House and home
There are numerous online property portals to help you in your search for somewhere to live. Here you can find a selection of websites which offer accommodation throughout Austria:
In these 'Wohnungsbörsen' (accommodation exchange services), the cost of rent is usually given as 'Nettomiete' – 'net rent'. A 'Nettomiete' includes only those costs which are payable for making the accommodation available for use. The actual sum to be paid by the tenant to the landlord is called 'Bruttomiete' – 'gross/total rent'. This 'Bruttomiete' by contrast includes the 'Nettomiete' and the running costs (sometimes also called 'Nebenkosten' - associated costs). The 'Bruttomiete' covers, for example, water rates and waste disposal and various other charges required for the maintenance of the property.
Careful Electricity costs are often not counted as running costs! You should therefore always clarify in advance, just which costs are included in the 'Bruttomiete'.
Rental agreement (lease)
A rental agreement represents the written or spoken contractual rights and obligations of the landlord and the tenant. In a rental agreement, the landlord and the tenant must be named fully, as well as all the ancillary rooms included in the rent (e.g. garage, parking and storage spaces ...) and rented objects. In addition, the amount of rent (net rent and associated costs) and, in the case of a temporary lease, the rental period must be specified. With regard to temporary leases, as there are very few cases when it is legally possible to terminate the agreement, it is recommended that an exit clause be included in the lease.
Terminating a rental agreement
The lease can be terminated by both the tenant and the landlord. For both, statutory periods of notice apply, which must be met in terminating the agreement. Normally, a permanent lease may be terminated within the statutory period of notice of one month. With a fixed-term lease, the deadline specified in the contract must be complied with.
Here you can find a model letter for terminating a rental agreement: www.arbeiterkammer.com
Registering at the Residents' Registration Service
Everyone taking up residence in Austria is obliged to register with the relevant residents' registration authority. It is possible to register either in person or by mail. Minors must be filed by the legal guardian. For registration, you need the registration form. It is available for download, from the authority's office or can be purchased at tobacconists.
Downloadable registration form: www.help.gv.at
Telephone & Internet, Mobile phone
Telephone and internet connections are often available from the same provider. Below, you will find some links about this:
Electricity, gas and district heating
To sign up for electricity, gas and district heating, apply in good time to the energy supplier. The liberalisation of the energy market in Austria means that everyone can now choose for themselves the most suitable electricity and gas suppliers.
Here you will find information about comparing electricity suppliers: www.durchblicker.at
And here for comparing gas prices:
Broadcasting licence fee
A licence fee must be paid for all radio equipment (radio, TV, computers). The fees vary from state to state and are about 20 to 25 euros per month.
Austria has one of the highest recycling rates in the world. In the vast majority of Austrian households, rubbish is sorted meticulously. As there are regional differences in waste separation, you should find out the details from the municipality or city administration. Non-compliance with the rules on waste separation can lead to criminal charges and fines.
Waste paper: use this bin for paper, cardboard boxes, newspapers, catalogues, books and magazines.
Glass: glass must be sorted by colour. White, green and brown glass are collected separately. The lids of glass bottles and jars must be removed beforehand - they go in the yellow bin. Returnable bottles do not belong in the glass container.
Plastic packaging: this bin is used for plastic packaging (plastic bottles, plastic film, plastics ...), composite materials (tetra pack, coffee packaging, milk cartons ...), and screw caps of bottles and jars.
Metal packaging: this is for metal packaging (such as aluminum foil, drinks cans ...) and also small items of scrap metal (wire, saucepans, nails and screws). Larger metal objects (stoves, cookers, bathtubs) must be taken to the recycling centre, waste collection centre or waste disposal site.
Collect harmful substances separately: pollutants must be collected separately, as improper disposal can cause lasting damage to the environment. This category includes batteries, rechargeable batteries, energy saving lamps, medicines, paints, pesticides. These materials can either be returned to the shop where they were bought or taken to the community's centre for hazardous household waste .
