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EXPLAINED: How to get Austrian citizenship or stay permanently in Austria

EXPLAINED: How to get Austrian citizenship or stay permanently in Austria
An Austrian passport. Photo: Wikicommons
Austrian citizenship is known to be among the most difficult in the world to get, while residency involves lots of paperwork. Here’s what you need to know.

The Local Austria has prepared this guide with all relevant information about getting Austrian citizenship and residency. 

Each of the following sections includes links to articles with more detailed information on Austrian citizenship. 

Moving to Austria 

Moving to Austria can be difficult or it can be easy – and it will largely depend on where you’re from. 

If you come from the Schengen area, your move to Austria will be much easier than someone from outside the bloc. 

The main challenge you will face in moving from a Schengen country to Austria – other than finding a job, meeting friends and understanding the nuances of Austrian dialect – will be registering your address. 

Obtaining a Meldezettel – loosely translated as an address registration certificate – is compulsory for anyone living in Austria.

More information on getting a Meldezettel is available at the following link. 

Meldezettel: Everything you need to know about Austria’s compulsory address registration

If you come from outside the Schengen zone, then things will be a little more difficult but not impossible. 

Known as ‘third country’ citizens, people from outside the EU will need certain permits to live and work in Austria. 

More information is available at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How to live and work in Austria as a non-EU national

An Austria flag. Photo: Creative Commons/Mikekilo74

Naturalisation and citizenship

So, you’ve tackled the moving to Austria part, but now you want to get a little more cosy. 

Foreign nationals living in Austria long-term may face the choice between becoming a permanent resident or actually opting to become a citizen.

But what differences are there?

READ MORE: What’s the difference between permanent residency and citizenship in Austria?

Every year thousands of people apply to become an Austrian citizen.

Even though it is notoriously difficult to get and requires applicants to renounce their original citizenship.

Below is a guide to the pros and cons of obtaining Austrian citizenship. 

READ MORE: The pros and cons of obtaining Austrian citizenship

But if you’re interested – or at least curious – there is definitely a way of doing so. 

The following article lays out how you can apply – and who is therefore eligible. 

EXPLAINED: How to apply for Austrian citizenship

In order to become an Austrian citizen, you’ll need to take the citizenship test. 

The link below shows you what you can expect on an Austrian citizenship test. 

READ MORE: Would you pass an Austrian citizenship test?

Then of course there’s the cost factor, with Austrian citizenship known as one of the more expensive in Europe. 

READ ALSO: How much does it cost to become an Austrian citizen?

At ten years’ continuous residence, Austria has one of the longest naturalisation processes of any European country, making it a slightly less attractive option for anyone looking for a shortcut to EU citizenship. 

This is a major reason why so few foreigners become Austrian, despite a high proportion of foreign residents. 

But what makes getting Austrian citizenship so strict? The following article gives an indication. 

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

Who is applying for Austrian citizenship?

In 2019, the number of people becoming an Austrian citizen increased by 12.2 per cent from 2018. But who is applying for Austrian citizenship? And where do they originally come from?

Figures from Statistics Austria show that former citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina make up the largest group of people, with 1,183 naturalisations last year. This was closely followed by former citizens of Serbia and Turkey.

Other figures show there is a gender difference in the number of EU citizens becoming Austrian. Data from 2014 to 2018 shows almost two thirds of EU naturalisations were by female applicants. But for third-country nationals, the gender division is almost equal.

The number of British people becoming Austrian has increased in recent years, particularly following the 2016 referendum vote for the UK to leave the EU.

In 2018, 44 former British citizens became Austrian and in 2019, the figure rose to 96.

This figure is minimal compared to neighbouring Germany though, where 14,600 Britons naturalised in 2019. 


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