A guide for expats
© Image by Niederösterreich Werbung / Michael Liebert
A first overview.
About life, work, housing,
education, health and
leisure – here with
us in Lower Austria.
We support you. Free of charge.
From A to Z.
From getting your work permit to moving into your new home,
we guide you through the process.
Here’s to a good arrival, a smooth start and limitless well-being.
In Lower Austria. Your new, second home – for you and your family.
We are like a coach.
Right by your side.
Planning is half the way to the finish line. The following documents are particularly important for your entry or first official steps. Make sure you have the originals of these documents ready. Take a look at our checklist.
WORK & RESIDENCE
Do you have a job offer or would like to invest or start up a business in Lower Austria? That sounds great ‒ we are glad to have you here! Depending on whether you are a citizen of an EU, EEA or third country, you have to consider some formalities until you can settle down here. But no worries, we will handle this together.
at a glance
Where are you from?
Immigration as a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland
Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland are allowed to travel to, live and work in Austria without a visa or residence permit. The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of the Member States of the European Union (EU) and three countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA): Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
As a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland you do not need a visa or residence permit. You only require a valid passport or other travel document. However, other certain conditions may apply. This includes, e.g. that you must not pose a threat to public order.
As an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, you can stay in Austria for up to three months without the need to provide a specific reason for this, as long as you meet certain requirements, including adequate financial means and health insurance coverage. As a citizen of the EU or EEA you have open access to the Austrian labour market.
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens must register their address within three days of moving in to their new home, just like native Austrians. You are legally required to fill in and bring your registration form (Meldezettel) to the Municipal Office or the ‘Magistrat’ within 3 days after you have moved into your flat.
1. Country of origin: The authorities in the country of origin (registration office, school, etc.) should be informed of the move as soon as possible.
2. Residence up to three months: Citizens of the EU/EEA and Switzerland are generally allowed to stay in Austria for up to three months. Under certain conditions, a longer stay is also possible (e.g. if work is taken up in Austria).
3. Residence of more than three months: If a stay of more than three months is permitted, a registration certificate must be applied for at the settlement authority within four months of entry.
You are entitled to stay for more than three months if the following conditions apply:
- You are an employee or have a job offer or are self-employed in Austria or
- you have sufficient financial resources and comprehensive health insurance cover or
- you are undergoing education, including vocational training, at a public school or a legally recognised public school or educational institution as the main purpose of your stay and have sufficient funds and comprehensive health insurance cover.
4. Permanent residence: Citizens of the EU, EEA or Switzerland are entitled to acquire the right of permanent residence after five years of legal and uninterrupted residence in Austria. Upon application, they are issued a “certificate of permanent residence”. If they are eligible for a certificate of permanent residence, they can also apply for a “photo ID card for EEA citizens“. This is valid as an identity document in Austria.
5. Driving license: EU and EEA driving licences are recognised in Austria. This means they do not have to be converted to an Austrian license, but you may do so voluntarily. Here you will find more information concerning EU/EEA driving licenses.
Please note: You have a deregistration obligation, before leaving Austria.
Immigration as a citizen of a third country (outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland)
As a third-country citizen you are neither an EU citizen nor any other EEA citizen (from Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway) nor a Swiss citizen. Therefore, citizens from a third country who reside or intend to reside in Austria for longer than six months require a residence permit.
How long will you stay in Austria and what is the purpose of your stay?
1. Short stays (business and leisure): In this case you don’t need a residence permit if you stay in Austria less than 90 days for business and leisure purposes, but you may require a visa depending on your nationality.
Exception – short stays (taking up employment): You need a residence permit if you plan to stay and work in Austria less than 90 days. In this case, you will need to convert your visa into a residence permit.
2. Longer stay as an expat: If you plan to stay and work more than 180 days in Austria, you will need to apply for a residence permit.
Residents of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and the United States of America may enter Austria without a visa and then apply for a residence permit in Austria.
Please note: As a citizen of another country (as listed above) you will need to apply for a national visa (which functions as a provisional residence permit) at the Austrian consulate in your home country. After your arrival, you will convert the visa into a residence permit.
