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Obtaining Austrian citizenship: Countries that were under the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

As the Austrian “Law of Return” for Holocaust survivors and their descendants was recently updated, hundreds of thousands of eligible applicants worldwide will be able to obtain the prized Austrian-European citizenship. This article presents the countries that were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the past; many applicants with ancestors from those countries are eligible for Austrian citizenship. It is important to read the article from beginning to end in order to make sure that you are eligible.

Our office, specializing in emigration to Austria, provides comprehensive handling of the process of getting Austrian citizenship under the new law. Likewise, we employ German-speaking attorneys specializing in Austrian law, who will take care of translating the required documents as part of submitting all the required paperwork.

Getting Austrian citizenship

Obtaining Austrian citizenship: Countries that were under the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Following the Austrian parliament’s ruling in September 2018, and its announcement of a significant expansion of eligibility for victims of Nazi persecution in Austria and their descendants, we now understand importance of that decision.

In the third decade of the previous century, many Jews lived in Austria, having emigrated there from Eastern Europe. As part of the civil rights that the Austro-Hungarian Empire granted its Eastern European citizens, they could migrate from place to place for work reasons or to make a living, and thus reach more economically developed cities for the purposes of supporting themselves or integrating into the broad labor market. This is why a large number came to live in Austria and particularly its highly developed capital, Vienna.

Yet, due to antisemitism that reigned in Austria after the First World War, in many cases the authorities were in no hurry to give these subjects citizenship. When the new law comes into effect, these people’s descendants will be eligible for an Austrian passport, as long as they can prove that the relative who lived in Austria resided there between the years 1933-1955.

So what are the countries that were under Austro-Hungarian imperial rule, which permitted their citizens to move freely to the country of Austria at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th? Here is the list:

  1. Hungary
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Italy
  4. Slovakia
  5. Ukraine
  6. Romania
  7. Croatia
  8. Poland
  9. Slovenia
  10. Bosnia
  11. Montenegro
  12. Serbia

It must be noted that for most of these countries, what was said above does not apply fully, but rather only partially. During the period in question (end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th), the regions of central and eastern Europe were mostly under the protection of three empires – the Austro-Hungarian, the Russian and the German. Thus, if your ancestors were born in one of the countries controlled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but did not not emigrate to within the current borders of the country of Austria, you are not eligible.

Take note!

If one of your ancestors came to live in the country of Austria after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (to clarify, the dissolution occurred in 1918), and remained in the country (within its current borders) at least until January 1933 (under the current flexible law, as noted above, subjects who resided in Austria until May 1955 are eligible), this means that you are eligible to apply for Austrian citizenship.

Contact us – Getting Austrian citizenship

For any question and/or clarification, it is possible and even recommended to contact one of the branches of our office in the Central region or in Jerusalem. Our specialists will be happy to help you find out if you are eligible, as well as explaining how to submit the application with the help of attorneys who are professionals in the field.

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