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Checklist: What you need to do when you leave Austria for good

Moving boxes
It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the process of an international move. Photo: cottonbro/Pexels
Maybe you're returning home, moving for work, or seeking new adventures. Regardless of the reason, if the time comes when you choose to leave Austria, don't forget to tick these last bureaucratic checkboxes.

Housing

If you’re renting in Austria, make sure you know how much notice you need to give your landlord before moving. A typical contract will require three months’ notice, often starting from the beginning of the next full calendar month — so that if you hand in notice on January 15th for example, you’re obliged to pay rent for February, March and April. Note that many contracts have a minimum of one year before notice can be given in, unless you negotiated differently when drawing up the contract, but some landlords will be flexible.

If you want to leave earlier than your contract officially allows, you may be able to do this if you help with finding a new tenant to ‘take over’ the contract. 

Make sure to schedule in time to clean the apartment and take plenty of photos to show the state you’ve left it in, so that you can get your deposit back. 

On the other hand, if you own your home in Austria, you need to think about whether you want to sell it or keep it as a holiday home or rental. Both options come with, you guessed it, paperwork, so you should start looking into this as soon as you decide to leave.

Cancel your contracts

Electricity, internet, insurance, gym membership, mobile phone: make sure you know the notice period on your contracts and cancel them in good time. 

In the case of mobile phone contracts, it’s worth considering if you want to keep your Austrian number for a few months after leaving (using a dual SIM phone) in case any authorities in Austria need to contact you.

If there are fees you do want to keep paying – for example newspaper or streaming subscriptions – update your address and payment details, as well as making any other changes (perhaps you need to update from a print to digital subscription). 

In many cases, it won’t be enough to simply close your bank account to stop being charged. If you’ve signed up for recurring payments and don’t actively cancel, this could result in your account going to debt collection. That can be more complicated to resolve after moving overseas, so make sure you tie up all those loose ends.

Speak to the bank

Find out what you need to do to close your Austrian bank accounts, not forgetting savings and business accounts if you have them. In some cases, it may make more sense to keep the account open if you can, for example if you’re going to continue paying or receiving money in Austria after you leave — check with the bank what your options are.

Your bank will give you an option of what to do with any cash in the accounts, and if you have a significant amount of money, it’s worth investigating the options. Different fees of transfer services, and fluctuations in currency exchange rates, mean that choosing the right time and method to transfer your money to your new country could save you a lot. 

Abmeldung/De-registration of residence

When you move to or within Austria, you need to register your place of residence within three days of arrival. And when you leave, you need to de-register, between three days before and three days after the moving date. The good news is that you should be able to do this online if you can’t make it to your local Magistrat.

If you have the right to vote in Austria (as an Austrian citizen), this will remove you from the electoral register, so if you want to vote in future elections you’ll need to register again, which you can do via the European electoral register.

If you’re employed

You’ll obviously need to hand in your notice, unless your work is relocating you. Make sure to return all company-owned property before you leave, especially if that includes larger items like ergonomic furniture for home-working where you may need to take time to arrange their removal. 

Get copies of at least your last three months’ payslips, preferably as many as you can, and check your final payslip especially carefully to make sure you’ve received all holiday and any expenses/overtime pay and so on that were due to you.

Don’t forget to ask for references, and give potential referees your new contact details.

If you work in an industry where you’ll need to provide examples of past work, check with your manager whether you’re allowed to use your work in this way and get copies.

If you’re self-employed

If you’re self-employed in Austria, you went through several stages of administration to set up your business, and when you leave, you basically need to undo these.

You need to report the end of your self-employment to SVS within one month in order to avoid being charged for the next insurance period. If you leave it later than this, you will still be charged up to the month when you notified them. 

The tax office, Finanzamt, also need to be informed no later than one month after closing your business: the form you need is Verf25.

If you drive

De-register your vehicle, if you have one (find more information here).

Your Austrian or EU/EEA driving licence is valid in other EU/EEA countries, but not outside the EU. Make sure to check the rules for the country you are moving to and your licence.

Healthcare

The months around an international move are stressful, but don’t neglect your health. Make sure you’re up to date on vaccinations and health, dental and eye check-ups, and have a two to three month’s supply of any medicines you need.

It could be a good idea to request your medical records from your doctor so you can give them to your new doctor.

Preparing for the new move

Don’t get so tied up in the Austrian paperwork that you forget about the things you need to do for your new country!

That applies in particular if you need to apply for a visa or permit, but also look into any documents you may need in order to move pets, and find out what the customs regulations are for moving your belongings to a new country if you are moving outside the EU. The embassy of your new country in Austria should be able to answer questions.

In some cases you may need some documents that are easier to get while you’re physically in Austria, for example if you’ll need a police record check for your work in your new country.


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