‘3G Rule’: How to prove you have been vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid in Austria

Austria is open for vaccinated, tested or recovered people. Here’s what you need to know about how to prove you are in one of these categories.

'3G Rule': How to prove you have been vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid in Austria
Bars and restaurants can open again in Austria. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

After six months of being locked down, Austria allowed events, amateur sport, hotels and restaurants to open again from May 19th. 

“We are on the final stretch in our fight against the pandemic,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told reporters in a press conference when announcing the measures in April.

As a result, only people who have been vaccinated against the virus, have tested negative or who have contracted the virus and have recovered are entitled to participate in the reopening. 

This is known in Austria as the ‘3G Rule’ (see below). 

The reopening was to be integrated with Austria’s green pass, however this is not expected to be ready until June 6th. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

What is the ‘3G Rule’ in Austria? 

Anyone wanting to visit restaurants, hotels and take part in events, etc, need to do so pursuant to the so-called ‘3G Rule’. 

The 3G Rule refers to ‘Getestet, Geimpft, Genesen’ (Tested, Vaccinated, Recovered) and describes the three ways someone can provide evidence they are immune to the virus. 

This means they will need to show evidence of vaccination, a negative test or having recently recovered from the virus. 

The rule applies for everyone over the age of 12 in Austria, although in Vienna it applies from the age of six. 

While proving this status will become easier when Austria’s green pass comes into effect, until then you will need to show paper evidence. 

This is outlined specifically below. 

How do I prove I have been vaccinated? 

The yellow vaccination certificate or Impfpass can be used to access pubs and restaurants when Austria relaxes its nationwide lockdown on May 19th, the Ministry of Health confirmed. 

Please note that this applies 21 days after your first shot in Austria (the time period is the same for Johnson and Johnson, which is a one-shot vaccine). Until then, you need to continue to prove immunity through testing. 

If you don’t have an Impfpass, you will be given a vaccination certificate at your vaccination appointment. Or if you like you can pick one up from the pharmacy or your doctor. 

You will receive evidence of your vaccination regardless of where it is carried out, whether that be at a doctor’s office, a pharmacy or a vaccination centre. 

More information is available at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How can I prove I’ve been vaccinated to access pubs and hairdressers in Austria?

What about with a negative test?

You can also show evidence of a negative test, although this does get a little complicated due to the variety of tests on offer. 

There are three broad categories of test and they apply for different time periods. 

The self-tests, which you can carry out yourself at home, are valid for 24 hours. Self-tests are not valid in Vienna, but are acceptable in other Austrian states. 

The antigen tests, which you can get done at pharmacies, doctors and testing centres (aka test streets) across the country, are valid for 48 hours. 

PCR tests – which take longer but are considered the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to testing – apply for 72 hours. 

The rules are slightly different for children, who can show their test sticker books. These are valid for 48 hours after the test. 

More information on the test sticker books is available below. 

‘Ninja tests’: What are Austria’s coronavirus sticker book tests for children?

What about proving recovery?

This can get a little more difficult, particularly if you have not visited the doctor when you caught (or believe you caught) covid. 

For people who have a medical certificate saying they were infected, this is relatively simple. You can show this for six months after your infection. 

If you do not have a medical certificate proving you were infected, you can take an antibody test. 

Companies that carry out antibody tests have been encouraged by the government to produce results which are easy to read, i.e. that simply say “positive” or “antibodies found”. 

The results of these tests last for three months, provided of course that the results show you have had the virus. 

Generally speaking, you will need to carry out the tests at your own expense. 

More information is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: How to prove you have recovered from Covid in Austria?

What evidence do I need – and when will we go digital?

Given that Austria still runs on paper, initially anyone wanting to show compliance will have to provide evidence in paper-based form. 

Since early June however, the green pass – which will incorporates digital QR code technology – came into effect. 

However, Chief Medical Officer Katharina Reich from the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday, May 18th, that photographic evidence of the above vaccine, medical certificate or test result, on a mobile phone will also suffice. 

Reich told the press that information should be presented “in PDF form if possible” and must be legible. 

In mid-August, Austria made its green pass app available in English as well as German. Here’s what you need to know

For more information on Austria’s digital Covid-19 app, please click the following link. 

EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s Covid-19 immunity pass and how do I get it?

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Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Austria's autumn Covid-19 plan includes a fourth Covid-19 dose to all those older than 12 and the Health Ministry doesn't rule out further measures, especially a return of the mask mandate.

Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Austria’s Health Ministry and the country’s National Immunisation Panel (NIG) have recommended a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to the general population ahead of autumn.

Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) and physician Herwig Kollaritsch of the Immunisation Panel have requested people take the vaccination before the cold months, reiterating that the Covid-19 vaccine is safe and protects against more severe courses of the disease.

“You can do a lot before autumn. Don’t wait until the numbers rise. Get vaccinated, take the booster shots”, Kollaritsch said in a press conference this Wednesday, August 31st.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The Covid rules across Austria from August 2022

The previous recommendation was only for people older than 60 or those in risk groups. “After there was already the booster recommendation for the vulnerable and over 60-year-olds over the summer, all other groups are to get a booster in the coming weeks,” the health minister said.

Only 58.9 percent of the population is currently sufficiently vaccinated, as per the recommendation of the National Immunisation Panel (NIG) – which for the majority of the population is three doses – or if they’ve had Covid then two doses and a recent recovered status.

New measures ahead of autumn

The health minister stopped short of announcing new Covid-19 measures for autumn.

When he announced the end of the mask mandate in the country back in May, Rauch had said the suspension would be “temporary” and masks were likely to return after summer, depending on the pandemic, particularly on hospitalisation numbers.

Currently, masks are obligatory in the health sector and on public transport in Vienna.

“We evaluate the situation weekly by talking with the hospital heads in the states. We have a very good view of the Covid-19 data, and we don’t rule out bringing measures back in the future”, he said.

READ ALSO: Vienna extends stricter Covid-19 rules until late October

He added: “It is likely that in the autumn, compulsory masks will again be useful and necessary in certain areas such as public transport or supermarkets,”.

For now, though, the minister said he recommends people to get vaccinated, wear masks where social distancing is not possible, and get tested regularly – even if those measures are not mandatory.

When should you get vaccinated?

The fourth vaccination should come a minimum of four months after the third one (or after a Covid-19 infection) but not after six months of the third dose (regardless of whether or not the person has had an infection after the last vaccine), according to the NIG.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Which Austrian states will allow Covid-infected teachers in classrooms?

For children between five and eleven years of age, the basic immunisation – which consists of three vaccinations – should be completed by the start of school at the latest; no booster vaccination is currently recommended in this age group.

Austria expects vaccines adapted to the omicron variant to arrive in the country before the end of September, the health minister said.