrees to be nostrified, and have all the most recent residency requirements fulfilled.

  17. Could you advise what to do next January when someone has been ‘angemeldet’ for 4 years, one of which was as a student? Will it be possible to get the post-Brexit residency permit? And what will the post-Brexit residency permit require?

    For people who are registered as students, how does this count towards the number of years required to get post-Brexit fast-track residency permit?

    Thanks!

    1. Hello Deborah and thanks for your question.

      If you have been living in Austria for less than 5 years, you will be eligible for an ‘Article 50’ residence card with 5 years’ validity. You will need to provide evidence of your personal situation (as a worker, student, self-sufficient person, British family member or British spouse of an Austrian national) and proof of comprehensive health insurance.

      Once you have been here for more than five years, you may be eligible for long-term/permanent residency status. Time as a student counts as time in Austria. Please have a look at the Austrian government’s Brexit FAQs for further information: https://www.bundeskanzleramt.gv.at/en/topics/brexit/residency-and-access-to-the-labour-market.html

  18. I came out to Austria at the end of October ahead of the ski season and spent time self-isolating and then Austria locked down. The ski shop I was due to start working at told me that they are not sure if the resort will open as planned and they will probably have to lay me and others off until the New Year. I don’t know if I will even be able to work then – when I was arranging this season in a resort I had worked at until March they just told me to make sure I get here before the start of the season, and over the summer advised that we might need to arrive early to isolate. Am I able to get any unemployment money or access any hardship funds?

  19. I am a British citizen retired in Austria and receiving a British pension. The Austrian requirements are “… or be able to afford your stay in Austria without receiving social welfare benefits for yourself and your family members ..” .
    Do you have any information regarding what are these financial requirements are? My wife is a German citizen – does that have any bearing on the financial requirements?

    1. Hello and thanks for your comment. Pension income counts towards the income requirement, but the exact requirement varies by province. In your circumstances, we recommend that you contact the Austrian authorities directly. The Austrian Government has set up a special hotline for questions about Brexit: +43 (0) 800 222 666 (free of charge within Austria, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) You can also email: service@bka.gv.at

  20. My wife and I have lived in Vienna since the end of 2003 and have always had a valid Meldezettel since then. We do not have any other type of residence permit, believing that a Meldezettel is sufficient based on the information posted on official Government website:
    “A valid registration counts as a registration certificate [Anmeldebescheinigung] for EEA citizens and Swiss people and their relatives who have a right of residence, established their legal residence in Austria before 1 January 2006 and are registered pursuant to the Austrian Meldegesetz.”
    Is that understanding correct or do we need to take any other action before applying for Art. 50 EUV? Other than a Meldezettel, what additional evidence of residence would be required/accepted?
    Thank you.

    1. Hello David, thanks for your question.

      If you have lived in Austria since before 1 January 2006, your original residence registration form will also be your registration certificate. The authorities may ask for more evidence of your life in Austria when you apply for the Article 50 card next year, but the Interior Ministry have repeatedly assured us they are “looking for reasons to grant status, not to refuse status”.

      Please see the Austrian government’s Brexit FAQs for further information: https://www.bundeskanzleramt.gv.at/en/topics/brexit/residency-and-access-to-the-labour-market.html

  21. I moved to Austria from the USA mid-August this year and now consider myself ‘settled’ here. As a British citizen, I applied 13 months ago to the MA-35 for the Anmeldebescheinigung; they have been spectacularly unresponsive. I submitted the final piece of documentation early November, i.e. proof of adequate health insurance (with Cigna as a UN retiree) together with a supplementary declaration from Cigna confirming I have insurance equal to that of any Austrian citizen, and still have no news of where my application stands. I have been fobbed off by the Ministry of the Interior when I tried to approach them on this issue. I have 3 questions:

    1. Do I absolutely need the Anmeldebescheinigung to apply for the new Artikel 50 card?
    2. Can the UK Embassy assist me in seeking a satisfactory outcome with the MA-35?
    3. If I do not get the Anmeldebescheinigung by 31 December 2020, will this negatively affect my ability to exchange my UK driving licence for an Austrian one?
    Thank you.

    1. Hello Yvonne and thanks for your comment.

      1. The key thing the Austrian authorities will look at when you apply for the Article 50 card in 2021 is whether you have been living in Austria. You will have to bring evidence that can prove that. The Anmeldebescheinigung could be part of that evidence.

      2. The Embassy cannot intervene in individual cases with the MA35, but we have raised the concerns of UK nationals in this Q&A (and elsewhere) with the Austrian authorities and will continue to do so

      3. According to a draft update to Austria’s law, you will have until the end of June 2021 to exchange your UK license for an Austrian one.

  22. Hello,
    I currently have my Anmeldebescheinigung and Meldezettel (Moved to Austria in May 2020) and I will apply for the new EUV 50 card early next year. For the 5 year card it says we can have absences up to 6 months every 12 months for 5 years to retain continuous residency.

    I’m a bit confused as to how these absences are calculated and from when we are counting? Is it the day we were issued our Meldezettel?

    I’d like to study in the UK for 6 months Jan- June but don’t want to lose my residency rights and would like to obtain permanent residency after 5 years.

