Austria is a very bureaucratic country so moving here from a different European country may seem daunting if you have never done it before. It also doesn’t help that most guides online are completely in German.
I moved to Graz for the first time when I was an Erasmus student. At that time the University of Graz helped me out with all the documents, so I did not have to worry about it at all. And when I came back again to move here permanently, I already had the experience so it was easy to do it again.
Now I consider myself a bit of an expert on the topic and I thought it would be useful to many to know what needs to be done to avoid any headaches.
This information is valid as of February 2020.
I will give specifically tips for where to go to get documents in Graz. But the to-do list is valid for everywhere in Austria. I write this information at the best of my knowledge but please only use this as a guideline. I do not take responsibility if authorities may give you other information regarding this topic.
By “European citizens” I mean citizens from the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA).
To do list for moving to Graz
- Before you move to Graz
- After you move to Graz
Before you move to Graz
Requirements to fulfill
As a European citizen you do not need to fulfill any specific requirements to come to Austria, thanks to free movement.
However, if you want to stay longer than 3 months in the country, you need to be able to prove that you have reason to be here. Whether it is because of a job, because of studying or a training. Otherwise you need to prove that you have enough money in your bank account to support yourself long-term.
Austria is a very social state towards Austrians or immigrants who pay taxes for a certain amount of years.
Finding accomodation in Graz is pretty easy. There are plenty of flats or rooms in shared apartments out there and you will be able to find something relatively fast.
Here is a more thorough article on this topic: Finding accomodation in Graz
Looking for a job
If you plan on moving to Graz and you do not come here for a job and/or studying, you might have to look for a job at some point.
There are various resources you can try. Here are some tips:
- Karriere.at (Generic job portal where mainly large companies advertise jobs)
- EURES portal (Job portal from the European Union)
- Talto (Job portal aimed at students, mostly for internships or part-time jobs)
The unemployment office (AMS) also helps you look for a job, but only if you already are resident in Austria.
After you move to Graz
- What? Official document of residence in Graz
- When? Within 3 days from arrival in Graz
- Where? In various offices in Graz (Servicestellen in Graz)
- What’s needed?
- Passport or ID
- Form signed by landlord
- Costs? Free
The Meldezettel is a very important document that states what your address of residence is in Graz (or Austria). You can declare whether your address in Graz is your main place of residence (Hauptwohnsitz) or secondary residence (Nebenwohnsitz) (if you are still keeping your residence in your home country or anywhere else).
This document needs to be filled out within 3 days from your arrival in Graz. You can find the form either in the Servicestellen directly or here to download. The city of Graz also provides a translated version, but make sure to only fill out the German version. The form needs to be signed by either your landlord (Vermieter) or the main renter of your household (Hauptmieter).
Update personal documents
Most passports (Reisepass) and personal IDs (Lichtbildausweis) have addresses stated on them, so if you change your address to a new one in Graz you need to change the one on your documents too.
The procedure for passports and personal IDs changes from country to country. The best thing to do would be to contact the embassy from your home country and ask for information about how to do it.
Drivers’ licenses (Führerschein) do not need to be changed if you come from a EU/EEA country. However, some drivers licenses expire so you may need to update it for a new, Austrian one. This page from the Austrian government explains very well what needs to be done.
Get an Austrian bank account
To simplify things in everyday life, it is very useful to have a bank account in Austria. Opening a bank account (Girokonto) is relatively easy and cheap here, but you do need to have a Meldezettel before you try to do it.
If you want to make a contract for electricity and heating, you will need to have an Austrian bank account.
Notify changes to home country
Again, in this case what needs to be done changes from country to country. But it is very probable that you need to inform your home country that you have moved to Austria. If you have bank accounts or insurances, you might want to think about closing those too (if you are planning on staying permanently in Austria).
Import your car
You might want to take your car (Auto) with you when you move to Austria and you need to be aware that the regulations about this are quite strict here.
After you have taken the car into Austria for the first time, you have one month’s time to import it and get it registered with an Austrian insurance. If you fail to do so and get caught, you will get a pretty hefty fine. It is technically illegal to drive in Austria with a car registered in another country if the centre of your life is in Austria.
The good news is that if you are moving to Austria, the car counts as Siedlungsgut (things that move with you), which means that you do not need to pay import taxes. However, you need to pay a tax called NoVA, which is basically a C02 tax. Here is the procedure:
- Take the foreign car documents to a dealership (preferrably the same one as your car), explain that you are moving to Graz with your car and request a Typenschein. This document will take a few days to arrive and will cost you ~100€.
- Once you have the Typenschein you need to go to the Finanzamt. They will calculate how much you need to pay for the NoVA. (Here you can calculate how much it should be).
- After paying the NoVA, you can register your car with an insurance (Versicherung) and get number plates. Try using Durchblicker to compare insurance quotes for your car.
- You will then need to go the ÖAMTC or any other certified mechanic to do the Pickerl (aka §57a Begutachtung) (MOT).
- When? Within 4 months from arrival in Austria
- Where? At the Landesregierung office in Graz
- What’s needed?
- Passport or ID
- (employed or freelancer) contract of employment (+ your last 3 paychecks) or proof of freelance work, OR
- (student) statement of inscription to a University or school, OR
- (self-sufficient) bank statements showing you have enough resources to support yourself without help from the state and proof of health insurance.
- Costs? 15€
You need to request the Anmeldebescheinigung if you are a EU/EEA citizen and plan on staying in Graz for longer than 3 months. This document proves that you have a reason to be in Austria, whether it is for work, study, or that you have enough resources to support yourself.
After 5 years of uninterrupted stay in Austria you can request a permit for permanent residency.
I hope this guide is helpful for you and if you see any mistakes or know different information, please leave a comment below!