- Austrian nationality law
Austrian citizenship is based primarily on the principle of Jus sanguinis. In other words, one usually acquires Austrian citizenship if a parent is Austrian, irrespective of place of birth.
Birth in Austria
Birth in Austria does not in itself confer Austrian citizenship. However it may lead to a reduction in the residence requirement for naturalisation as an Austrian citizen. Foundlings under the age of 6 months are legally presumed to have Austrian citizenship.
Descent from an Austrian parent
A child born to Austrian parents is an Austrian citizen. If the parents are married at the time of birth, Austrian citizenship of either the mother or the father is sufficient, so long as the child was born after January 9, 1983. For children born prior to that date, the father must have been an Austrian citizen: children born to an Austrian mother married to a non-Austrian father do not qualify. If the parents are not married, however, a father cannot pass on Austrian citizenship, whereas a mother can.
Should the parents happen to marry at some time after the birth, citizenship is automatically granted to the child retroactively. If the child is over 14 at that time, however, the child's consent is needed.
Naturalization as an Austrian citizen
It is possible to apply for Austrian citizenship by naturalization after 10 years of continuous residence in Austria. Additional requirements include:
- knowledge of the German language 'having due regard to the alien's personal circumstances'
- renunciation of foreign citizenship (under the law of the applicant's home country) unless this is impractical.
This requirement can be waived in exceptional cases.
Naturalization as an Austrian citizen based on 10 years of continuous residence is discretionary.
Exemptions to the residence requirement
The residence requirement may be reduced or waived in the following cases:
- recognized refugees (4 years)
- citizens of other European Economic Area nations (4 years)
- persons born in Austria
- former citizens of Austria (other than by deprivation)
- actual or expected 'outstanding achievements in the fields of science, commerce, the arts or sport'
Entitlement to grant of Austrian citizenship
Some persons are entitled to Austrian citizenship by a simpler process than naturalization. Renunciation of foreign citizenship is almost always required.
Minor children of a person granted Austrian citizenship are most often granted Austrian citizenship as well.
Spouses of Austrian citizens
- The marriage must have lasted for a minimum of 5 years.
- The spouse applicant must also have lived in Austria with a settlement permit (Niederlassungsbewilligung) for a minimum of 6 years.
This is so far the most restrictive law among all the European Union member countries about the foreign spouses obtaining the member state's citizenship.
Long residence in Austria
A person who has lived in Austria for 30 years, or 15 years in cases of 'sustained personal and occupational integration', is entitled to grant of Austrian citizenship.
Former Austrian citizens
- Former citizens of Austria who lost citizenship other than by renunciation or deprivation may be granted Austrian citizenship after 1 year's residence in Austria. Austrian citizenship must have been possessed for 10 years before it was lost.
- A person who lost Austrian nationality as a child (other than by deprivation) may re-acquire it by declaration within 2 years of turning 18.
Stateless persons born in Austria
A stateless person born in Austria may be granted Austrian citizenship within two years of age 18 if he has lived in Austria for a total of 10 years, including 5 years continuously before application.
Professors at Austrian universities
A citizen of a non-European Economic Area nation who accepts a position as a professor at an Austrian university or college of art acquires Austrian citizenship at that point.
The spouse and minor children of such a person normally acquire Austrian citizenship at the same time.
Loss of Austrian citizenship
An Austrian citizen who acquires another citizenship by voluntary action automatically loses Austrian citizenship. The exception is in cases where permission to retain Austrian citizenship has been obtained in advance. In practical terms, this is quite difficult to obtain, since it needs to be in the interest of the republic of Austria to grant this dual citizenship.
Austrian citizenship is also automatically lost by serving in a foreign army.
Austrian law substantially restricts dual citizenship. In general, only the following categories of Austrian citizens may possess a foreign nationality:
- those acquiring another nationality at birth, such as children born to Austrian parents in another country, thus automatically gaining citizenship of that country, or those born with an Austrian and a foreign parent.
- naturalized Austrian citizens who are unable to renounce their existing nationality.
- those who acquire Austrian citizenship on the basis of being appointed a professor at an Austrian university.
- Austrian citizens who naturalize in another country with permission obtained to retain Austrian citizenship.
Austrian citizenship and Germany
Between 13 March 1938 and 27 April 1945, German nationality law extended to Austria. Those acquiring Austrian citizenship upon the re-establishment of Austria generally lost German citizenship on that date.
- Austrian Nationality Act 1985 in the version of FLG I No. 37/2006| - in English
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