Detention in Austria

Last update: March 2016

Detention pending deportation (german: “Schubhaft”)

If either a ban on further residence or deportation is issued against a person, he*she must leave Austria. If he*she does not leave Austria, he*she may be held on detention pending deportation. A person can also be held on remand to safeguard legal proceedings (for example while proving your Dublin III status), in the case of a ban of further residence or of deportation. Basically, detention pending deportation should last for as short a time as possible. There are two main rules concerning the possible duration of detention pending deportation:

1St rule: A foreigner may be continuously held for detention pending deportation for up to 6 months. 2Nd rule: Within a time-frame of 18 months, the time spent in detention pending deportation may not exceed 10 months in total.

Your rights


If a person is arrested, he*she has the right to learn the reason for his*her arrest in a language, which he*she understands. At his*her request, a person whom he*she trusts and a legal representative should be informed of the arrest without unnecessary delay. Further, the arrest should also be reported to the embassy or consulate of the person’s native country. Detention pending deportation is ordered with a certificate and can be fought against at the LVwG (“Landesverwaltungsgericht”) by making a remand complaint. The right to these proceedings exists during the entire period a person is held on remand and also for a further 6 weeks following the termination of detention pending deportation. If, at the time of complaint proceedings a person is still being held on remand, the LVwG  must make a decision within 1 week.

Hunger strike

Hunger strike and other ways of harming yourself -might- lead to being released. Please note this is very much depending on your case and might not always work out! Forcible feeding is legally allowed but not executed. However, authorities are known to threaten people with it.


Detention of families and children

Because of protest against the imprisoning of children, a detention center for families (officially called “Familienunterkunft” / „family accomodation facility“) was built on the outskirts of Vienna. Those who are detained in this detention center before being deported can move „freely“ within the house and garden. This detention is only imposed for a maximum of 48 hours before deportation.

Legal and humanitarian critique on the Austrian practices

The UNHCR criticised the missing medical supply and possibility of getting legal support in Austrian detention centers after the death of a detainee in hunger strike in 2009.

Especially the difficulty of getting adequate legal advice is criticised.
In the last years, legal information was taken from the hands of NGOs and given to „Verein Menschenrechte Österreich“ an organisation very close to the government, which is mainly interested in your return to your home country. They don't give legal advice but only inform about your proceeding. But within their counseling you have the possibility to make phone calls to legal supporters or friends!

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