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Meldezettel: Everything you need to know about Austria’s compulsory address registration

Need to get a Meldezettel or somehow have one but don’t know what it is? Here’s what you need to know.

Meldezettel: Everything you need to know about Austria’s compulsory address registration
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Obtaining a Meldezettel – loosely translated as an address registration certificate – is compulsory for anyone living in Austria. 

Here’s a guide to what the requirement is and how to do it. 

What is a Meldezettel?

Known by most Austrians and foreigners as a Meldezettel, the document is correctly called a Meldebestätigung. 

Otherwise known as an Anmeldung eines neuen Hauptwohnsitzes oder “Nebenwohnsitzes” or simply an Anmeldung, this is a curiosity to many new arrivals, particularly those from English-speaking countries. 

While registration of your address in other countries might take place via the electoral roll or the motor transport authority, in Austria – as with neighbouring Germany – when you move into a new house or apartment, you are required to register your address with the local authorities. 

Prior to 2002, the document was known as a Bestätigung der Meldung. 

Who needs to get a Meldezettel?

It may have come as a shock to some, but completing your Anmeldung process is a legal requirement for anyone living in Austria. 

Everyone is required to obtain a Meldezettel under the 1991 Registration Act. And everyone who arrives in Austria with the intention to live here is required to register within three days of moving in.

Tourists generally don’t intend to live in Austria and are an exception.  

But even if you’ll only be here temporarily – for instance if you’re a student – you’re still required to register. 

Whenever you move house, you’re required to re-register your new address – regardless if you move across the country or just down the street.

I don’t want the government snooping around my place. Why do I need to get this done? 

Not only is registration a legal requirement of living in Austria, but it also allows you to complete a range of other tasks. 

Accessing welfare, getting registered to vote, registering your car, getting a gun permit 

Many banks will also require you to have completed your registration in order to open an account. 

What do I need? 

To complete your registration, you need an official document like a passport (compulsory for all non-Austrians) and a birth certificate.

The official document will need to state your family name, first name, maiden name (if applicable), date and place of birth and your nationality. 

You’ll also need some evidence of your new address, for instance a rental contract. 

Where can I get it done? 

Officially, registration is the responsibility of the mayor of your respective district. But considering he or she is likely to have bigger fish to fry, you can complete your registration at your local council office. 

You can also do it via post, or have someone do it on your behalf. 

The registration form itself is available at the registration offices, or at some tobacconists. 

It is also available online here (in German). 

While it is in German, the University of Graz has a translated version in English which can be used as a guide – although only the German version is likely to be officially accepted. 

English version here.

What if my landlord won’t let me register? 

Some landlords – particularly if you are sub-renting – will not let you register. 

If your landlord won’t let you do this, you can still register it as a secondary residence, a “Nebenwohnsitz”, but you should endeavour to find a more permanent place as soon as you can. 

Can I register in a hotel? 

As Austrians would say “Jein” (yes and no). 

If you are staying in a hotel temporarily at first they will do a registration for you as a guest. But when you move to a flat or house you must re-register. 

What about when I move house? 

When you move house, you need to complete what is known as an Ummeldung, or change of registration. 

This is the same form as that above – simply fill it out with the new address, and the authorities will find and move your registration from from the previous address. 

Unlike the initial registration, you can complete the change of registration online. This can be done here (German). 

What if I leave Austria? 

Perhaps the most common mistake made in the registration process – other than not registering at all – is failing to de-register when you leave.

Legally you need to cancel your registration within three days of leaving your residence. As this can get a bit tight, you are allowed to cancel before you leave. 

This can also be done online

What about babies? 

Babies also need to be registered. 

A registration of a new baby can be done using the following form along with the notification of its birth document. 

https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/themen/familie_und_partnerschaft/geburt/3/1/Seite.080200.html

More information about the registration process is available here. 

https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/themen/dokumente_und_recht/an__abmeldung_des_wohnsitzes/Seite.1180200.html

Editor’s note: Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice.

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For members

LIVING IN AUSTRIA

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Camping in Austria can be a lot of fun, but what are the rules? Here’s everything you need to know about setting up camp in the Alpine republic.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Waking up beside a lake or surrounded by mountains is a dream Austrian holiday for many, but it’s important to know the rules about camping before heading off with a tent or campervan.

As the summer season approaches, here’s everything you need to know about camping in Austria.

Is wild camping legal in Austria?

Wild camping – setting up camp outside of a designated campsite – is generally illegal in Austria. This applies to both camping in a tent or sleeping in a van on the side of the road.

Exceptions to this rule do exist but usually only if the municipal authority grants a temporary exception, for example for a school trip or a youth club activity.

A bivouac (temporary camp without cover) is allowed in the event of bad weather or injury, but planned wild camping in the mountains is illegal. 

FOR MEMBERS: What are the rules for wild camping in Austria?

There are some regional differences though.

In the states of Salzburg, Vorarlberg and Styria there are no laws strictly forbidding camping outside of campsites, but local authorities can prohibit it and take action if necessary.

The strictest rules apply in national parks, nature reserves and special protection areas across Austria, so check before you plan your camping trip that your spot is not located in one of these areas.  

In most cases, if someone is caught camping illegally in Austria it is considered as an administrative offence and a fine can be issued, ranging from €5 to €500, depending on the location.

Camping in the forest

Camping in the forest is prohibited everywhere in Austria by law (specifically Section 33 of the Forest Act). The only exception is when you have the consent of the landowner.

Camping above the tree line

In Upper Austria and Styria you are allowed to camp in the mountains above the tree line, as long as you are outside of pasture areas.

In Vorarlberg this is also permitted, although the mayor of a municipality can prohibit the setting up of tents outside approved campsites if the interests of safety, health, agriculture or the protection of the natural balance as well as the landscape and townscape are “grossly violated”.

In Salzburg, camping above the tree line is in theory permitted, but the Alpine Association recommends groups wishing to camp should contact the nature conservation department of the responsible district administration before setting up. 

READ ALSO: How to explore the Austrian mountains in the summer like a local

Camping in a tent

Camping in a tent is the most common way of camping in the summer and most people pitch up on a dedicated campsite.

Many campgrounds have water and electricity facilities, as well as showers, cooking areas, recreation spaces and even kids clubs. Others have luxury elements like year-round heated pools, saunas, beach volleyball and restaurants.

Campsites are also often located near a lake or at the base of mountains, which means you can wake up to beautiful scenery every morning .

Some of Austria’s top camping associations include Camping Wien, Camping Steiermark and Top Camping Austria.

Camping in a van

Camping in a motorhome is only allowed at campsites in Austria and if someone is caught sleeping in a van in a prohibited area they can be fined.

The only exception is if a driver has to stop and recuperate before continuing driving.

Top camping tips

Austria is packed with stunning natural landscapes, so camping during the summer months is a popular activity – both for Austrian residents and tourists.

For this reason, it’s recommended to book ahead during the peak summer holiday months of July and August, whether planning to camp in a motorhome or tent.

Camping in motorhomes is also becoming more popular at some winter campsites during the ski season, so it’s always a good idea to book in advance.

Additionally, it’s advised to take bug spray when camping in Austria in the summer as insects like mosquitoes and ticks are common in countryside areas.

In fact, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) – a viral infection transmitted by the bite of infected ticks – is endemic in Austria and it’s recommended to get vaccinated before going on a hiking or camping trip in the country.

The main affected areas for TBE are Tyrol and Upper Austria.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s ‘tick vaccine’ and should you take it

Useful vocabulary

Campsite – Campingplätze

Tent – Zelt

Campervan – Reisemobil

Electricity – Strom

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