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 in the asylum procedure
There are several NGOs in all 9 Austrian provinces, providing legal counselling in the asylum procedure:
- Vienna (Wien): Caritas Asylzentrum, Asyl in Not (link only in German), MigrantInnenverein St. Marx
- Lower Austria (Niederösterreich): Caritas St. Pölten – Flüchtlingsberatung (link only in German)
- Upper Austria (Oberösterreich): Caritas Linz (link only in German), Helping Hands Linz
- Burgenland: Caritas Eisenstadt, SOS Mitmensch Burgenland (links only in German)
- Styria (Steiermark): Caritas Graz (link only in German)
- Carinthia (Kärnten): Caritas Kärnten (link only in German)
- Salzburg: Caritas Salzburg, SABERA (links only in German)
- Tyrol (Tirol): FLUCHTpunkt Innsbruck
- Vorarlberg: Caritas Voralberg, Vindex (links only in German)
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.
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:
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.
For medical emergencies, please dial 144.
To reach the police in an emergency, please dial 133.
In case of fire, please dial 122.
Life in Austria
For general information on life in Austria, please see the website “You’ve arrived” by the Austrian Red Cross.
If you live in Vienna, “New here” is a useful city map-app that provides you with an overview of where to find work, education, health, housing and many more in Vienna.
Furthermore, there are several buddy programs offering possibilities to meet Austrians, e.g.:
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.
- Vienna (Wien): Caritas
- Styria (Steiermark): Caritas
- Salzburg: Volkshochschule Salzburg
- Upper Austria (Oberösterreich): map with available German classes
- Lower Austria (Niederösterreich): Information Sheet in German (only for asylum-seekers from Syria, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan)
- Carinthia (Kärnten): Caritas
- Vorarlberg: Caritas
- Burgenland: Volkshochschule Burgenland
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 initiative “Refugees Work” may be useful to you.
If you are still in the asylum procedure and would like to work, please find relevant information here.