Organising your stay in Innsbruck
After you have decided on Innsbruck as your exchange destination and have gotten consent from your home university, it is time to plan and organise your stay in Austria. Click on the individual tabs in the box below to find out about necessary preparations, living in Innsbruck and important steps before you leave again.
Preparing your stay
The following information should help you arrange everything but if any questions remain unanswered, do not hesitate to reach out to us:
- For Erasmus+ incomings: email@example.com
- For incomings from all other mobility programmes: firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to welcoming you and sincerely hope your stay in Innsbruck will be a pleasant and rewarding one!
Check out current information regarding COVID measures that might affect your stay in Innsbruck.
Finding affordable accommodation in Innsbruck can be quite a challenge. The earlier you start looking for accommodation, the more possibilities you have! We recommend you start looking for a room as soon as possible after your nomination as an exchange student. If you only want to come to Innsbruck for one semester, you might want to consider the summer semester (second semester) because of the tense situation on the housing market in the winter semester (first semester). Ski and winter sport enthusiasts know that snow conditions are good in spring and most ski resorts are open until mid or late April.
OeAD, Austria’s Agency for Education and Internationalisation, will do its best to set you up with a dorm room although only a limited number of rooms are available. Erasmus+ and other official exchange programme students (e. g. Joint Study) have priority, which means that other international students can only be accommodated if there are vacancies.
During the online application, you will be asked to pay a non-refundable application fee (~ EUR 35) in order to receive a dorm room offer from OeAD Housing. You have to pay the deposit within the indicated time period in order to accept that offer. At some point, you will also be asked to upload your letter of acceptance. If you have not successfully completed your online application through our online system yet, you can upload the “Welcome” email from your incoming exchange coordinator at UIBK in the meantime.
We urge you to apply for accommodation as soon as possible! The rooms are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
You will get a double or single room, whereas kitchen and bathroom facilities are often shared. Dorm contracts usually last the entire semester, so if you arrive after the beginning of the semester or leave before it is over, you still have to pay rent for the whole semester you applied for (winter semester: September/October to February; summer semester: March to June/July). After confirming your booking, please observe the deadlines and information sent to you by the dorm manager. Plan your arrival accordingly and announce your arrival time early enough.
Self-organised private accommodation
Renting rooms or apartments on the private market is very difficult and expensive – especially when you wish to rent for less than 12 months and need furnished accommodation. It is a good idea to ask about equipment that is already available at the flat, so you know what items to bring to Innsbruck or buy after your arrival. Our student union posts room offers from individuals on their ÖH Wohnungsbörse website and you can also find private housing ads in various Facebook groups (such as Wohnungsbörse Innsbruck or Innsbrucker Wohnungsmarkt).
Be careful before paying a deposit for private accommodation that you have not seen in person (or at least in a video call). Some students who tried to look for private accommodation remotely fell victim to scammers on these platforms in the past!
Youth hostels are sometimes an interim solution for those students who can enter Austria visa-free and want to look for private accommodation after their arrival, although we strongly advise you against this strategy:
Whether or not you need to apply for a visa or residence permit for your stay in Austria depends on your citizenship. A brief summary can be found below, more information regarding entry and residence for students and researchers is available on the website of our National Agency OeAD.
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens only need a valid passport or ID card to enter Austria. Those students who plan to stay in Austria for more than three months are obliged to apply for "documentation", which is a kind of registration certificate (“Anmeldebescheinigung”) at city hall within four months of their arrival in Austria.
Documentation is required in addition to the registration of residence!
For the application, you need the following documents (originals and copies):
- Completed application form
- Valid ID card or passport
- Proof of adequate health insurance coverage (e.g. European Health Insurance Card)
- Printed study confirmation from the University of Innsbruck
- Proof of sufficient financial means (e.g. scholarship agreement, bank account statement, confirmation from parents regarding maintenance payments)
- Payment of an administrative fee (“Ausstellungsgebühr”) of ~ EUR 15
Third-country nationals (including UK citizens)
Most students who are not from EU/EEA countries or Switzerland need a visa to enter Austria although there are a few exceptions (for stays of up to 90 days max.). Please note that you are personally responsible for obtaining your visa in case you need one, which has to be done in your country of origin or residence. The International Relations Office is not involved in the application process. Since the visa application process can sometimes take several weeks or even months, we urge you to file a visa application at the responsible Austrian embassy in your country of residence as soon as possible.