    Thanks

    1. Hello and thanks for your question. We forwarded it to the Ministry of Interior, who say:

      “In order to be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement you must have residence in Austria. Absences of more than six months are usually harmful (in special circumstances a leave for absences up to 12 month are permissible*). The calculation is on a rolling period and not per calendar year. It is up to you to prove continued residence. A Meldezettel is a strong indication of residence.”

      “Please also note: If you already have long term resident status (i.e. hold a residence permit “Artikel 50 EUV” including the word “Daueraufenthalt” you may be absent from Austria for up to five years without losing your status).”

      *Note from the embassy: continuity of residence is not affected by one absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months for important reasons, such as pregnancy and childbirth, a serious illness, study or vocational training or a posting abroad.

  23. I am a British citizen and obtained my “BdD” (permanent residence status) in January of 2019. I am aware that I need to now apply for the Art. 50 EUV residence card by the end of 2021 (will do so in January…), which will be the 10-year renewable residency card as I have been here since long before 2006. I am also now considering becoming an Austrian citizen and would like to know what the benefits of Austrian citizenship might be as opposed to a holder of the Art. 50 EUV 10-year residency permit status. Which rights will I lose and which might I gain? I am unable to find answers to these questions online, and have been unable to reach anyone at MA35 for weeks. I send an email weeks ago but have had no response to date. With the Art. 50 card, am I obligated to have taken a German proficiency exam, etc. Would appreciate any information/advice as to whom I may contact to find out.

    1. Hello and thanks for your question.

      We cannot offer advice on the advantages/disadvantages of applying for Austrian citizenship, other than to say you would likely be required to give up your UK citizenship in line with Austrian nationality law. You may wish to share experiences with other members of the British community in Austria, who have been through the process of applying for Austrian citizenship. There is no German language requirement when applying for the Article 50 card.

  24. Hello. I have been in Vienna for 2 months now, originally as a tourist but also working for my UK employer remotely. I’ve been staying in various AirBNBs and I don’t even have a Meldezettel. I’ve now decided I’d like to stay long-term, but I will be returning to the UK for Christmas, coming back in January. How can I officially exercise my desire to remain resident in Vienna before 13th December, especially considering I won’t return until January? The UK Gov website suggests I need both a Meldezettel and Anmeldebescheinigung, but the latter it is not possible to get an appointment for before January.

    Thank you.

    1. Hello George and thanks for your question.

      The key thing is whether you are living here legally and the Anmeldebescheinigung can help prove that in 2021. You are required by law to get a residence registration form (Meldezettel/Meldebestaetigung) within 3 days of moving into your new home and get a registration certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung) within 4 months of arriving in Austria. You will also need to apply for the new Article 50 card next year to keep living here. If you are in Vienna, you can already book an appointment to do that using this link: https://www.wien.gv.at/english/administration/civilstatus/immigration/residence/brexit.html

      We hope this helps.

  25. Both my husband and I are British nationals who have been living and working in Austria for almost 2 years. We have our Anmeldebescheinigung and Meldezettel. We are due to have our first child in March and I wonder what the process will be for registration of the baby. Will there be issues if we have not received our own EU50 card before the birth? Will the baby be able to apply for the EU50 card in the same way as us or will there be different paperwork required for him/her to remain here with us? Of course any delay to this paperwork is a delay in maternity pay, so a clear answer would be much appreciated.

    1. Hello and thanks for your question. We forwarded it to the Ministry of Interior, who say:

      “First of all congratulations to you both. From the Ministry of the Interior’s point of view I can provide guidance on the residence aspect. With the paper proving that you have applied for the residence permit (Bescheinigung über die Antragstellung) you will be able to show your continued legal stay in Austria until you are issued the residence permit.”

      “You will have to apply for a residence permit for your child in the same way as you apply for yourself. You and your child will have until 31st December 2021 to do so (according to the planned ordinance). You will need his/her birth certificate and a passport photo. Your child should have a British passport at the time of application.”

      “For further information regarding your new baby see here: https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/themen/familie_und_partnerschaft/geburt.html”

      1. I am also due to have a baby in Innsbruck in early February. Given the delays in Tirol which mean that it isn’t possible to apply for the 50EUV before the child is born, do you foresee any issues? i.e. it will not be possible for us to get the ‘Bescheinigung über die Antragstellung’ before the birth as recommended above. Thank you.

        1. Hello, thanks for your comment and congratulations on your good news. The authorities in Tyrol are now giving appointments/issuing Article 50 cards, so please contact them directly and explain your situation. According to Austrian law, you have the whole of 2021 to apply for the new Article 50 cards, and your access to healthcare/services is guaranteed in the meantime.

  26. Sir. If after the 30th Dec 2020 we decide to move back to the UK and take our belongings with us, could there be a tax/import problem at UK border, or would the ‘open door’ policy still apply when UK nationals move back home?

  27. While in the process of applying for a new job with an Austrian company they have questioned about whether I need to nostrify my UK degrees (undergraduate and postgraduate) that pre-date Bologna. I have never had this request before now and have held a number of positions with various companies here in Austria.

    1. As a professor in a private university in Austria, I also have this question. Is it necessary to apply for recognition of my UK degrees before Dec 31?

    2. Hello John and thanks for your question. The recognition of academic degrees is not affected by the UK leaving the EU. It is important to apply before the end of 2020 for recognition of any professional qualifications in regulated professions (such as law, nursing, teaching, etc).

Leave a Reply

Read our Guidelines for commenting

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.