Doing Business In Austria

Visa Information

Visas for stays of up to three months are not required for citizens of the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA), much of Eastern Europe, Israel, USA, Canada, the majority of Central and South American nations, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia or New Zealand. All other nationalities require a visa; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at has a list of Austrian ­embassies where you can apply for one.
If you wish to stay longer you should simply leave the country and re-enter. For those nationalities that require a visa, extensions cannot be organised within Austria; you’ll need to leave and reapply. EU nationals can stay indefinitely but are required by law to register with the local Magistratisches Bezirksamt (magistrate’s office) if the stay exceeds 60 days.
Austria is part of the Schengen Agreement which includes all EU states (minus Britain and Ireland) and Switzerland. In practical terms this means a visa issued by one Schengen country is good for all the other member countries and a passport is not required to move from one to the other (a national identity card is required, though). Things are a little different for the 10 new EU-member states which joined in 2004; a passport is still required to move in and out of these countries, but check with your local embassy for more up-to-date information. Austrians are required to carry personal identification, and you too will need to be able to prove your identity.
Visa and passport requirements are subject to change, so always double-check before travelling.

Business Etiquette

Relationships & Communication

First impressions are important and you will be judged on your clothing and demeanour.
Although Austrians prefer third-party introductions, they do not need a personal relationship in order to do business.
They will be interested in any advanced university degrees you might have as well as the amount of time your company has been in business.
Austrians show deference to people in authority, so it is imperative that they understand your level relative to their own.
It is imperative that you exercise good manners in all your business interactions.
There is little joking or small talk in the office as they are serious and focused on accomplishing business objectives/goals.
o Communication is formal and follows strict rules of protocol.
o Always use the formal word for you 'sie' unless invited to use the informal 'du'. Address people by their academic title and surname.
You may be referred to simply by your surname. This is not a culture that uses first names except with family and close friends.
Austrians are suspicious of hyperbole, promises that sound too good to be true, or displays of emotion.
In many situations, Austrians will be direct to the point of bluntness. This is not an attempt to be rude, it is simply indicative of their desire to move the discussion along.
Expect a great deal of written communication, both to back up decisions and to maintain a record of discussions and outcomes. 

Business Meeting Etiquette

Appointments are necessary and should be made 3 to 4 weeks in advance when meeting with private companies.
Do not try to schedule meetings in August, the two weeks surrounding Christmas, or the week before Easter.
Punctuality is taken extremely seriously. If you expect to be delayed, telephone immediately and offer an explanation.
It is extremely rude to cancel a meeting at the last minute and it could ruin your business relationship.
Meetings are formal.
Presentations should be accurate and precise.
Have back-up material and be prepared to defend everything: Austrians are meticulous about details.
Meetings adhere to strict agendas, including starting and ending times. If you have an agenda, it will be followed.
Follow-up with a letter outlining what was agreed, what the next steps are, and who is the responsible party. 

Business Negotiation

Do not sit until invited and told where to sit. There is a rigid protocol to be followed.
Meetings adhere to strict agendas, including starting and ending times.
A small amount of getting-to- know-you conversation may take place before the business conversation begins.
Austrians are more concerned with long-term relationships than making a quick sale.
Rank and position are important. Since most companies are relatively small, it is often quite easy to meet with the decision- maker.
Business is conducted slowly. You will have to be patient and not appear ruffled by the strict adherence to protocol.
Austrians are very detail- oriented and want to understand every innuendo before coming to agreement.
Avoid confrontational behaviour or high-pressure tactics. It can work against you. 

What to Wear?

Business dress is conservative and follows most European conventions.

Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits with white shirts.
Women should wear either business suits or conservative dresses, complimented with elegant accessories. 

Business Cards

Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual.
Have one side of your card translated into German. Although not a business necessity, it demonstrates an attention to detail.
Include any advanced academic degrees or honours on your business card.
If your company has been in business for a long time, include the founding date on your card as it demonstrates stability. 

General Business Hours

Offices and government departments generally open from 8am to 3.30pm, 4pm or 5pm Monday to Friday. There are no real restrictions on shop opening hours but most open between 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday and until 1pm Saturday (until 5pm in larger cities).


Banking hours are from 8am or 9am until 3pm Monday to Friday, and there are extended hours to 5.30pm on Thursdays. Many of the smaller branches close from 12.30pm to 1.30pm for lunch. Most post offices open for business from 8am to noon and 2pm to 6pm Monday to Friday; some also open on Saturday from 8am to noon. Restaurants serve lunch between 11am and 3pm and dinner from 6pm to midnight, and often close in between. Hours for cafés vary considerably and are included in our listings. As a rule, however, a traditional café will open around 7.30am and shut at about 8pm; pubs and bars close anywhere between midnight and about 4am throughout the week.