The type of visa you require also depends on the duration of your stay:
- Stays of up to 6 months:
If you are studying in Austria for one semester, you either require a Schengen Travel Visa C (for stays in Austria of up to 3 months) or a National Visa D (for stays in Austria of 3 to 6 months).
- Stays for more than 6 months:
Third country citizens who do not have a residence permit from another EU member state and who wish to stay in Austria for more than 6 months require a Residence Permit – Student (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung Student”).
Incoming exchange students will receive their letter of acceptance from UIBK, that is needed for a visa application, after successfully completing their online application. Visiting research students and trainees are usually not enrolled and have to contact their supervisor at UIBK in order to receive a Letter of Invitation.
In accordance with the EU directive for students and researchers, third-country nationals who study in another country of the European Union (except for Ireland and Denmark) and who participate in a mobility programme in Austria that does not exceed 360 days may be allowed to use their EU student residence permit for their full exchange stay in Innsbruck. Please check with the Austrian embassy in your country of residence if this is possible for your individual case or if you have to apply for an Austrian national visa/residence permit.
It is recommended for students from the US and Canada to get a visa before their departure from their home country at the competent Austrian representation (Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles or Ottawa respectively). Since they are allowed to enter Austria visa-free, it is also possible for them to apply for a visa D at the Austrian Consulate General in Munich after their arrival. In this case, some special conditions apply however:
- Austria must be your first point of entry into the Schengen area without any layovers in other Schengen countries . In this case, you cannot arrive at the airport in Munich and then continue your journey to Innsbruck by train or bus!
- You must bring your complete application (including all supporting documents) with you when you travel to Austria and you have to complete the visa process before your 90-days visa-free period expires!
- One pack of originals as well as one pack with copies of your documents has to be submitted in person for the application. Please schedule an appointment with the Consulate General beforehand and ensure you have a complete set of originals and copies with you before making the journey to Munich!
- Your stay must last for at least another 91 days starting from the issuing date of the visa! You are thus encouraged to apply for a visa D as soon as possible after your arrival in Austria.
- This option may require you to travel to Munich twice (application and pick-up), which is a 2-hour train ride away from Innsbruck.
Health care in Austria is exemplary in Europe and with the appropriate health insurance you are entitled to the best possible medical care. If you need to take out extra health insurance for your stay in Austria depends on your nationality.
Please note that a confirmation of adequate health insurance is usually required for third-country nationals in order to obtain a visa/residence permit!
If you like to be in the mountains, you should be aware that helicopter rescue costs are usually not covered under general health insurance policies. A cheap and relatively simple way to be protected against this event is to become a member of the Austrian Alpine Club (“Alpenverein”). As of 2022, the yearly membership fee is between EUR 48 and EUR 62, depending on your age.
If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, your national health insurance (= European Health Insurance Card) is also valid in Austria. As the extent of benefits varies from country to country, it is advisable to check with your insurance company prior to departure and to make sure that you are aware of any fees your insurance might ask you to pay.
Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey also have national health insurance that is valid in Austria, but they need to ask their health insurance provider for an A3 form before they travel to Austria. They can exchange this form for an EHIC replacement certificate (“e-card Ersatzbeleg”) at a branch of the Austrian National Health Insurance Provider ÖGK in order to see a panel doctor.
UK nationals can find relevant information on the NHS website.
If you visit a doctor or hospital in Austria, you must present your EHIC there. The card entitles you to free medical care from a panel doctor (“Kassenarzt/Kassenärztin”; a doctor that has a health insurance contract – as opposed to private doctors) in the case of emergencies (= medically necessary healthcare means healthcare that cannot reasonably wait until you go back to your home country).
Check-ups and preventive examinations are usually excluded. In order to include these examinations (e. g. a dentist appointment), you have to send an email to ÖGK ( email@example.com) with a scan of both sides of your EHIC and a study confirmation from UIBK. State in the email that you are an exchange student in Innsbruck and wish to register for routine treatment. ÖGK does not automatically send you a confirmation that the registration was successful, so please ask them for a confirmation in your email in order to be on the safe side. If you receive a prescription from your doctor, please note you will have to pay a small fee per item when you pick up your prescription at a pharmacy.
Some doctors are private and you will receive an invoice that you first have to pay yourself before you can claim for a refund from your national health care provider at home.
The University of Innsbruck does not provide a health insurance plan, so international students who do not live in the countries mentioned in the previous section have to procure their own health insurance policy. Visiting students who only stay for a short period of time can take out travel insurance for medical emergencies during their stay but if you plan to remain in Innsbruck for one or more semesters, it is recommended to take out voluntary health insurance for students from the Austrian National Health Insurance Provider ÖGK for the entire duration of their study abroad period.