Types of residence permits for citizens of third countries
1. Temporary residence
Visa C (tourist visa): This visa can be issued for a total stay of up to 90 days within a period of 180 days and entitles the holder to enter and stay in the territory of the Schengen States.
Visa D (residence visa): This visa generally entitles the holder to a stay of 91 days to six months. In exceptional cases, it is also possible to issue a Visa D with a period of validity of up to 12 months.
A special visa is always required if you take up paid employment (Visa C or D with the addendum „Erwerb“).
2. Permanent residence
There are several types of permanent residence permits (usually with a fixed-term), depending on your circumstances. Here is a brief overview of some of them:
- EU Blue Card: Valid for 24 months, the EU Blue Card is issued to third-country nationals who meet very specific criteria, including employment related to your qualifications, the level of your salary and the fact that the authorities have determined there is no one else suitable for the post. It is a combined residence and work permit, bound to one employer.
- Red-White-Red Card: If you are a highly skilled person, you can apply for the RWR Card in several categories, depending on your purpose and qualifications. You generally need to have a binding job offer to apply for a RWR Card as an employee. You are bound to your employer for two years. Look into the prerequisites in order to find out, if you are eligible for the RWR Card.
- Red-White-Red Card Plus: After 24 months of carrying the RWR Card, you can apply for the RWR Card Plus, which entitles you to unlimited access to the labour market. Family members of RWR Card and EU Blue Card holders also receive an RWR Card Plus. In some cases, proof of German language skills are necessary to obtain or extend this permit.
Good to know
Once you have arrived in Austria, we suggest that you take care of following steps:
- You need to have your fingerprint taken at the authority (that was named by your consulate) after entering the country, usually at the registration authority ‘Meldebehörde or Magistrat’ or immigration department (Fremdenpolizei).
- Fill in and bring your registration form (Meldezettel) to the registration authority within 3 days after you have moved into your flat.
- After submitting your registration form, you can apply to convert your visa to a residence permit.
- As soon as you receive your registration form and residence permit, you can open a bank account and conclude a mobile phone contract.
- Before you start work, inform your HR department of all the details (the converted residence permit, registration form, information about your bank account).
- Once you start your job, you will receive your health insurance card (E-Card) per mail. Learn more about the E-Card in the Health section.
- Extension of a residence permit: If a residence permit is to be extended, an application for an extension must be submitted within three months of its expiry at the earliest and by its expiry date at the latest.
Please note: If the application for extension is submitted too late or after the expiry date, the application is considered to be an initial application and you would have to leave Austria and reapply for it in your country of origin personally at the Austrian consulate or through a similar representative.
Driving licence: Holders of a non-EEA licence who move to Austria can usually continue driving vehicles for six months. Afterwards, their licence will expire and must be converted to an Austrian licence. It is only possible to convert foreign licences if they are still valid. Expiry dates specified in the holder’s country of origin will also apply in Austria. When converting non-EU/EEA driving licences, it is usually necessary to take a practical driving test. In order to do so, holders must provide a suitable vehicle from the relevant licence category.
Please check whether a practical driving test is required in your case. This depends on your country of origin.
Here you can see a detailed overview of various work permits as well as residence permits and visas. For more in-depth information, please have a look at our comprehensive expat guide “The essential guide to living and working in Austria – Lower Austria Edition”.
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All children living in Austria must attend one year of kindergarten and school from ages 6 to 15 – in total 9 years of compulsory education. Find detailed information about the types of education, grading, holidays and much more. So you can choose the best option for your childs best.
Plenty of educational institutions are available in Lower Austria.
Nursery schools for the youngest, international kindergartens,
bilingual schools, tertiary education such as universities.
Unique in Austria: The dual vocational education and training (VET) programme.
1 to 3 years | crèches (Krabbelstube)
The crèche (Krabbelstube) is a form of day care for children up to 3 years of age. The daily routine and environment are specifically geared to the needs of the children. In Lower Austria, many of the crèches are privately run. Childcare can be booked flexibly and by the day and is oriented towards the needs of working parents. The costs vary depending on the childcare facility.
Crèches in Lower Austria
Unfortunately not all links are available in English. If you need help, please do not hesitate and contact us.
