European Citizenship for Jews
Looking for more information on European Citizenship for Jews or specifically Austrian citizenship? For United States Jews Austrian citizenship is easily obtainable, provided you can prove descent from a Holocaust Survivor.
Descendants of Holocaust survivors or victims:
Austria has had an extensive connection with Jews that dates back to 3rd Century A.D. Jews are believed to have migrated to Austria after Romans occupied Israel. After the Anschluss in 1938 when the Nazis annexed Austria, all Jews were forced to leave the country. The process of leaving, however, was not easy. Not only did Jews have to have numerous documents that approved their departure, but they had to pay a ‘departure tax’ that was a huge percentage of their property. Visa to other countries was hard to obtain which meant many had to leave behind their grandparents or parents. The last of the Jews are believed to have left Austria in 1941.
With over 200,000 Jewish inhabitants, Vienna ranked sixth in the world in terms of Jewish population in the 1920s. By 1939, many Jews emigrated out of Austria and their numbers declined to 57,000. Today the Jewish population of Austria is estimated to be just above 10,000.
With the new citizenship law, Austria has set out to right the historic wrongs of the Nazi era. Descendants of Holocaust survivors who fled Austria before 1955 are eligible to apply for Austrian citizenship. The amendment that was made to the law with effect from September 2020 allows descendants of both male and female Holocaust survivors. If you are a son, granddaughter, grandson or daughter of an Austrian citizen or resident who was forced to leave Austria before 1955 the pathway of Jews Austrian citizenship opens up for you.
Another pathway of European citizenship for Jews is through descent from Austrian parents. If your mother, father or both parents are Austrian citizens, you are eligible for Austrian citizenship for Jews. For many US Jews whose parents are citizens of Austria and who desire a European passport given its numerous advantages, this is an easy way of obtaining Austrian citizenship. Having family ties in other European countries can also prove to be advantageous and make it easy for you to get a second EU passport. For instance, if you are a descendent of North African Jews, you can apply for French citizenship.
This is one of the most common ways of getting Jewish Austrian citizenship or European citizenship for Jews. Austrian citizenship law has provisions where people who live in Austria continuously for specific periods of time can apply for citizenship by naturalization. For spouses of Austrian citizens, a period of six years is the minimum residence requirement for naturalization. For others, the minimum period of uninterrupted residence in Austria is ten years, five out of which has to be with a Residence Permit. Apart from residing continuously for ten years, the individual also has have a clean track record, have sufficient financial means and a steady income, have adequate knowledge of German and be integrated professionally and personally within Austrian society.
For Jews who do not meet any of the above criteria, another pathway of European citizenship for Jews is by making an investment. Many European countries such as Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Portugal and Greece have citizenship by investment programs. By making a contribution to the country’s economy, it is possible to get European citizenship for Jews. Austria, also has a similar program where Jews can invest in Austrian company or start a company in Austria with a minimum investment of EUR 50,000. This pathway is ideal for wealthy individuals and for those with good entrepreneurial vision and experience.
At the law office of Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh, we have extensive experience in providing competent and comprehensive assistance for Jews in obtaining Austrian citizenship. We offer end-to-end support in obtaining Austrian citizenship apart from guiding you on different pathways of European citizenship for Jews.
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