This can only be done upon arrival though, so please take out travel insurance for your trip to Austria and the first month of your stay in Innsbruck.
This self-insurance policy can be purchased by any international student – regardless of their nationality – who has taken up residence in Austria (albeit temporarily) and who has officially been admitted at an Austrian university. Certain conditions such as the duration of studies, income limits, possibly also study breaks and changes of fields of studies have to be considered however. As of 2022, the insurance premium is EUR 64.78 per month. With this policy, you are eligible for preventive check-ups, medical treatment, hospital stays and medication under the same conditions as Austrian insurance holders. You will receive a European Health Insurance Card that you must present at pharmacies, doctor’s offices and hospitals when you go there. Medical care from a panel doctor (“Kassenarzt/Kassenärztin”; a doctor that has a health insurance contract) is free, whereas some doctors in Austria are private, which means that you have to pay the invoice yourself first before you can make a claim for a refund from ÖGK. If you receive a prescription from your doctor, please note you will have to pay a small fee per item when you pick up your prescription at a pharmacy.
You have to take out the self-insurance policy for students in person at the local branch of ÖGK and bring the following documents:
Personal liability insurance (“private Haftpflicht-Versicherung”) protects policy holders against the negative financial consequences of accidents and mishaps such as:
- personal injury: events resulting in injury, poisoning or death of a person
- property damage: an event (such as an accident) that results in the damage or destruction of property
- financial loss: situation in which neither a person nor an object suffers direct damage but financial damage is done to a third party
- lease damage: damage to objects that are rented, leased or borrowed
A distinction is made between regular liability and extended liability. The extended form usually offers a higher sum that is insured and may have other additions (e. g. protection against damage claims of relatives or protection in rented premises). Most Austrian insurance companies offer this kind of policy but we recommend to check with your insurance provider in your home country first if your own policy has provisions for such incidents.
Students should always enquire if there are dedicated student rates, that often start at EUR 3 per month.
The Erasmus+ & International Welcome usually takes place on the first Monday of each semester at 05:00 PM, where students receive administrative information surrounding their arrival and have the chance to meet their peers as well as some local students. Topics such as residence registration, activating your student ID, insurance matters, sports courses, public transport passes etc. are covered. The ESN Innsbruck section will present their activities for the semester and you will receive your student ID.
In case you cannot attend the Welcome event, please notify your incoming exchange coordinator at UIBK and schedule an alternative appointment for picking up your student ID.
Many dorm contracts start on 1 October or 1 March respectively, which is the reason why many students choose to arrive right in time for the first day of the semester. If you have the chance to arrive earlier, we recommend to come to Innsbruck 1-2 weeks before the start of the semester so you can get used to your new surroundings.
Innsbruck lies at the heart of Central Europe and you have several possibilities to get here.
Innsbruck has two minor and one larger train stations. If you book your train ticket directly to Innsbruck, make sure to exit the train at the main station (“Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof”), which is close to the city centre. You can find buses, trams and taxis outside the station for your onward journey to your dorm.
Innsbruck has has its own international airport,which is rather small however. Many students prefer to arrive via Munich or Vienna and then take a train to Innsbruck ( list of all airports close to Innsbruck) because the tickets to go there are cheaper and they do not have to change planes.
FROM INNSBRUCK AIRPORT:
- Take bus F to get to the city centre in about 10-15 minutes.
FROM MUNICH AIRPORT:
- Take the S-Bahn train (number 8) from Munich Airport Terminal to Munich East Station and then change trains to continue your journey to Innsbruck main station. You can purchase your ticket directly at the train station or online via DB (German Railways) or ÖBB (Austrian Railways).
- FlixBus provides a cheap bus transfer from Munich airport to Innsbruck (Südbahnstraße) from EUR 24.99 and you can buy the tickets online.
- Four Seasons Travel offers transfers in a van with several other people that takes you directly to the address you specify during the booking process. Rates start from EUR 59 for a one-way ticket and this service has to be booked in advance.
FROM VIENNA AIRPORT:
- Take a train from Vienna International Airport to Innsbruck main station. Tickets can be bought at the terminal or online via ÖBB (Austrian Railways). Make sure to catch a direct connection for a more comfortable journey and book a seat on the train for a small surcharge.