3 to 6 years | kindergarten
The kindergarten supports and complements family education. The children are pedagogically supervised and well looked after in the community. They can play, have fun, enjoy movement and plenty of space. For experimenting, observing or imitating. This promotes (social) development, reveals talents and ultimately supports the achievement of school readiness. The needs of the children are also the focus here.
Legally compulsory kindergarten year
Half-day kindergarten attendance (at least 20 hours) is compulsory and free of charge* for all children who have reached the age of five by 31 August. This applies from September to June – with the exception of school holidays. If your child attends the compulsory kindergarten year in a private kindergarten, a subsidy can be applied for from the province of Lower Austria on the basis of the legal provisions. There is a maximum of 25 children per group.
Admission to kindergarten must be applied for at the municipality of residence. It is essential to observe the deadlines for registration. The application must be submitted by the end of February before the start of the next kindergarten year (in September) at the latest. During the kindergarten year, admission is only possible with the agreement of the kindergarten management and the municipality.
Kindergarten attendance is free of charge from 7.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. in all Lower Austrian state kindergartens. Please note: Contributions for snacks, lunch as well as play and support material will be charged. Afternoon care in Lower Austria is subject to a fee and is also only offered on demand.
Kindergartens in Lower Austria (public and private)
List of Lower Austrian kindergartens: www.noe.gv.at
Overview of the education system: www.bildungssystem.at
From 6 years | school starts
Providing a brief overview about the Austrian Education System is frankly not as easy as you may expect. However, here are the basics you should know for the beginning. Here you will find information about the compulsory education, types of education, grading, holidays and much more. So you can choose the best option for your childs future.
Good to know: everything about costs, classes, deadlines, holidays, home schooling
All children who live in Austria must attend one year of kindergarten and attend school from ages 6 to 15.
There are 9 years of compulsory education in total, the classes are divided according to age.
State-run schools are free of charge whereas private schools charge a monthly tuition fee ranging from around €150 to €600 or more. Public schools accept children who speak very little German as so-called non-regular pupils (außerordentliche/r Schüler/in). This means they attend school with the other children and can advance to the next level, but they are granted two years in which they are not graded and can acquire basic German language skills. Schools also usually offer language-support courses.
School enrolment & school books
Enrolment for primary school takes place directly at the respective school through a meeting between the school management, parent(s) and the child. The registration deadline is set by the regional education board usually in November for the following school year. You should receive an invitation letter from the city or provincial education authority where you live.
In public schools, all pupils receive free school- books for all subjects, and bilingual children can request books on German as a second language as well as bilingual dictionaries.
Home schooling is permitted in Austria. Parents simply need to apply for home schooling at the beginning of each school year and make sure the education their children receive is at least equivalent to that offered at public schools. At the end of each year the pupils must take an external exam (Externistenprüfung).
School year & holidays
Two terms. From September to June
School starts in Austria at the beginning of September and is separated into two semesters. Reports are issued in February and certificates at the end of the school year at the end of June. There are nine weeks of summer holidays between July and September.
Winter & summer term
from September to February and from February to June.
The general school holidays include:
- one week in February between the two terms (Semesterferien)
- one-and-a-half weeks for Easter (Osterferien)
- four days around Pentecost (Pfingstferien)
- nine weeks in summer (Sommerferien)
- five days in October (Herbstferien)
- two weeks around Christmas (Weihnachtsferien)
Scholastic achievements are usually graded with scores from 1 to 5. A grade of 1 for very good (Sehr gut), followed by 2 for good (Gut), 3 for satisfactory (Befriedigend), 4 for sufficient (Genügend), and 5 for insufficient (Nicht Genügend), or fail.
Primary School (Volksschule): 6 to 10 years of age (1st to 4th school year)
On their first day of school, children in Austria receive a large cornet filled with little presents and sweets (Schultüte). Six-year-old pupils not yet deemed ready for school (schulreif) may start with a pre-school (Vorschule) class or be required to repeat the first grade. Pupils can move up or down a level during the school year, upon recommendation by parents or teachers.
