Rights and duties for me

What rights do children have?

Children have the right to healthcare and education. They have the right to protection from violence. Women and children are particularly protected against violence. It is not permitted in Austria to hit children, either in public, or in pre-school or at school or at home. People who beat their wife or children commit a punishable offence. From the age of 7, children are allowed to make small purchases, receive letters and decide on how to use their pocket money.

When is a person of legal age?

At the age of 16, Austrians are entitled to vote and foreigners have a restricted right to vote. At the age of 18, women and men are of legal age and fully legally competent. It is not usual to get married before the age of 18 in Austria and it is generally not permitted by law. Anyone can choose their wife or husband themselves; forced marriages are forbidden.

What religions are there in Austria?

Around 6 million people are Catholics; approximately 380,000 are Protestants and around 340,000 are Moslems. Around one million Austrians do not have a religion. Religion is a private matter; it is also possible to change religion or not to belong to any religion. The places of worship of each religion (churches, mosques, synagogues ...) are to be respected. Nobody, including migrants, may carry out something against ethnic or religious groups or hold hate speeches.

What meat is eaten in Austria?

Austrians eat a lot of pork, and also beef, chicken, turkey and lamb. You can always ask what meat a dish contains. In most cases, minced meat also contains pork. However, you can also request mince from beef at the butcher’s.

Are you allowed to drink alcohol in Austria?

From the age of 16, you can drink wine and beer. In Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland, you are allowed to drink harder drinks from the age of 16; in the other federal provinces you have to be 18 or over to do so. Many people drink beer or wine, particularly in the evenings. But it is just as normal not to drink any alcohol. Many people in Austria never drink alcohol. You should never drink alcohol when you are out and about by car or bike.

How long are young people allowed to be on the street in the evenings?

That is different in every federal province. Up to the age of 14, you can go out anywhere in Austria until 10 pm. There is no limit from the age of 16.

Where are you allowed to smoke?

Smoking is permitted from the age of 16. However, there is a ban on smoking in many pubs and public buildings; in some of them, there are smokers’ areas. It is deemed to be impolite to smoke next to non-smokers, in particular next to pregnant women and children.