SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

BREXIT

Brexit: What happens if you haven’t exchanged your UK driving licence in Austria?

The June 30th deadline for changing over your licence from British to Austrian has expired. From insurance implications to fines, what happens if you haven't made the switch?

Brexit: What happens if you haven't exchanged your UK driving licence in Austria?
Photo: Wikicommons.

People who became legally resident in Austria before Brexit and have a British driving licence should note the deadline for exchanging their British licence for an Austrian one was June 30th, 2021.

Under Austrian law, you are required to change your driving licence over after a maximum of six months in the country. 

According to the Article 50 Rules, this means that June 30th is the relevant date for switching over, as it is six months from the Brexit deadline. 

If you have moved to Austria in 2021, the relevant date for switching over your licence will be six months from your arrival date. 

If you are not residing in Austria, the period is 12 rather than 6 months, according to the ÖAMTC (Austrian Automobile and Motorcycle Touring Club). 

More information about the rules for changing over your licence is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: What are the post-Brexit rules about UK driving licences in Austria?

What happens if you haven’t changed your licence by that date? 

If you continue to drive on your British licence, you will technically be driving without a valid licence. 

This means there may both be insurance and legal implications. 

If you are involved in a traffic accident, you may be liable for up to €11,000 in repayments to the liability insurer for payments made to the victims of the crash. 

But this is not all. 

If you drive on your British licence after June 30th, you are considered to be driving unlicensed – for which there is a minimum fine of €363 (§37 para. 3 no. 1 FSG). 

Higher fines and jail terms are also possible for doing so, although according to the ÖAMTC this is generally used for people who continually reoffend. 

Can I still exchange my driver’s licence? 

For those who have let the period expire, some Local readers have indicated Austrian authorities will occasionally allow a little leeway. 

Some have been told they can continue to drive on their British licence provided they’ve put in an application to change it over (and carry their receipt). 

In a question and answer session in late September 2021, the British Embassy indicated you could still validly exchange your driver’s licence over – but warned that you must do it as soon as possible. 

This means that you may be allowed to change over your licence after the deadline – sometimes years down the track. 

However, in the worst-case scenario you may be forced to get your licence from scratch in Austria, including new practical and written tests. 

Please check with your local Bezirkshauptmannschaft (district authority) about whether you are able to change over the licence and the rules for doing so. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

LIVING IN AUSTRIA

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about retiring in Austria

Retiring to Austria to spend time in fresh alpine air is a dream for many people, but who is actually eligible to retire to the Alpine Republic? Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about retiring in Austria

People from all over the world can retire to Austria, but unlike some other European countries, Austria does not have a residence permit tailored to retirees.

This means anyone wanting to retire to Austria has to go through the standard immigration channels, with different rules for EU and non-EU citizens.

Here’s what you need to know about retirement in Austria and who is eligible to retire in the Alpine Republic.

FOR MEMBERS: How can British second home owners spend more than 90 days in Austria?

What are the rules for retiring to Austria as an EU citizen?

The process for citizens from EU and EEA countries to retire in Austria is relatively simple due to freedom of movement across the bloc.

There are a few rules though.

To stay in the Austria for longer than three months, retirees will need to be able to support themselves financially (e.g. through a pension) and have sufficient health insurance.

When it comes to accessing a pension from another EU member state, this is typically taken care of by an insurance provider in Austria who will deal with the approval process between the states. Access to public healthcare in Austria is also available to all EU/EEA citizens.

Currently the pension age in Austria is 60 for women and 65 for men. More information about pensions in Austria can be found on the European Commission website.

FOR MEMBERS: Five reasons to retire in Austria

What are the rules for retiring to Austria as a non-EU citizen?

The most popular visa route for non-EU retirees hoping to live out their golden years in the Austrian Alps or the grandeur of Vienna is to apply for a settlement permit

This is issued to people that do not intend to work in Austria and is referred to as “except gainful employment” (Niederlassungsbewilligung – ausgenommen Erwerbstätigkeit) by Austrian immigration.

To qualify for the settlement permit, applicants must prove they have sufficient funds, comprehensive health insurance and a place to live.

Proof of sufficient funds means applicants must have a regular monthly income from a pension, profits from enterprises abroad, income from assets, savings or company shares. 

The minimum amount is €1,030.49 for a single person, or €1,625.71 for married couples or those in a partnership. 

READ ALSO: Baking away solitude: Vienna cafe hopes to unite world’s grandmas

Third-country nationals also have to provide evidence of basic German language skills at Level A1, in line with the Common European Framework of References for Languages. The diploma must be no older than one year when submitted with the application.

However, the application process will be entirely in German so for people that don’t have advanced German language skills, it’s best to hire an English-speaking immigration lawyer.

Additionally, Austria has a social security agreement with several non-EU states, including the UK, Canada and the USA. This allows some people to access their pension directly from Austria, depending on the agreement.

Again, it can be useful to find an English-speaking advisor to help with the bureaucratic part of accessing a pension in Austria if you don’t have strong German language skills.

After five years of living in Austria with a settlement permit, visa holders can then apply for permanent residence.

Want information on pensions? Then check out the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How does the Austrian pension system work?

Useful vocabulary

Retirement – Ruhestand

Pension – Rente

Social insurance – Sozialversicherung

Health insurance – Krankenkasse

Settlement permit – Niederlassungsbewilligung

SHOW COMMENTS