Riesenrad Vienna

© by Suzan, source: Instagram

Coming to Austria soon and you still have no clue what Meldezettel or Semesterticket means?

Well, then you are not alone because moving to Austria can be a true hassle. Therefore, Dormy provides you the 5 most important steps every international student should take during the first days abroad:

Step 1: Register at your Housing Office

The very first thing you should cross from your todo list will be to officially register at your dormitory. For the majority this can be done directly in the same building where you live. So, you just have to go to the housing office that is directly in your building. But note, that their office hours are pretty limited, so recommend you to previously check them out on their website, ask some of your dorm mates or you could even walk down to their office (usually located close to the entrance), where they also post their availability.

However, there are also other dormitories that are centrally administrated and can therefore cause you some extra miles to get all your paperwork done (including also to get a stamp on your Meldezettel, see step 2).

Step 2: Get a stamp on your Meldezettel and become Viennese

It is important to register at your housing office on the first working day after your arrival to sign your leasing contract and to get the official stamp on your Meldezettel (click here to download a sample Meldezettel).

This sheet of paper is important because without it you wont be able to get cheaper public transportation, a phone contract or even a bank account.

Moreover, you are also legally obligated to register when you live here for more than 3 months. The legal context even says that is has do be done within the first 3 days after your arrival, but we never heard of anyone having problem when it was done within the first 7 days. Anyways, even thought the deadline is not super strict, please still take the Meldezettel seriously and try to get it done as soon as possible once you have arrived in Austria.

… and don’t forget to bring with you:

Special hint: Back in the days you were only allowed to register in the Municipal Office of the district where you actually live in. However, they changed that law and now you can register in any of the 23 different Municipal Offices that exist in Vienna (check here for the full list).

Step 3: Get your Semesterticket for all types of Public Transportation

Once you have successfully completed the registration as a Viennese citizen (What a great feeling, right? :)) you will be able to buy the discounted tickets for the public transportation. Here we specially recommend two options, because both include all types of public transportation (metro, train, bus, tram) and come at a decent price:

  • Jahreskarte (click here) – if you stay for one entire year or longer
  • 365 € for 12 months including all types of public transportation
  • Not possible for less then 12 months
  • comes monthly-wise, so from the 1st till the last of the months à so if you purchase it on the 15th of October it will only be valid until the 30th of September the next year, so basically only 11,5 months.
  • Semesterticket (click here) – if you stay for one semester
  • 150 € for 5 months including all types of public transportation
  • Only possible with valid student ID and completed Meldezettel-registration
  • Also comes monthly-wise, so from the 1st till the last of the month.

Step 4: Phone Contract

Availability and the opportunity to communicate with your loved ones at home is key when you live abroad. So get a phone plan and access to the Internet as soon as possible.  In Austria you basically have 3 options for that:

  • Contract-based providers
    • A1, T-Mobile, Drei are the big Players and offer you those deals
    • + cheap and good conditions if you are a heavy user
    • – long term duration
  • Pre-paid services
    • + best option for light users and if you stay only a couple of months
    • – rather expensive when you are a heavy user
  • Internet-based services
    • Skype or Facetime are of course always an option
    • – but they only work with WIFI as long as you don’t have a phone plan

Step 5: Open a Bank account

If you plan to stay in Austria for more than 3 months, we would ultimately also recommend you to open a bank account with a local bank. The best student deals are usually available with ERSTE BANK.

Don’t forget to take with you:

 Special hint: Try to avoid closing fees!! It’s Austria, so you can honestly always negotiate and try to get the bank account without paying a fee for it. The banks usually really fight for new clients, so they really are happy to have you there. Especially when you are under 26 years old you have very good chances to get at least a discount.

To sum up, follow those 5 important steps and your first days in Austria will definitely be as awesome as you expect them to be!