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AUSTRIAN CITIZENSHIP

How foreigners can get fast-track citizenship in Austria

People generally have to live in Austria for at least ten years before they can become naturalised Austrians - but in some cases, this can be cut to six in many instances. Here's what you need to know about ways of fast-tracking your citizenship application.

How foreigners can get fast-track citizenship in Austria
An Austrian and a European flag flutter in the wind. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

Austrian citizenship can be granted to people who live in the country through the naturalisation process – which isn’t particularly easy. In fact, Austria has one of Europe’s hardest citizenship acquisition processes.

If you were not born Austrian, then you are entitled to naturalise after “at least ten years of lawful and uninterrupted residence in Austria, including at least five years under a residence permit”, according to the federal government.

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

There are also several other requirements, including having “irreproachable integrity” (such as no criminal convictions and no pending criminal proceedings), proving you have sufficient resources to support yourself, having a knowledge of German and a basic understanding of the democratic system, and more.

Everyone applying for citizenship must pass these requirements (with few exceptions). However, the ten-year residence rule comes with many exceptions. Here’s how you can fast track your application:

How to apply for naturalisation after six years

If you fulfil the general conditions for naturalisation, you can apply for it after six years of lawful and uninterrupted residence in Austria in any of these cases:

  • You have been lawfully married to an Austrian national for five years and the spouses live in the same household.
  • You possess EU or EEA citizenship.
  • You were born in Austria.
  • Granting citizenship is in the interests of the Republic of Austria “on account of extraordinary accomplishments in the scientific, economic, artistic or sporting fields that have already been achieved or are expected.”
  • You provide proof of sustainable personal integration, which can be done by showing a B2 level of knowledge of German or a B1 level and personal integration (such as three years of voluntary work or professional experience in the educational, social or healthcare sector).

READ ALSO: Could Austria change the rules around citizenship?

austria austrian passport

Austrian citizenship is not easy to get. (© The Local)

How can I apply for Austrian citizenship immediately?

The naturalisation process requires you to live in Austria for a certain number of years. Still, some people are entitled to citizenship regardless of how long they live in the country. In fact, they don’t even need to live in Austria at all.

This is the case for people with “Austrian blood” (Jus Sanguinis) and descendants of the victims of the National Socialism (Nazi) regime.

Children born to an Austrian citizen mother automatically become Austrian citizens themselves at birth.

But if only the father is Austrian and the parents are not married, then an acknowledgement of paternity (Vaterschaftsanerkenntnis) can be made for the child to become Austrian. In cases like this, children can also have dual citizenship. Furthermore, descendants of victims of the Nazi regime can also maintain their previous citizenship.

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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?

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