Austria has placed 6th on a list of the world’s most powerful passports in 2019. The index, measured by Citizenship and planning firm Henley & Partners, ranks the country’s travel document according to the number of countries they would allow holders to enter visa-free or the ability to acquire one upon arrival. The list is based on data from the International Air Transport Association and is revised every quarter. In this article it will be explained how you can acquire an Austrian citizenship.
How difficult is it to become an Austrian citizen?
Becoming a citizen in Austria is difficult. According to German news site Deutsche Welle “in the EU, Austria has the toughest route to citizenship”.
The income requirements alone would disqualify 60 percent of blue-collar female Austrian workers if they had to apply, reports AFP. The fees to have one’s application considered run to thousands of euros. In many cases, foreigners would be required to renounce their existing citizenship. Additionally, in some cases foreigners will have to engage in volunteer work to gain citizenship.
And once living in Austria, foreigners hoping to become Austrian citizens will also be restricted for how long they will be allowed to leave the country during that first ten-year period – unless they want the clock to start over again.
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Acquisition by descent
Children automatically become Austrian citizens at the time of their birth, when the mother is an Austrian citizen. The same applies in case the parents are married and only the father is an Austrian citizen.
If the parents are not married and only the father of the child is an Austrian citizen, however the mother is a national of another country, the child acquires Austrian citizenship, when within 8 weeks the Austrian father recognizes his parenthood or the fact that he is the father is determined by court. In all cases where recognition of fatherhood or the determination by court is done after his timeframe, children may be awarded Austrian citizenship in a simplified procedure.
If in case of parents of different nationality the country of citizenship of the non-Austrian parent also forsees a jus sanguinis (like Austria), the child will have dual citizenship. According to Austrian law the child does not have to decide between Austrian and the other nationality upon becoming an adult – the other state might require such a decision.
Acquisition by award
In case of an acquisition of the Austrian citizenship by award the general requirements for naturalization must be fulfilled and an application must be filed.
Further requirements for an award of the Austrian citizenship either depend on the acquisition due to legal claim or on the authority’s discretion.
General requirements for naturalization
In general 10 years legal and continuous residence in Austria, therefrom minimum of 5 years with a residence permit
No judicial condemnation
No pending criminal action (both in Austria and abroad)
No severe administrative offences with special degree of unlawfulness
Sufficiently secured maintenance
Proof of one’s own fix and regular earnings out of acquisition, income, judicial claim to maintenance or insurance benefits over a period of 36 months on average within the last 6 years before the time of application. In any case. the last claimed 6 months must be immediately before the time of application. Transfer payments, such as family benefits, child-care support etc. are considered income
Exception: No proof of one’s own fix and regular earnings is required in case one’s livelihood cannot be durably secured without one’s fault (eg. disability, permanent serious illness)
German language skills and basic knowledge of the democratic system and the fundamental principles deriving therefrom, as well as the history of Austria and of each province
Proof regarding German language skills through fulfilling module 2 of the Integration Agreement according to § 10 Abs. 2 IntG, unless exceptions apply (e.g. German as native language, minor attending Austrian School)
Proof regarding knowledge of the democratic system of Austria and the fundamental principles deriving therefrom, as well as the history of Austria and of each province trough a written examination (multiple choice questions) before the Provincial Government or a degree in “History and Social Sciences” at 8th grade level of a lower secondary school, unless exceptions apply (e.g. minor attending Austrian School)
Exceptions for minors under 14 years of age and persons who claim bad mental or physical health condition (in particular speech and hearing impairment)
Positive attitude towards the Republic of Austria and warranty that there is no danger for the public peace, order and security
No pending proceeding regarding the termination of residence
No current prohibition of residence or enforceable return decision
No return decision of another EEA country or Switzerland
No eviction order within the last 12 months and no upright entry prohibition
No close relationship to any extremist or terrorist group
Principally loss of previous citizenship
Due to the acquisition of the citizenship
The international relations to the Republic of Austria must not be significantly affected and
The interests of the Republic of Austria must not be harmed
Sources: https://www.henleypassportindex.com/passport, https://www.migration.gv.at/en/living-and-working-in-austria/integration-and-citizenship/citizenship/
Author: Sofia Ivanov is a blogger at AustrianCareer.at. She holds a MA in international business and also contributes photography to AustrianCareer.at.