Legal status and visa requirements for those who were forced to leave Ukraine
Ukrainians coming to Austria as refugees will receive a protection status, according to the “Temporary Protection Directive” . This allows the displaced persons to obtain a temporary right of residence in Austria. After registration, the person will receive an ID as well an information letter that will help them with their further orientation in Austria.
Ukrainian citizens can enter Austria without a visa using their biometric passports. Ukrainian nationals, who are already legally residing in Austria and whose legal stay is about to expire, may contact the respective Provincial Police Directorate regarding an extension of their stay on humanitarian grounds.
Important numbers for Ukrainians in Austria:
+43 1 26768709460 – Federal multilingual hotline for Ukrainians in Austria
+43 1 715 10 51 120 – Info hotline of the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF) with Ukrainian-speaking staff
Refugee status/ Asylum seeker status/ Temporary protection status
The refugee/ asylum seeker status procedures are to be checked for each province individually. In general, it is not necessary to apply for asylum. For those who have already filled out an asylum application, it will not be processed for the duration of the “right of residence as a displaced person”. For the asylum applicants who would like to obtain an ID card for displaced persons, please contact the BFA (Bundesamt für Fremdenwesen und Asyl) via the Federal Multilingual Hotline for Ukrainians in Austria: +43 1 26768709460.
Search for the counselling centre within your Province (“Bundesländer") to receive comprehensive information regarding the stay, asylum procedure, and registration for benefits
For those who arrive and stay in Vienna
There are many institutions and sources supportive of Ukrainians in the capital of Austria.
Registration for a counselling appointment and for an application for basic benefits in Vienna, is done via the registration system, which is available in Ukrainian. To apply please click here.
The information source collecting data on any humanitarian, legal and leisure issues in Vienna.
Operating for the entire state. T. +43 05 1776 380.
Learn more about your stay in Austria:
Interpretation services (local NGOs, volunteers, reception centers)
Access to healthcare services
Legal prerequisites for healthcare services and fees
After completing the registration to obtain the status of a displaced person, an insurance number is automatically assigned and the registration for health insurance is carried out for the person. Once registration is complete, they will receive a health insurance voucher for basic care. An alternative to this is an e-card replacement voucher to be used for the ÖGK customer service points. With this, all medical services can be claimed including treatment, prescriptions, and referrals from registered doctors.
Important! As long as there is no insurance number available, citizens of Ukraine can identify themselves with their passports which will gain them access to medical care, emergency accommodation, and food if needed.
More details on the healthcare and legal aspects can be found on the website of the Federal Agency for Reception and Support Services (BBU) or via the Federal Multilingual Hotline for Ukrainians in Austria (+43 1 26768709460).
Acknowledged refugees have the same entitlement to health insurance benefits as other insured persons. Due to special social protection needs, refugees from Ukraine are exempt from paying prescription fees.
Where can the Ukrainians who were forced to leave Ukraine go for the following healthcare services?
Ukrainian citizens insured within Austria, as well as their co-insured relatives, are free to choose any doctor and healthcare institution within the country.
Acute treatment, Chronic/long-term treatment
When Acute treatment/first aid must be administered, and no medical care is otherwise available, visit a hospital outpatient department or call an ambulance.
Visiting family doctors
If the person has health problems, needs screening, testing, or chronic/long-term treatment is required, their first port of call is a family doctor. The doctor not only looks at a patient’s illness but also at their work situation and their family environment. The doctor should also be the one to contact preventive care is needed. In addition, a family doctor walks a patient through the health care system, if health problems arise beyond what be treated in the family doctor’s office, including non-medical treatments (e.g., nursing, physiotherapy, etc.).
Specialists have training in a specific medical field e.g., internal medicine, ophthalmology, gynaecology etc. It is advisable to get a referral from a family doctor before each visit to a specialist.
An appointment must first be made with all registered doctors. To find a doctor in a certain province and to book an appointment please visit the Health Ministry website.
The registration document of a displaced person or a Ukrainian passport is needed.
Rules for the third-country citizens
While Ukrainian nationals are covered under the EU’s mass influx directive, this only applies to third-country nationals if they are related or have family ties, to Ukrainians. This includes the nationals that had been granted asylum in Ukraine. Third-country nationals and stateless persons with permanent residence permits in Ukraine must prove that they have a permanent residence permit in Ukraine AND that they cannot safely and permanently return to their country of origin to receive the same support as Ukrainian nationals.
Services for People Living with HIV
HIV testing is possible at general practitioners’ practices and at AIDS Hilfe facilities.
The tests offered by Aids Hilfe Wien include a personal counselling interview, a blood sample test, and a discussion of the results. During the counselling interview, one receives general information on sexually transmitted infections (STI) and on the testing options.