New middle school (Neue Mittelschule/NMS): 10 to 14 years of age (5th to 8th school year)
NMS prepares pupils for future vocational training according to individual interests, abilities, disposition and skills. NMS graduates can go on to an intermediate or higher vocational school, or to an upper-level AHS (9th to 12th or 13th school years). Beginning with the 7th school year, NMS pupils pursue advanced lessons in German, math and foreign language (similar to AHSs) or they receive basic instruction, depending upon each pupil’s interests and career goals.
General high school (Allgemein bildende höhere Schule/AHS)
An AHS provides comprehensive and immersive education for pupils who plan to continue education at an academic level. The goal is the Matura diploma, which is required for university studies. Commonly referred to as Gymnasium, an AHS consists of a four-year lower level (5th through 8th school years) and a four-year upper level (9th through 12th/13th school years). The upper level is comparable to college-prep high schools in the USA or to grammar school and sixth-form colleges in the UK.
Special needs: 6 to 15 years of age (1st to 9th school year)
The schooling for children and teenage pupils with special needs can take place at a special school suited to the relevant disability or an integral form at a common school.
What’s next? What are your childs interests? After nine years of compulsory school they have to make a choice. Austria’s education system offers three main ways to acquire vocational training: the dual vocational education and training (VET) program (duale Berufsausbildung), and two predominantly school-based programs.
NMS students and lower-secondary AHS graduates wishing to learn a profession and who have finished their eighth year of education must spend one year at a pre-vocational school (Polytechnische Schule) to wrap up nine years of compulsory schooling. At the pre-vocational school, pupils are familiarized with a selection of around 200 available apprenticeships through visits to companies and training workshops.
Dual vocational education and training (VET) program
To be admitted, pupils must have signed a vocational training contract. In the VET program, pupils spend 80% of their time being trained at a company. The remaining 20% is devoted to deepening their general education and acquiring work-relevant theoretical knowledge at a vocational school. The apprenticeship training typically lasts two to four years. It concludes with a practical apprenticeship-leaving examination. Upon successful completion, graduates can attend a Master Craftsman School (Meisterschule) finishing with the mastery exam (Meisterprüfung).
Vocational training in health care: for nurses, massage therapists and medical technicians
Schools for health care and nursing (Schulen für Gesundheits-und Krankenpflege) currently offer a three-year training program in qualified nursing care. Admission prerequisites include 10 years of schooling and the successful completion of an admission interview and/or test. The schools usually cooperate with hospitals, which provide vocational education. At the end of the training, pupils write a thesis and take a diploma exam. Qualified nurses can take up employment, take the higher education entrance examination (Berufsreifeprüfung), or complete advanced training to prepare for leadership roles, or to specialize in children’s/youth care or psychiatric health.
School for higher vocational education
Another vocational training option is a five-year school for higher vocational education (Berufsbildende höhere Schule, or BHS). The BHS offers higher-level vocational training plus a comprehensive general education. These differ by specialization.
The Higher Technical Education Institute (Höhere technische Lehranstalt, or HTL) specializes in technology, engineering or industrial design. This school type has a very high reputation in Austria. The Higher Economic Education Institute (Höhere Lehranstalt für wirtschaftliche Berufe, or HLW) focuses on economics, communication, design and fashion, tourism, nutrition and administration. Business academies (Handelsakademie, or HAK) teach accounting and business administration.
If your child has attended an AHS but wants to additionally acquire vocational training, then a college (Kolleg) might be a suitable option. These four- to six-semester courses (depending on whether the course is full-time or organised in evening classes) are offered by some BHSs. There are colleges focusing on technology, arts and crafts, commerce, trade, elementary or social pedagogy, fashion, tourism and economics.
Universities in Lower Austria
After attending a general or vocational secondary school or a dual apprenticeship training, a tertiary education path can be pursued. Get to know Lower Austria’s renowned universities and universities of applied sciences.
