Travel.State.Gov > Legal Resources > Judicial Assistance Country Information > Austria Judicial Assistance Information
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
Austria is not a party to the Hague Service Convention. U.S. litigants seeking to serve process in Austria may wish to consult legal counsel in Austria for guidance. Austrian authorities have advised the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Department of State that, in the absence of any other international agreement, service of process in Austria may be accomplished by making a formal request via letters rogatory. If service of process from the United States is attempted in Austria by certain methods detailed in Rule 4 of the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, such as service by mail; or service by a local agent such as a local attorney or service by publication, that may not constitute service of process under Austrian law and may be considered a violation of Austrian sovereignty.
Service on a Foreign State
Prosecution Requests: U.S. federal or state prosecutors should contact the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, Department of Justice for guidance.
Defense Requests in Criminal Matters: Criminal defendants or their defense counsel seeking judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters may do so via the letters rogatory process.
Austria is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters. Although Article XVIII of the Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights Treaty and Supplementary Agreement between the United States of America and Austria (1928, 1931) included specific provisions about the taking of depositions of by consular officers of nationals of their own country or permanent residents, Austrian authorities have informed the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Vienna that voluntary depositions of willing witnesses may not be taken of Austrian citizens and that depositions of U.S. nationals or permanent residents can only be taken with specific permission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Permission is not generally granted.
Austria is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents. Austria’s competent authority for the Hague Apostille Convention will authenticate Austian public documents with Apostilles. For information about authenticating U.S. public documents for use in Austria, see the list of U.S. Competent Authorities. To obtain an Apostille for a U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America, contact the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services, Vital Records Office.