Health and emergency
All incoming exchange students must have insurance coverage for their entire stay at WU and in Austria. However, WU does not have its own insurance plan for students. You are responsible for obtaining health insurance from a third party provider. Please read the information below about European insurance coverage and your possibilities as a non-European student carefully.
If you are an EEA-citizen and/or have a valid European Health Insurance Card...
…you must bring the card in order to prove that you have health insurance coverage in your home country. A valid European Health Insurance Card means that all treatments deemed medically necessary by medical professionals during your stay in Austria are covered. However, please note that routine medical check-ups and/or screenings are not covered. Please also check with your insurance provider in your home country as to which treatments are covered and how to proceed in case you need to see a doctor abroad. In case your Austrian doctor does not recognize your European Health Insurance Card, point out that you have valid European insurance and are therefore eligible for free treatment as long as it is deemed medically necessary.
Please note: if you are an EEA citizen but do not have a European health insurance card, please read our recommendations for non-EEA citizens below carefully, even if you do not need a visa.
If you are a non-EEA citizen and need a visa to study in Austria...
… you are required to have insurance coverage for your stay prior to your arrival in Vienna as a condition for your visa. This means that you have to purchase insurance in your own country. You are free to purchase additional insurance in Austria after your arrival. Some options are listed below.
If you are staying in Austria for more than six months, you also need to apply for a residence permit, which requires you to have Austrian health insurance. See below for some options for appropriate coverage.
If you want to sign up for (additional) insurance coverage in Austria, you can do so after your final admission to WU.
You must complete the following three steps to be eligible for public student health insurance, and to open a free student bank account (a European bank account is necessary to purchase private insurance):
Complete the admission process at WU during the mandatory Welcome Session
Pay the students’ union dues (approximately € 20) to validate your student ID
Register your residence with the Austrian authorities at one of Vienna’s registration offices (“Magistratische Bezirksämter”)
For information on how to open a student bank account, please click here.
We can recommend the following two options for your health insurance coverage:
Private health insurance – UNIQA feelsafe
UNIQA, one of Austria's major insurance companies, offers very reasonably priced private health insurance packages for international students, and also for exchange students, starting at approximately € 59 per month, which can be booked online.
To obtain this insurance coverage you need to have a European bank account, which you can only open after your arrival, as well as an address in Vienna. If you already need health insurance for your initial residence permit application, you can purchase UNIQA's travel insurance with your credit card and get the long-term health insurance once you're in Austria.
The insurance coverage starts with the first day of each month, which means you either have to pay full price for the month in which you are buying the insurance or cover any gaps with other forms of insurance (travel insurance, etc.). You can cancel the health insurance upon the end of your stay by sending the insurance company proof that you are leaving the country (e.g. your acceptance letter stating the end of your stay or your deregistration with the Austrian authorities). For more detailed information click here.
Public insurance plan for students from the Vienna Regional Health Insurance Fund (GKK)
This plan covers medical care in cases of illness or accident, as well as any treatments deemed medically necessary at the cost of approximately € 59 per month. In order to apply for this insurance plan you have to submit the following documents:
application form (in German)
enrollment information sheet ("Studienblatt")
passport or ID (which may contain your visa for Austria)
confirmation of residence registration (“Meldezettel”)
You must submit the application to the WGKK headquarters or one of the district offices in Vienna in person:
If you have successfully applied for insurance, you will receive a health insurance card from WGKK and will not have to pay for basic medical services during your stay in Austria.
Other private health insurance
If you have purchased other private health insurance in Austria or in your home country, please ask your insurance provider what you have to do when you need to see a doctor.
Accident and liability insurance
During the admission process at WU, you will have to pay the mandatory students’ union dues of around 20€. This fee is compulsory for all students studying at Austrian universities and by paying it, you become a member of the Austrian students’ union. As a member, you are automatically covered by the union’s collective accident and liability insurance. Please note, however, that you need to cover any gaps in insurance between your arrival in Vienna and your final admission to WU yourself. Detailed information about your insurance coverage is currently only available in German. Please contact WU’s ÖH branch directly if you would like more information about what is covered.
General practitioners and hospitals
For non-emergency medical issues, it is recommended to see a general practitioner. In Austria it is customary to see a general practitioner before seeking specialist or hospital care. To search for a doctor in your area, use the website: www.praxisplan.at (the official website of the Austrian Doctors Association). This website allows you to search for doctors based on specialty, language skills, location and the types of insurance the doctor accepts, including any of Austria’s Social Security Institutions (Sozialversicherungsanstalten). Holders of a European Health Insurance Card need to choose “all health funds” (alle Kassen). Students with the voluntary GKK self-insurance plan will need to select GKK health funds as their insurance option, and people with private insurance coverage will need to consult their insurance company. If you would like to speak to a doctor about an urgent medical problem over the phone (outside of consultation hours), you have the opportunity to call the “Ärztefunkdienst” by dialing 141. Please have the answers to the following questions ready:
Who is sick? If possible the patient should speak to the doctor.
Where are you calling from?
Where can you be reached?
Who is your general practitioner?
Where does the ill person live?
Since when was the person ill/having symptoms?
Does the ill person regularly take medication(s)?
Which medication(s) has the ill person taken within the past few hours?
The “Ärztefunkdienst” is available from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. during the week, from Friday 7 p.m., continuously, until Monday 7 a.m. during the weekend, and all day on public holidays. They also have regular consultation hours (Pillergasse 20, 1150 Vienna): Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
However, in the event of a serious emergency, please go to the closest public hospital or call an ambulance. A list of hospitals is available here: https://www.wien.gv.at/english/health-socialservices/hospitals/.
Dentists are not listed on praxisplan.at. You can find a list of dentists in Vienna (website available in German) and a city map where all dentists are displayed on the websites below. You usually have to arrange an appointment in advance to see a dentist. In case of severe pain or an emergency, you can see any available dentist without prior appointment.
For minor health problems and common conditions (e.g. colds, minor rashes), staff at Austrian pharmacies are professionally trained and can provide helpful information. Please be aware that you can only get medicines available without prescriptions unless you see a doctor.
In Austria, pharmacies are usually open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. (weekdays) and 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. (Saturdays). Emergency and night pharmacies can be found here (please note that they charge an additional fee).
Counseling and psychological services
The following services are offered by public institutions and are free of charge:
Psychological counseling for students
If you would like to speak to a professional about challenges you are facing during your studies, you can contact the Counseling Center for Students. Free of charge, confidential and anonymous.
Furthermore this institution offers a very interesting and useful online guideline called "Coming to a new country", specifically adressing exchange students.
Lederergasse 35/4th Floor | 1080 Vienna
Phone: +43 (0)1-402 30 91
Opening Hours: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. until 12 a.m. and 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.
Social services hotline for Vienna (Sozialruf der Stadt Wien)
If you would like to speak to a social worker about problems you are facing in your life, contact the Social services hotline for Vienna.
Phone: +43 1 53377 77
Opening Hours: daily from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Social Psychiatric Emergency Service (Sozialpsychiatrischer Notdienst)
In cases of serious mental health problems, contact the social psychiatric emergency service (you will be able to speak with trained psychiatrists).
Gumpendorfer Straße 157 | 1060 Wien
Phone: +43 1 31330
Opening Hours: daily from 0 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Important emergency phone numbers in Austria
Fire Department: 122
Emergency Medical Services: 144
European Emergency Phone Number (EU-wide): 112