Danube University Krems
The leading public university for continuing education in Europe with over 8,000 students with a focus on teaching and research work to meet societal challenges. Higher qualification of professionals is the focus at Danube University Krems – it offers MBA, PhD, MA and certified programs. www.donau-uni.ac.at/en
Karl Landsteiner Private University for Health Care in Krems
The new generation of doctors and health scientists is trained here on the basis of an integrative teaching and research approach. A university hospital network of 24 university hospitals in Eggenburg, Krems, St. Pölten and Tulln ensures quality-assured, research-led teaching and internationally recognised, excellent research in the clinical field. The range of studies includes the core areas of human medicine and psychology. www.kl.ac.at/en
IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems
With 15,000 students, Krems is one of Lower Austria’s higher education hubs. IMC Krems University of Applied Sciences is part of the strongly networked university campus and designs all degree programmes to be particularly practice-oriented. The fields of study include business, digitalisation & technology, health and life sciences.
University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten
Forward-looking university education in the subject areas of Digital Business & Innovation, Media & Digital Technologies, Computer Science & Security, Railway Technology & Mobility With more than 3,400 students, a significant component of Lower Austria as a university location. www.fhstp.ac.at/en?set_language=en
University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt
Austria’s first university of applied sciences and the largest university of applied sciences in Lower Austria. Practical training and international networking have a long tradition here. At four campuses in Lower Austria and Vienna, the following core academic subjects are offered from Bachelor’s to Master’s degree: Business, Technology, Health, Sport and Safety. www.fhwn.ac.at/en/
University of Applied Sciences Wieselburg
A true think tank for marketing, innovation and consumer science with 20 years of market and research experience in the following sectors: Food, Renewable Energy and Organic & Ecological Consumer Goods. The University of Applied Sciences Wieselburg is in the middle of the market, always teaching and researching in the industry specialisations in a practice-oriented and solution-focused way. https://wieselburg.fhwn.ac.at/
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The Austrian healthcare system is excellent, affordable, easily accessible and recognised worldwide for its high quality. Only few countries in the European Union spend as much on healthcare as Austria. You have access to medical aid anywhere, anytime. Sounds good, right? We explain the basics to you.
The Lower Austrian
Types of health insurance: public or private?
In general, you have two options: public insurance alone, or public insurance complemented by supplemental private insurance. When you choose the public insurance alone, you contribute small co-payments for treatment from a wide selection of doctors and public hospitals. With supplemental private insurance, you have the option of consulting private doctors, with potentially higher fees in specific cases being covered fully or in part depending on your insurance.
Public health insurance
If you are employed in Austria, you have a compulsory public health insurance. Austria’s health insurance is primarily public. This means there are no increased rates or exclusions for pre-existing conditions, or lifetime caps on coverage. You can access public health insurance by paying a portion of your salary. This applies to everyone: you just have to get employed and your monthly payments will be automatically deducted. Your employer is responsible for enrolling you in public health insurance. For those with low or no income, healthcare is free. The rate of contributions is independent of nationality, place of residence in Austria or individual medical risk factors. However, you are not free to choose your public insurer. This is determined by your occupation. The comprehensive coverage of the public insurance includes high-quality treatment for everything from the common cold to heart surgery, plus free yearly check-ups for adults and support for moms to be. After you register, your health insurance company will mail you an E-Card that keeps track of your claims, medications, and your medical history. It is very important that you have your E- Card always with you, especially for your medical appointments.
Private health insurance
In addition to public health insurance, you can choose a private healthcare insurance. This has some advantages, such as almost no waiting times, a wider choice of physicians, and freedom of choice between public or private clinics and hospitals. Although a private insurance has no impact on the quality of care, you have a better comfort of care. For example, you can choose a private or a double room in a hospital, instead of sharing a room with other people. Most people who have private insurance use it as a supplement to public insurance. The market for private health insurance providers in Austria is huge. In general, the older you are the more you will pay. For example, the insurance for children below 18 could cost around €30 per month. However, for someone above 65 the insurance may cost more than €500 per month. Additional factors include both gender and pre-existing conditions.
Accessibility: comprehensive coverage in (Lower) Austria
Most of your healthcare will be handled by your General Physician (GP). Additionally, if you need to see a specialist (Facharzt) or get hospital treatment, your GP (Hausarzt) will provide a referral. Comprehensive medical care is guaranteed throughout Austria. In Lower Austria alone are 27 hospitals (Landeskliniken) and 48 nursing and care centres. 99% of the Lower Austrian population is just 45 minutes away from their local healthcare centre. More than 3,800 doctors, specialists, and a staff of over 26,000 people make sure that every patient receives the best possible treatment.
