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READER QUESTIONS

What are The Local Austria’s ‘reader questions’?

You may have seen 'reader question' in some of our recent reports, but who can ask a reader question and what can be asked? Here's what you need to know.

A rock with a question mark written on it somewhere in a riverbank
If you have a question you think we could answer, send us an email and we'll give it our best shot. Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

As part of our service to our readers and members, we often answer questions on life in Austria via email when people get in touch with us. 

When these have value to the greater Local Austria community, we put them together as an article, with ‘reader question’ in the headline. 

Who can ask a reader question and can I ask anonymously?

All readers of The Local Austria can ask a reader question, i.e. you do not need to be a member. If you do find our reporting valuable however, then please consider signing up

You do not need to live in Austria to ask a reader question, i.e. you could be coming to Austria for a holiday and have a specific question, or you might have Austrian heritage and live abroad. However, the questions have to be related to Austria in some way. 

We will only turn a question into a reader question article where it has value to the broader Local community and where we can answer it.

Sometimes a question can serve as inspiration, i.e. if you ask us ‘why doesn’t my dog love me?’, we may refer you to one of Austria’s best pet therapists – and then put together an article on pet care in Austria.

All reader questions we publish are anonymous. 

Whenever we decide to publish a reader question, we do not refer to the person who asked the question or give any identifying details. 

We do not release any details of the person’s private correspondence with us. 

We will not publish a reader question where the person asking it could be identified. 

What kinds of questions can be asked? 

Any question can be asked, although as we said above it should relate to Austria in some respect. 

For obvious reasons, recent questions have tended to focus on the Covid pandemic and the Austrian government’s rules, although reader questions can be about anything that’s on your mind. 

Many questions we are asked tend to be speculative – i.e. will Austria tighten Covid measures or what will happen in an upcoming referendum?

In that case, we do our best to answer on the basis of the evidence that is currently available and by reaching out to our contacts in the Austrian government, experts or other independent organisations. 

If you’d like to have a question answered – or just want to get in touch – drop us a line at [email protected]

Here are some examples of some of our more popular reader questions over the past few years. Our complete list of reader questions can be seen here

Reader question: Will my children get an Austrian passport if born in Austria?

Reader question: What are Vienna’s new Covid measures?

Reader question: Does Austria’s vaccine mandate apply to tourists?

Reader question: Do I have to repaint the walls when I leave a rental in Austria?

Reader question: Is Austria in danger of radiation from Chernobyl?

Reader question: How do I get a flu vaccine in Austria?

Reader question: Can Britons living in EU spend more than 90 days in another Schengen country?

Reader question: What are the rules for mowing your lawn in Austria?

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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Can Britons living in EU spend more than 90 days in another Schengen country?

The EU's '90 day rule' governs how long non-European citizens can spend in the bloc without needing a visa and, since Brexit, this has also included UK nationals. But does it still apply if you live in an EU country?

Reader question: Can Britons living in EU spend more than 90 days in another Schengen country?
Photo: AFP

Question: I’m British and I have residency in Italy, but my daughter and her family live in France. I like to spend a good part of the year with them in France, but since Brexit will the 90-day rule apply to me?

This is just one of many questions The Local has received on this topic – from British (and other non-EU) citizens who are permanent residents of an EU country, asking whether the 90-day rule applies to them.

Brits who were already living in an EU country before December 31st 2020 are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, which gives them the right to stay in the countries where they live under many of the same terms as they enjoyed when they were EU citizens.

However, there are several things that the Withdrawal Agreement doesn’t cover.

One of those is moving to a different EU country, which UK nationals will now require a visa for – full details on that HERE.

The other is how much time they can spend in other EU countries.

90-day rule

In this case non-EU residents of EU countries are covered by the 90-day rule, in the same way as visitors from the UK or the US are.  So in other words there is no different rule for those Britons who are resident in the EU.

You can read full details of how the 90-day rule works HERE but broadly, people covered by it can spend 90-days out of every 180 in an EU or Schengen zone country other than their own without the need for a visa.

The 90-day total applies to the whole EU/Schengen zone, so if you live in France you cannot spend 85 days in Germany and then go straight to the Netherlands for two weeks to enjoy the Eurovision Song Contest, as that would exceed your 90-day limit. 

The 90-day limit is also intended for visits only, so if you intend to do paid work while in another EU country then you may need a visa.

Enforcement

Several people have also quite rightly asked us how this could possibly be enforced, given that passports are not routinely checked when travelling within the Schengen zone?

For example, how could French authorities really enforce the 90-day rule on someone who has crossed over from Italy for a lengthy visit?

While it seems unlikely people would be caught they should be aware that while residents of EU countries won’t be subject to the same passport checks and stamping as people entering the Bloc, that doesn’t mean there are no passport checks.

Controls can still be carried out at Schengen borders if, for example, there is a security alert or border restrictions are tightened due to the pandemic.

You could also be asked to produce your passport while visiting an EU country at a police or security check.

One thing to consider is that if you are found to have spent too long in a country where you do not have residency status or a visa you can face some severe penalties.

You may be fined in the country where you are found to have breached the 90-day rule and even deported. Your passport could also be flagged as an over-stayer which can cause problems for future travel or residency/visa applications.

In a worst case scenario non-EU nationals who stay longer than 90-days without a residence permit or visa could end up with a re-entry ban to the Schengen area.

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