- HIV laboratory test (anonymous): free of charge
- HIV rapid test (anonymous): € 28,00
- PCR test (anonymous): € 75,00
- HIV self-tests available at pharmacies (about € 30,00; not covered by health insurance)
The information can be obtained by helpline self-test (toll-free): 0800 25 22 89
General information on AIDS and supportive services throughout Austria: aids.at.
Antiretroviral treatment (ART)
Once the diagnosis “HIV-positive” has been established, a detailed discussion with the attending physician follows. The person concerned will then be informed about treatment options and protective measures to avoid HIV transmission. For therapy, the patient is referred to an HIV treatment centre (search for HIV treatment centres in Austria).
Ukrainians who have been forced to leave Ukraine can bring their own ART medication. However, it needs to be accompanied by a conformation from a doctor stating personal data, and why the medication is needed.
In addition, the generic medicine name and its dosage need to be provided, with the German translation if possible. Note: only three retail packs, of the smallest package size, are allowed.
The prerequisite for the ‘free of charge’ ART (covered by insurance) is a confirmed diagnosis of HIV infection. International guidelines recommend ART for all adults with a confirmed HIV infection regardless of CD4 cell count.
Some more information in German is also available via thise link.
People who inject drugs can receive ART like all other HIV-infected persons. Diagnostics and therapy planning should be clarified via addiction support facilities, AIDS help centres and specialised doctors:
- Search for HIV treatment centres in Austria: aidsgesellschaft.at/hiv-behandlungszentren
- Search for AIDS-Hilfen counselling centres: gesundheit.gv.at/beratungsstellen
- Online search tool for doctors on the Ministry of Health website: gesundheit.gv.at/gesundheitssuche
- Online search tool for doctors on the Austria Medical Association website: aerztekammer.at/arztsuche
How can minors get tested and treated?
Minors can get tested and get ART. However, parental permission is required and individual cases must be agreed on with the attending physician.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
PrEP is available to HIV-negative people who have an increased risk of HIV infection – especially men or transgender persons who have anal sex without a condom or have had a sexually transmitted infection in the last year.
PrEP is also available to partners of HIV-positive persons who are not on ART or ART has not been successful, and who have a detectable viral load. Also, persons who engage in active intravenous drug use with a high risk of HIV infection (e.g. occasional needle sharing, etc.) have access to PrEP. PrEP has been available in Austria since the beginning of January 2018 for € 59 (per pack of 30). The person needs a private prescription for this, as the health insurance does not cover the costs. Prescriptions can only be issued by HIV treatment centres or by specialised doctors, who can be found on the website of the Austrian AIDS Society.
How long should /can HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis be taken?
According to the variant approved in Austria, continuous intake, of one tablet taken every 24 hours, is a common practice. Besides that, the individual cases need to be clarified with a doctor.
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
PEP is recommended in case of condom burst, unsafe sex, and needle prick, injuries when the status of the other person is unclear, or if it is known that the person is HIV-positive. The medication prevents HIV from taking hold in the body. PEP is identical to one month of HIV therapy.
IMPORTANT: PEP must be started within 48 hours of risk contact, but “the sooner the better” applies. Since such therapy is a major intervention in the body, PEP is only appropriate in very specific cases.
As a rule, the drug is taken for 4 weeks. It is free of charge for Ukrainians and inquiries can be made at the centres.
Services for People Living with Hepatitis B or C
Hepatitis B or C testing, hepatitis B vaccination, and hepatitis B or C treatment availability
All necessary and appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic measures are covered by the health insurance providers. At AIDS-Hilfe Vienna the person can get a hepatitis B and C test. Due to the legal obligation to register, a photo ID is required for the test.
- Hepatitis B+C test: € 27,00
- Hepatitis B test: € 17,00
- Hepatitis C test: € 16,00
- Hepatitis B titer determination: € 8,00
The result comes within in a week, however, the readiness can be clarified within consultation hours on an AIDS-Hilfe Vienna phone number: 01/599 37 – 8426.
Diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis B are possible in the following facilities:
- Private practice: Specialists in internal medicine with sound knowledge of hepatology, Special hospital outpatient department: e.g. hepatology outpatient department. In cases of severe diseases or complications at a department of internal medicine (with a focus on gastroenterology and hepatology).
- Health insurance outpatient clinics with a special hepatology outpatient clinic.
Some important facts on indications (e.g. populations at higher risk, presence of symptoms, concurrent morbidities) and contraindications that are considered for hepatitis B or C testing or vaccination or hepatitis B or C treatment can be found in the brochure in Russian.
Ukrainians forced to leave their country who stay in Austria, should clarify via the source if they:
- Need hepatitis B or C testing or vaccination as well as hepatitis B or C treatment.
- Cannot provide a medical history of hepatitis B vaccination or Hepatitis B or C treatment.
