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

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.

EXPLAINED: How to get Austrian citizenship or stay permanently in Austria
An Austrian passport. Photo: Wikicommons

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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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.