Organic waste in the compost bin: the compost bin (could be possibly brown or green, varying from state to state) is for fruit and vegetable scraps, fruit peel, coffee grounds and tea bags, garden waste and paper kitchen towels.
Everything else goes in the residual waste bin: it may be either a black or grey container, depending on the state. All the remaining waste is collected here, such as rubber waste, ash and cigarette ends, leather goods, toiletries, nappies ...
You can find more information about correct waste separation here:
Citizens of the EU Member States who want to work in Austria do not as a rule require a work permit. An exception to this are transitional rules for the new EU member states Romania and Bulgaria.
Nationals of third countries on the other hand need a residence title 'permanent residence - EC', a 'Red-White-Red Card plus' or a certificate of settlement. One of these titles normally allows the holder to take up paid employment without further requirements. Anyone without such a residence permit needs a licence pursuant to the Aliens Employment Act in order to engage in paid employment in Austria.
- Employment Service Austria (AMS) www.ams.at
- Professional recognition in Austria: www.berufsanerkennung.at
- Red-White-Red Card www.migration.gv.at
Links for job hunting in Austria
Drafts for a good CV:
A contract of employment
The employment contract is concluded by the employer and the employee in order to oblige the employee to carry out the promised work and the employer to pay wages. The obligations of the employer and of the employee are documented in the contract. In principle, the contract need not be in any particular form, but, as a minimum, the employer must give the employee a service note. This service note is an overview in key words of the agreements made and the essential rights and obligations.
Both the employee and the employer have the right to terminate the employment contract. Notice may be oral or in writing, but, for purposes of proof, it is recommended that written notice be provided. Unless agreed otherwise in the employment contract, the period of notice for the employee with an open-ended contract is one month. For the employer, the period of notice depends on the length of employment and ranges from 6 weeks to 5 months. With fixed-term contracts, the duration of the contract must be complied with, but if stated in the contract, periods of notice can also be set down here.
Link to a free form of notice:
Forms of work
Normal working hours The law is based on a normal working day of 8 hours, five days per week. In many collective agreements, however, a shorter standard working week is laid down.
NB Ensure you have a written record of the actual distribution of your working hours.
Part-time work: Workers who take part-time employment usually have a shorter working week than a full-time employee. This form of work results from negotiation between the employee and the employer.
Marginal Employment: Workers who are in 'marginal employment' are also part-time employees. Marginal workers are only insured against accidents and not against sickness or for their pension. They are, however, entitled to holidays, sickness benefits, bonuses, severance pay, etc.
Short-time working: Short-time working is the temporary reduction of normal working hours due to a significant loss of work within the company. It can affect all or only some of the employees.
Parental leave and part-time work for older employees Under certain conditions, parents with children under 7 years of age have the right to parental leave. 'Altersteilzeit' allows older workers the opportunity of reducing their working hours.
Self-employment Taking up self-employment refers to setting up one's own business. The start-up is supported by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection by means of microcredits. Help in starting a business:
Europass is a free European Union service, designed to support mobility within Europe. Europass enables individuals to list their qualifications, skills and abilities in a systematic way that is easily understood throughout Europe. Europass serves as an aid in study, training or looking for a job. You can access the new Europass Portal (with CV), the Europass Certificate Supplement, the Europass Mobility Supplement and the Europass Diploma Supplement.
About Europass: www.europass.at
Family and children
The school system
School education is compulsory for all children residing permanently in Austria. It begins in the year in which a child turns six before September 1st.. In Austria, compulsory education lasts 9 years.
Compulsory kindergarten year: All children who turn five before September 1st. are obliged to attend nursery: www.wien.gv.at
Austrian and EU citizens are entitled to childcare allowance, as are third country nationals resident in Austria and sharing the same household with their child. The entitlement is for all children under 18. Family allowance is claimed from the local tax office. Each beneficiary of family allowance is entitled to child tax credit.
