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BREXIT
What Britons in Austria need to know about exchanging UK driving licences
One of the many knock on effects of Brexit is that Britons who are resident around Europe will have to exchange their UK driving licences and it's the same in Austria.
Published: 11 December 2020 14:13 CET
AFP
As well as having to apply for a new post-Brexit residency permit, Britons in Austria are also required to exchange their UK driving licence for one issued in Austria.
This requirement is the same for Brits living around the EU although the process is obviously different and the deadlines vary depending on which EU country they are in. 
June 2021?
The first thing to note is that you should have time to make the exchange.
Initially the deadline set for exchanging licences was December 31st 2020 to coincide with the end of the Brexit transition period.
But a draft law being pushed through by the Austrian government, which should come into effect in mid-December, will extend the deadline for applications to June 30th 2021.
In a recent Facebook Q&A the British embassy in Austria confirmed: “If you are resident in Austria, according to a draft update to Austrian law, you will have 6 months from 1st January to swap your driving licence.”
After this date the embassy warns the UK licences “will cease to be valid”. For anyone wishing to get an Austrian licence after this date, things get more complicated and they may have to take a driving test as is the case for some third-country nationals who fail to exchange their licence within 6 months.
But do I really need to exchange it?
This is a question mainly being asked by Brits who are not full time residents in Austria. Many spend part of the year in the country and the rest of the time in the UK.
Brexit is now forcing them to make a choice where they wish to be resident. From January onwards Brits will be treated like third-country nationals in EU states which mean they are subject to the 90-day rule. That means they can only spend 90 days out of every 180 in the Schengen zone.
So second home owners or those who usually spend a long period of time in Austria will have to decide whether or not to become resident and this has an impact on whether they need to exchange their UK driving licence for an Austrian one.
The British embassy says: “If you are legally resident in Austria it is important that you swap your UK licence for an Austrian one, or, according to a draft update to Austria's law, it will cease to be valid from 30th June 2021. Please be aware that if you spend more than six months in the year outside of Austria, this may affect your right to residence.”
In a response to a similar question the embassy said: “We recommend that, if you live in Austria you should swap your UK license for an Austrian one. Based on a draft update to Austrian law: if you live in Austria, your UK license will cease to be valid here from 30th June 2021 and you would have issues exchanging it after that point.”
And if you have another EU licence?
For those who have already exchanged their British licence for one from another EU country such as Germany the British embassy says: “If you have an licence from another EU country, you are not required to exchange your licence when you move within the EU. However, if you are, or intend to be, a long-term resident, it may be advisable to exchange your licence for an Austrian one.”
What about for those moving after December 31st?
The rules for Britons moving to Austria in the future, who won't be covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, have not been laid out.
But the Austrian government's rules for other non-EU nationals demand that anyone who has become a resident in Austria has six months from the moment they become resident in which to exchange their licence.
What do we know about the process?
Well it's likely the process is slightly different depending on the local authority you apply to (see below).
But according to the government these are documents you will need:
The Austrian government says that most driving licence authorities require the original documents plus copies.
If you are converting your British licence you'll need the following documents, but also be aware the local authority may also ask you to provide more.
Who do you apply to?
The government says you must apply to your local driving licence authority.
That means:
The Austrian government says: “No matter what the reason for the conversion of an EEA or a European Union driving licence is, the authority must always send a request to the state which issued the driving licence in order to ensure that there are no reasons against the issuance of an Austrian driving licence. This request can take several weeks.”
How much does it cost?
According to the government the fee for exchanging the licence is €60.50 and for an “express production” you will pay an additional €18,94.
For more information on driving licence exchanges and other Brexit related questions you can visit the British in Austria website.
And for more details on the process you can visit the Austrian government's website.
Ben McPartland
ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com
@mcpben
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How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally
Got an unwanted mattress, fridge, or sofa? Here’s how you can legally get it off your hands in Vienna.
Published: 18 May 2022 11:41 CEST
If you find yourself with a large piece of furniture or big household appliance that has seen its prime and is not bound to the trashcan, then you might be wondering where to dispose of them – legally, that is.
Even if it is not uncommon to see furniture or appliances next to the big trashcans often placed near households and apartment complexes, it is illegal to leave them there.
Different cities have different methods – some will even pick up trash at specific times and places. To know how your city deals with bulky waste (Sperrmüll), you can google “Sperrmüll + the name of your city”.
READ ALSO: Why does Vienna’s waste department have a helicopter and a military plane?
Vienna has several waste collection points where you can leave bulky waste, electrical appliances, hazardous waste (in household quantities) and other old goods for no charge.
The use of the Wiener Mistplätze is subject to certain quantity limits and requirements, but they are to avoid industrial use. Therefore, most households will have no problem with the limitations.
Here you can find several collection points in Vienna.
It is worth pointing out that delivery to those sites can only be made by cars with Viennese license plates, on foot or by bicycle. Furthermore, no trailers or company cars are allowed to leave trash at these collection points.
What can you bring to the collection centres?
This is the place to bring large sheets of plastic foil, bulky or large metal parts and electrical appliances, for example.
Additionally, you can bring small amounts of bulky waste, wood, styrofoam, large cardboard boxes, green waste and used tires to any waste collection centres.
Depending on what you are disposing of, you might need to go to the Rinter centre, one of the larger ones.
READ ALSO: Hasta la mista, baby? How to vote for your favourite Vienna trash can joke
The centres also have a separate division where it is possible to donate old items still in good condition, the so-called 48er-Tandler-Box.
Tableware, small furniture, electrical appliances, clothes, toys and other items can be reused and bought at a low price at the 48er-Tandler reuse shop.
Most centres are open only from Monday to Friday during business hours, but others are also available on Saturdays.
What to do if I don’t have a car?
If you don’t need a car but still need to dispose of a large appliance, the Viennese solution varies.
Some will take public transport with a couple of friends trying to help them carry an old sofa via the u-bahn, although that can get a little tough at peak hour. 
Alternatively, you can borrow or rent a vehicle to try and save costs.
READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there
But Vienna City also has a service that will pick up the trash for a low fee – even if it is located in the attic, a basement or a courtyard.
It’s the Entrümpelungsdienst und Sperrmüllabfuhr der MA 48. You can also ask for the “dump service” when the city of Vienna brings a trough (the smallest can fit 12 cubic meters).
Once you fill it up, they will remove it and take it to the appropriate place.
Costs will depend on the amount of trash, the size of the appliance, and where in the household it is located.
Amanda Previdelli
news@thelocal.at
@aprevidelliEN
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