Where to seek help?

Due to COVID-19 authorities and NGOs have special procedure in place and opening hours might be different. More info can be found here.

Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum

 The Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum (BFA) is the only public authority deciding on asylum applications and related procedures in Austria.

The BFA has regional offices (Regional Directorates) in all 9 Austrian provinces while its headquarter (the Directorate) is based in Vienna. You can find the contact details in German if you click on the respective Province on this link).

For more information on the BFA and its tasks please see the official brochure of the BFA which also gives an overview of the asylum procedure in Austria.

On the website of the BFA, you can also find various official forms necessary for asylum applications and related procedures (click on “Englisch” for forms in English).

Counselling Services

Counselling in the asylum procedure

There are several NGOs in all 9 Austrian provinces, providing legal counselling in the asylum procedure:

All asylum-seekers who received a negative first instance decision are assigned a free-of-charge legal counsellor from one of the two legal counselling organizations: ARGE Rechtsberatung (Diakonie/Volkshilfe) or Verein Menschenrechte Österreich (VMÖ). The assigned legal counsellor assists asylum-seekers with lodging an appeal with the Federal Administrative Court. Upon request, they also provide representation in the appeal procedure and accompany asylum-seekers in case the court decides to hold a hearing.

Basic counselling with regards to the asylum procedure is furthermore available at BFA directorates in all 9 Provinces. It is provided by Verein Menschenrechte Österreich. For further information, please see here.

On the website of the Austrian NGO asylkoordination, you can find an extensive list of organizations providing counselling on legal, social, housing, psychological and more issues.

There are also organizations offering counselling on voluntary return (Caritas, VMÖ).

Counselling in detention 

In Austria there are several detention centers (“Polizeianhaltezentrum“, PAZ). If persons are detained for more than a week, they are mostly transferred to one of the three largest PAZ which are located in Vienna (PAZ Rossauer Lände and PAZ Hernalser Gürtel) and Styria (Vordernberg):

  • PAZ Rossauer Lände: Roßauer Lände 9, 1090 Wien
  • PAZ Hernalser Gürtel: Breitenfelder Gasse 21, 1080 Wien
  • AHZ Vordernberg: Hauptstraße 162, 8794 Vordernberg

Persons in detention (who are not just arrested for maximum 48 hours) have access to free-of-charge legal counselling from one of the two legal counselling organizations: Diakonie or Verein Menschenrechte Österreich (VMÖ). The annex to the detention decision (“Verfahrensanordnung”) informs them who is in charge of their case and includes contact details of legal counsellors. Legal counsellors will provide information on the legal detention situation and assist detainees with lodging an appeal against the detention decision with the Federal Administrative Court.

Organisations providing legal counselling

  • Detention Centers in Vienna (PAZ Rossauer Lände, PAZ Hernalser Gürtel)
  • Detention Center in Vordernberg, Styria

Further, VMÖ provides social counselling for detainees (e.g. support to get in touch with family members) and counselling on voluntary return:

  • Detention Centers in Vienna (PAZ Rossauer Lände, PAZ Hernalser Gürtel): VMÖ in Vienna
  • Detention Center in Vordernberg, Styria: VMÖ in Styria

If detainees wish to speak with their legal or social counsellor, they can approach the police in the detention centers.

Detainees can be visited. Information on visiting procedures and visiting hours are available here:

Emergency Services

Sexual or gender-based violence: In case you need help regarding sexual or gender-based violence you can call the following hotline: 0800 222 555 (all information you share will be treated confidentially!).

Human trafficking: For any help regarding human trafficking, you can call the 24/7 hotline on human trafficking: 0677 61343434 (all information you share will be treated confidentially!).

Finding lost family members: If you lost contact with your family members, you can contact the Tracing Services of the Austrian Red Cross in the Austrian Province you are currently residing.

Other emergencies:

For medical emergencies, please dial 144.

To reach the police in an emergency, please dial 133.

In case of fire, please dial 122.

Violence against women and domestic violence

0800 222 555
Consultation in Arabic, Turkish, Romanian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, German, English, Hungarian

Halt der Gewalt
Online consultation for women and girls, who are affected by violence, in German, English, Farsi/Dari, Arabic, Russian, Bulgarian, Turkish

01 6032828
Consultation for men, Monday to Friday 9:00-12:00
„Survival Kit for men under pressure“ in English | Russian

For information about psychotherapy

NIPE Network – Network for Intercultural Psychotherapy after Extreme Trauma
Contact points for crisis intervention and ongoing treatments in all of Austria (with interpreters)

Life in Austria

General information

For general information on life in Austria, please see the website “You’ve arrived” by the Austrian Red Cross.

Furthermore, there are several buddy programs offering possibilities to meet Austrians, e.g.:

http://www.fluechtlinge-willkommen.at/ticket-anmeldung-patinnen-paten/ http://www.volkshilfe-wien.at/migration-asyl/buddies-for-refugees/.

German classes

German language classes are offered by the following organisations:

For recognized refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection:

The website https://sprachportal.integrationsfonds.at/kurse/oesterreichische-kursinstitute lists German classes for recognized refugees in Austria. Some of these classes are open to asylum-seekers as well.

For asylum-seekers:

Work and Education in Austria:

UNHCR compiled comprehensive information on the Austrian education system (in German, Dari, Arabic) here.

If you were granted protection in Austria and you are looking for work in Austria, please contact the Public Employment Service (AMS). Furthermore, the initiatives “More Than One Perspective” and “JUST Integration” may be useful to you.

If you are still in the asylum procedure and would like to work, please find relevant information here.