Motoring in Austria

Selected FAQs relating to motoring in Austria.

Why do I need to change my UK Driving Licence to an Austrian one?

If you are resident in Austria, you will need to exchange your UK driving licence for an Austrian one by 30 June 2021. Validity of licences with additional categories (e.g. for driving certain types of vehicle or pulling large trailers) that are issued in another EEA state will expire at the time stated on the driver’s licence, but no later than five years after transferring of residence.

Remember that you have until 30 June 2021 to exchange your British driving licence for an Austrian one, if you are resident in Austria.
See also: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-austria#driving-in-austria

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Will British Citizens be able to use their UK driving licence in Austria?

The answer depends on whether you are resident in Austria or not (and of for employment in Austria you are likely to be required to be resident). From a draft amendment of Austrian law relating to driving licences, British citizens resident in Austria will need to exchange their licences by 30 June 2021. Family members joining you in Austria will have 6 months to exchange their licences after arrival.

British citizens residing in the UK, on the other hand, will be able to use their UK licence for trips to Austria (i.e. as tourists), but will be limited in terms of amount of time that can be spent in Austria to 90 days out of 180 days. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021)

Remember that you have until 30 June 2021 to exchange your British driving licence for an Austrian one, if you are resident in Austria.
See also: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-austria#driving-in-austria

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Does a UK driving licence exchanged for one in another EU Member State, need to be exchanged again?

It has repeatedly been advised to exchange UK driving licences for an Austrian one before the end of transition periodTransition Period The transition period (also referred to as the implementation period) is the period following the UK's departure from the European Union (on 31.01.2020) until the end of 2020. An option to extend this period has not been taken up by the UK government.. In some cases people may have already exchanged their licence in another EU country, and subsequently moved to Austria with that (non-Austrian) EU licence.

Austria does not always permit exchange of EU licenses that were themselves obtained by exchange from third country licences (for example, if your original DL was obtained in a country not accepted by Austria, but then converted to a Spanish licence, your Spanish licence may well not be accepted and you will have to take an Austrian driving test). In the case of holding a licence issued elsewhere, it is necessary to abide my the Austrian regulations for that country. Not all countries’ driving licences are listed as equivalent. (List of countries classed as equivalent can be found here (in German))

UK driving licences should be exchanged for an Austrian one within 6 months of arriving in Austria. Holders of licences issued in other jurisdictions must abide by Austrian regulations for that jurisdiction. Licences from other EU countries do not need to be exchanged when you move within the EU. However, if you are, or intend to be, a long-term resident, it may be advisable to exchange your licence for an Austrian one.

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Am I required to officially import a UK registered car if I bring it to Austria?

The short answer is “yes”, you have 1 month grace.

The ÖAMTC website has basically all the information you need about how to go about it.

A quick summary:

If your main residence is in Austria (and if you are on this site, it probably is), that is, you are not here on holiday or a business trip, you have one month from the date of the vehicle’s first entry into Austria to import and register the vehicle. Short trips abroad will not reset the clock. After that first month you must either import it or remove it from the country. This applies to any vehicle with foreign plates – even ones from another EU country. The authorities will assume (legally) that you car is here permanently, and the onus is on you to prove that it has been here less than a month.

To import your car you are required to register your car, pay a one-off fuel consumption tax called NoVANormverbrauchsabgabe The Normverbrauchsabgabe (NoVA) is a one-off fuel consumption tax to be paid at your local tax office when importing a car previously on foreign number plates. (NormverbrauchsabgabeNormverbrauchsabgabe The Normverbrauchsabgabe (NoVA) is a one-off fuel consumption tax to be paid at your local tax office when importing a car previously on foreign number plates.) at your local tax office and exchange your UK number plates for Austrian plates at your nearest vehicle registration office (Kfz-Zulassungsstelle). You are required to have valid motoring insurance in order to be able to exchange your number plates.

Potential consequences

  • A “VerwaltungsstrafeVerwaltungsstrafe A Verwaltungsstrafe is a fine issued by an administrative authority rather than a court in relation of (minor) breaches of legal provisions. Examples of offences include fail to register an imported vehicle within the required timeframe, failure to have the necessary residence documents etc.” (administrative fine) for not importing in time.
  • Your UK insurance coverage may be invalid, and you could be liable for a huge amount if you have an accident.
  • Fines and court process due to tax evasion (road tax, NoVA and VAT)

Legal basis (in German):

Kraftfahrgesetz 1967

Remember that you have until 30 June 2021 to exchange your British driving licence for an Austrian one, if you are resident in Austria.
See also: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-austria#driving-in-austria

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I exchanged my British driving licence for an Austrian one. Do I need to get my British licence back to drive in the UK?

Just as you can drive on a British licence in Austria if visiting for a short visit (e.g. a holiday), you can also drive in the UK on your Austrian licence if visiting (Source: gov.uk Living in Austria).

If you move back to the UK, you can continue to drive on your EU Member State driving licence until the age of 70, but if you move back to the UK you will have to exchange licences when you turn 70. (Source: gov.uk Exchange a Foreign Driving Licence)

Remember that you have until 30 June 2021 to exchange your British driving licence for an Austrian one, if you are resident in Austria.
See also: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-austria#driving-in-austria

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