Getting to AIS by Public
Arriving from Abroad
Visas are not required for entry as tourists (if the stay is not longer than three months) for American/Canadian citizens. Citizens of other countries are advised to check their local authorities for applicable regulations. Teachers coming to work at AIS should contact Human Resources before leaving their home country to start the visa application process in time.
Climate and Clothing
Vienna is on roughly the same latitude as Quebec City. The summers are warm and can be hot, though rarely humid. Spring and fall are extremely pleasant, while winters can be cold and somewhat snowy. It is advisable to pack a sweater and/or jacket during almost the entire year, since evenings and cloudy days can bring a chill. Austrians tend to be a bit dressy, so a coat and tie for men and a nice cocktail dress for women is wise. Good sturdy walking shoes or tennis shoes are wise for sightseeing.
German is the official language of Austria. However, English is widely spoken, especially by younger Austrians, and will suffice for almost all transactions. If you experience difficulty, please ask to speak to another person who speaks English or ask for a supervisor. While sightseeing and touring the country, English will be spoken at most hotels and in some restaurants. Still, it is certainly possible to encounter situations where some German will be helpful and courteous.
Arriving at the Airport
Immigration formalities are very smooth. If you are coming from most other EU countries, you may not have to pass immigration at all, having done so in your first entry port to the EU. Otherwise, you will proceed directly from the plane down a corridor or two to an immigration booth. If there are multiple booths, you should enter the one marked “Non-EU” or the equivalent. If you are asked the nature of your business, you can certainly say that you are visiting the American International School of Vienna.
When you pass into the baggage claim area, note on the signs which carousel will be carrying the baggage of your flight. There are also signs at each of the baggage carousels that indicate the flight number and origin of the luggage for that carousel. On your left should be a stack of luggage trolleys. To secure a cart, you must insert a one- or two-euro coin into the slot attached to the chain, releasing the chain and cart from the one in front. If you do not have euros, you may wish to change money at the bank in the baggage hall while waiting for your luggage. You will retrieve the coin when you return the cart to any stack of carts around the airport. Simply insert the end of the chain attached to the last cart into the slot on your cart and the coin you inserted will pop out.
There will be two customs lines, marked in green for “Nothing to Declare” or in red if you have goods to declare. There is a slight possibility that you might be asked to open a suitcase for inspection; if so, do so without concern. If you have large quantities of items with a commercial value, or you are bringing a large electronic item which is brand new, it is wise to notify the school well in advance so that we can discuss customs clearance.
After you are passed through, you will exit through sliding doors that lead in to the main airport hall. There should be someone waiting for you in the crowd outside the sliding doors. When you exit baggage claim into the arrivals hall, look ahead or to your left for a sign with “AIS” or your name. If you are not being met by someone from the school (new staff only), we may have arranged for a taxi service to meet you and bring you to the school. We usually use C&K Taxi. The drivers are waiting to the left after you come out of the baggage claim area, and the driver will have a sign with your name or AIS. You may need to have some euros to pay for the taxi.
You can change foreign currency cash or traveler’s checks at any bank. You can also use your U.S. bank card or credit card to get cash at some bank machines, if you have your PIN identification number. Finally, if you live in a country in Europe and have a Bankomat card, this card can be used to obtain euros from most bank machines.