According to the Registration Law (“Österreichisches Meldegesetz”), all students – regardless of their citizenship – must register as residents of the city of Innsbruck at city hall within the first three days after their arrival. An appointment is not necessary. For the registration you need the following documents:
- the travel document you used to enter Austria (e. g. passport),
- a completed residence registration form (“Meldezettel”; guide to filling in the German form) that has to be signed by your landlord/dorm manager.
You will immediately receive a confirmation that your registration is complete. At the end of your stay in Innsbruck, you have to de-register at the same office again.
Be sure to obtain the confirmation sheet (“Bestätigung der Meldung”), as you will need it for other steps like opening a bank account.
Registration is free of charge but you may be fined if you fail to register your residence in time!
Living in Innsbruck
You have already heard great things about the University of Innsbruck as well as the city itself and can’t wait to start your adventure here? Or you don’t really know much about Innsbruck yet but are looking for a suitable exchange destination to gain experience studying or working abroad? Then you have come to the right place!
Did you know that …
- almost a quarter of Innsbruck’s population (~ 130,000 residents) consists of students (~ 28,000 people)?
- pretty much anything in Innsbruck is within 20 minutes walking distance or can be reached by bike within 10 minutes?
- Innsbruck offers numerous sports and leisure opportunities (skiing, mountain climbing, hiking, rafting …)?
- nature can be experienced in the city and its direct proximity?
- due to its location, Innsbruck is an excellent gateway for exploring more of what Austria and Europe have to offer?
Austria lies at the heart of the Alps and has common borders with 8 other countries. It covers a total area of 84,000 km2, which makes it a little larger than Scotland and smaller than Portugal. Austria is 590 km long from East to West and 290 km from North to South at its broadest point. The landscape varies considerably. Two thirds of the country are dominated by the Eastern Alps, which are largely covered by forest. In the Alpine foreland, forests are replaced to a great extent by arable land, especially on the Northern edge of the Alps. In the Pannonian region of Eastern Austria, scrub and heath land are characteristic. To the very East, Lake Neusiedl in Burgenland shows a typical salt steppe flora. The Danube flows some 350 km (220 miles) through Austria on its way to the Black Sea. In the West, the Rhine forms part of the Austrian border as does Lake Constance. The highest mountain is Grossglockner rising up to 3,797m (12,465 ft).
Austria lies in the Central European transitional climatic zone with prevailing West and North-West winds. In the West of Austria, temperature fluctuations are more moderate between day and night and between summer and winter than in the East, where a more continental Pannonian climate prevails. Rain and snowfall occurs occasionally throughout the year, decreasing gradually from West to East. The higher mountain regions are dominated by the characteristic features of the Alpine climate (high precipitation, short summers and long winters). A special feature of our Alpine weather is the „Föhn“, a warm, gusty wind which plunges into the valleys of the Northern Alps, especially in spring and autumn. Innsbruck is a well-known „Föhn“ area with roughly 64 „Föhn“ days a year. Innsbruck has cold to very cold winters (temperatures can sink to -20° Celsius) with lots of snow and warm to hot summers (temperatures can climb to +30° Celsius), hopefully with lots of sunshine.
Single tickets for buses and trams in the city cost EUR 2.80 and they are valid for:
- 45 minutes upon issue if you buy it from the driver
- 45 minutes after validation in a slot machine on the bus if you buy it at the ticket machines at the bus stops
- 90 minutes if you buy it via the IVB Tickets app ( Google Play Store, Apple App Store)
If you plan to use the city’s public transport frequently, we recommend to buy a semester ticket (Innsbruck city for EUR 145.70 / Tyrol region EUR 190.90) or a KlimaTicket Tirol U26 if you stay for an entire year (EUR 265). These special tickets have certain age restrictions however. Find an overview of all available tickets on the IVB website (“Innsbrucker Verkehrsbetriebe”). You can buy these tickets online or at the IVB Customer Centre.
Train travel is an excellent way to get around Austria, not only because of the striking views but also because the railway system is very convenient and efficient. In order to receive discounts of 45 to 50 % on Austrian state-run train travel, consider purchasing a Vorteilscard (=discount card). Prices start from EUR 19.00 per year for under 26 year-olds. The discount cards themselves as well as tickets can be bought at the train station, on the ÖBB website or in the ÖBB app.
Sometimes, there are special offers available that start from EUR 9.90 to destinations in Austria or major European cities. These offers are called ÖBB Sparschiene and you can book them in advance.
