Of course, there are many things to consider when planning your big move to Vienna. For example, which district you want to live in, how to manage your finances, find a job or even learn German. To make the process go more smoothly, this complete guide covers the top considerations when moving to Vienna.
Moving to Vienna
At first glance:
- The districts of Vienna are arranged counter-clockwise around the center and moving to a single-digit district means your commutes are relatively short.
- Vienna is a popular place for migrants, so you’ll find different cultural influences spread evenly across the districts throughout the city.
- It depends on your situation which visa you need, but it is recommended that you apply for a residence permit before planning to move to Austria.
- Finding accommodation in Vienna that suits your needs can get expensive; If you intend to stay for a longer period of time, buying a property is recommended.
A key to the Viennese neighborhoods
- Vienna consists of 23 districts and numerous suburbs within the metropolitan region. You will usually come across street signs that indicate the number of the borough you are in. This gives you a rough idea of where you are in relation to District 1, the city center: Numbers 2 through 9 – the former 1850 city limits – are arranged counter-clockwise around the center, with number 2 starting in the east.
- Typically, the Viennese call their district either by its own name or by its number. Anyone moving to the city should familiarize themselves with the names in order to find their way around the city better. Choosing a single-digit district as your new home usually guarantees short commutes to work, since most companies are in the center.
- You will probably first arrive in Vienna either at the airport in nearby Schwechat or at the Westbahnhof. We have listed public transport to and from these places in our article about life in Vienna.
A diverse population
- Vienna has always been a popular choice for both domestic and foreign migrants. The most popular reasons for moving to Vienna are of course study, work and the general quality of life.
- For both historical and current reasons, there are residents of almost all ethnic groups and cultures in Vienna – the capital accounted for 44% of all immigrants in Austria in 2015. The different cultural influences have contributed to making everyday life in Vienna a multicultural experience.
- In contrast to other cities of a comparable size, immigrants to Vienna are usually evenly distributed across all districts. It is very rare for a neighborhood to gain the reputation of being a migrant or foreigner neighborhood. Terms like these are mostly used by right-wing populists for inflammatory public debates, but are not necessarily rooted in reality.
- Likewise, the difference between “rich” and “poor” neighborhoods is much smaller than in other cities of about the same size. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about avoiding certain districts; Your choice should be based more on factors such as your commute and general infrastructure.
Visa requirements for Vienna
Which permit applies to you?
- Austria regulates migrant matters on the basis of two laws. The Aliens Police Act speaks of short-term stays of up to six months. Expats planning a longer move to Vienna are subject to the Settlement and Residence Act.
- Before you move to Vienna, please familiarize yourself with the various residence and work permits in Austria. You cannot move to Vienna or work there with a simple visa. Depending on your activity or the length of your stay, there may be a different permit for your specific case.
Register your new Austrian address
- You must register with your municipal district office within three days of moving to Vienna. This also applies if you change your address within the city. This is generally a very simple task and shouldn’t take you much time, you just need to provide your new address.
- Once you have decided which district you are moving to, you can easily find the address and opening hours of your registration service on the municipal government’s official website.
The procedure for obtaining a residence permit
- You must apply for certain permits from your country of origin before moving to Vienna. If you are an EU citizen or have settled permanently in the EU, you enjoy freedom of movement and do not need to apply for a residence permit. Please note, however, that after moving to Austria you still have to register with the local municipal district office.
- As part of the “Integration Agreement”, the residence permit is closely linked to employment and passing a language test. The most important permits are the Red-White-Red Card, which is valid for 12 months and requires language module 1 to be passed, the EU Blue Card, which is valid for 24 months and does not require a language test, and finally the long-term limited work permit is valid for five years and requires language module 2 to be passed. A settlement permit is issued for “relatives” of Red-White-Red Card holders or for self-employed key workers who have been in possession of the Red-White-Red Card for a year. After two years of residence in Austria, the settlement permit can be extended by a further three years. You can find more information on work permits in our articles Working in Vienna and Working in Austria.
- The Austrian federal government offers information on the various types of work and residence permits. Information is offered in both German and English. Please visit the page before planning to move to Vienna. The Austrian mission abroad in your home country can also provide you with valuable information on living in and moving to Vienna. A list of embassies and consulates can be found in this list from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Accommodation in Vienna
Finding the right place for the right budget
- As in most booming cities in Europe, moving to Vienna often comes with a high price. Paying more than EUR 22 per m² for apartments in a popular residential area close to the city center is not uncommon, so you should consider moving to one of the less prestigious but equally attractive areas outside the center.
- Colorful and vibrant districts like Ottakring, popular with the working class and home to people of different ethnicities, offer a great insight into the cultural diversity of everyday Viennese life. If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of a big city, you might want to consider moving to the suburbs – most are less than 40 minutes from the city center.
Looking for a flat: how and where
- You can find apartment offers in local newspapers such as Der Standard or Der Kurier. They often provide additional pages for weekend property listings. Since moving to Vienna has become increasingly popular in recent years, internet portals such as Immodirekt are an equally important source.
