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DRIVING

Can I use my foreign driving licence in Austria?

The quick answer is usually yes, but for a limited time, depending on where your driving licence was issued. Here’s what you need to know about using a foreign driving licence in Austria.

Can I use my foreign driving licence in Austria?
Long term international residents in Austria might need to exchange their driving licence. Photo by Dimitry Anikin/Unsplash.

Most foreign driving licences can be used to drive on Austrian roads for at least six months – just like in most other European countries.

This is great for visitors or for people working in Austria for just a short period of time, but it means many long term international residents eventually have to get an Austrian driving licence.

Here’s an overview of how the system works and how long a foreign driving licence is valid in Austria.

Driving with a foreign licence in Austria

Visitors from most countries can drive on Austrian roads for up to six months as long as they have a valid licence from their country of residence. For some countries, an international driving permit (IDP) is required in addition to their valid licence.

For example, drivers from the UK do not need an IDP in Austria if they have a photocard driving licence issued in the UK, but drivers from the USA do need an IDP, as well as their original licence.

The IDP is an internationally recognised translation of a foreign driving licence and a United Nations regulated travel document. Drivers should apply for an IDP in their country of residence before arriving in Austria.

READ MORE: How half of Austria drove on the left and half on the right – for 20 years

However, driving licences from the following countries are not recognised in Austria: Afghanistan, Bolivia, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Indonesia, Kosovo, Libya, Nepal, Nicaragua, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Tonga and Yemen. 

It’s not all bad news though as drivers from these countries might still be able to exchange their licence for an Austrian one.

What are the rules for exchanging an EU or EEA driving licence in Austria?

Driving licences from EU and EEA countries are recognised in Austria and remain valid for up to five years, as long as they don’t expire.

This means they do not have to be exchanged for an Austrian licence after six months, although drivers can choose to do this voluntarily.

If an EU or EEA driving licence has to be exchanged in Austria, the process involves the Austrian driving licence authority submitting a request to the issuing country to verify if an Austrian licence can be issued. 

As long as there are no issues, applicants will be issued with an Austrian driving licence within several weeks.

If a driving licence from an EU or EEA country expires while the holder is a resident in Austria, it will have to be renewed in Austria.

What are the rules for exchanging a non-EU/EEA driving licence in Austria?

People with a non-EU/EEA driving licence have to exchange their licence for an Austrian one after six months of living in Austria, because it loses validity after this, and they need to exchange it earlier if the licence will expire before then.

Most holders of a non-EU/EEA driving licence will have to take a practical driving test in Austria to exchange their licence. This usually takes place in German.

Non-EU/EEA countries that are exempt from the driving test rule (for all categories of licence) are Andorra, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Switzerland, Serbia, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

Additionally, people with a driving licence from Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hong Kong, Israel, Canada, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Republic of South Africa, Republic of South Korea (if issued after 1 January 1997), USA and United Arab Emirates are exempt from having to take a driving test for a category B licence.

A category B licence allows holders to drive a vehicle with up to eight passengers and a maximum weight of 3,500kg.

READ MORE: What are the post-Brexit rules about UK driving licences in Austria?

For British people, the rules around driving licences in Austria have changed in the past year as a result of Brexit. This means British people that were resident in Austria before December 31st 2020 had to exchange their UK driving licence for an Austrian licence before June 30th 2021. 

British people now moving to Austria (post-Brexit) will have to follow the rules for non-EU/EEA residents when exchanging a driving licence in Austria, although a practical driving test is not required.

How to exchange a driving licence in Austria

Applications for exchanging a licence in Austria take place at a state police department, at LPD Wien (Vienna Police Headquarters) or at the district administration office (Bezirkshauptmannschaft) where you live.

An appointment is usually needed to submit an application, although your local driving licence authority will advise on the correct process.

The documents required for the application are passport, foreign driving licence, one passport photo, medical certificate including an eye test (most doctors will charge for this) and a Meldezettel (compulsory address registration in Austria).

The fee for converting a driving licence in Austria is €60.50.

Applicants are issued with a temporary licence if the original licence is handed in to the authorities. This is valid for four weeks from the date of issue, but only within Austria.

FOR MEMBERS: What happens if you haven’t exchanged your UK driving licence in Austria?

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For members

LIVING IN AUSTRIA

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

Got an unwanted mattress, fridge, or sofa? Here’s how you can legally get it off your hands in Vienna.

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

If you find yourself with a large piece of furniture or big household appliance that has seen its prime and is not bound to the trashcan, then you might be wondering where to dispose of them – legally, that is.

Even if it is not uncommon to see furniture or appliances next to the big trashcans often placed near households and apartment complexes, it is illegal to leave them there.

Different cities have different methods – some will even pick up trash at specific times and places. To know how your city deals with bulky waste (Sperrmüll), you can google “Sperrmüll + the name of your city”.

READ ALSO: Why does Vienna’s waste department have a helicopter and a military plane?

Vienna has several waste collection points where you can leave bulky waste, electrical appliances, hazardous waste (in household quantities) and other old goods for no charge.

The use of the Wiener Mistplätze is subject to certain quantity limits and requirements, but they are to avoid industrial use. Therefore, most households will have no problem with the limitations.

Here you can find several collection points in Vienna.

It is worth pointing out that delivery to those sites can only be made by cars with Viennese license plates, on foot or by bicycle. Furthermore, no trailers or company cars are allowed to leave trash at these collection points.

What can you bring to the collection centres?

This is the place to bring large sheets of plastic foil, bulky or large metal parts and electrical appliances, for example.

Additionally, you can bring small amounts of bulky waste, wood, styrofoam, large cardboard boxes, green waste and used tires to any waste collection centres.

Depending on what you are disposing of, you might need to go to the Rinter centre, one of the larger ones.

READ ALSO: Hasta la mista, baby? How to vote for your favourite Vienna trash can joke

The centres also have a separate division where it is possible to donate old items still in good condition, the so-called 48er-Tandler-Box.

Tableware, small furniture, electrical appliances, clothes, toys and other items can be reused and bought at a low price at the 48er-Tandler reuse shop.

Most centres are open only from Monday to Friday during business hours, but others are also available on Saturdays.

What to do if I don’t have a car?

If you don’t need a car but still need to dispose of a large appliance, the Viennese solution varies.

Some will take public transport with a couple of friends trying to help them carry an old sofa via the u-bahn, although that can get a little tough at peak hour. 

Alternatively, you can borrow or rent a vehicle to try and save costs.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

But Vienna City also has a service that will pick up the trash for a low fee – even if it is located in the attic, a basement or a courtyard.

It’s the Entrümpelungsdienst und Sperrmüllabfuhr der MA 48. You can also ask for the “dump service” when the city of Vienna brings a trough (the smallest can fit 12 cubic meters).

Once you fill it up, they will remove it and take it to the appropriate place.

Costs will depend on the amount of trash, the size of the appliance, and where in the household it is located.

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