TB Screening in Austria

There have been several reports online of Third Country Nationals (including British Nationals) being sent for Systematic TB Screening across Austria.

The Systematic TB screening strategy seem to differ by provinces. It also appears that Austrian and EU/EEAEEA The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of the 27 EU Member States as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The United Kingdom is not part of the EEA. Nationals are exempt from this screening regardless of previous country of residence. Some other Third Country Nationals are exempt.

British Nationals were previously exempt from this screening, but recently some Withdrawal AgreementWithdrawal Agreement The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020.   If you are resident in Austria at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Austria.   Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations.   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-withdrawal-agreement-and-political-declaration   beneficiaries and new arrivals have been required to be screened.

Provincial TB Screening Regulations

The following table provides an overview of the current situation by Province, based on our initial investigation:

BurgenlandAustrian, EU/EEA and United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand 
KärntenAustrian, EU/EEA,  Switzerland, the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand;Possibly amended on 9th June 2022 to exclude persons from The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – Link.

Note: In May 2023, several British Citizens were requested to have a chest X-ray related to TB Screening.
NiederösterreichAustrian, EU/EEA,  United States of America, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and New ZealandSome British Withdrawal Agreement beneficiaries were sent for screening in 2023 with no apparent reason.
OberösterreichAustrian, EU/EEA, United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; 
Salzburg LandAustrian, EU/EEA AND family members. United States of America, Canada, Australia and New ZealandSection 1 of the TBC-Reihenuntersuchungsverordnung only concerns non-EU nationals who are long-term EU residents according to Directive 2003/109/EC and who are nationals of a non-European country, with the exemption of Albania and Turkey, former SFR Yugoslavia (other than Slovenia and Croatia) and former Soviet Union (other than Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia). This would actually exclude most other holders of residence permits including those who have Article 50 residence permits issued under the Withdrawal Agreement.
SteiermarkTime spent in a Member State of the EEA, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Switzerland is not taking into account.This appears to be a bit more targeted.
TirolNot clearTargeted serial examinations of those persons aged 14 and over who do not undergo regular healthSozialministerium The Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection is responsible for the following fields: The health care system Initiatives for people with disabilities Consumer protection Public health and medical issues Care and support The rights of consumers and the protection of their health Senior citizens’ policy Social policy Social insurance checks and whose living situation, according to the experience of medical science, involves an increased risk of undetected tuberculosis.
VorarlbergAustrian, EU/EEA,  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; 
WienNot clear but appears to exclude most with a residence permit 
Information by province

Austrian National Guidelines

§ 23 of the Tuberlosis Act (Tuberkulosegesetze) puts a requirement on the State Governor to carry out targeted screening.

It is not clear if there are any overall Austrian National guidelines related to this targeted TB screening but it is thought that AGES may play a role.

ECDC Guidelines

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control have produced several guidelines related to TB Screening and these include the following:

On the section of Cost Effectiveness, the following was stated in the guidance:

“These studies demonstrated that increased cost-effectiveness was associated with higher TB incidence in the country of origin, which suggests that programmes will be more cost-effective when targeting migrants from countries of origin with a high incidence TB.”

WHO Data

The following link provides WHO TB Incidence Rates from 2021 and here is the WHO consolidated guidelines on TB screening


In 2010 the Volksanwaltschaft ruled that the systematic TB testing of people from EU states was contrary to EU law (Link) based on EU Freedom of Movement Rules.

Note: If this ruling is based on EU Freedom of Movement Rules, then Family members of EU nationals should also probably be excluded regardless of where they have come from!

Practical Examples

Excluding migrants purely based on the passport they hold seems sub-optimum at best and may not necessarily be cost effective. There currently appears to be no consideration of where the person has lived, whether it has a high incidence of TB or any other relevant medical factors.  Consider the following scenarios:

1Irish national lived in the UK all their life, moves to AustriaNot sent for screening
2British national lived in the UK most of their life but moved to Austria pre. 2020 (received BCG vaccination as a child)Sent for screening in some provinces but not in others.
3British National lived in the UK all their life acquires Austrian Citizenship under §58c StbG and moves to AustriaNot sent for screening
4Dual National British and IrishNot sent for screening
5British National moves to NiederösterreichNot sent for screening, although some have been.
6British National moves to Salzburg LandSent for screening
7Non American TCN lived in the USA all their life and moves to AustriaSent for screening

UK TB Screening

The UK seems to carry out TB screening as part of the Visa process and it depends on the countries you have visited recently for more than 6 months (i.e not based on nationality). It also exempts people from the Ukraine.

In 2005, England and Wales switched from universal BCG vaccination against tuberculosis (TB) disease for school-age children to targeted vaccination of neonates.


If you have been asked to attend a systematic TB screening and you think it is unfair, please contact the competent authority. This is the Sanitary Supervision Authority of the Federal State (“Sanitäre Aufsicht”), or the respective district administration (Bezirkshauptmannschaft) or city council (Stadtmagistrat) and ask them for the legal basis of the TB Screening (if it has not been provided)

If you are a Withdrawal Agreement beneficiary ask them politely to confirm whether you still need to attend.

If you are still not happy with the response, then you can also raise it with the  Volksanwaltschaft or the Arbeiterkammer, especially if you believe you are from a low risk group.

For those in Salzburg and Lower Austria there is advice from Your Europe Advice on this topic (link)


We are not medical professionals and there may be legitimate medical reasons why people are being sent for TB screening. As always, if you have concerns about your health please consult your local GP or medical professional.

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