Who qualifies for an Austrian passport?
Austrian Citizenship – the updated admission and eligibility conditions 2023
Our firm specializes in obtaining Austrian citizenship for eligible descendants of Austrian Holocaust and persecution survivors. This article will provide important legal and historical information on obtaining Austrian citizenship in order to make it clear whether you, the reader, are entitled to an Austrian passport. The article is based on customer questions we have received over the past year.
The article will review the history of Austrian Jews, especially in Vienna, the number of Jews who had to flee Austria over the years, the countries they have emigrated to as well as the number of descendants of Austrian Jews who may be entitled to a European Austrian passport.
If, after reading the article, you are still not sure whether you are eligible, we recommend contacting the office for further information.
Austrian citizenship eligibility
The Austrian “law of return” calls on the offspring whose ancestors were persecuted by the Nazis to determine their eligibility for an Austrian citizen. But first of all, it is important to know how many details about the number of eligible people in the world; Where do they live and what are the criteria for receiving the passport? Here are some common questions and answers:
What is the number of descendants eligible citizenship?
About 200,000 people around the world.
What countries are most eligible?
Mostly Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Australia and Italy. Other countries to which former Austrian Jews fled include South Africa, Central America and more.
In what years did most Austria Jews fled the country and to where?
From 1938-1945, a total of 126,500 Jews, our of a population of 176,000 managed to leave Austria. Among them 55,500 fled to other European countries. 30,840 Jews emigrated to Britain, 28,650 for the United States, 18,050 to China (the port city of Shanghai), 11,600 to the south and Central America and almost 10,000 to Palestine.
The rest found shelter in over eighty countries around the world. Of those who fled to European countries, 17,610 came to places which were later occupied by the Germans, and close to 13,000 died in concentration camps.
Austrian Citizenship for Holocaust Survivors
Many customers ask us whether it is possible to receive an Austrian citizenship if their ancestors lived in Austria? Yes. But depending on when they lived there and when left the country. In detail:
Can any person whose ancestors were former Austrians have to accept citizenship?
No. They must have left Austria during the rise of the Third Reich \ post WWII.
What are the years specifically are those?
From 1933 until 1955.
If my ancestors were in Austria during these years, I am entitled to Austrian citizenship?
Correct. If your ancestors lived in Austria between 1933-1945 and left it between 1933-1955 due to the persecution, you are eligible.
Is there a limited number of generations after which the citizenship is no longer inheritable?
No. In fact, there is no generations limit. Grand-grand-grandchildren etc may yet receive a citizenship by descent.
My grandmother was a victim of Nazi persecution. But my father, her son, does not want the passport. Can I submit a statement?
Yes. Any eligible descendants can ask for an Austrian passport even when “skipping” generations..
Does the law also apply to adopted children?
Yes, provided that these are children adopted as minors.
Are those who lived in Austria in 1933-1955 eligible for a passport if they had no Austrian citizenship?
Yes. Due to anti-Semitism that was prevalent in the 1920s and 30s, Austria authorities did not recognize a large number of Jews rightful residents and therefore did not rush to grant citizenship. Today, the Austrian state recognizes injustice that caused and descendants of these Austrian residents will be able to receive citizenship.
Can my spouse apply for citizenship?
If your spouse is not offspring of those persecuted in Austria by the Nazi authorities and/or their supporters, they will not be able to apply on this basis, but may apply for citizenship after living with you in Austria.
Army and volunteer service
I was drafted into a foreign army, an I eligible?
Because mandatory service is not voluntary, you are entitled to an Austrian passport.
Does a career \ volunteer army service prevent me from applying?
Perhaps the most relevant question for Israelis. Please note – an Israeli serving as an officer \ career NCO is not entitled to obtain Austrian citizenship, and any Austrian citizenship who volunteers to serve in the IDF, whether regular or career service, will have his citizenship revoked.
I am an army officer and I wanted to know if my children are entitled to apply?
