Austrian representation authorities

Austrian diplomatic representations abroad

Generally speaking, if you are going to be abroad for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to make contact with the nearest Austrian diplomatic representation and make sure they have a record of your address (and any addresses you may move to afterwards) in the country. Certain individuals must also be contactable by the Austrian authorities at all times (for example, if they have not yet completed their national service). Austrian diplomatic representations provide Austrian expatriates  with a point of contact to help them deal with administrative formalities.

Consular duties performed by Austrian diplomatic representations abroad

  • Providing support in an emergency (including in the event of illness, accident, bereavement, imprisonment or another crisis)
  • Recognising paternity  (if the father or child qualifies as Austrian)
  • Handling declarations of change of name if an Austrian gets married abroad (if the bride/groom are Austrian)
  • Receiving declarations of consent (associated with marriage)
  • Certifying signatures and documents
  • Providing support to obtain official documents
  • Issuing marital status certificates and excerpts from the official registersIssuing proof of citizenship (if the originals are lost or need to be changed, for example following a change of surname after marriage)
  • Issuing passports (including emergency passports) and national ID cards
  • Issuing documents as proof of life
  • Issuing criminal record certificates

Some of the duties listed above can also be performed by honorary office-holders (for example, honorary consuls).

If there is no Austrian diplomatic representation in a given country, you can contact the representation of any other EU member state, or of Switzerland.

Caution

Austrian representatives overseas are not qualified to conduct marriage ceremonies or to record births or deaths. However, they are permitted to issue certificates of fitness to marry (Ehefähigkeitszeugnisse) and to provide support in such matters, including referring the matter to the competent authorities where appropriate.

Recognising paternity (if a father or child qualifies as Austrian)

Fathers of children born out of wedlock can assert their status as the child's father by making an official declaration. It is recommended to submit a declaration of paternity (Vaterschaftsanerkenntnis) as early as possible to ensure the child has all the paperwork they are likely to need. The declaration also ensures that the father-child relationship is legally recognised in the normal way, with all the associated legal implications. If the child's mother is not also an Austrian citizen, the child will only be recognised as Austrian through their father if he declares himself to be the father within eight weeks of the birth.

Declarations of change of name if an Austrian gets married abroad (if the bride/groom are Austrian)

If a couple intend to marry outside of Austria but do not intend to adopt a joint surname after their marriage, they must submit a declaration of name to the Austrian authorities.

Receiving declarations of consent (associated with marriage)

Austrian diplomatic representations abroad are authorised to receive declarations of consent from parents/guardians in order that an individual who is still a minor may get married.

Certifying certificates and documents

Official certificates usually have to be certified to be recognised as valid abroad. This form of certification for international legal purposes is known as "legalisation". Legalisation provides formal confirmation that a seal or signature on the document is valid, and that the signatory signed in the capacity stated on the document. It also serves to confirm who issued the certificate/document concerned.

Legalisation is not required if the states involved have agreed to waive the requirement to certify documentation as part of a bilateral or multilateral agreement. Foreign documents cannot be legalised if Austria has suspended certification for the country that originally issued the document(s) concerned (see also below).

If a private certificate has been certified, this confirms that the signature of a given individual on the certificate is genuine, which is to say that it was signed in person by the signatory in front of the individual certifying the certificate, or the individual certifying the certificate recognises the signature as genuine.

In terms of international law, if a state-issued official document/certificate has been certified, this serves merely to confirm that the signature and official seal are genuine, and that (if required by international law) the individual who certified the certificate was acting in the capacity stated. Certifying a private certificate merely confirms that the signature is genuine.

Obtaining official documents

A fee will be charged for issuing copies of documents produced in Austria from abroad. The fee must be paid by bank transfer.

In principle, certificates issued abroad should be obtained privately, i.e. via friends, relatives or other individuals you trust. If this is not possible, Austrian citizens and stateless individuals (provided they are resident in Austria) can request foreign registry office documents (such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, etc.) by contacting the Austrian diplomatic representation in the relevant country or the Austrian Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs (you do not need to fill in a specific form to request these documents). Obtaining documents is a service provided by the relevant Austrian government authority, not a legal entitlement. Certificates cannot be obtained from certain countries.

Issuing marital status certificates and excerpts from the official registers

With effect from 1 November 2014, a central national electronic registry for civil status and citizenship (ZPR/ZSR) was introduced following the adoption of the new Personenstandsgesetz (Civil Status Act). Austrian embassies and full consulates (but not honorary consulates) are now authorised to issue registry records and extracts from the registry (birth, marriage, death and partnership certificates) from the central national register.

Further links

Certified Translation
Last update: 8 February 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs