Vienna’s municipal department MA 35, tasked with Immigration and Citizenship matters, has issued an update on its operations during the coronavirus outbreak. The department’s head, Mag. Werner Sedlak, has personally sent out the following update:
- All public offices are closed to the public at the moment.
- If somebody shows up anyway, the MA 35 has provided letterboxes where you can submit your application. If you do, be sure to make copies of all your papers and submit in an envelope.
- However, it is strongly advised to only use the letterboxes as a last resort – sending application forms and copies via mail is preferable and recommended (if you send it “eingeschrieben,” i.e. by registered, you’ll get a reciept and a tracking ID as proof)
- It is now also possible to apply via e-mail. You will then be invited to come personally once the situation has calmed down.
All postal and e-mail addresses can be found on the official page of the city of Vienna.
- Applications still have to be made on time. As of now, the MA 35 is not authorized to waive legal deadlines or abolish the need for an application in the first place – this can only be provided by the federal government.
- Hence, it is strongly recommended to at least send an e-mail if deadlines are approaching or other urgent applications have to be made.
Support for Expats
The Expat Center and all other offices of the Vienna Business Agency are closed to the public. But they continue to offer their services via e-mail and telephone. The Expat Center stated that “every information request we received over the weekend is answered by now” and that people should direct future inquiries to email@example.com
The Mayor’s Plea
While the MA 35 and the Expat Center are essential institutions for internationals in Vienna, there are also many more city departments that may be needed by residents. Vienna’s Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) has therefore issued a personal message to all citizens, urging them to delay any non-essential bureaucratic inquiries and business until after the crisis.
Here is the plea of the Mayor, as translated by Metropole:
In the last few hours, there have been crowds of people in many municipal offices, despite the restrictions imposed by the Federal Government. In light of this, the Vienna City Administration requests that these regulations be observed and taken into consideration and has published an urgent appeal to this effect by the Mayor of the City of Vienna, Dr. Michael Ludwig:
These are difficult times we are currently experiencing and living through – many are concerned for themselves and their fellow human beings. I understand that, we all want to avoid a possible infection with the coronavirus. That is why I ask you to follow the guidelines and regulations of the Federal Government – take care of yourself and those close to you.
I now increasingly hear that many people in our city are taking advantage of the curfew and movement restrictions to sort out their administrative affairs in peace and quiet. As a result, there are now queues in some district offices, as well as in hospitals, as many have questions related to their health.
Therefore, I say with all clarity: Do not risk your life and the lives of those committed to serving the public. Stay at home and only seek out an office in really urgent situations that cannot wait under any circumstances. Be advised: For the next 14 days, practically everything is operating under emergency regulations – therefore, it shouldn’t be necessary to deal with a municipal authority now except in absolute emergencies. As soon as the situation improves, you can sort all your affairs – and you won’t risk anyone’s health in the process – or your own. Many departments also give out information or accept official inquiries by telephone or online.
Be reasonable – stay at home – everything you need to live is available: Grocery stores are open, electricity, water, gas, garbage collection and public transport all work – not to mention the emergency services, hospitals and care facilities, which are available for you around the clock. The kindergartens and schools are also available with childcare facilities, unless otherwise specified.
Dear Viennese people, these are difficult times we are currently experiencing: I ask you for the protection of all: Do not endanger yourself and others and, for the time being, stick to these strict guidelines. All the best and stay healthy.
Michael Ludwig, Mayor of the City of Vienna