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Driving a Car in Austria: What Users of a Vehicle with a Foreign Number Plate Need to Know

Published: August 2, 2019; 11:20 · (Vindobona)

Persons whose main residence is in Austria and who drive a vehicle with a foreign registration plate must obtain an Austrian registration plate after one month at the latest. If the license plate is used for a longer period of time, administrative and financial criminal proceedings will be initiated.

Vehicle with a foreign registration plate must obtain an Austrian registration plate after one month at the latest. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / IFCAR [Public Domain]

Persons with their main residence in Austria may use a vehicle with a foreign registration plate for a maximum of one month.

The conversion to an Austrian license plate must take place at the latest one month after crossing the border.

The period begins to run from the first border crossing and applies to motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers.

The period can be extended to 2 months. The reversal of the burden of proof applies to checks: The driver must be able to prove that the deadline has not yet expired or that the driven vehicle is "visiting" Austria and is located abroad.

For a foreign trailer you also need a red license plate that covers the foreign license plate.

If it is used for a longer period of time, administrative and financial criminal proceedings are threatened.

If you live only temporarily in Austria, the vehicle may only be used in Austria for a maximum of one year.

Vehicles with short, customs or transfer plates may not be used for commercial transport.

Exceptions apply if motor vehicles:

  • are brought to Austria for trade fairs and are in Austria for more than one month.
  • be made available for test drives by journalists.

Penalties

At the end of the one-month period, the driver must reckon with administrative and fiscal criminal proceedings.

According to the Kraftfahrgesetz (KFG), this is "driving a vehicle without registration".

Attention: It is the most serious offence of the KFG and is punished accordingly!

The tax office collects the evaded vehicle tax and the standard consumption tax (Nova) and imposes a penalty.

Special case

Drivers who do not have their main residence in Austria and who only temporarily move their main place of residence to Austria may use a vehicle with a foreign registration number for a maximum of one year.

Short number plate, customs number plate or transfer number plate

With temporarily registered vehicles - regardless of whether they are registered in Austria or abroad - commercial transport is prohibited.

To find out, how to import tax and duty free a vehicle for personal use (Eigenimport) to Austria, click here.

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