EXPLAINED: The new rules for entering Austria

Effective May 19th, Austria relaxed its quarantine for almost all arrivals. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: The new rules for entering Austria
A sign at the Austrian border. Photo: BARBARA GINDL / APA / AFP

PLEASE NOTE: Austria changed the entry rules in mid-June. Please click the following article for more information. 

From Wednesday, May 19th, Austria’s coronavirus quarantine requirement will no longer apply. 

Now, entry from most countries will be unrestricted, other than areas deemed ‘high risk’ or where variants of the virus are prevalent.

It is replaced by a new system which requires proof of vaccination, testing or recovery from the virus. 

In order to enter, you will have to fill out a form.

The rules will change on June 10th, when pre-travel clearance to enter Austria will only be required if you are coming from a high-risk country or one of the states where variants of the coronavirus are prevalent.

People coming into Austria will still be required to show proof of vaccination, testing or recovery from the virus.

Here’s what you need to know. 

What are the new rules for entry? 

The new system is based around the EU health agency ECDC’s traffic light system, which differentiates between areas depending on the prevalence of coronavirus infections.

For countries coloured green or orange, entry is unrestricted. 

When a country is coloured red, negative coronavirus tests, proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus are required (known as the 3G Rule – see below). 

Everyone in quarantine will have the possibility of leaving quarantine after the fifth day with a negative test. 

This system therefore resembles that which is in place federally prior to May 19th. 

UPDATED: Everything you need to know about Austria’s quarantine rules

The map as at May 17th is shown below. An up to date copy of the map can be found here at this link. 

What is the 3G Rule? 

Anyone wanting to enter Austria from red or dark red regions will now need to do so pursuant to the so-called ‘3G Rule’. 

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) for conspiracy theorists, this has nothing to do with mobile phone networks. 

The 3G Rule refers to ‘Getestet, Geimpft, Genesen’ (Tested, Vaccinated, Recovered) and describes the three ways someone can provide evidence they may enter from a ‘red zone’ country. 

This means they will need to show evidence of vaccination, a negative test or having recently recovered from the virus. 

Are there any exceptions? 

Yes. People who want to visit Austria for family and business reasons will be allowed to enter. 

Children under the age of 10 are exempt from the test obligation

Similarly, cross-border commuters are also allowed to enter, as are people in transit. 

When the rules were announced on May 18th, Germany – which was coloured red at the time – was also announced as an exception. This means people can arrive from Germany without restriction. 

What about the entry form? 

Since January, everyone entering Austria has had to fill out a form to do so. 

This does not change from May 19th, but will no longer be necessary unless you are coming from a high risk country from June 10th. 

More information on the form can be found at the following link. 

READ MORE: Here is the form you need to enter Austria

Does this apply to people from all across the world?

Not exactly. While the quarantine has been relaxed, entry bans for non-EU/EFTA citizens remain. Specifically, entry from Brazil, India, South Africa or United Kingdom, which have been identified as “virus variant” countries, is not permitted. A landing ban is also in place for these countries. 

READ MORE: Austria to reinstate ban on direct flights from UK

The only exceptions are for humanitarian workers, persons who have been summoned by the courts and people traveling to an international organisation on business, provided they can provide evidence of a negative PCR test result.

In effect, except for these groups, entry into Austria is restricted to Austrian citizens, Austrian residents and citizens of European Union and EFTA countries. 

Travel: Who is allowed to enter Austria right now?

Austrian citizens and residents will not be restricted from entry regardless of which countries they have been in for the past ten days, although in most cases they will need to quarantine. 

People transiting through Austria without stopping will also not be restricted from entering. 

Arrivals from a handful of non-European countries will be allowed to enter: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. 

Also, people from Iceland and the Vatican will not be required to quarantine. 

More information on this requirement is available at the following link. 

UPDATED: Which countries are now on Austria’s quarantine list?

Arrivals from almost every non-European country are restricted.

This means that American citizens are not currently allowed to visit Austria, unless of course they hold Austrian or European citizenship and residency. 

LATEST: When will Americans be able to travel to Austria again?

As yet, there is no indication as to when this will change. However, Austria as a EU member will participate in the bloc’s decisions regarding visas and entry. 

Official information from the Austrian government is available here. 

Member comments

  1. We are Americans living in Germany and have residence visas there. If we drive to Austria, we would be turned away because we have American passports, even though we are fully vaccinated and have residence visas in an EU country? Curious if they just mean flying or driving too.

    1. The Austrian rules are totally biased. Entry from the UK is banned. If you look at the statistics you discover:
      New cases per 1 million population
      France 193
      Germany : 53
      Austria 49
      UK 47
      Source worldometers
      Yet Austria lets in people from Germany and France but not UK. A blinkered country if ever there was one.

      1. They fear the Indian variant. I have family in the UK I’d like to see too, but don’t know when it’ll happen again.

        1. They say they fear the Indian Variant , but it is widespread throughout Europe as well so actually they are just biased.

  2. Nearly 200 people ordered to quarantine in German city over fears of Covid Indian variant outbreak
    Coronavirus news live: India variant now in 53 territories

  3. Reply to “c”: Where-as the UK is totally un-biased when it comes to travellers from the EU (Corona tested or not):
    At least the Austrians just won’t let you in, they don’t detain you, finger print you, take away your luggage and phone, put you in a detention center, mark your passport and/or deport you. Count yourselves lucky eh?

    Question/comment for “Lyssa77”: Why do you think you’ll be unable to enter Austria? I am also a DE resident with a UK passport and would be interested to know if there is a valid reason to deny entery when driving from Germany.

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For members


REVEALED: How much will people in Austria have to pay for TV and radio contribution fees?

Austria has announced more details on the planned changes to its GIS, the public TV and radio fee that funds broadcaster ORF. Here's what you can expect.

REVEALED: How much will people in Austria have to pay for TV and radio contribution fees?

A general household levy, paid by every home in Austria, will substitute the current GIS fee from 2024, as the government previously announced.

Now, the federal coalition has agreed on the main features of the new “ORF law”, with a levy that should cost around €15 a month (plus state taxes), Media Minister Susanne Raab (ÖVP) announced.

Federal taxes and VAT will be eliminated from the fee, she added during a press conference on Thursday. Only primary residences will have to pay – secondary homes will be exempt. 

GIS is Austria’s TV and radio licence that can set households who have TV or radio equipment at home back between €22.45 and €28.25 per month, depending on the state, a month. Most of that money goes to the public broadcaster ORF and pays for in-house productions, broadcasting equipment, technical equipment, licences and more.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Austria in 2023

Even people who don’t watch ORF programmes need to pay for GIS as long as they have a device capable of receiving the broadcast. However, those who don’t pay for it because they don’t have such devices can still stream the content online, which Austria’s Constitutional Court ruled unconstitutional, as The Local reported. 

The 2022 court decision stated that Austria’s legislative power had to “close the streaming gap” by the end of 2023. Several options were considered, but in the end, the ruling coalition decided on a household levy in line with the system in neighbouring Germany.  In Germany, the current fee is €18.36 per month.

From next year every single home in Austria will pay a fee – which should be lower than the current GIS fee – and therefore, everyone has the right to access the public broadcaster’s content, whether they are using a television, radio or internet-connected device.

With the changes, the “GIS checks” at people’s front door with questions about reception devices will be abolished. “That’s no longer a modern system,” said Raab, “I don’t want that in Austria.”

A €15 household levy

The fee will become about a third cheaper than before, totalling €15 per month, plus state levies – Upper Austria and Vorarlberg have already said they would waive those taxes.

Currently, a household that pays for the radio and TV fee in Vienna or Lower Austria, for example, pays €28.25 per month, with federal and state taxes representing €7.80 of that amount. 

Styria has the highest federal and state taxes, at €8.20, while Upper Austria and Vorarlberg currently add €2 in taxes. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s church tax and how do I avoid paying it?

The ORF amendment also provides fewer restrictions on public broadcasting in streaming and social media. For example, ORF will be allowed to produce content for streaming only, and the limitation on seven-day viewing will be dropped.

The model for future streaming and social media activities will likely be based on the German content offering from ARD and ZDF, which primarily plays out its content for young people on social media. 

At around €680 million per year, GIS fees already account for about two-thirds of ORF’s revenue.  With the household levy, several hundred thousand additional households are expected to pay, which until now have saved on GIS because of pure streaming use. 

ORF General Roland Weißmann spoke in recent days of 300,000 more households. Currently, there are about 700,000 households that are either irregularly not paying or do not pay GIS because of streaming-only use.

Those previously exempt from the fee will continue to be exempt.