Travel to Austria: latest Covid rules and advice for your next holiday


With the ski season approaching, travellers from the UK are now permitted to enter Austria. 

The rules for entering Austria vary depending on your inoculation status, however. Those who are unvaccinated, or had their second dose more than a year ago, are permitted to visit but must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. If you’ve been double-jabbed within the last 12 months, you’re good to go with no such requirement.

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting ahead of the ski season

Can I visit Austria?

Yes. On August 15, Austria lifted its blanket ban on arrivals from several countries including the UK. However, just two days later the Austrian Government put an expiry date on arriving travellers’ vaccine certificates amid fears of waning immunity from the jabs.

The country won’t accept vaccine certificates from UK travellers who received their second doses more than 360 days earlier, meaning that passes for the few who were fully vaccinated in January will expire in the new year. 

Alternatively, UK travellers are able to show evidence of a negative Covid test or recent recovery from Covid to gain entry, but must also self isolate for 5-10 days if not fully vaccinated within the 360-day window.

Are flights operating?

Indeed they are. Carriers including Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Flybe, TUI, easyJet and Ryanair are running direct routes from the UK. 

Can I transit through Austria?

Yes. According to The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO): “If you are transiting through Austria to reach a neighbouring country without a stopover, you do not need a medical certificate or pre-travel clearance form if you can prove you are transiting.”

Will I be insured if I go?

The FCDO does not warn against non-essential travel to Austria, meaning your insurance is likely to be valid if you visit. But check your insurance carefully for how Covid is (or is not) covered.

Do I need to take a test before travel to Austria? 

Not if you are fully vaccinated to Austria’s standards (you had your second dose at least 21 days before entry but no more than 360 days ago). All other arrivals must present one of the following negative test results:

  • A molecular biological test (e.g. PCR test), with results no older than 72 hours
  • An antigen test (e.g. lateral flow), with results no older than 48 hours
  • A self-administered antigen test, which must be recorded in an official data processing system and be no older than 24 hours.

Do I need to fill in any forms? 

Yes. All arrivals must complete a pre-travel clearance form not more than 72 hours before entry to Austria.

Skiing in St Anton, Austria

After last year’s season was cancelled, keen skiers will have Austria in their sights this winter

Credit: imagean/iStockphoto

Do I need to self-isolate on arrival? 

If you can prove you are fully vaccinated and received your second injection at least 21 days ago but no more than 360 days before arrival, you do not need to quarantine. Unvaccinated arrivals need to provide a negative test and quarantine for 10 days (with the option of it ending early if a Covid test is negative on day 5).

Do I need to wear a mask?

In Austria, FFP2 face masks are required on public transport, in taxis and in public indoor spaces such as shops.

Can I visit bars and restaurants?

Entry to restaurants, bars, theatres, cultural and sports events requires proof of vaccination, recent recovery from Covid or a recent test. Entry to nightclubs is only permitted with proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours.

What are the rules in ski resorts?

In ski resorts this winter mandatory FFP2 face masks will be required in designated areas, including enclosed lifts. Austrian resorts will also require all skiers to be fully vaccinated, show proof of recovery or a negative Covid-19 test to access the likes of ski lifts, and subsequently the slopes, as well as bars and restaurants around the resort. Find out more about the reopening of ski resorts this winter here.

Do I need to take a test before travelling back to England?

It depends on your vaccination status. If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to take a pre-departure test 72 hours before arriving back in the UK. If you are not fully vaccinated, you must take a test (lateral flow are accepted) 72 hours before travelling home, using a Government-certified testing company. You can find the Government’s rules on testing before departure, here.

Do I need to self isolate on my return to England?

It depends on your vaccination status. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to self isolate on your return from Austria though you will need to take a PCR (or, from late October, a non-NHS lateral flow test) up to two days after arriving back in the UK. If you are not fully vaccinated, you will need to self isolate for ten days when arriving from any country, taking a PCR test on day two, and another on day eight, with the option to ‘test to release’ on day five.

Do I need to do any paperwork before travelling back to England?

Yes. All passengers must fill in a Passenger Locator Form before arrival back to England, including your reference code for your day two test. You can do so, here.

What is the case rate in Austria? 

As of October 4, Austria has recorded 143 cases per 100,000 over the last seven days – up 9 per cent on the previous week. Currently, the UK’s case rate is double that, at 332 per 100K.

How is Austria’s vaccination drive going? 

As of October 4, 75 per cent of the population has received a first dose, and 71 per cent are fully vaccinated.

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