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Who is Eligible for Austrian Citizenship? (✔️Updated Guide 2024)

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

In recent years, Austria has significantly eased the requirements for descendants of Nazi victims to obtain Austrian citizenship. These changes, along with the numerous benefits of holding Austrian-European citizenship, have led to a noticeable increase in the number of clients seeking Austrian an Austrian passport.

What are the eligibility criteria for Austrian citizenship? Do children of Austrian citizens also qualify for Austrian citizenship? What are the advantages for Austrian citizens? And how long does the Austrian citizenship process take? Our Austrian immigration attorneys explain it all:

Eligibility Criteria for Austrian Citizenship

The eligibility criteria for Austrian citizenship are based on blood ties to Austrian citizens or Nazi victims. Descendants of Austrian citizens, including descendants of female Austrian citizens, who lived in Austria and left it between the years 1933-1955 are entitled to Austrian citizenship.

Additionally, descendants of former Austro-Hungarian empire citizens who resided in the territory of present-day Austria between the years 1933-1945 but were forced to flee due to Nazi persecution before 1955 are also eligible for Austrian citizenship.

What Are the Eased Eligibility Requirements for Austrian Citizenship?

Following the reform of Austrian citizenship laws, specific requirements have been relaxed to obtain Austrian citizenship:

  1. Citizenship is granted not only to the descendants of Austrian men but also to the descendants of Austrian women.
  2. Citizenship is granted not only to Austrian citizens but also to citizens of Austro-Hungary who resided in Austria and lost their citizenship due to Nazi persecution.
  3. Citizenship is granted not only to children but also to distant descendants, without generational limitations, even in cases where the parent did not obtain Austrian citizenship themselves.
  4. There are concessions for citizenship applicants who previously voluntarily served in a foreign army. It is important to note that those who served in compulsory military service or reserves do not lose their eligibility for Austrian citizenship under any circumstances.
  5. Currently, there is no requirement to renounce your present citizenship to obtain Austrian citizenship.
  6. The language and cultural knowledge examination requirements for German and Austrian culture have been abolished.

Who is Eligible for Austrian Citizenship? (✔️Updated Guide 2024)

The Process of Obtaining Austrian Citizenship

Step One – Document Verification

The process of obtaining Austrian citizenship begins with locating documents that prove eligibility for Austrian citizenship. You may need to conduct archival research in Austrian archives to find these documents.

Step Two – Document Submission and Application

After locating all relevant documents required for the citizenship application, you can submit your Austrian citizenship application along with the original documents.

For example, you may need to include a marriage certificate, name change certificate, divorce certificate, criminal record registration, documents that demonstrate your connection to an Austrian citizen or a victim persecuted by the Nazis, and documents that affirm the basis of your application, such as proof of Nazi persecution or previous Austrian citizenship.

Step Three – Document Translation

Documents not written in German will need to be translated into German by a certified translator. Some documents may also require an apostille. After processing the documents in accordance with Austrian authorities’ requirements, you will be able to submit the original documents to the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, Citizenship Department, in Vienna. Additionally, you will need to complete the questionnaire included with the documents. Our office will provide an explanatory letter to support your eligibility for citizenship.

Step Four – Confirmation of Eligibility for Austrian Citizenship

After completing the Austrian citizenship application, you will need to wait for Austrian authorities to review the documents and confirm your eligibility for Austrian citizenship.

Step Five – Applying for an Austrian Passport

Once you receive Austrian citizenship and a naturalization certificate, you can schedule an appointment at the Austrian Embassy in Tel Aviv to apply for an Austrian passport. To do so, you will need to bring the required documents, pay the necessary fees, and await the issuance of your passport.

By following these steps, you can navigate the process of obtaining Austrian citizenship and, ultimately, an Austrian passport.

Please note: This article provides a general overview of the process and requirements for obtaining Austrian citizenship. It is advisable to consult with legal experts or the relevant Austrian authorities for personalized guidance and assistance in your specific case.

Can children of Austrian citizens also be eligible for citizenship?

Children of Austrian citizens are also eligible for Austrian citizenship. Austrian citizenship law states that descendants of Austrian citizens and residents of Austria between the years 1933-1955 who fled Austria due to Nazi persecution are automatically eligible for Austrian citizenship, based on their family ties.

A child born before receiving Austrian citizenship will need to submit an application for citizenship. The citizenship application for the child, once you have proven your eligibility for Austrian citizenship, will be simpler. Therefore, it is recommended to submit the applications simultaneously to save time and money.

A child born after receiving Austrian citizenship will automatically receive Austrian citizenship, provided that you register the child’s birth in the Austrian population register.

Can you hold Austrian citizenship along with other citizenships?

