SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

AUSTRIAN CITIZENSHIP

Why has naturalisation in Austria doubled in 2022 – and who are the new citizens?

Almost 5,000 people became Austrian citizens in the first three months of 2022, more than twice the year before.

The Austrian Parliament Building
Austria's Parliament Building(PHOTO BY JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

The first three months of 2022 saw 4,865 people being awarded Austrian citizenship through naturalisation processes.

That’s more than twice as many naturalisations as in the same quarter of the previous year (2,402 naturalisations), according to data released this Thursday, 19th, by Statistik Austria.

While Covid may have made an impact, when compared to the last year before the coronavirus pandemic, the number of naturalisations surged by 76 per cent.

The Austrian organisation says that the increase is primarily due to the entry into effect of the 2020 amendment to the Austrian Citizenship Act, allowing descendants of victims of the National Socialist (Nazi) regime to apply for dual citizenship.

READ ALSO: How descendants of victims of Nazism can apply for Austrian citizenship

“Under this legal title, descendants of victims of the Nazi regime have had the possibility of naturalisation since September 2020 without giving up their previous citizenship in return.”, Statistik Austria explained.

In the first quarter of the year, 1,927 people received Austrian citizenship according to the new amendment, corresponding to 39.6 per cent of all naturalisations in the quarter.

Almost all people naturalising through the new rules live outside of Austria (1,911).

Most are citizens of Israel (16.1 per cent), followed by the United Kingdom (8.5 per cent) and the United States (8.4 per cent).

Who are the new Austrian nationals?

According to Statistik Austria, the most recent Austrian citizens were previously from Turkey (7 per cent), Syria (6.2 per cent), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (4.9 per cent).

READ ALSO: Reader question: Will my children get an Austrian passport if born in Austria?

About half the naturalisations were women (49.7 per cent), and the proportion of people under 18 years old was 31.7 per cent.

About one-fifth of the newly naturalised had been born in Austria (21.2 per cent).

Eight states saw an increase in the number of naturalisations compared to the year before, with the most noticeable increase in Vorarlberg (up by 96.1 per cent), followed by Vienna (64.5 per cent) and Tyrol (54.3 per cent). Only in Salzburg, where there were 120 naturalisations, there was a decrease (by 4 per cent) in numbers.

Austrian naturalisation rules

Austria is considered a relatively difficult country to get naturalised. Not only do people need to prove language and integration, but it can get expensive, with applicants who are awarded the citizenship having to pay sometimes more than € 2,000.

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

Another thing that keeps people from applying is the obligation that naturalised citizens – with very few exceptions – give up their previous citizenship.

This is because Austria does not allow double citizenship for naturalised citizens unless they are descendants of the victims of the Holocaust or are granted an exemption.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

AUSTRIAN CITIZENSHIP

Austrian citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a driving offence?

Naturalisation processes may be on the rise in Austria, but citizenship is still hard to get, and any mistake could mean you miss out on the opportunity. Here's what you need to know.

Austrian citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a driving offence?

Becoming a citizen of another country is a big decision, especially in a country with many requirements, rules and fees like Austria. For example, in order to apply for naturalisation, you need to have lived in Austria for at least six years (or up to ten in some cases) and must meet another range of criteria.

The requirements fall into several broad categories, one of which is that you must have no criminal convictions and there are no pending proceedings against you.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who is entitled to Austrian citizenship by descent and how to apply for it?

Additionally, people who have received one or more administrative penalties in Austria are also barred from applying for at least five years if at least one of those penalties incurred fines of more than €1,000.

Administrative violations include drinking and driving, running a red light or stop sign and, yes, speeding. If your speeding fine totalled more than €1,000, – meaning you have likely been well beyond the speed limit – you need to pay it and wait five years before applying for citizenship. 

How high are speeding fines in Austria?

There are no specific amounts that people need to pay for each offence. Instead, the law stipulates a range, and a judge will decide on a case by case basis.

Exceeding the maximum speed limit will result in a fine from €300 to €5,000 with the amount depending on aggravating factors such as how far above the speed limit the driver was and whether they had previous speeding offences.

READ ALSO: Does Austria have a street car racing problem?

Other offences that can lead to fines of more than €1,000 include driving with an alcohol content above the limit, driving in dangerous conditions such as by participating in illegal street races, failing to stop to provide assistance after a traffic accident and others. 

Other requirements

Being “blameless” is just one requirement for naturalisation in Austria. The applicant must also prove that they speak German to an adequate degree and that they are integrated (they need to show a German certificate and pass a citizenship test).

Additionally, you are barred from applying for citizenship if you have received minimum income support for more than 36 months within the last six years. 

You (or your partner) also need to have a regular income at the moment of application that “sufficiently secures your livelihood”. For a single person living alone, this means your net monthly income minus regular monthly expenses (such as rent and loan payments) needs to be higher than €1,030.49 (2022 numbers).

If the person has one child, the amount goes up to €1,189.49.

READ ALSO: How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

Those are very high standards in a country where the average net income is €2,161.99 and rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Vienna city centre averages €915. Furthermore, there are also costs to the citizenship process. In the capital, people can expect to pay between €1,200 and €1,500 for the bureaucracy – not adding values for any translation needed, for example.

Finally, a significant requirement, one that certainly puts off many, is that the person naturalising must give up their original citizenship. This is because Austria will only accept dual citizenship after naturalisation in extremely rare cases.

READ ALSO: Austrian citizenship: Do you really have to renounce your original nationality?

SHOW COMMENTS