Lower Austria is also home to 21 health centres and spas with natural healing resources.
In the health centres, you benefit from many years of experience in preventive health care in order to optimize your lifestyle and maintain your vitality for as long as possible. Individual approaches and tailor-made therapies offer the ideal environment for preventive healthcare.
Here is a selection:
What to do in an emergency?
If you ever find yourself in an emergency or if you witness an emergency, the most important thing to do is to stay calm. Assess the situation, get out your phone, and dial the appropriate emergency number:
- Police: 133
- Ambulance (Red Cross): 144
- Fire department: 122
- If you can’t remember the specific number, dial 112 (the Europe-wide emergency number)
If you had an accident and go to the hospital yourself, there are usually two emergency entrances. One is called ‘Unfall Ambulanz’ and is specialised in trauma injuries like a broken bone. The other one is called ‘Notfall Ambulanz’ (NFA) and is specialised in internal emergencies like heart attacks or strokes. Keep in mind that registration is always required when entering a hospital as a patient, so it is important that you take your E-Card and an ID card with you.
Getting your medication
In 2019, there were a total of 1,380 public pharmacies (Apotheke) in Austria, 240 of them in Lower Austria alone. In addition, 895 branch pharmacies were available to patients for the supply of medicines. Due to the steady increase in the number of pharmacies, the supply of medicines to Austrians is constantly improving. Around 95% of Austrians reach their pharmacy within 10 minutes.
- Opening hours are typically: Monday–Friday 8 am – 6 pm and Saturday 8 am – 12 am.
- A certain number of 24-hour pharmacies are always available any day of the week. You will find specific information regarding location and hours posted at your local pharmacy or online.
- Pharmacies have strict laws on which drugs can be freely purchased and those that require prescriptions (Rezept). Doctors may prescribe orders over the phone and email and put the receipt directly on your E-Card. You may also call pharmacies to order your prescription and ask them to make it available for pickup.
- In the public insurance system, you are charged a general prescription fee (currently € 6.50) when obtaining medicine from a pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription.
- Do not be surprised if the pharmacist asks more questions than you may be used to. In Austria, pharmacists take a direct role in deciding what medicines to recommend to patients. Based on your symptoms, they may offer something better suited to your case.
- You can search for pharmacies in different Austrian regions
Do you need help?
Do you have a job offer in Lower Austria?
Or would you like to invest or start up a business here?
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If you are coming to Lower Austria as an expat for the first time, we recommend you to rent an apartment in the beginning. From finding a place to rent and signing a contract to setting up utilities – we will guide you through the process.
in Lower Austria
In principle, as a foreign citizen you can buy or rent real estate in Austria. If you are coming to Lower Austria as an expat for the first time and not sure where you want to live, we can recommend various platforms (e.g. Airbnb, or booking.com) for short-term rentals at the beginning. From finding a place to rent and signing a contract to setting up utilities – we will guide you through the process.
Rent and register: legal requirements
Any EU/EEA (European Economic Area) or Swiss citizen, or third-country national can rent a dwelling in Lower Austria. Please note that anyone who takes up accommodation in a dwelling is required to register at registration authority (Meldebehörde) within three days after moving in. Please do not forget to bring the registration form (signed by the landlord and yourself) as well as your personal ID (passport).
Types of tenancy
In Austria tenancy law distinguishes between two types of tenancy, the main tenancy and the subtenancy. The main differences between those two types are the amount of rent and the protection against termination.
A main tenancy means that the tenancy agreement is concluded between the tenant and the owner of the house or flat. A subtenancy means that the tenancy agreement has been concluded between the main tenant and the flat applicant. In addition, there are fixed-term (befristet) or open-ended (unbefristet) tenancy agreements. Fixed-term agreements can be extended as often as desired for any duration of the agreement. Rental contracts in Austria usually have a term of at least three years.
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DIY or estate agents: finding rental property in Lower Austria
There are two ways in order to find a suitable rental property – you either search actively yourself or place yourself in the hands of an estate agent.
