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How can I apply for dual citizenship in Austria?

It’s well-known that citizenship rules in Austria are strict. In fact, the Alpine country has a reputation for some of the toughest citizenship requirements in the world.

How can I apply for dual citizenship in Austria?
A collection of passports on a white background. Image: Wikicommons

The reason for this is that dual citizenship is not allowed for most people, which means applicants have to give up citizenship of their own country to naturalise – a rule that only one fifth of global states actually enforce.

READ MORE: What makes Austrian citizenship so hard to get?

For many people, permanently giving up their home country is too much to ask. But there are some rare exceptions to the rule.

When can you keep your original citizenship in Austria?

According to the law, there are only two cases when dual citizenship is allowed.

First, if the retention of original citizenship is in the interest of the Republic of Austria – usually as a result of a person’s achievements or status. 

Second, if personal reasons are worth considering, although the law doesn’t provide any specific examples and an exception would depend on personal circumstances.

As a result, dual citizenship applications in Austria are often complex and usually require expert input from lawyers to argue the case.

Attorney Dr Wiesflecker, from Law Experts Rechtsanwälte-Attorneys, said: “We often argue that the person has a leadership role in his field and especially compared to other Austrians of his industry. 

“The allowance of dual citizenship from the Austrian side always strongly depends on the individual case and has to be in the interest of the Republic of Austria.”

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about applying for Austrian citizenship

The application process is also time consuming and there is no guarantee that dual citizenship will be granted.

Dr Wiesflecker said: “The process involves submitting a lengthy application detailing the applicant’s life and reasons for wanting dual citizenship. 

“The cases we work on mostly involve Austrian citizens living overseas, but we also work on applications of non-Austrians applying for an exemption to the rule.”

However, applications in the interest of the Republic of Austria are usually more successful than making a claim due to personal reasons. 

Dr Wiesflecker said: “For applications from Austrian citizens, we always try to argue that people have family ties to Austria, but it’s very difficult to get a positive decision for personal reasons.”

When has dual citizenship been granted?

A recent example of a successful application was a British academic who was granted both British and Austrian citizenship.

Law Experts Rechtsanwälte-Attorneys, based in Innsbruck, Tyrol, argued that the academic had strong personal connections to both countries, which fulfilled the criteria for an exception based on personal reasons.

The application also highlighted that the academic’s professional work was very important to Austria and therefore in the interest of the Republic of Austria.

The evidence was accepted and the application was granted, although these cases are rare.

EXPLAINED: How to apply for Austrian citizenship

New citizenship rules for victims of the National Socialist (Nazi) regime

In September 2020, the Austrian government introduced an amendment to the Austrian Citizenship Act which allowed victims (and their descendants) of the national socialist regime to apply for dual citizenship.

During the 1930s and 1940s, many Jews fled Austria to escape persecution, which often meant losing Austrian citizenship and becoming a citizen of another country.

This left them, and their children and grandchildren, without a legal claim to their Austrian heritage.

The new law was introduced to rectify this and allows applicants to retain their original citizenship, as well as become a citizen of Austria.

Dr Wiesflecker said: “Before this statute it was really difficult [for descendants] to get Austrian citizenship. 

“It was necessary to prove that Austrian citizenship was acquired by descent, which also included that the relevant ancestor had not voluntarily taken a foreign citizenship. 

“If the ancestor never lost his or her Austrian citizenship, then it was possible that they transferred the citizenship by descent to the children.”

Last year, Amber Catford from California, told The Local she was applying for dual citizenship as a descendant of her grandmother who had fled Austria to America.

Amber said: “There may be a dark history behind the reason I can gain citizenship, but it is special to be able to come back to a place many years later and reclaim a small piece of my family history.”

COMPARE: Which European countries have the toughest rules for gaining citizenship?

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For members


How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

Got an unwanted mattress, fridge, or sofa? Here’s how you can legally get it off your hands in Vienna.

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

If you find yourself with a large piece of furniture or big household appliance that has seen its prime and is not bound to the trashcan, then you might be wondering where to dispose of them – legally, that is.

Even if it is not uncommon to see furniture or appliances next to the big trashcans often placed near households and apartment complexes, it is illegal to leave them there.

Different cities have different methods – some will even pick up trash at specific times and places. To know how your city deals with bulky waste (Sperrmüll), you can google “Sperrmüll + the name of your city”.

READ ALSO: Why does Vienna’s waste department have a helicopter and a military plane?

Vienna has several waste collection points where you can leave bulky waste, electrical appliances, hazardous waste (in household quantities) and other old goods for no charge.

The use of the Wiener Mistplätze is subject to certain quantity limits and requirements, but they are to avoid industrial use. Therefore, most households will have no problem with the limitations.

Here you can find several collection points in Vienna.

It is worth pointing out that delivery to those sites can only be made by cars with Viennese license plates, on foot or by bicycle. Furthermore, no trailers or company cars are allowed to leave trash at these collection points.

What can you bring to the collection centres?

This is the place to bring large sheets of plastic foil, bulky or large metal parts and electrical appliances, for example.

Additionally, you can bring small amounts of bulky waste, wood, styrofoam, large cardboard boxes, green waste and used tires to any waste collection centres.

Depending on what you are disposing of, you might need to go to the Rinter centre, one of the larger ones.

READ ALSO: Hasta la mista, baby? How to vote for your favourite Vienna trash can joke

The centres also have a separate division where it is possible to donate old items still in good condition, the so-called 48er-Tandler-Box.

Tableware, small furniture, electrical appliances, clothes, toys and other items can be reused and bought at a low price at the 48er-Tandler reuse shop.

Most centres are open only from Monday to Friday during business hours, but others are also available on Saturdays.

What to do if I don’t have a car?

If you don’t need a car but still need to dispose of a large appliance, the Viennese solution varies.

Some will take public transport with a couple of friends trying to help them carry an old sofa via the u-bahn, although that can get a little tough at peak hour. 

Alternatively, you can borrow or rent a vehicle to try and save costs.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

But Vienna City also has a service that will pick up the trash for a low fee – even if it is located in the attic, a basement or a courtyard.

It’s the Entrümpelungsdienst und Sperrmüllabfuhr der MA 48. You can also ask for the “dump service” when the city of Vienna brings a trough (the smallest can fit 12 cubic meters).

Once you fill it up, they will remove it and take it to the appropriate place.

Costs will depend on the amount of trash, the size of the appliance, and where in the household it is located.