Structure of the Austrian school system:
Elementary level: at this level there is the following range of institutional childcare: creche, kindergarten, nursery and children's group.
Primary education: compulsory education in Austria begins with the primary level. At the primary level, the child attends a primary school (elementary school). Primary education lasts four years.
Secondary level I: this begins after completion of the primary level. Secondary level I also comprises 4 years in which the following options are available: elementary junior school, general secondary school, new middle school or lower level of general academic secondary school.
Secondary level II: follows secondary level I. Students have the following options: polytechnic schools, vocational schools and apprenticeships, secondary vocational schools, training for health professionals, and vocational high schools, senior level of the academic secondary school ('sixth form' equivalent) as well as the vocational training year and integrated vocational training.
After secondary level II, there is the opportunity of continuing in the non-university tertiary sector. Here students can attend a school for master craftspeople, a college or, for example, an academy for health professionals.
The Austrian education system at a glance: www.bmukk.gv.at
Study and continuing education
Requirements for foreign students
In principle, the same conditions of admission apply to foreign students as to domestic applicants. The relevant faculty admissions offices are responsible for distributing specific information.
- Matriculation certificate which is equivalent to an Austrian school diploma, or certificate of completion of a course at a recognized post-secondary educational institution. The equivalence is based on an intergovernmental agreement, a validation or the rector's decision.
- The document presented grants the candidate direct access to the desired course of study in the country where it was obtained. Does not normally apply to applicants from EU and EEA countries.
- Adequate knowledge of German.
Current knowledge of German
The language of instruction on most courses in Austria is German. Prior knowledge of German at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is assumed. Adequate knowledge of German can be demonstrated by one of the following tests:
- Austrian language diploma - B2
- Goethe Institute - Goethe certificate B2
- Test of German as a Foreign Language (TestDaF) - at least Level 4
- Some other recognized tests.
If you do not have any certification, you can also take an assessment test at an examination center.
You can assess your chances of success by trying theTestDaf preparatory test:
The cost of studying in Austria
The cost of studying in Austria is about average for Europe. On average, students have about 800 euros per month available. For studying in Austria you should reckon with the following costs:
- tuition fees
- other associated costs
- cost of health insurance
- general expenses
Tuition fees: In Austria, tuition fees must be paid by those students who have either passed the free period (minimum duration of studies plus two additional semesters) or, because of their nationality, are liable for contributions. Students from EU and EEA countries are exempt from paying tuition fees.
Other associated costs: Students should expect other costs during their studies, such the costs of buying books, paying for field trips, or computer equipment.
Health insurance: As a student in Austria, you can either be included in your parents' insurance or take out a Student Health Insurance. Having health insurance is a prerequisite for the renewal of the residence permit in Austria. If the conditions for student health insurance are not met, students can take out the more expensive personal insurance.
NB Check in advance whether your health insurance is also valid in Austria. EU citizens have insurance coverage in Austria through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
General expenses: general expenses include not only food and clothing, but also accommodation costs which amount to about a third of outgoings during the period of study. There are various accommodation options for students: the cheapest is usually in a student hostel or in shared housing with other students.
Student hostels are the simplest way to meet new people and learn the language. The prices range between 200 and 400 euros.
Living in a shared flat (WG).is very popular among Austrian students. Each roommate has their own room, while the bathroom and kitchen are shared. Rent for a room in a 'WG' is between 150 and 300 euros.
Find a 'WG' on the internet:
If you would like to live in a flat of your own, you should look for one in plenty of time before the start of term. The costs vary a lot depending on size, standard and location. In your own flat, you have to ensure that you sign up for electricity, gas, telephone and internet. The landlord may also require a deposit as security or redemption payments.
