Importing Your Car and Household Goods to Austria

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By Jason Mueller

If you’re planning an upcoming move to Vienna, there are quite a few customs regulations that you’ll need to be aware of. The good news is, whether you’re transferring your household from another EU country or from a non-EU country abroad – in most cases you can do so without paying any duties or taxes.

Yet, in order to import belongings like your furnishings, furniture, electronic equipment (such as a tv or computer), linens, household supplies and the like – you’ll need to have your paperwork carefully filled out and in place. Otherwise, you could face delays or have to pay to bring them into Austria. To help you determine the various forms and documentation you’ll need we’ll cover the full list in more depth below.

Moving a Car and Other Household Goods From an EU Country

The process of moving a car and other household goods from other EU Member States is streamlined and simple. You won’t be required to pay import duties or taxes, and you also don’t need to fill out any special paperwork in most cases. The one exception to this is your personal motor vehicle, which will need to be registered in Austria within 30 days of moving. You’ll also be required to pay a standard consumption tax which is known as the NOVA (Normverbrauchsabgabe). This tax can be paid at any local tax office, once you arrive in Vienna (see source 1).

Moving a Car and Other Household Goods From a Non-EU Country

Exempt Items
This process is more complicated, though if you fill out the proper paperwork you won’t be required to pay any import duties or taxes in most cases. This assumes that you’re transferring your primary domicile or place of residence to Austria, not simply purchasing or leasing a second dwelling (like a vacation property). Also this exemption only applies when importing household goods within the first 12 months after relocating to Austria.

The types of goods that are exempt from the regular taxes and duties include all normal household effects. Private motor vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, camping caravans, pleasure craft and even private airplanes are included in this. However, a special consumption tax will apply for private motor vehicles and you’ll need additional documentation (which we’ll cover later).

Non-Exempt Items
Items that you must pay to bring into the country, whether you’re moving there or not, include any type of alcohol or tobacco, commercial means of transport and equipment to be used in a profession or trade (except portable instruments for use in the liberal or applied arts). You are allowed to bring in a small quantity of tobacco or alcohol for personal use at the border, without incurring import charges (see citation for exact figures) (see source 2).

Paperwork When Moving From a Non-EU Country

Required Customs Forms
Since you no doubt want to avoid paying unnecessary fees, you’ll need to have a fully completed form ZBefr 2E. Required to successfully clear customs, this form declares that you’re permanently moving your primary place of residence from a non-EU country to Austria. If for some special circumstance this form doesn’t apply, you’ll need to fill out form ZBefr 2aE instead.

Keep in mind that the customs officials will need to see evidence that proves your primary residence is being moved to Austria and that your previous residence was outside the EU for the past 12 months. Acceptable evidence includes items like an employment contract, lease contract, registration of your children at school, confirmation of your registration in Austria and foreign registration confirmations (see source 3).

Other Documentation
You also need documents that show the household goods you’re importing belong to you (proof of ownership) and that they were used at your previous domicile for six months or more. Brand new items that you’ve just purchased are not eligible for import tax and duty exemption.

In addition, customs officials will require documentation showing that these goods will be used for the same purpose at your new residence in Austria. This point can be a bit confusing, but typically they want reassurance that you won’t be using personal goods for commercial purposes. You’ll also be required to submit proof that your previous residence(s) for the last 12 months were not within the European Community customs territory.

Be aware that for personal household goods for which you’re seeking import tax and duty relief (or exemption), you cannot lend, use these items for security, hire them out or transfer them without first informing your local customs office. This regulation applies for the first 12 months after importing them into Austria.

Documentation For Motor Vehicles
When importing motor vehicles into Austria, you’re obliged to show proof of ownership and that it has been used previously (not a new vehicle). You can demonstrate this by providing purchase or lease receipts, a signed purchase or lease agreement, notice of delivery, motor vehicle certificate of registration or any other document that applies. Even if you are granted import tax and duty exemption for your motor vehicle, you’ll still be required to pay the standard consumption tax or NOVA. This can be paid at the local tax office once you arrive in Vienna.

If you don’t bring in your vehicle when moving, but decide to import it later – you’ll face hefty taxes and duties to do so. Currently the rate to import a motor vehicle for private use stands at a 10% duty on the car’s value and an additional 20% import turnover tax. You’ll also be required to pay the consumption tax (NOVA). In addition, there is a specific list of paperwork that must be provided (source: It is possible to get the 10% duty waived, if you’re importing the vehicle from a European country that’s not a member of the EU.

Basic Assessment Notice (BAN)
To receive exemption when moving a car and other household goods to Vienna, you may be required to apply to the customs office beforehand. You’ll need a Basic Assessment Notice (BAN) if your declared goods include any means of transport (motor vehicle, motorcycle, camping caravan, etc). You’ll also need a BAN if you’re importing your household goods before establishing your primary residence in the EU. Finally, if you’ve previously had your primary residence in the EU or you keep two residences (one outside the EU) you may need a BAN.