The reform in Austrian citizenship law has made it easier for Israeli citizens seeking Austrian citizenship based on their family ties to Nazi refugees who fled Austria. One of the main advantages is that descendants of Nazi refugees are not required to renounce their present citizenship and can hold Austrian citizenship alongside their Israeli citizenship.

Additionally, descendants of Nazi refugees are also allowed to hold other citizenships they may already possess in addition to Austrian citizenship, as long as the other country does not require renunciation of Austrian citizenship.Who is Eligible for Austrian Citizenship? (✔️Updated Guide 2024)

What are the benefits of Austrian citizenship?

  • Immigration to select European countries: Austrian citizens can move to various European Union countries. Austrian citizenship allows holders to live, work, and study not only in Austria but also in all European Union member states.
  • Scholarships for academic studies at top European institutions: Many Israelis aspire to study in Europe, but they need to obtain a student visa and pay substantial fees. Austrian citizens, on the other hand, are entitled to study at top academic institutions in Europe with full or partial funding, without the need for special permits.
  • Advanced healthcare services: Healthcare services in Europe are highly advanced, and the public healthcare system across Europe is considered one of the most advanced. Austrian citizens are entitled to advanced healthcare services in Austria and throughout Europe, with partial or full funding.
  • Visa exemption for selected countries worldwide: European citizenship grants visa-free access to selected countries around the world, including visa-free travel throughout the European Union. Austrian citizens can enter all EU countries without the need for a visa.
  • Visa exemption for the United States: While Israel recently gained visa exemption status for the United States, it is contingent on Israel continuing to meet U.S. conditions. If Israel fails to meet these conditions, the visa exemption agreement with Israel may be revoked, and Israelis may again be required to obtain a visa for the United States. Austrian passport holders, on the other hand, can continue to enter the United States without a visa.
  • Visa exemption for Australia: Israeli passport holders are required to obtain a visa to enter Australia. Many Israelis need to spend money on visa applications, and some may even be denied entry to the country. Austrian passport holders can enter Australia without the need for a visa.
  • Entry to most countries worldwide: There are several countries that restrict or limit the entry of Israeli citizens, such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Recently, it was reported that the Maldives is considering banning entry for Israelis due to the conflict in Gaza. Austrian passport holders can enter these countries without the restrictions that apply to Israeli citizens.

How long does the process of obtaining Austrian citizenship take?

The process of obtaining Austrian citizenship varies from person to person and is based on the specific circumstances of each individual and the documents they provide with their application.

On average, it can be said that the process of obtaining Austrian citizenship takes a little over a year:

  • Archival research can take several weeks to a few months, depending on the documents you have.
  • Preparing the application itself takes about three months.
  • After submitting the application, the processing by Austrian authorities takes 6 months to a year.

Does a name change complicate obtaining Austrian citizenship?

Many Jews who immigrated to Israel from Austria after being persecuted by the Nazis changed their names or completely altered them. A name change can potentially complicate or delay the process of obtaining Austrian citizenship if current documents do not match the previous name.

In cases where the individual arrived after the establishment of the state of Israel, a name change is often documented, and this documentation can be submitted to overcome the name change obstacle.

However, in cases where the individual arrived before the establishment of the state of Israel, it is reasonable to assume that the name change was not documented. In such cases, you may try to prove the name change through other means, such as cases where the individual was entitled to compensation from Austria, a court order indicating a name change, and more.

Archival research in the Austrian citizenship application is designed to locate documents that prove your eligibility for Austrian citizenship. Therefore, it is essential to know which documents can be found and where to search for the relevant documents. An attorney experienced in immigration and Austrian citizenship can assist you in locating the relevant archive where you should conduct your document search.

Archival Research in the Austrian Citizenship Application

Archival research in an Austrian citizenship application involves checking Austrian archives to find documents that prove your eligibility for citizenship. This research aims to locate documents that demonstrate your connection to Austria and the circumstances that make you eligible for Austrian citizenship.

For example, during archival research, you may be able to find documents such as records of the individual’s residence in Austria, marriage certificates of the refugee, birth certificates, student records, business ownership, and more.

To efficiently conduct archival research, you should know which documents can be found and where to search for them. You need to know which archive to approach in your search for the relevant documents. An attorney experienced in immigration and Austrian citizenship can assist you in determining the appropriate archive for your document search.

In conclusion, due to recent changes in Austrian citizenship law, many Israeli citizens are now eligible for Austrian citizenship, which offers a range of advantages and benefits in Austria, across the European Union, and worldwide. Descendants of Nazi refugees who meet the criteria have a straightforward path to obtaining Austrian citizenship. Archival research is a crucial part of the application process, and having a qualified attorney can be invaluable in navigating this process effectively.

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