Finding an apartment by yourself
If you want to obtain information on available apartments and other kinds of property yourself, there are various platforms that allow you to find accommodation directly through the owners. Try to look for properties that do not require you to pay commission (provisionsfrei), if possible.
Here are some platforms which we can recommend:
To make your search a little easier, we have created a glossary of the most important terms in German/English.
Finding a suitable rental property is time-consuming, so using an estate agent might be a good idea. An estate agent will help you through the process – from finding a property, completion of the contract to hand-over of the keys. However, you will be charged additional costs, a commission fee for the estate agent (Maklerprovision). This fee can be split between landlord and tenant. The amount is negotiable and there are upper limits. The fee is payable after the signing of the contract, so do not make any advance payments to the estate agent. It is common in Austria that an estate agent works for both the landlord and the tenant simultaneously (Doppelmakler). Estate agents are obliged to inform their clients in advance about such an arrangement. The amount of the fee depends on the duration of the tenancy agreement and is negotiable. The maximum fee is calculated as follows:
- Limited duration up to three years: 1 x gross rent + 20 per cent VAT
- Limited term over three years and unlimited tenancy agreements: 2 x gross rent + 20 per cent VAT
Before you hire an estate agent, always check their website. It should be informative, clearly structured and contain legal information, as well as information on the agent’s career, references. A membership in an estate agent association such as the ÖVI (Austrian Association of the Real Estate Industry) or the IR (Immobilienring Österreich) also indicates reliability.
So, how exactly is the monthly rent made up? A tenant’s total rent liability is made up of three components: base rent (Hauptmiete, Nettomiete), operating costs (Betriebskosten) and VAT (Umsatzsteuer, or USt). All together, they comprise the gross rent (Bruttomiete). The monthly rent should be a maximum of 30-35% of your net income.
Base rent (Nettomiete) is the fixed monthly rental cost of an apartment. Depending on the type of apartment and its features or amenities, base rent (and its periodic increases) can be regulated by law or set according to market conditions. Usually, the owner of the flat sets the basic rent themself. Many landlords use their local rent index as a guideline. The rent index indicates the average price per square metre in the respective neighbourhood.
Operating costs (Betriebskosten) cover the general building maintenance, municipal fees (water, waste, sewerage), building insurance and improvements, and you pay a percentage of the total. Heating or even electricity costs depend on your usage and can only be calculated at the end of a year. However, the rent is due beforehand. It is important to know that in Austria, the majority of apartments are rented unfurnished and will only really come with the bare essentials such as hot water and heating.
Rental deposit (Kaution): In Austria, your rental deposit is usually 3 months’ rent but can be as high as 6 months’ rent depending on the price class of the properties you are looking at. After the termination of the tenancy, you will receive the deposit back from the landlord. It is typically paid in cash.
Please note: In Austria it is not common to negotiate the base rent for dwellings. The landlord’s listed price is usually what they will be expecting. Furthermore, the rental market in Austria is characterised by an extremely strong demand. This means that there are a lot of other potential renters. Please also have a look at our lease and rental agreement checklist.
What parameters influence the rent and what average rental costs can I expect in Lower Austria?
Various factors do have an impact on the rental prices, such as:
- rental segment (or type of main rent)
- length of tenancy
- time limit
- regional location: province and size of municipality
- surrounding (green area, infrastructure, pollution)
- fixtures and fittings: equipment category, lift
- flat size & condition
Time to make a rental offer
When you’ve fallen in love with an apartment, you will be asked by the landlord (or via an estate agent) to submit a rental offer (Mietanbot). Such an offer is a legally binding declaration that you want to rent the flat at a certain rent, once you have signed the agreement. You may withdraw a binding offer if you submitted the offer while seeing the apartment for the first time and if there was an immediate housing need, but you must do this within seven days.
Please note: under no circumstances should you pay a rental deposit (Kaution) before the actual rental agreement is signed. You should therefore set a time limit for your offer. From this point on, the landlord will decide whether to conclude a rental contract with you on the basis of your offer or to look for a “better candidate”.
