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Importing a car in Austria: What’s the process for EU and non-EU vehicles?

Want to bring your car to Austria? Here's what you need to know.

Importing a car in Austria: What’s the process for EU and non-EU vehicles?
Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

When relocating to a new country, it’s tempting to simply pack up the car and head off for an adventure. 

But it then means importing the car into your new country of residence – a process that can be complicated and confusing in another language.

It’s no different in Austria and importing a car involves filling out forms, paying taxes and, in some cases, making customs declarations.

READ MORE: Ten tips for finding an apartment in Austria

However, as Austria is a member of the EU, the process differs for EU and non-EU countries, with a simpler approach involving less bureaucracy for fellow EU member states.

When to import a foreign car to Austria?

If people still have their main residence outside of Austria they can drive their car with foreign number plates in the country for up to one year. After that, the vehicle has to be imported. 

For people that live in Austria on a long-term basis (or recently relocated) and want to drive a car from another country, there is a grace period of one month before the vehicle has to be officially imported. 

The one-month period starts when the car enters Austria.

What is the import process for cars from an EU country?

Importing a car to Austria from another EU country is quite easy.

The vehicle has to be registered with the relevant Landespolizeidirektion (federal police headquarters) or Bezirkshauptmannschaft (district administration), but the process is relatively painless.

There isn’t any additional documentation to be filled out or customs duty to be paid.

However, owners do have to pay the standard consumption tax or NoVA (Normverbrauchsabgabe). The cost will depend on the fuel consumption and value of the car.

Unfortunately, no one is exempt from this tax and it has to be paid before the vehicle can be licensed in Austria.

What is the import process for cars from a non-EU country?

This is when it becomes more complicated with extra forms to fill in and further taxes to pay.

To import a car from a non-EU country, owners have to provide proof of value of the vehicle. This can be done with an invoice or purchase agreement.

READ MORE: How to post packages between Austria and the UK post-Brexit

Other documentation includes a T1 Consignment Note, which is a customs document used to carry non-EU goods into the EU, and an Import Declaration known as form Za58a.

Once the forms have been filled in and the paperwork signed, the next step is to pay the taxes.

First, there is a 10 per cent customs duty to pay on the value of the vehicle. This is waived for cars imported from Switzerland or Norway, as long as the owner has the EUR.1 Movement Certificate to prove preferential origin.

Then there is a 20 per cent import turnover tax to pay (calculated as purchase price + delivery costs + customs duty amount) followed by the NoVA tax.

With all the extra paperwork and taxes to be paid, it makes sense to weigh up the cost of relocating to Austria with a non-EU car against selling a car in your home country and buying a new vehicle in Austria. 

The same applies for anyone already living in Austria but considering buying a vehicle from a non-EU country.

Importing a British car to Austria – what has changed?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’re probably aware that the UK has left the EU and the Brexit transition phase ended on 31 December 2020.

READ MORE: How Britons can move to Austria to live and work post-Brexit

This means that British people and UK-licenced cars are now considered as being from a third-country and have to follow any immigration or import processes for non-EU countries.

Essentially, importing a car to Austria from the UK is now a more expensive and complicated process than it was before. 

Another item to add to the list of things that have changed for Brits in the EU in these post-Brexit times.

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CRIME

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

Following the suicide of an Austrian doctor who received threats from Covid-19 anti-vaccination activists, the government has now launched a new campaign to help victims of online abuse.

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

The Austrian medical community was left in shock in July when Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, a local doctor in Seewalchen am Attersee in Upper Austria, took her own life following months of online abuse.

Kellermayr, 36, had been targeted by anti-vaccination activists and Covid-19 conspiracy theorists for her out-spoken support of vaccines, and the abuse even included death threats. 

Her death prompted candlelight vigils and demonstrations in Vienna and the tragic story was picked up by news outlets around the world.

READ MORE: How Austria’s attempt to make vaccines mandatory changed the country

This led to calls for tighter laws against online bullying and the ability for perpetrators to be prosecuted in other EU countries – particularly as at least two of the people who are believed to have targeted Kellermayr are based in Germany, according to the Guardian.

The Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) has even called for the creation of a special public prosecutor’s office to deal with “hate-on-the-net”, but this has been rejected by prosecutors and other political parties, as reported by ORF.

Instead, the Federal Justice Department has launched a new information campaign, website and hotline to help people dealing with online abuse.

FOR MEMBERS: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

What is in the new campaign?

Austria’s Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) said they have launched the campaign to raise awareness about the issue and to inform victims about the support available.

Zadic said: “It is important to me that those affected know that they are not alone in this situation and that the judiciary supports them with free psychological and legal process support.”

“You don’t have to cope alone with the extraordinary burdens that criminal proceedings can entail, for example through confrontation with the perpetrators.”

READ ALSO: Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Part of the support package is the new website Hilfe bei Gewalt (Help with Violence), which details how to access help from the authorities, as well as secure free legal advice and representation from a lawyer.

The website states the service is for victims of bullying and/or hate online, defamation, stalking, terrorism, incitement, sexual violence and robbery.

The service is designed to be anonymous with options to contact the Justice Department by phone or via a chat box. The website also lists contact details for regional support services in all provinces across Austria. 

The free (kostenlos) hotline for Hilfe bei Gewalt is 0800 112 112.

Useful links

Hilfe bei Gewalt

Austrian Federal Justice Department

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