The Erasmus Student Network is a international non-profit student organisation. The ESN volunteers provide opportunities for intercultural understanding. The main focus of ESN is placed on current exchange students, who often face challenges and feel overwhelmed in their new environment. Therefore, ESN offers help in academic, social and practical integration processes. This is mainly done through activities in the local sections during the semester, which include cultural and social events such as trips to various places within the country, film nights, language projects, international food festivals and parties. In addition to that, many sections have introduced mentor systems, where a local student acts as a “buddy” for the incoming and gives them invaluable tips for living and getting by in Innsbruck.
When planning your stay, we recommend considering your personal medical situation and bringing a sufficient quantity of any medication you have to take regularly for the period of your stay or at least your prescription from home. In case of doubt whether you are allowed to bring along certain medications, please consult the Austrian embassy in your country of residence to find out more about import conditions.
Please also have a look at the chapter “Health insurance” in the previous section Preparing your stay.
When you go to see a doctor, you need to bring a confirmation of your health insurance. Please make sure to go to a so-called “Kassenarzt/Kassenärztin” (panel doctor) who has a contract with your insurance company. Panel doctors sometimes only work for specific health insurance providers, while others have all-encompassing contracts (“Alle Kassen”), so it is best to choose one of the second category. In the event of an emergency, please call an ambulance (144) or go to the hospital yourself.
When consulting a private doctor (i.e. doctors that do not have a direct contract with your health insurance provider) be prepared for a co-pay.
Things you may not be familiar with that are very common in Austria:
If you receive a prescription from your doctor, please note you will have to pay a small fee per item when you pick up your prescription at a pharmacy. Most antibiotics are only available on prescription.
If you want to see a specialist, you need a referral letter that is issued by your general practitioner first.
Locating a suitable doctor:
- Fire brigade 122
- Police 133
- Ambulance 144
- European emergency number (EU-wide) 112
- Centre for intoxication and poisoning 01 406 43 43
Accommodation EUR 450
Food EUR 300
Books and entertainment EUR 250
Total EUR 1,000
This can only be a rough estimate and your actual cost of living depends on your personal lifestyle, so there may be big differences.
Your living costs may also vary according to the city you live in (cf. Study in Austria website).
Tip: Tap water in Austria is free, of high quality and drinkable.
Please note that it depends on your nationality whether you are allowed to take up a student job during your exchange stay!
While EU/EEA nationals are usually allowed work in Austria, the same is not true for holders of a visa D because third-country nationals require a special visa in order to be able to work - be it a paid, unpaid or voluntary job - while in Austria. More information can be found on the website of OeAD.
Student jobs can be found on the website of our student union ÖH.
There are several public holidays in Austria. Usually there are no lectures held on these days but please be aware that some shops and public facilities may be closed too.
Please note that most shops and grocery stores are closed on Sundays in Austria.
If you do not own a European bank account, it might be sensible to open a bank account in Innsbruck, so as to avoid high overseas charges on international transactions. In order to open a student bank account, you have to bring your passport/ID card, your confirmation of residence and a study confirmation. Here are some possible banks that you can go to:
To-do list before you leave
Many universities request a confirmation of stay signed by your host institution. Please come by during our office hours or schedule an appointment before you leave Innsbruck, so we can issue a certificate or sign the one your home university has given you, if a special form is required.
Please note that we cannot confirm departure dates more than 7 days in advance, so please arrange an in-person meeting with us during the last week of your stay.
Before leaving Innsbruck for good, you have to de-register your residence at city hall. You can only do this up to three days before your departure. For the de-registration you need the following documents:
- the travel document you used to enter Austria (e. g. passport),
- a completed residence registration form (“Meldezettel”; guide to filling in the German form). This time the form does not have to be signed by your landlord.
Your old registration form or other confirmations are not required. De-registration is free of charge and an appointment is not necessary.
Please do not forget to close your bank account in case you opened one in Innsbruck for your exchange semester.
If you have filed for a personal insurance policy with ÖGK in Innsbruck, please do not forget to cancel your contract or you will continue to be charged the monthly insurance premiums.
Students at UIBK can print their own transcript of records via LFU:online (My examinations —> Academic record) as long as they remain active students (31 March for the winter semester, 31 October for the summer semester).
If you choose “PDF with official signature”, you can download your transcript as an electronically signed document, which is considered equal to a signed and sealed copy of your transcript.
Your transcript will not be sent to your home university automatically. Should your home university require a copy with a wet signature or wants the digital transcript to be submitted electronically directly by our office, please contact your incoming exchange coordinator at UIBK once all your grades have been entered into LFU:online by your professors, which should usually occur no later than four weeks after the date of the examination.