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MA35: Vienna's immigration office under fire as waiting times increase

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 17 Sep, 2022 Updated Sat 17 Sep 2022 09:30 CEST
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Austrian citizenship is not easy to acquire. (Photo: Amanda Previdelli / The Local)

Vienna's office for citizenship and immigration, otherwise known as MA35, is getting renewed criticism as new appointments for Austrian citizenship cannot be scheduled before mid-2023.

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Criticism of Vienna’s MA35 immigration office continues unabated as waiting times for applications drag on for months, broadcaster ORF reported.

Now long waiting times for citizenship applications are causing a stir. If you want to apply for citizenship in Vienna, you must first make an appointment for an informational interview at MA35.

Currently, applicants have to wait at least until the end of June 2023 to even be able to get this first appointment. Only after this meeting will people looking to apply for Austrian citizenship get a list of which documents must be presented.

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The official in charge, Christoph Wiederkehr (NEOS) announced reforms last year.

At that time, the authority was criticised for unanswered telephone calls, endlessly long procedures or applicants who did not even manage to get an appointment.

Wiederkehr hired more staff and set up a telephone service centre but in practice, the reforms have brought few improvements, Ralf Niederhammer, a lawyer specialising in citizenship law, told ORF.

"The fact that procedures drag on for years is something we have had for many, many years and it has to do with the organisational structure, the file management and the file administration in the authority," said Niederhammer.

READ ALSO: Could Austria change the rules around citizenship?

He advises people to make applications and document exchanges in writing. The process is always done in person at the MA35, but keeping written documentation allows people to, for example, file a complaint in case of delays.

The authority, which deals with all matters concerning immigration and citizenship, said that the demand for appointments had risen sharply since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

We want to hear your experiences with MA 35:

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The Local 2022/09/17 09:30

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