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Residency permits For Members

What you should do if you lose your residence permit in Austria

The Local Austria
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What you should do if you lose your residence permit in Austria
As a foreigner in Austria, you'll generally need your passport and residence permit for valid ID. Photo by Global Residence Index on Unsplash

Non- EU nationals with the right to live and work in Austria are generally issued a residence permit in the form of an ID card. But what do you if you happen to lose this vital document - or if it gets stolen? Here's a step-by-step guide.

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Losing an important document can be a nightmare scenario for foreigners in Austria - especially if it's the one you rely on to live and work in the country. So if you search for your residence permit one day and suddenly realise it's missing, you may feel the urge to panic. 

Luckily, there's a process to follow to get a replacement and ensure nobody else can misuse your residence permit in the meantime. This being Austria, it may take a little time, but rest assured you will be able to replace the document. 

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Different types of permit

If you're a non-EU national in Austria, an electronic ID card (electronischer Aufenthaltstitel) for residents proves your rights to live, work, or study in the country. 

READ ALSO: Visas and residency permits: How to move to Austria and stay long-term

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Brits who lived in Austria before the Brexit cut-off date are likely to have a special type of electronic ID card called the Article 50 card. This looks pretty similar to a permanent residence card and basically signifies that the holder is entitled to mostly the same rights as EU citizens living in Austria. 

Whether you suspect your permit was lost or stolen, you're strongly advised to file a police report as soon as possible to look out for potential fraud.

What to do you if you lose your residence card

1. Call the lost and found and/or file a police report

If you think your residence permit may simply have been lost, rather than stolen, you can call your local Fundamt - which deals with lost property - to see if someone has returned it.

Whether you've lost your residence permit or it's been stolen, if you can't find it, you're required to file a police report. You'll need this report to apply for a new one.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get the essential Handy-Signatur and ID Austria

2. Get in touch with your local authority

Once you've filed a police report, you'll need to get in touch with the the local authority where you live to let them know what's happened and arrange a replacement card. In Vienna, this is the MA 35 office.

You can do this via email or telephone but may also have to book an in-person appointment if they need to see certain documents for issuing the replacement.

These documents typically include the police report, an application form, a biometric photo, and a valid passport proving your identity. Having a copy of your old card could help the process, so it may be worth the time to make and file a copy just in case the worst ever happens.

When the new document is ready, you'll need to collect it in person yourself - no one else can do this for you.

You'll also need to pay a fee for the replacement card, which can vary from state to state. In Vienna, this fee is €160.

Also, once an order for a new card has been sent off, you'll no longer be able to reuse your old card should you find it again. 

Traveling back to Austria without your residence permit can be difficult, so it's best to take action quickly if it's lost or stolen. (Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi / Pexels)

What if I'm travelling out of the country soon? 

If you're leaving Austria and don't have time to get a replacement residence permit, contact your local authority right away. They should be able to assist you with emergency proof of residence, which is normally done in the form of a Fiktionsbescheinigung (a certificate confirming your status and rights before the official proof has been issued).

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Obviously, if you've lost your passport, your first port of call will be your home country's embassy, who can normally issue emergency travel documents within a matter of days. 

READ ALSO: 'Bring everything you have': Key tips for dealing with Vienna's immigration office MA 35

For Brits covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, bringing other proof of residence in Austria such as your registration (Meldezettel) with you or a work contract should suffice to avoid getting a stamp in your passport when you re-enter. But even if you do, it won't affect your rights.

It's also worth bearing in mind that there are no hard borders in Schengen, so if you're travelling around the EU, you'll generally be fine without your visa. 

 

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