- In any case, plan for additional costs such as the deposit and the broker’s commission, even if some houses and apartments are offered directly by the owner free of commission. If you plan to do business in Vienna in the short to medium term, there are housing agencies that offer a variety of different apartments that are fully furnished. You only pay the rent and the deposit, so no unexpected commission. They are often centrally located to ensure a short walk to where you need to go and are ready to move into at any time.
Brief information about moving to Vienna
For centuries, Vienna has been a popular destination for expats and immigrants who came here to work or study. People from other European countries, the USA, India and many others immigrate to Vienna with their families or alone. This caused the city to grow and become the seventh largest city within the borders of the European Union. Discover all the important information for your move to Vienna.
- Country: Austria
- Time zone: UTC +1
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Population: 1.8 million
- Official language: Austrian German
- Area code: +43
- Emergency number: 112
- Driving: On the right
- EU citizens moving to Vienna do not need a visa for Austria, but there are a few things you should be aware of.
- Citizens from EU/EEA countries do not need a visa or work permit. However, they must apply for permanent residency within 4 months of their arrival in the country.
- Citizens from non-EU/EEA countries need a visa for Austria, a work permit and a residence permit. Contact your local embassy for the documents and requirements for the country you are from.
- The “Red-White-Red” card is an option for highly qualified people who have found a job in Austria. With this document you can stay in Austria for up to 1 year.
- With a “Jobseeker” or work visa you can stay up to 6 months looking for a job. This type of visa does not entitle you to work in Austria and is only available for highly qualified workers from non-EU countries.
A good place to look for accommodation is in the local newspapers, which have special sections with property listings. Equally popular are online advertisements, where you can also find a huge range of rental properties in Vienna.
Looking for an apartment in Vienna:
- The average rental cost for a 1-room apartment is €700 per month. If you immigrate to Vienna with your family, a 3-room apartment will cost you around €1,700 per month.
- Most apartments are fully furnished for short and medium-term rentals (1-12 months). The opposite applies to long-term rentals.
- Unlike in other countries, renters in Vienna have many rights. If you’re having problems with your home and your landlord isn’t responding, contact one of the many organizations that offer legal advice to tenants.
- Buying real estate for foreigners is not that easy and only possible if you have been resident there for a long time.
Vienna is known for its high prices, especially if you come from neighboring countries with relatively low-price levels, such as Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. If you’re a student, your budget might not be that big. So here are some tips on how you can easily save some money while living in Vienna.
- With the Vienna Pass you have access to all important sights in Vienna. It will help you save a lot of time when visiting multiple museums, galleries, etc.
- Lunch is a lot cheaper than dinner, so you can easily save on living expenses in Vienna by making lunch the main meal of the day.
- Public transport offers many different ways to save money, including discount cards, weekend passes and more.
With healthcare in Vienna, you can rest assured that you have access to some of the best medical facilities in the world.
Here are a few things we noticed:
- All persons employed by an Austrian company are health insured.
- Private health insurance is only for better quality during a hospital stay (e.g., private room) or for treatments that are not covered by standard insurance.
- Most doctors, nurses and other medical workers speak at least one foreign language most of the time. Therefore, in most cases, no interpreter is required.
- Every district in Vienna has at least one pharmacy that works around the clock.
Life in Vienna may differ slightly from life in your home country. With that in mind, we’ve listed a few things that both expats and locals have pointed out to us.
- Vienna is divided into parts of the city (called districts), which are numbered and named. The neighborhood you choose determines your daily commute, walking distance to entertainment and proximity to shops. So, keep these things in mind when choosing your accommodation for living in Vienna.
- As many expats have immigrated to Vienna from different countries, there are numerous organizations that can help you settle in and build up the local social life.
- Even though most Viennese speak a foreign language and you might just hang out with other expats, learning German will improve the quality of your stay in Vienna.
- Most shops are closed on Sundays, so plan your shopping ahead of time.
- The “Meldezettel” is your proof of residence in Vienna and you need it from your library card to your public transport ticket.
Find a reputable moving company in Vienna
Moving day is stressful enough without your belongings arriving broken or with a surprise bill. To avoid this, be sure to research potential movers. It just takes a little longer and can save a lot of trouble.
- Get recommendations
Searching the internet or sifting through a phone book for moving companies can be daunting. Start by asking friends, family members and colleagues if they can recommend a moving company for moving to Vienna.
- Follow the rule of three
Don’t settle for the first estimate you receive. Instead, ask at least three different companies to give you a personal estimate, as no company can really give you a thorough estimate without seeing your stuff.
- Watch out for red flags
Watch out for red flags during the estimation. For example, most reputable moving companies in Vienna do not require a cash deposit before moving. If the carrier seems hungry to get the money upfront, it may not be a legitimate business. Also, during the estimate, note how professional or unprofessional the movers appear.
- Make sure the mover is licensed and insured
- Ask for professional accreditation
- Check the address
Ask for a business card or go to the mover’s website and then look up the listed address online or in the phone book. Make sure the mover’s address is listed and registered under the company names. Be wary of addresses listed under a residential name.