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UPDATED: When will Americans be able to travel to Austria again?

Travel is starting up again all over Europe and indeed the world. What are the rules for Americans entering Austria?

UPDATED: When will Americans be able to travel to Austria again?
A man in an American flag hat. Photo: Ricardo ARDUENGO / AFP

Most Americans have been prevented from visiting Austria since travel restrictions were put in place in spring 2020 as the pandemic began. 

After originally putting them in place for Christmas only on December 19th, Austria eventually relaxed its travel rules on May 19th.

But what are the current rules – and when can Americans come and visit Austria again?

Here’s what you need to know. 

Can Americans come to Austria?

There are in effect two aspects to travel rules at the moment – the rules on leaving the United States and the rules on arriving in Austria.

Unfortunately, in both cases, Americans are restricted. 

Leaving the US to Austria is limited, with the US putting Austria on a ‘do not travel’ list on April 21st, 2021. 

The US made the decision to add Austria – and around 110 other countries worldwide – on the list due to a “very high level of COVID-19.”

Then there’s arriving in Austria, which is restricted for people other than citizens and residents of Austria and Europe. 

What are the rules for entering Austria?

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. 

UPDATE: What you need to know about Austria’s quarantine rules

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. 

Quarantine: Here is the form you need to enter Austria

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).

Who is allowed to enter Austria?

In effect, entry into Austria is restricted to Austrian citizens, Austrian residents and citizens of European Union and EFTA countries. 

Travel: Who is allowed to enter Austria right now?

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 some cases they will need to quarantine. 

People transiting through Austria without stopping will also not be restricted from entering. 

Arrivals from a handful of non-European countries will be allowed to enter: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. 

Also, people from Iceland and the Vatican will not be required to quarantine. 

More information on this requirement is available at the following link. 

UPDATED: Which countries are now on Austria’s quarantine list?

Who is not allowed to enter?

Arrivals from almost every non-European country are restricted.

This means that American citizens are not currently allowed to visit Austria, unless of course they hold Austrian or European citizenship and residency. 

Official information is available here.

In effect, tourist travel is not banned for people with Austrian or European citizenship/residency – however strict rules in place regarding quarantine and the closure of hotels means that few people will actually be able to enter. 

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. 

Arrivals from EU countries face the fewest restrictions – but will still need to quarantine. Photo: ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP

When will Americans be able to visit Austria again?

As yet, there have been no concrete indications as to when Americans will be allowed to visit Austria again, whether that be through the US being added to the list of non-risk non-European countries, or through a significant change to the travel rules. 

One possibility is that vaccinated Americans may be allowed to enter once Austria and the European Union sets up its ‘green pass’ immunity card scheme. 

Austria, a leader in the project, is hoping to set up the green pass scheme to allow quarantine free travel – both in the EU and from abroad. 

Austrian and European authorities hope to get it off the ground by summer, although few concrete dates have currently been provided. 

More information is available at the following link.

Green pass: Austria’s coronavirus immunity card one step closer to reality

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.

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COVID-19 STATS

UPDATED: Will Austria bring back face mask mandate to battle rising Covid cases?

As the number of Covid-19 infections and related hospitalisations rises in Austria, many are asking for new measures to be adopted, especially a mask mandate.

UPDATED: Will Austria bring back face mask mandate to battle rising Covid cases?

Austria has seen an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations in recent weeks, with 2,428 people currently hospitalised with the disease, including 118 in intensive care (ICU).

One month ago, just 871 people were being treated in hospital with an additional 47 people in ICU.

The Austrian Federal Government has now said they will make a decision on bringing back the mask mandate by October 23rd. Last week, the National Covid Crisis Coordination (GECKO) recommended wearing FFP2 masks.

According to ORF, the mask mandate could return for public indoor spaces, public transport and in the gastronomy sector. The Austrian Trade Association has already rejected the suggestion saying it would be the “last straw” for employees as the industry struggles with staff shortages.

What are the Covid-19 experts predicting for the autumn and winter season?

The latest report from the Covid prognosis consortium in Austria predicts a rise in hospitalisations in October. 

In a “worst case” scenario, as many as 3,428 people who tested positive would need a hospital bed on October 19th, the latest forecast said. A “further significant increase in hospitalisation is to be expected, with the Covid population in the ICU area remaining almost unchanged”, the experts summarised.

READ ALSO: Reader question: When should I get a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Austria?

In comparison, last autumn, the country was on an Austria-wide lockdown and on November 28th, there were 2,767 infected persons hospitalised.

However, the experts said there is a very high proportion of incidental findings among hospitalised patients. Only around 22 percent of those presently hospitalised were admitted with Covid-19 symptoms. In the intensive care unit, this proportion was only 12 percent – most people go to the hospital for other reasons and find they test positive for the coronavirus.

Calls for pandemic-containment measures

Still, the consortium warned about staff shortages in hospitals. “The increased infection pressure is currently also translating into above-average unplanned staff absences”, it wrote.

READ ALSO: From inflation to Covid: What to expect from Austria’s winter season

In view of the situation in the hospitals, experts are calling for the reintroduction of mandatory masks.

Virologist Dorothee von Laer from the Medical University of Innsbruck criticised the government, saying authorities were once again “too late” to take measures.

“We are now at the last push to reintroduce compulsory masks indoors so that the omicron wave from spring is not repeated,” the virologist told Kurier.

“How much longer to watch Covid go through the roof? Winter is still long, and hospitals are getting crowded with decreasing staff and increasing occupancy. Mask up! #CovidIsntOver,” Thomas Czypionka, Head of IHS Health Economics and Health Policy of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), said on Twitter.

Currently, people in Austria only need to wear masks in the health sector area, such as in hospitals and elderly care homes. However, the capital Vienna has stricter rules, imposing a mask mandate on public transport.

Only in a ‘state of emergency’

Speaking to public broadcaster ORF, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) ruled out the immediate introduction of a mask mandate.

He said stricter rules would only be imposed if the situation in hospitals “escalates, becomes threatening, and a state of emergency occurs”.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The Covid rules across Austria

At the same time, he reiterated that the pandemic is not over and that when the government removed the mask mandate, it also announced the rules could be brought back in autumn.

“When the mask requirement was abolished in grocery stores and public transport in the spring, I already said: If it should become necessary again in the autumn, the general mask requirement will be reintroduced there”, he said.

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