Your rental offer must include:
- A description of the property and its address
- Names of the landlord and tenant
- Type of lease (main lease or sublease)
- Lease term (unlimited, limited, how many years, start of occupancy)
- Rent (itemised as base rent, operating expenses, heating costs and taxes)
- Usable area of the apartment (Nutzfläche), number of rooms and amenities (Ausstattung)
- How long the offer will be valid (14 days if not specifically stated otherwise).
Conclusion of rental agreement
Finally! The flat has been chosen and the offer signed. The next step is the conclusion of the rental agreement. Before you sign a rental agreement, you optionally can approach an appropriate advice service e.g., Tenants’ Association (Mietervereinigung), Association for the Protection of Tenants (Mieterschutzverband), Consumer Information Association (Verein für Konsumenteninformation), Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer) in order to have your rental agreement checked for legality, just to be on the safe side. Also check if the landlord informed you about all important elements and rights stated in our apartment checklist, if not already included in the rental agreement.
Good to know
Furniture, household insurance, parking, TV
Accommodation in Austria is typically unfurnished. However, depending on the previous tenant or owner, the apartment may still be offered furnished or partly furnished. It is quite common to buy the previous owner’s kitchen or cupboards. Usually the apartment is equipped with sanitary appliances (bathtub, shower, toilet).
It depends on where you live (city or country side), but usually you will have to pay extra for a parking space – on top of the rent.
It is very advisable to take out household insurance. This covers damage within the home, for example a broken window or fire. In most cases, household insurance is compulsory in rental contracts, but this is mainly for your own protection.
Television and radio charges
There is the so-called GIS fee in Austria – which means you have to register your television or radio. They will normally contact you automatically after moving in.
Shhh – quiet please & house rules
Please respect the house rules which are stated in the rental contract – ensuring you do not disturb your neighbours, tips on garbage disposal, pets and noise.
LEISURE & FAMILY TIME
Off to recreational fun. Experience 4 districts in all 4 seasons. Cultural treasures and the spirit of the modern age. Alpine climate and southern European landscape types. Welcome to the leisure paradise of Lower Austria. The biggest province of Austria offers many places to recharge your batteries. For enjoying time alone and for the whole family.
for culture enthusiasts
Historical monuments and contemporary art installations. The time-honoured meets the refreshingly new. That is culture in Lower Austria. Diversity across the ages. There are treasures to discover in many places. And to hear. Because there is a lot going on. Classical, pop or alternative music, Lower Austria offers the whole range.
Top attractions with kids
Watching bears, skiing, cycling, playing knight or fair maiden, dashing down a mountain – being a child in Lower Austria is fun for the whole family. And there are plenty of programmes to go with it. Rain or shine, every season.
Top attractions for recreation
and outdoor lovers
Picturesque landscapes, idyllic nature, romantic wine cellars and regional delicacies – a region for recreation, well-being and outdoor activities. Skiing, cycling, hiking, discovering bubbling thermal springs. Enjoying the moment. Full of magical and impressive places.
(UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE)
Tip: With the ‘Niederösterreich-Card’ (Lower Austria Card) you get free admission to over 300 excursion destinations. The card costs around 60 euros. For more information, please have a look at the website of NÖ-CARD (DE).
Situated in the heart of Europe,
(Lower) Austria convinces with a rich cultural heritage,
pleasant climate, well-developed infrastructure
and political stability.
most liveable country in the world
(‘Quality of Life’ Index, IMD 2018)
in the world
(World Happiness Report 2020)
in Europe regarding organic farming
22% of farmers are organic in Lower Austria
worldwide in terms of infrastructure
(World Bank Ranking 2018)
offer of universities and apprenticeships
for an exceptional
‘wine- and strawberry-growing region’ in Austria
is Lower Austria
Please note: All information has been researched carefully and to the best of our knowledge.
However, ecoplus International is not an authority and cannot provide legally binding information.
ecoplus International does not assume any responsibility for the topicality, correctness and completeness of the contents.
Get in touch
Do you have a job offer in Lower Austria?
Or would you like to invest and found a company here?
We will help you with your plans and guide you through the process.
Please contact us or have a look at “The essential guide to living and working in Austria – Lower Austria Edition”