The interpretation of the entry regulations for Austrians to Austria who are currently spending their holidays in Croatia or are planning another holiday is sometimes quite different in the Austrian media, sometimes even misleading. The SeaHelp editorial staff has contacted the responsible Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior, Directorate General for Public Security to clarify whether unexpected difficulties could arise on the return journey to Austria, as is sometimes reported. This was clearly denied.
Clarification of the Ministry of the Interior
In order to clarify the facts of the case, the Austrian Ministry of the Interior expressly referred to a corresponding press release, extracts of which are published here:
Entry WITHOUT restrictions
Austrian citizens, EU or EEA-citizens, Swiss citizens, persons with residence or habitual abode in Austria and persons with a residence permit in Austria may enter Austria without corona-related restrictions if the respective person enters from countries with a stable covid-19 situation such as Germany, France, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia or other countries listed in Annex A1 (see link at the end of the article) and has stayed exclusively in one of these countries for the past ten days.
Entry WITH restrictions
If a person from the above-mentioned groups enters directly from a risk area that does not currently have a stable covid-19 situation, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia or one of the other countries listed in Annex A2, a health certificate must be carried and presented at the inspection. This negative PCR test confirmed by the health certificate must not be older than 72 hours at the time of entry. If testing abroad is not possible, the PCR test must be carried out within 48 hours in Austria at one’s own expense and a self-monitored (home) quarantine must be initiated until a negative test result is available.
If the person has stayed in a country other than those listed in Annexes A1 or A2 and enters Austria directly from there, a health certificate with a negative PCR test not more than 72 hours old or a 10-day quarantine must also be presented. A “free testing” is possible.
This should clear up all misunderstandings, some of which have been published in other media with regard to Croatia. Here is the link to the clarifying press release of the Austrian Ministry of the Interior.
Police border controls on return journey
The Austrian Ministry of the Interior, however, emphasized in this context that it could well appeal to the Border crossings Slovenia/Austria may be subject to border police checks on re-entry into Austria, as the aim is to prevent entry from areas with a higher infection rate, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, in order to counteract the further spread of the coronavirus, or to send the respective persons into quarantine. In plain language, this means: not only on entry, but also on the return journey to Austria, holidaymakers on holiday in Croatia must be prepared for longer traffic jams at the border. Therefore, it is advisable not to plan the border crossing on weekends with particularly heavy traffic or to switch to evening and night hours.
German holidaymakers not affected
German holidaymakers returning from Croatia are explicitly not directly affected by the new Austrian regulations. They should, however, be prepared for longer waiting times at the authorised Slovenian-Austrian border crossings on their return journey.
Here you will find the full text of the corresponding updated regulation.
Conclusion: Partially misleading publications concerning the return journey of Austrian citizens who are spending their holidays in Croatia or are still planning to do so, caused uncertainty. Now the Austrian Ministry of the Interior is providing clarity.