IN DETAIL: How to get your Meldezettel in Austria

Moving boxes in a hallway new home
You've told your family, friends and Instagram followers about the big move, but in the chaos of moving don't forget to inform the Austrian authorities too. Photo: Ryu Orn/Unsplash
Austria's Meldezettel is the first and most important piece of paperwork you need to do when you arrive. Here's how you get it sorted.

If you intend to stay in Austria long term, you need to register your address with local authorities within three days of your arrival. This process is called Anmeldung des Wohnsitzes (registration of residence).

Not only is it Austrian law and you could face a fine if you miss the three-day deadline, but you also need this form to access many basic services in Austria from setting up a bank account to joining a gym.

Luckily, the process is relatively simple and completely free.

You need to fill out the form in German (you can download a copy here), but there are English language translations available for your information (you can find one here), so you know exactly what you’re responding to.

READ ALSO: Meldezettel: Everything you need to know about Austria’s compulsory address registration

Most of the Meldezettel is basic biographical information, but there are a few things to be aware of.

You are asked your religion. The reason for this is that if you say you are a member of the Catholic or Protestant Church, you will then need to pay church tax, so it’s best only to note a religion that you practice. 

If you have dual nationality, it’s a good idea to state the nationality that is linked to your right to stay in Austria; for example, if you are a citizen of both an EU country and a non-EU country and are moving to Austria under EU freedom of movement, state your EU citizenship on the form.

You also need a stamp or signature confirming your current address.

This might be a signature from your landlord or from the person who owns the property if you are staying with family and friends. If you own the property you’ll be staying in, your own signature is sufficient.

Many new arrivals might be staying in a hotel or serviced apartment for the first few weeks they are in Austria. Depending on how long your stay is booked for, you should be able to register here and to ask reception or another representative to provide you with the stamp or signature. If they refuse, you should contact your local Meldeservice and ask what steps you should take.

With your completed form, you are ready to register.

If you have never been registered in Austria before, you need to go to the Resident Registration Service (Meldeservice) in person to register. 

Most towns and cities only have one registration office, but in Vienna there are 20 around the city located in its Municipal District Offices (Magistratische Bezirksämter).

You can usually turn up without an appointment, but to be seen more quickly, you can book a time slot by calling the office or checking online. For example, here are the booking pages for Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz and Linz. Note that many of these offices do not follow normal office hours, so check the opening times in advance.

The process itself should take no more than five to ten minutes, but it’s worth factoring in time for potential queues if you didn’t book a slot.

You’ll need to bring with you the completed registration form, as well as your passport confirming the details on your form (it should include your full name, nationality and place of birth). Even if you bring the original document, you may also need a photocopy of your passport, or to photocopy it at the office (which may cost a small fee). And during the Covid-19 pandemic, you need to bring an FFP2 face mask too.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation of your residence, called a Meldebestätigung. You should scan or copy this document, because it’s essential for so many aspects of Austrian life and it costs money (albeit under €20) to get an official replacement.

When you do future registrations, you can submit them by email rather than heading to the office in person.

READ ALSO: Just how good does your German have to be to gain residency and citizenship in Austria?

What do I do next?

While the Meldebestätigung is a crucial first step, it is not enough on its own to secure your long-term residence in Austria.

If you are an EU/EEA citizen, you will need to complete a permanent resident certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung) application within four months of arrival.

If you are a third country national, you need a residence permit if you are planning to stay for more than six months. In most cases, you will have started the application process for this before you arrive in Austria.

As well as these processes, you need to keep the authorities updated on your place of residence by registering each time you change address, again using the Meldezettel. When you do this, you also de-register from the place you are leaving (Abmeldung).

After the first registration which needs to be in person with your original documents, registering a change of address can be done online, but again you have a three-day deadline to register after each move.

How has Covid-19 affected registration?

During the Covid-19 pandemic it has often been possible to do even the first registration online instead, but as of September, this is generally no longer the case.

If you need to quarantine on arrival in Austria, you cannot leave your place of quarantine to register in person. If you cannot register within the three-day deadline due to Covid-19 restrictions, it’s a good idea to contact the office via phone or email and ask what you should do. In general, you will be able to register once you are out of quarantine and your registration can be backdated to the date you actually arrived.

There is no 3G rule (requirement for proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid-19, or a negative test) to enter the offices, however it is recommended that you follow 3G, which means testing negative if you’re unvaccinated. You should also wear an FFP2 mask while in the building, regardless of vaccination status.

READ ALSO: How can I buy a second home in Austria?


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