Your children and grandchildren can apply. But you cannot do so while serving in a foreign army.
I have been serving in reserve duty for over ten years, can Austrian citizenship be obtained?
Definitely. A reservists in both regular army service and former officers are entitled to apply. This is because this type of military service is not voluntary.
Common general questions
My great grandfather left Austria in the late 19th century, am I entitled to apply?
Eligibility is for those whose ancestors fled the Austrian state between 1933 and until May 1955.
My parents were born in the Danube countries (Romania and Moldova) who have been ruled by 1918 by the Austro-Hungarian power, am I entitled?
The initial parameter for eligibility is that your parents lived in the Austrian Republic for a period from 1933-1955. If you did not live within the borders of modern day Austria, you are not entitled.
Does acquiring Austrian citizenship involve automatically lose your existing citizenship?
Israelis will not lose their citizenship if they receive Austrian citizenship. The Austrian Parliament permits Holocaust survivors and their descendants to hold an Austrian citizenship in addition to additional citizenship. The same goes for American citizens. However, note that there are countries – including the Netherlands and Ukraine – which do not allow their citizens to hold another citizenship in addition to their own.
If I have more than one citizenship, can I get an additional Austrian citizenship?
In case you have more than one citizenship you are entitled to obtain Austrian citizenship. However, it is important to make sure with the competent authority in your country that you will not lose either citizenship you already have.
Historical background of Austrian Jews – Vienna
In the 1920s, one of nine Viennese was Jewish. Vienna contained the sixth largest Jewish population in the world, with just over 200,000.
Constitutional rights granted to Austrian Jews from 1848-1867, especially the right to live where they wanted, to hold property and acquire a professional skills.
However, when talking about Austria (Austro-Hungarian empire) during these years, we are talking about a power that held territory all over the eastern part of Europe. Its size was about 700,000 square kilometers. As a result, tens of thousands of Jews who lived in the empire came to live on the territory that today is defined as Austria – a country in Central Europe, which is about 84,000 sqm.
Most of the Jews as said they preferred to emigrate to Vienna. The capital at the same time was a successful, enlightened and well -developed business city with a great many educated population. From this prosperous layer about a quarter were Jews.
Vienna proved a major attraction for European Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries. These came mainly from the Czech Republic and Hungary, but also from Eastern European countries.
In 1857, less than 3,000 Jews lived in the capital. However, only twelve years later in 1869 there were already 40,000 Jews. In 1880, their numbers were estimated at about 73,000, and in 1890 was almost 120,000. In 1910, the number increased to 175,000 and the record was in 1923- when all Jews in the city were slightly more than 200,000, accounting for 11% of the population.
However, in 1934, we see the departure of about 30,000 Jews from Vienna. In 1951 – after the Holocaust, their numbers stood at 9,000 in total
Notable achievements of Austrian Jews
Austrian Jews were a rare social phenomenon. In the midst of an anti -Semitic population, the Jews were able to flourish, invent and develop their skills in high numbers. In fact, the numbers were probably higher than anywhere else. The small population stood out in the social aspect that raised the prestige of the entire country of Austria on its shoulders. Whether it is the fields of science, mental science (psychology), business, entrepreneurship, development and more.
In 1934, it was estimated to over 50% of all doctors in Vienna were Jewish. One-third of the apothecaries were Jewish, 40% of all the city’s jewelers were Jewish, 63% of cinema owners, 85% of lawyers, 74% of the sommeliers, a third of the photographers in the city, 40% of the coffee operators, 21 % of Opticians, one-third of the dental technicians and 95% of the advertising bureaus.
Our thanks to Mr. Jonathan Gabrielov in writing the historical part of the article.
For more information contact our experts
Our office submits requests for the offspring of Austrian Jews who were persecuted or feared persecution by the Nazis and their assistants. This also includes Austrian citizenship for grandchildren and grand-grandchildren. We will be happy to advise you on matters related to Austrian citizenship.