Moving to Vienna as an ex-pat is a cumbersome process. It can be overwhelming from the moment you step in for the range of essentials that you absolutely must remember to deal with. Additionally, if your German speaking skills are as good as mine, you’re seriously in a pickle.
So let’s get started with the absolute essentials to get you covered.
Aufenthaltstitel means Residence Permit (RP). If you are a third-country national like us, you will require a Residence Permit to move to Austria. This typically means that you have permission to live in Austria beyond the period of 183 days, making you a resident of this European country. The rules for applying for a Resident Permit, differ country-to-country and based on your purpose of stay. My purpose of moving to Austria was to pursue my education, hence, I was granted Aufenthaltstitel- Student based on documents from my University. Parichay moved here as my spouse, granting him the Aufenthaltstitel-Familien/Red-White-Red Plus Card. The difference is, my Resident Permit is the primary RP based on my University tenure. However, as a student, I am only allowed to work 20 hours/per week, making me eligible for a part-time job. Parichay on the other hand has been granted a residence permit as my spouse/family. While he gets full access to the labour market, until he changes to a worker’s visa based on employment, his visa validity is dependent on mine.
Remember: You need to collect your Resident Permit card upon arrival in Austria. You will be contacted by the corresponding MA35 with a list of documents that need to be submitted along with an appointment for the same. Without your Resident Permit card, you cannot enjoy the benefits of the residence permit (particularly travel related).
Meldezettel is the holy grail while living in Vienna. It is basically proof that you live in the city and have registered your residence with the district authorities. Upon your arrival in Austria, you need to fill out the Meldezettel Form, signed by you and your landlord/accommodation providers, and submit it to your respective district administration office, MA35 along with a copy of your passport, and Visa D. This can be done by email or in person. For in-person submissions, you may need an appointment at your corresponding MA35 office. The details for the same can be found on the city administration website.
You need to apply for a Meldezettel, every time you switch apartments (short-term and long-term). In case you’re renting an Airbnb for your initial stay, discuss signing your Meldezettel documents with your host.
The MA35 will verify your documents and stamp your form, which will be returned to you through the chosen mode- by email/in person.
Your Meldezettel is the most important document to do to get any official work done in Austria- opening a bank account, apartment rental, financial benefits, etc.
If you’re not an Austrian citizen, you need to pay for health care through insurance. In many cases, your employers will pay to cover your insurance costs. But in any case, having health insurance in Austria is an absolute must. Without the proof of Austrian health insurance, you will not be handed your Resident Permit Card. There are many companies with a variety of schemes that provide health insurance. ÖGK is a state-insured scheme, others include Care Concept Austria, Cigna Global, and Feel Safe Austria. You can check the government website for a list of approved insurance companies. Based on your living conditions, and chosen company your insurance costs will vary.
For any health service requirement in Austria, your insurance will have your costs covered.
There is an entire post dedicated to house-hunting in Vienna. But for starters, you’re going to need temporary accommodation while you house-hunt in the city, in case you haven’t already signed up for a student dorm or been allotted temporary accommodation by your company. Check Vienna and Smartments are some of the companies that provide furnished and affordable housing. Keep a check on websites such as Willhaben for apartment listings to make your life easier.
The rental period in Vienna starts on the 1st and the 15th of every month. We found a house we love within 20 days, you can do it too.
Vienna has a fine and extensively connected public transport system. Google maps will easily help you navigate around the city. There are regional trains, city lines, metros, buses, and trams to help you get around. Additionally, there are cab-on-demand services and electric scooters across the city.
However, you may struggle a little with transport when you go outside Vienna. The connections are fewer and less frequent. The current labour shortage may also affect transport options, particularly on Sundays, public holidays, and in event of a strike.
Buying an Austrian SIM card
You will need an Austrian SIM card to have a local point of contact in Austria. It is fairly simple to buy a SIM card in Austria. You need to present your passport, and a passport-sized photo to buy a new sim. It takes approximately 2 hours to activate the number. There is a wide range of providers such as Drei, A1, Magenta, Yasss, Lycaa, and more local options. The data plan and tariffs differ depending on the offerings and your requirements. These are pre-paid sims that need to be recharged on a monthly basis (as per your plan). It is best to opt for plans that give you access across the EU for data and calls in the package.
Opening a bank account
Opening a bank account is a fairly simple process. You put an account opening request on the bank website, following which a representative will reach out and give you an appointment. Based on your age and preference of account type, an account will be opened for you with the bank. Leading Austrian banks include Erste Bank, Bank Austria, Uni Credit Bank, and Raiffeisen Bank. Opening an Austrian bank account is extremely important for ease of payments, particularly to opt for the SEPA option that allows you to automate bill payments from your account. Check out this detailed blog post on opening a bank account in Vienna.
German Language Requirements
You may or may not be required to present proof of language proficiency while applying for your Austrian Resident Permit. However, German language skills are an absolute must across Austria. You’re likely to find English language speakers in the capital city of Vienna, but it gets scarce as you start moving away from the centre.
Despite having English speakers in Vienna, all the official documentation and processes in Austria are in German. This means that you will need a translator to get your job done and understand the fine print. This is a major task in Austria, given everything in the city is driven by paperwork. Best to get started with the basics, at least!
Vienna is the kind of city that rewards those who adhere to the rules, following all instructions to the t. When moving to Vienna, do your research. Figure out the essentials, reach out to fellow expats, and drop emails to relevant authorities. The extra effort in getting your first steps right could make your move to this city easy, breezy, and void of any extra stress and expenses.
If you have questions, check this series for more information on moving to Vienna, Austria. For anything unclear/ uncovered, feel free to reach out to us through the comments/ Instagram or drop an email at email@example.com
Also check: House Hunting In Vienna