For the Ukrainians who were forced to leave Ukraine, there are monitoring options available, if some criteria are met. This is available for those who tested positive for acute hepatitis C but are not undergoing treatment because of contraindications or low viral load, as well as for those who have achieved Sustained Virological Response (SVR) in less than 6 months. The monitoring options are available via consultations with the specialised doctors and one can find the list within a few sources:
Treatment options available for hepatitis related liver diseases
It is recommended to check all the possible options within the source: gesundeleber.at/beratung-hilfe.
Support systems (harm reduction/safer use, social support, or psychosocial support) are available for the Ukrainians undergoing therapy for hepatitis C or related liver diseases
If the person has TB symptoms:
TB screening is included in the basic care agreement for medical examinations when refugees are first admitted. In Vienna, a mobile team comes to the refugee facilities and offers the examinations. Alternatively, people can have themselves examined at the Vienna City Health centers called “MA15 Headquarters” or “Stadt Wien Gesundheitsdienst”.
In Carinthia, a bus drives to larger refugee shelters, where a chest X-ray can be carried out. People who are accommodated privately or in smaller quarters receive a written invitation for a lung X-ray. An X-ray bus is also on the road in Styria while in Vorarlberg, letters of invitation for screenings are sent out.
Local public health centres can be contacted for counselling. The information is available in the brochure in Ukrainian.
If a Ukrainian who was forced to leave Ukraine has symptoms of TB (e.g. cough, fever, weight loss), they should have an examination and isolate themselves from others. All their recent contacts, including children, should be traced and also screened for TB.
If TB was already diagnosed in Ukraine and the person needs to continue treatment:
All the services mentioned above are relevant for those:
- who are on directly observed treatment (DOT)/ video directly observed treatment (VDOT); or
- those who started the TB treatment for multidrug-resistant TB in Ukraine and need to continue in Austria.
The information on psychological support in Austria can be downloaded here.
If a person has a Ukrainian prescription for TB treatment medication…
According to the National contact point for cross-border healthcare in Austria, non-EU prescriptions are not accepted at Austrian pharmacies. The person should visit a local doctor and obtain a valid prescription for TB medicines.
Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination for children
BCG vaccination is no longer carried out in Austria, but is still possible for young children under certain conditions which must be clarified with specialised doctors.
Useful links to browse more on TB treatment within Austria for Ukrainians:
Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) Services
People entering Austria (including Ukrainians) are only allowed to bring their take-home OAT oral medication for a maximum of 30 days and only for their personal use (no transporting for friends). These medications need proof of prescription, at least from the prescribing home doctor. The amount brought along must not exceed the need for 30 days. For stays longer than 30 days, it is possible to have the necessary medication prescribed by a registered doctor in Austria. In such cases, it is helpful to have a doctor’s letter from the attending physician in the home country, and a completed form according to Annex X of the Narcotic Drugs Ordinance.
What OAT drugs are available in the country?
Methadone, levomethadon, buprenorphin, and codeine are mainly used for reduction treatment as part of replacement therapy.
OAT treatment fees
Availability of take-home dosages
As a rule, substitution treatment is carried out on site. Only under certain conditions, may the substitution substance also be prescribed as a take-home.
If there are special reasons worthy of consideration in individual cases, and the public health officer agrees, more than seven daily doses can also be given. Examples of this are: if patients have ‘stabilised’ and are well known to the doctor; or due to a professional activity/training; or a temporary change of residence (especially during the holidays).
Minimum age for people who use drugs to receive OAT
Before receiving OAT, minors usually need their parents’ permission. Individual cases must be clarified with substituting doctors, as there are (statistically) reported cases of patients under 20 years receiving OAT.
Useful links to follow on OAT:
General requirements and access to healthcare
07. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Pädiatrische Infektiologie
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Pädiatrische Infektiologie e.V. (DGPI), Deutsche AIDS-Gesellschaft e.V. (DAIG): Deutsch-Österreichische Leitlinie zur antiretroviralen Therapie der HIV-Infektion bei Kindern und Jugendlichen. 06/2019, 93 p. (German and Austrian AIDS Society: German-Austrian Guidelines on Antiretroviral Therapy of HIV infection in children and adolescents, revised version of 6/2019). Published on The AWMF website www.awmf.org. Link to download the PDF www.awmf.org/pdf
04. Dachverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherung:
Dachverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherung: Hepatitis C-Zentren. Dachverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherung, 14.9.2021.
06. Amt der NÖ Landesregierung - Abteilung Umwelthygiene: Informationsblatt.
Amt der NÖ Landesregierung - Abteilung Umwelthygiene: Informationsblatt. Tuberkulose (Tbc). Version 1.0 Jahr 2017.
05. Epidemiologiebericht Sucht 2021
Zitiervorschlag: Anzenberger, Judith; Busch, Martin; Gaiswinkler, Sylvia; Klein, Charlotte; Schmutterer, Irene; Schwarz, Tanja; Strizek, Julian (2021): Epidemiologiebericht Sucht 2021. Illegale Drogen, Alkohol und Tabak. Gesundheit Österreich, Wien.