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EXPLAINED: What to keep in mind if you leave Austria to move abroad

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: What to keep in mind if you leave Austria to move abroad
Auf wiedersehen, Basel: many people are leaving the city for greener pastures. Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels

Few people are surprised about moving to Austria coming with its own bureaucracy. But there are also some things to keep in mind if you’re leaving the country to move abroad.


Although there’s many pros about living in the Alpine republic, people may have all sorts of reasons for leaving it. Perhaps you’re a student who has just finished your studies and have an exciting job opportunity elsewhere, perhaps you’re looking to move back to be closer to family after a number of years here, or maybe you just need some other sort of change.

Leaving Austria undoubtedly has less bureaucracy associated with it than moving here in the first place. But there’s important steps to take. Here are the most critical ones.

Figure out the date that you’re leaving

A lot of the bureaucracy around leaving Austria requires certain timing about what you should do at what time. Although unforeseen circumstances happen and are understandable, the more advance knowledge you have about precisely when you’re leaving, the easier it will be to plan for what you need to do and when.

Three to six months out or more – children, pets, and selling property

If you have school-aged children, you’re advised to contact the school of where they will be registered abroad at least five months out.

Selling a property in Austria may also end up taking up to six months, depending on the approvals required – for example, if you sell it to another foreigner.

If you have pets, keep their EU pet passports up to date and check the regulations of where you’re moving as to what sort of certificates you will need. Your vet should also be able to tell you more about this.

EXPLAINED: How to move to Austria with your pets


Three months out or more – cancelling contracts

Austria is a country that might have comparatively long notice periods compared to what you might be used to in other parts of the world.

Whether it’s any kind of private insurance, your gym membership, your phone bill, or your utility and Internet contracts – or even the rental agreement you have with your landlord – many service providers may require you to give at least three months of notice before they’ll cancel the direct debit authority you gave them.

Your phone company may require a lot of notice to cancel your contract, but check and see if you can get out of contracts for leaving the country. Photo: Karolina Grabowska/Pixabay

To stop yourself getting billed for another month or year you won’t use, try checking your bank or credit card statement or your files and make a list of everything you have contracts for, then get to giving notice, or Kündigung, when the time comes. You can often do this by e-mail or online, depending on the service provider.


Some companies may have a certain minimum commitment period (Mindestlaufzeit) stretching from a few months to even two years. If you’ve been with them for longer than this commitment period, you can often give notice on a month-to-month basis. If you haven’t been with them that long though, you may be on the hook for the remaining months you have with them. Sometimes, however, service providers will even allow you to exit these kinds of contracts if you leave the country. They will probably require your de-registration certificate (Abmeldung) as proof of this though.

Estimate a value for your stuff

If you’re moving just a small amount of personal effects – like a few suitcases of books and clothes home, you probably don’t need to do this. The same is true if you’re moving from Austria to another EU country or Switzerland, as you’ll be remaining within the EU Customs Union.

If, however, you’re moving furniture, art, or a lot of personal effects – for example through shipping – out of the EU, then the country you’re headed to may have its own rules on import duties and whether or not you have to pay them. Having an inventory with an approximate value of your stuff will help this process – although you’ll need to check the individual rules of wherever you’re going.

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Two months out or more - Contact your health insurance and doctor

If you’re leaving your job, your employer might end up doing this for you, although you may get a call or letter from your health insurance fund asking you to confirm this. You may be advised to send in your Abmeldung later, as health insurance is a legal requirement for Austrian residents.

If you are moving to another EU country, you should ask your public insurer in Austria for an E104 form. This form proves that you’ve paid into Austria’s social insurance system, and will help you access health and social insurance in the other EU country that you’ve moved to.

You should also contact your doctor for any health records you may need.

Contact Austrian social insurance

You can contact Österreichische Sozialversichering to have your pension moved your new country. Keep in mind though that the rules around this are highly dependent on where you’re moving – such as whether it is also within the EU, which is typically the least complex – or whether it is to a country that Austria has a social security agreement with or not.

Depending on where you're moving, your Austrian pension may switch over. Photo by Sam Williams on Unsplash

Your employer may end take care of this for you in some cases, but it is useful to check with them anyway.

EXPLAINED: Do your pension contributions abroad count in Austria?


Contact your bank

You should tell your bank that you’re leaving Austria to close your account. Many require an Austrian address to keep it open, so you’ll typically need to close it.

However, you should ask them if it’s possible to close your account from abroad or if they can hold it open for a period of time for you after you leave. This is because your final wages may be paid in, or some final costs paid out, after you’ve left.

De-register your residence

Finally, you will need to get your Abmeldung – or de-registration certificate – from your local authority. As mentioned before, you may need to show this certificate to get out of certain contracts early. It will also be important if you get calls from the Austrian tax office, in order to prove that you are no longer an Austrian resident.

To do this, you’ll need your original registration certificate, or Anmeldung, a picture ID, and your birth certificate. You’ll also need to tell them where you’re going. If you already have a new address in the new country, you can give them that. Otherwise, simply telling them the new country will generally suffice.

Depending on your district, you may or may not be able to do this online.

In Vienna, you can de-register with any local authority that’s in the city, not just your own.


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