Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions in Austria are generally excellent. During the winter, roads in alpine areas may become dangerous due to snowfall, ice, or avalanches. Some mountain roads may be closed for extended periods, and tire chains are often required.
Be alert when you drive through autobahn construction zones, particularly on the A-1 East/West Autobahn. Reduced lanes and two-way traffic in these zones have resulted in several deadly accidents in recent years. Traffic information and road conditions are broadcast on the English-language channel located between 91-105 FM depending on the locale. Emergency roadside help and information may be reached by dialing 123 or 120 for vehicle assistance and towing services (Austrian automobile clubs), 122 for the fire department, 133 for police, and 144 for ambulance. The European emergency line is 112.
Traffic Laws: Please see Austria?s travel webpage for detailed information related to driving. Below are key laws to consider:
- Penalties for driving under the influence tend to be stricter than in many U.S. states.
- Display an ?autobahn vignette? highway-tax sticker on the inside of the vehicle?s windshield. The fine for failing to display a valid sticker is EUR 120 ($150 USD), paid in cash ?on the spot.?
- The maximum speed limit is 130 km/hr (81mph) on the Austrian autobahns.
- It is prohibited to use a hand-held cell phone while driving.
- It is prohibited to turn right on red.
- It is mandatory for cars on Austrian motorways to leave an emergency corridor, even when no emergency vehicle is approaching. When traffic stops, create an emergency corridor in between the far-left lane and all others to the right.
- You will be substantially fined for failure to use winter tires on your vehicle between November 1 and April 15. Your car insurance is void if you are in an accident and you do not have winter tires.
- You must equip your rental car with the proper tires and pay close attention to the provisions of the rental contract. You will be arrested, fined, and/or charged with attempted auto theft if you attempt to enter countries listed as ?prohibited? on the car rental contract.
- A U.S. driver’s license alone is not sufficient to drive in Austria. A U.S. driver’s license must be accompanied by an international driving permit or by an official translation of the U.S. driver’s license, which can be obtained at one of the Austrian automobile clubs (?AMTC or ARB?). This arrangement is only acceptable for the first six months of driving in Austria, after which all drivers must obtain an Austrian license.
Public Transportation: Austrian Federal Railways (?sterreichische Bundesbahnen) offer excellent railroad service to all major towns and all major cities in Europe. There is also an extensive network of ?sterreichische Post bus lines. All major cities offer excellent public transportation services. Click here for Vienna?s public transportation website.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Austria?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Austria?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Medical facilities and staff are generally excellent and widely available for emergency services.
- For emergency services in Austria, dial 112.
- Ambulance services are widely available.
Local hospitals will not settle accounts directly with American insurance companies. You must pay the bill to the local hospital and later claim a refund from the insurance carrier in the United States. The Austrian Medicine Import Act generally prohibits the import of prescription drugs into Austria, however, non- European Union residents are allowed medicines as part of their personal luggage, but only the quantity required during the course of the stay. Travelers may not receive medicine by mail while staying in Austria. If a particular medication is not available locally in Austria, an Austrian pharmacy may be able to order the medication prescribed by a local physician from a pharmacy in the U.S.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on the type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
- We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
- Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription. Check with the Austrian Ministry for Health to ensure the medication is legal in Austria.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals on their website. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
- You can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Austria. If you break local laws in Austria, your U.S. passport won?t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Austria. The LGBTI community is well-developed in all larger cities, such as Vienna, Graz, Linz, Innsbruck, and Salzburg. LGBTI organizations generally operate freely. While there is some societal prejudice against LGBTI persons, Austria has become more liberal with laws and social opinion concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. Anti-discrimination laws also apply to LGBTI persons. Same sex couples are permitted to marry or enter a legally recognized civil union.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Accessibility and accommodation may be very different than what one finds in the United States. Austrian federal law mandates access to public buildings for persons with physical disabilities, so accessibility has greatly improved. While many stores and restaurants in Austria still lack ramp or elevator access, most tourist attractions are accessible. A comprehensive assessment of public buildings, including tourist sites, restaurants, cafes, and hotels in Vienna, is available at the Vienna Tourist Information website. Click here for information regarding accessibility in other regions of Austria.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.
Safety and Security
Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack ? including knives, firearms, and vehicles ? to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:
- High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
- Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
- Places of worship
- Shopping malls and markets
- Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)
Crime: Austria has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe and violent crime is rare. Crimes of opportunity involving theft of personal property do occur. These crimes are most frequently reported in tourist areas, to include the plaza around St. Stephen?s Cathedral and the nearby pedestrian shopping areas in Vienna?s First District.
- Beware of pickpockets on public transportation, trains, and train stations. Transport coming into and out of the city center and on trains that run between Vienna and Budapest, Prague, and Rome are high-risk.
- Do not leave bags unattended.
- Be alert to criminal schemes in public places such as cafes and tourist areas.
- Don?t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. It is illegal to bring bootlegged items back into the United States, and you may be breaking local law.
Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.
- Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent.
- Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
- Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 133 and contact the U.S. Embassy at+43-(0)1-313-390. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- Help you find appropriate medical care
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Provide general information regarding the victim?s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
- Provide a list of local attorneys
- Provide our information on victim?s compensation programs in the U.S.
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Entry exit Requirementsh
- Prospective residents or anyone intending to stay longer than 90 days must obtain the appropriate visa. Visit the Embassy of Austria?s website for the most current visa information or the Government of Austria?s website on migration. Austria collects the fingerprints of all U.S. visa applicants.
- Students and prospective students should visit the Study in Austria webpage for the most current information on student visa requirements. Fulbright students and scholars with questions should contact their respective program officer.
Traveling Through Europe: If you are planning to visit or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement.
- Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay if you plan on transiting a Schengen country review our U.S. Travelers in Europe page.
- You will need sufficient proof of funds and a return plane ticket.
- For additional information about visas for the Schengen area, see the Schengen Visa page.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Austria.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Austria for information on U.S.-Austria relations.