Whether crossing the border or crossing the Atlantic, the rules for entering Austria put in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic can be confusing.
To make matters worse, they are subject to frequent change – often at short notice.
Perhaps the most confusing aspect of the rules is that the quarantine requirements differ from the rules on entry.
This means that while some people will be able to enter they will have to quarantine, while others will be prevented from entering entirely.
In addition, almost everyone entering Austria – whether for tourist travel or even for transit or commuting – will need to fill out a form before doing so.
More information on the form – along with a copy of it in English and German – is available at the following link.
You will also need to present evidence of a negative test. However, this is a requirement of entry and it will not allow you to skip quarantine.
This must either be a negative PCR test (not older than 72 hours) or an antigen test (not older than 48 hours).
Here’s what you need to know.
What are the rules for entering Austria?
Austria has put in place a comprehensive entry protocol since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the protocol, people who have been in certain countries over the past ten days may be restricted from entering Austria – or may need to quarantine.
People will however be allowed to arrive in Austria under certain circumstances.
Tighter rules came into effect from December 19th, when Austria puts in place a mandatory quarantine for almost all arrivals.
This will apply regardless of whether you test negative to the virus.
Click the following link for more information.
Who is not restricted from entering Austria?
Austrian citizens and residents will not be restricted from entry regardless of which countries they have been in for the past ten days, although in most cases they will need to quarantine.
People transiting through Austria without stopping will also not be restricted from entering.
What impact has Austria’s shutdown had on entry?
Austria’s shutdown rules only allow for ‘essential travel’, meaning tourist travel has been restricted.
This is the case both for Austrians seeking to travel domestically as well as people from abroad.
While this has not changed the country’s entry requirements, hotels are not open for tourists.
Hotels can remain open however to host business travellers as well as people who are travelling for compassionate reasons, i.e. to take care of a sick relative.
Who is allowed to enter Austria right now?
Despite the restriction on tourist travel, people from most European (i.e. Schengen plus EFTA) countries – as well as a short list of non-European countries – are allowed to enter Austria.
In effect though, while they will be allowed to enter, the mandatory quarantine requirement and the closure of hotels means that there will be few cases when they can actually enter, unless they can stay with friends or family.
Which European countries are considered high risk?
Almost all European and non-European countries are on the high-risk list.
Arrivals from any high risk country will have to quarantine, regardless of a negative test result.
As at April 21st, 2021, all Schengen/EFTA countries are on the high-risk list, except for Iceland and the Vatican. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea are the only non-European countries not on the high-risk list.
More information on this requirement is available at the following link.
Arrivals from EU countries face the fewest restrictions – but will still need to quarantine. Photo: ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP
What about the UK?
As the United Kingdom is now no longer a member of the EU, it is treated as a ‘third country’ and all entry from the UK is therefore banned, other than for Austrian citizens or residents.
Business travellers from the UK and students studying in Austria will also be allowed to enter.
Up to date information is collated by the European Union and is available here.
What about non-European countries?
As a default, countries outside Europe are considered to be high-risk – meaning that entry is not allowed.
There are however some countries where exceptions apply. These are Australia, Singapore, South Korea and New Zealand.
People from these countries – who have only been in these countries or in Austria for the past ten days – will be allowed to enter Austria and will not have to quarantine or provide a negative test.
Arrivals from all other countries will be restricted, unless the person has Austrian citizenship or residency.
The complete list of countries and risk areas updated by the Austrian government is available here.
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.