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

UPDATED: Everything you need to know about Austria's quarantine rules
Photo: Daniel ROLAND / AFP
Austria has put in place a quarantine for all arrivals. Here's what you need to know.

Please note: From May 19th, Austria is expected to change its quarantine rules. Here’s what you need to know. 

The Austrian government has put in place a ten-day quarantine requirement on all arrivals, while all arrivals will also need to register and show a negative test on arrival. 

On March 9th, several Austrian states extended this to 14 days. More information is available below. 

It will be possible to leave the quarantine after five days with a negative test in states where the quarantine is ten days. 

In states where the quarantine is 14 days, quarantine can be ended on the tenth day with evidence of a negative coronavirus test. This can be with either a negative PCR test or an antigen test.

Everyone arriving in Austria – including cross-border commuters – will need to pre-register. More information about this can be found at the following link

Can I leave quarantine after five days with a negative test? 
 
Yes. On Tuesday, Austrian media reported that a minimum ten-day quarantine was to be introduced for travellers into the country, scrapping the rule that allowed people to leave quarantine after five days if they tested negative to coronavirus. 

On Wednesday evening however, the government announced that this rule would be kept in place. 

More detailed information is available here

Please note: As of March 9th, seven Austrian states extended the quarantine period to 14 days due to concerns about coronavirus variants. 

Vienna, Burgenland, Salzburg, Carinthia, Styria, Lower and Upper Austria have all extended the quarantine period from ten to 14 days. 

More information is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: Quarantine extended in several Austrian states

Who will the quarantine apply to?

The quarantine will apply to everyone arriving in the country – i.e. Austrian citizens, residents and non-Austrians. 

Cross-border commuters are exempt, as are some business travellers. 

People who visit their partners regularly – i.e. more than once a month – are allowed to enter Austria without a quarantine. 

While people will not be allowed to visit family members without a quarantine, this is different for anyone who has a serious emergency to attend to, including serious illnesses, deaths, funerals, births and the care of people in need of support.

Diplomats, medical escorts, are also excused from the quarantine requirement. 

Under the rules, anyone returning from any “high-risk” area will be required to quarantine for ten days (14 in some states) – regardless of whether they have had a negative test recently, or if they promise to have one in Austria.

When does it come into effect – and how long will it last? 

When making the announcement on December 2nd, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said only that the requirement would apply from “mid-December”. 

While there was some initial confusion – with the German foreign ministry stating that the measure would come into effect from December 7th – Austria’s Ambassador to Germany wrote in an official communication on December 3rd that the quarantine requirement would come into effect from December 19th, 2020. 

Austria’s coronavirus quarantine was set to remain in effect until at least January 10th, however a government official told The Local on January 6th that it would remain in force “until further notice”. 

From February 10th, cross-border commuters will need to register every seven days.

If I am arriving, what do I need to do? 

Austrian authorities are conducting border controls regularly and will inform you of the details of your quarantine requirement. 

Before arriving, you will need to complete a ‘Declaration of Quarantine’ form. This form is available here in English and should be kept on you at all times when entering Austria. 

You will also need to provide evidence of a negative test. 

This must either be a negative PCR test (not older than 72 hours) or an antigen test (not older than 48 hours).

Who is a ‘commuter’?

Anyone who regularly enters Austria is considered a commuter, i.e. this does not need to be for work purposes. 

Provided you enter Austria at least once per month – whether for work or private reasons (such as to visit your partner or family) – you are considered a commuter

What kind of test do I need to leave quarantine? 

The test can be either a PCR or an antigen test, however it must be carried out by a medical professional. 

A ‘self test’ – i.e. a test bought from a pharmacy and completed at home – will not satisfy the regulation. 

The test must be not older than 72 hours – although for commuters the test can be up to seven days old. 

What is a high-risk country? 

‘High risk’ countries are any country which has a 14-day incidence rate of more than 100 positive cases of coronavirus per 100,000 residents. 

As it currently stands, each of Austria’s neighbours is over this threshold. 

A handful of countries inside or outside Europe are listed as exceptions. 
 
Click the following link for updated information. 
 
 
If I am already in quarantine, can I leave Austria instead of waiting?
 
According to official government guidance, you can leave Austria during your quarantine period. 
 
As noted expressly in the guidance, “the quarantine can be ended prematurely for the purpose of leaving Austria, if it is ensured that the risk of infection is as high as possible when leaving is minimised”. 

Can I call in sick to work if I have to quarantine? 

According to Austrian newspaper Kurier, being forced to quarantine will not be an excuse to miss work – meaning that anyone who plans to travel abroad and return to Austria must ensure that they have the next ten days off, or that they can work from home. 

Why is the measure being implemented?

“We have to enforce a strict border regime” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at the press conference announcing the rules. 

Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer said in December one of the goals of the quarantine requirement was to stop people travelling abroad over the festive season. 

“It is not acceptable for Austrians to travel to neighbouring countries to throw New Year’s Eve parties,” Nehammer said. 

What were the previous rules (before December 19th)?

Before December 19th, anyone entering Austria could avoid quarantine if they had a negative result from a test carried out within 72 hours of arrival.

Anyone without a test needed to undergo ten days of quarantine.

At a press conference on Wednesday, December 2nd, the Austrian government announced it was tightening the existing quarantine rules

As a result, anyone entering from December 19th will be required to quarantine. 

Austria’s coronavirus quarantine was set to remain in effect until at least January 10th, however a government official told The Local on January 6th that it would remain in force “until further notice”

More specific information is available here

NOTE: As with any of our coronavirus reports, this story is only a guide and does not constitute official legal advice. Please check with federal and state authorities before attempting to enter Austria. 


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