Asylum procedure

Applications

An application for international protection (i.e., an asylum application) must be filed in Austria. As a rule, it must be filed in person.

People seeking protection in Austria can file an asylum application

  • with any police station/office or
  • with any police officer.

Generally speaking,

  • fingerprints will be taken and the authorities will check whether the individual concerned has made any previous asylum applications within the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.
  • Applicants will be searched, and any evidence secured.
  • An initial interview will also be carried out.

Once an asylum application has been filed, the applicant is usually granted de facto protection against deportation, meaning that the applicant can remain on the territory of the Federal Republic of Austria until a decision has been made on their application. Anyone who contacts a police authority or a police officer in order to apply for asylum will first be interviewed by the police officer/policy authority staff. On the basis of this initial interview, staff from the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum (BFA) will make a prognosis decision. Depending on the decision, the asylum seeker will either be taken to an initial reception centre or be allowed to travel free of charge to a specific reception facility run by the federal government (i.e., a distribution reception centre). Once the prognosis decision has been taken, the asylum application is deemed to have been submitted.

At this stage, the admission process begins. Once the admission procedure is concluded, the substantive asylum procedure begins.

Admission procedure

Applicants will be taken to an initial reception centre if is suspected that Austria is not responsible for their application, if they are filing a subsequent application, or to clarify their identity. All unaccompanied minors will also be taken to a reception centre. Otherwise, a regional directorate of the BFA will order that the asylum seeker should be allowed to travel to a specialist facility run by the federal government (a distribution reception centre) free of charge. As part of the admission procedure,

  • the applicant's identity will be established (a process that includes their personal information and biometric data being recorded),
  • an initial interview will take place to establish why the individual has fled their country of origin,
  • and it will be determined whether Austria is responsible for conducting the asylum procedure.

In the initial reception centres and the distribution reception centres, asylum seekers receive all relevant details about the procedure, the care and services that will be provided to them, and their rights and obligations.

As part of the admission procedure, the federal government will provide a basic level of care to foreigners in need of assistance and protection who have submitted an asylum application. These basic necessities include suitable accommodation, food, support and healthcare where foreigners requiring protection and assistance cannot provide for themselves due to an absence or lack of financial resources. Accommodation, care and support for people in this situation is provided in federal facilities (initial reception centres, distribution reception centres). 

Responsibility for providing a basic level of care to asylum seekers passes to the relevant province as soon as their asylum application is admitted. As a rule, the entitlement to basic care remains in place until the proceedings regarding the asylum-seeker's application in Austria have been legally concluded. People entitled to asylum will be provided with basic care for the first four months after their application for asylum is approved.

Asylum seekers will be interviewed by an officer of the BFA about their personal circumstances, their journey to Austria and the reasons why they fled their country of origin. The interview will be conducted in a language the asylum seeker(s) understand, and will be interpreted by a sworn interpreter.

If Austria is not responsible for examining an asylum application, the application will be rejected during the admission procedure.

If the procedure is admitted, it will be transferred to a regional directorate (or field office) of the BFA for further consideration. At this stage, the reasons for the application for international protection will be examined in more detail.

Once the duty to provide basic care passes from the federal government to a province, a residence restriction applies. This means that asylum-seekers may not establish their primary or habitual residence in a province other than the one providing basic care.

Furthermore, an asylum seeker may be instructed to take up permanent accommodation in the accommodation provided to them as part of basic care provision if this is required for reasons of the public interest or public order (instruction to take up accommodation).

Decision (Bescheid)

The decision on the asylum application is issued by means of a Decision (Bescheid) served on the asylum-seeker. Every decision by the BFA contains a ruling (the outcome of the procedure) and instructions on how to appeal, issued in a language the applicant can understand as well as in German.

Appeal procedure

You can lodge appeals against decisions by the BFA with the Federal Administrative Court, whose independent judges will decide on the appeal. If an appeal is lodged, legal advisers are available to support or represent the applicant (although they are not required to be represented by a lawyer). Applicants can also arrange to be represented by a lawyer at their own expense.

Effect of an appeal

As a rule, the decision cannot be enforced until the Federal Administrative Court has ruled on the appeal. However, there are exceptions in which the appeal does not have a suspensive effect. Most of these exceptions are associated with decisions rejecting an application as inadmissible, for instance:

  • if the application is rejected because it has already been decided upon at an earlier date (i.e., it is a subsequent application).
  • if the application is rejected because the relevant third country is considered safe.
  • if the application is rejected because protection is already being provided by an EEA member-state or Switzerland.
  • if the application is rejected because another EU Member State is responsible for considering it (this is known as a "Dublin Decision") 

Time limit for appeals

The time limit for appeals varies from one week (for decisions subject to the airport procedure), two weeks (where an application for international protection is rejected and the process of withdrawing the right to asylum is accelerated, e.g due to the asylum-seeker having committed a crime), or four weeks (standard procedure) from the date on which the decision is served. The time limit is stated in the information provided to the applicant setting out their right of appeal. For appeals against specific measures (e.g. in relation to detention), the time limit for an appeal is six weeks from the date on which notification is given of the exercise of direct administrative and coercive powers.

Documents and formal requirements for appeals

The appeal must be lodged in writing and in due time. It must specify the decision being appealed and the authority that issued the decision concerned. It must also set out the grounds for the appeal (i.e., why the original decision is contrary to the law) and the action the appellant wishes to see taken.

Advice

Appeals against decisions by the Federal Administrative Court can be lodged with the Supreme Administrative Court and/or the Constitutional Court.

Appellants can request procedural assistance in connection with appeals to the Supreme Administrative Court and the Constitutional Court.

Competent authority

Appeals to the Federal Administrative Court should usually to be lodged with the BFA. The BFA will then forward the appeal to the Federal Administrative Court.

Costs and fees

None

Further links

Legal basis

Certified Translation
Last update: 7 February 2022

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of the Interior