An application for international protection can be made before an agent of the public security service or a security authority on Austrian territory. The asylum application is registered as soon as asylum is requested. There has been no possibility to apply for asylum at Austrian embassies or consulates abroad since 2001. A first interview has to be conducted by the public security service. All documents have to be sent to the BFA to obtain guidelines on the next steps to be taken. This includes sharing the minutes of the first interrogation as well as a report showing the time, place and circumstances of the application, information on identity and the travel route, in particular the place where the border was crossed, as well as the result of the identity screening.
Due to the high number of asylum applications at the Austro-Hungarian border, the police changed the registration system by internal decree in August 2022. Unaccompanied minors (UAM) continued to be handled in the regular scheme, while all other applicants were only registered and fingerprinted right at the border. In case of a EURODAC hit the applicants were also transferred to the first reception centres. All others were sent to other provinces. The Regional Police Directorates in other provinces were then responsible for conducting the first interviews. The applicants received a train ticket and address and had to travel to the police stations by themselves. This led to several problems as the police stations were not able to provide sleeping places. Many applicants never arrived at the police stations and their cases were discontinued. Austria saw a record number of 42,000 discontinued cases in 2022.
Source: Decree GZ: 2022-0.686.584, Police Cooperation in the Process of Registration of new arrivals (not public, on file with author)
Applications for international protection are to be forwarded to the BFA without delay.
Based on the information submitted by the police, the BFA orders the transfer of the applicant to an EAST or regional directorate of the BFA. The BFA can also order the applicant to go to the EAST or regional directorate on their own, and transfer costs will be covered.  Through this instruction on the next steps to be followed, the application is officially lodged.
Persons legally staying in Austria (i.e. through a residence permit) must submit their asylum application at the public security service too. The BFA orders applicants to appear before the branch office within 14 calendar days. Otherwise, the application will be terminated as being no longer relevant.
Parents of children born in Austria are obliged to inform the BFA within two weeks of the birth of the child. Upon receipt of this information, the application is automatically registered and lodged for the child.
In 2022, a total of 108,781 applications for international protection were lodged in Austria. This marks a sharp increase of 172 % compared to 2021, where 39,930 applications were lodged. In 2021, after three years of very low numbers in the context of the pandemic, the numbers of applications almost reached the level of 2016 (42,285). The even higher increase in 2022 has been accompanied by a record number of discontinued cases (42,549) most likely due to onward movement of the applicants to other countries.
Despite COVID-19, the BFA never suspended its activities completely during the pandemic. During the first months of the pandemic from March to May 2020, only a few interviews were conducted, and the offices were only open for applicants for international protection. Some measures were upheld throughout 2021 such as quarantine procedures when necessary, and there was some delay concerning the first interview. Several federal accommodation facilities were put under quarantine when new cases of COVID-19 were detected resulting in the deprivation of liberty of all inhabitants of the camps during this time. The Constitutional Court declared the regulation which prohibited the asylum seekers to leave the camp for several weeks as unlawful and found it disproportionate.
 BFA, The Asylum procedure, available in German at: https://bit.ly/2Hn2GUl, 10.
 Article 17 (2) AsylG in connection Article 43 (1) BFA-VG
 Article 43 (1)(1) BFA-VG
 Article 17a (2) AsylG.
 VfGH, Decision E 3811/2020-17, E 3845/2020-17, 6 October 2021
 Standard, „Ausgangssperre in Flüchtlingslager Traiskirchen war rechtswidrig“, 19 October 2021, available in German at: https://bit.ly/34N2hJQ.
 Article 17 (1) AsylG states that a request for asylum can be made in front of any public security agent in Austria.
 Article 17 (2) AsylG
 Der Standard, ‚Polizei schickt Asylsuchende quer durchs Land, viele stranden oder verschwinden‘, 14 September 2022, https://bit.ly/3Zlv8wA.
 Ministry of Interior, Asylum statistics December 2022, available in German at: https://bit.ly/3SXruXn.