It is easiest to find suitable accommodation online:
Ways of financing your studies
In the Austrian database for scholarships you will find ways of financing your studies with a grant: www.grants.at/
Lots of information on studying in Austria can also be found on the page of Centre International Universitaire (CIU):
Opportunities for continuing education
Lifelong learning is of great importance in Austria educational policy. Continuing professional development is intended, on the one hand, to contribute to faster technological and economic change and, on the other, to help to deal with the various social changes.
You can easily find out about continuing education options on the web:
Universities in Austria
Medizinische Universität Wien
Technische Universität Wien
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Akademie der bildenden Künste
Universität für angewandte Kunst in Wien
Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Wien
Medizinische Universität Graz
Technische Universität Graz
Universität Graz (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz)
Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Graz
- Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
- Montanuniversität Leoben
Universität Linz (Johannes Kepler Universität Linz)
Kunst Universität Linz
Universität Salzburg (Paris-Lodron-Universität Salzburg)
Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst (Mozarteum Salzburg)
Universität Innsbruck (Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck)
Medizinische Universität Innsbruck
- Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt
Privatuniversitäten Österreichs: www.akkreditierungsrat.at
Fachhochschulen in Österreich: www.fachhochschulen.at
Money and taxes
All private individuals who are liable to pay tax must submit an income tax return. It is used to determine the income tax payable. In most cases, the income tax return must be submitted by 30th April of the following year.This is done with the form E1; the form E2 gives assistance with completing the form.
The income tax return can be submitted online, using 'FinanzOnline' on the website of the Austrian Ministry of Finance: www.bmf.gv.at
Opening a bank account
It is relatively simple for foreigners to open a bank account in Austria. You need a passport and, in some banks, also a registration form. After opening a current account, the account holder is assigned an adviser who is available to customers around the clock to answer questions and take instructions. In Austria, banking can also be easily conducted by telephone, fax or internet.
Credit Protection Association
Credit Protection Association of 1870 (KSV) is the largest creditor protection association in Austria. Anyone who takes out a loan in Austria, including bank loans and hire purchase credit, is recorded in the database of a credit protection association. The creditworthiness of the person is determined from his payment discipline. To take out a bank loan, you need, among other things, information from the KSV. People who would like to know what data is stored about them in the database can request information directly from KSV:
In Austria, health insurance is a compulsory insurance. This means that each employee automatically has health insurance cover. Health insurance is dependent on the individual employer and their location. Insurance contributions are deducted directly from your salary and paid into the health insurance fund together with the contribution that is paid by the employer. The amount payable depends on the gross salary of the insured person.
Careful Those employees whose salary is below the minimum threshold are not automatically insured. You may voluntarily insure yourself with the relevant health and pension insurance schemes. The amount of contribution is the same for all self-insured people.
In Austria you can also take out additional private insurance. Private insurance can cover, for example, as well as free choice of doctor and hospital, also a twin room with shower, WC and TV; it can cover additional costs for dental visits or health cures using alternative healing methods. Besides health insurance, there are a number of other insurance options (such as accident insurance, or motor insurance). More information can be obtained from the Austrian Insurance Association: www.vvo.at
Information for Refugees
Information for refugees/asylum seekers
- Federated office for asylum seekers www.bfa.gv.at
- Useful forms www.bfa.gv.at/publikationen/formulare
- Minister for Internal Affairs www.bmi.gv.at
- Vienna Social Fund wohnen.fsw.at/broschueren/brosch_grundversorgung.html
- Refugee co-ordinator in Vienna fsw.at/fluechtlinge
- Austrian Integration Fund www.integrationsfonds.at
- Asylum Co-ordinator www.asyl.at
- Facts about asylum in Austria www.unhcr.at
- Helping Hands (provides legal advice for refugees among other things) www.helpinghands.at
- Offers of volunteers for refugees www.wirsinddabei.at
- Work office www.ams.at
- Current information for refugees www.tkinfo.at/en/asylum-law-advice
- Portal to find roommates www.fluechtlinge-willkommen.at
- Project “Bicycles for refugees” www.integradsion.at