Citizenship by Investment in Austria
Acquisition and loss of Austrian citizenship is based upon the Citizenship law of 1965 as amended. Citizenship can be acquired in several ways: by birth, by descent, by naturalization, and for special services rendered to the Republic of Austria (special contribution in the sphere of sports, culture, science, or economy).
Citizenship by birth: Child born in the territory of Austria, with at least one parent being a citizen of Austria. However, a child born out of wedlock to a foreign mother and an Austrian father is not considered a citizen. Unless the couple marries, child obtains the citizenship of the mother.
Citizenship by descent: Child is born abroad, one of whose parents is an Austrian citizen. In case of a non-Austrian mother and an Austrian father, marriage law listed above applies.
Citizenship by naturalization: Austrian citizenship can be applied for upon fulfillment of one of the following conditions: Person has lived in Austria for at least 10 years. Person has taken up a position as a professor at an Austrian University. Person is the foreign spouse of an Austrian citizen and has resided in Austria for at least five years.
Citizenship by investment or by donation: Serious investors in certain cases can apply for Austrian citizenship without preliminary residence requirements and without requirement to renounce their previous citizenship. In order for a citizenship application to be successful the level of investment must be in the vicinity of 10,000,000 EUR. Moreover, funds must be invested into venture capital or other innovative business or business in the industry considered of first priority by the Austrian Government. Citizenship for special merits before Austria is available not only for investors but also for people of art, science, for philanthropists, etc., who contribute significantly to the interests of Austria. In such cases Austrian citizenship can be obtained quickly, in scope of 12-18 months. Successful applicants receive full citizenship of the Republic of Austria by decision of the Government, and can apply for a passport immediately afterwards. Passports are issued within a few days. The grant of citizenship is not published and not reported to any other country, as it falls within the Government provisions relating to privacy/official secrets.
Second Passport in Europe – Alternatives: Austrian citizenship-by-investment is the most expensive one in the world from the viewpoint of investment level required. Strictly speaking, Austria has no official citizenship-by-investment program at all (in comparison with Malta, Cyprus, or Bulgaria where concrete amounts of investment required for citizenship application are specified in legislation). In Austria it is on case-by-case basis and lawyers lobby the recognition of the applicant’s special economic contribution to the Austrian State. On the other hand, there are good and less expensive alternatives of EU citizenship. Malta, Cyprus, and Bulgaria are also EU countries, with passport that allows residing in Austria. Bulgaria requires investment of only 1,024,000 EUR (or contribution of 270,000 EUR) to obtain citizenship. Another option is Cyprus where investment of 2,500,000 EUR is required for citizenship application.
Advantages of being Austrian citizen
As a citizen of Austria, you can live and work in the country as well as anywhere in the European Union at any time. In addition, as an EU citizen you also have the right to live in Switzerland, which is a very attractive place for tax-advantaged residence. Unless you decide to actually reside in Austria, you are not subject to tax in Austria. The Austrian passport as a passport of the EU-country gives a privilege to reside, legally work and do business in any EU-country, including The United Kingdom, Germany, and France. Moreover, Austrian passport enjoys an excellent reputation and offers very comprehensive visa-free travel, including visa-free access to the USA.
Dual citizenship is not recognized. Exception: Child of Austrian citizens who was born in a foreign country and acquired citizenship according to the other country’s laws. Also, in exceptional cases, Austrian authorities may permit an Austrian citizen who obtains a new citizenship to retain his Austrian one.
Loss of citizenship: Under certain conditions, Austrian citizenship may be voluntarily renounced: Person possesses another citizenship. Person has no criminal proceedings, or criminal penalties of more than six months, pending against them in Austria. Person, if male, has fulfilled required military service.
The following are grounds for involuntary loss of citizenship: Person acquires citizenship of a foreign country. Person performs voluntary military service for a foreign country. Person has employment with a foreign government that is damaging to Austrian interests.
Questions and answers:
Question: My wife and I have been living in Austria for a year now and our first child was born just recently in Austria. As I am getting ready to sort out all of the necessary paperwork I wanted to ask you a question about citizenship – how do things work when a person is born in Austria (like our son) and no parents are Austrian – I am Serbian and my wife is Slovene? Basically, I am asking if it is possible to get Austrian citizenship by birth or do we have to get Slovene citizenship for him now, and if it is not granted by birth what is the time period for obtaining Austrian citizenship for him, being that he was born here and we intend to live here?
Answer: Naturalization in Austria is normally possible after 10 years of legal residence in the country. All the previous citizenships must be renounced by the applicant who wishes to get Austrian citizenship.
Question: I was born in Austria in 1923 and immigrated to the US in 1939. I am an American Citizen with a US passport. Can I apply for an Austrian passport and have dual citizenship?
Answer: You can apply for Austrian citizenship based on ancestry provisions. But in case the file is approved you will be asked to renounce American passport. In the US dual citizenship is allowed, in Austria it is prohibited (excepting cases when Austrian citizenship was granted for special contribution to national interests of the state).
If you have any questions or wish to use our legal assistance in obtaining residence or citizenship of Austria, contact us today
Please, note that our company provides legal services only regarding citizenship by investment. All the queries related to citizenship by descent (origin) should be sent to some local service provider in Austria. You can find one on the web-page: Austrian immigration lawyers