Austrian passports for family members
Are family members also eligible to receive an Austrian passport? Following recent reforms, it has become easier to obtain Austrian citizenship and a passport for anyone whose ancestors fled the Nazis in Austria beginning from 1933. The right to an Austrian passport can be extended to children and even grandchildren. The situation is more complicated in relation to spouses, who are not automatically eligible for citizenship and a passport, but they are still able to embark on the process of obtaining Austrian citizenship and a passport on the basis of immigration. This article presents an explanation on the subject by attorney Tal Ofir, a partner in our firm and an expert in Austrian immigration law.
Eligibility for Austrian citizenship – a general explanation
The Austrian passport ranks among the most sought-after passports in the world. As of 2022, it allows entry to 192 countries, including the United States, without the need for a visa. Since Austria is a member state of the European Union, holding an Austrian passport allows you to immigrate and live in any of the European Union countries freely and without restriction. In recent years, there have been significant reforms to the Austrian Nationality Law, gradually expanding the population of Israelis eligible for an Austrian passport. In the past, Austrian law imposed various restrictions on the acquisition of Austrian citizenship through naturalization, such as gender-based discrimination in granting citizenship, refusal to grant citizenship to those who served in regular military service, and requirements to renounce existing citizenship and pass language and culture tests. Today, all these restrictions have been removed.
Moreover, the right to an Austrian passport is now extended to Jews who lived in Austria as of January 1, 1933, even if they did not have any legal status in the country. That is, even if they were Polish citizens, for example, but immigrated to Austria afterwards, this may now be considered sufficient for them, their children and even their grandchildren to be considered eligible for Austrian citizenship. Despite the challenges that may arise during the process, especially at the stage of obtaining the required documents and proof that must be presented to the Austrian authorities in order to determine eligibility, it is worthwhile to pay this (emotional) price for an Austrian passport with its many benefits. To proceed with the process as quickly as possible and ensure that it is handled properly, we recommend seeking assistance from an attorney specializing in Austrian immigration law, who is familiar with the current law and maintains ongoing contact with the Austrian authorities.
Are children of Austrian passport recipients also entitled to an Austrian passport?
Yes, absolutely. According to the Austrian Nationality Law, the right to an Austrian passport passes between generations. Therefore, children of Austrian citizens who hold Austrian passports are also entitled to an Austrian passport themselves. The procedure for minors to obtain citizenship and a passport is identical to the procedure that applies to their parents, and requires applying to the Austrian authorities for naturalization. However, the procedure for minors is simpler in the sense that their claim to receive a passport is based on their parents’ proven right to a passport. Regarding children born after their parents had already obtained an Austrian passport — they are automatically entitled to citizenship, based on their registration in the Austrian population register. This registration can be done through the Austrian Embassy.
Are spouses of Austrian citizens entitled to an Austrian passport?
Here the answer is more complicated. In principle, unlike children’s entitlement to an Austrian passport based on their parents’ citizenship, Austrian law does not extend the right to a passport to spouses, so spouses are not automatically entitled to Austrian citizenship. In such cases, one possible way for spouses to obtain Austrian citizenship is by immigrating to Austria with their Austrian spouse and living continuously (and legally, of course) in Austria for 6 years, during 5 of which they must be registered as partners in Austria (which includes maintaining a joint household) or married. Alongside these basic conditions, Austrian authorities impose additional legal requirements for a spouse to be eligible for naturalization.
Austrian passports for family members – contact an attorney specializing in Austrian immigration law
In this article we explained the eligibility of family members (children and spouses) of Austrian citizens to receive an Austrian passport. If you have additional questions on the subject, or need any advice or assistance, an attorney specializing in Austrian immigration law from our firm will be happy to provide you with comprehensive and professional service. Our firm has extensive and proven experience in representing clients in the process of applying for Austrian citizenship and obtaining Austrian passports for them and their families. You can contact us at the phone numbers and email address below and schedule a consultation meeting with an immigration attorney in our offices located in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.