Austrian citizenship For Members

The 7 common mistakes to avoid when applying for Austrian citizenship

Rachel Loxton
Rachel Loxton - [email protected]
The 7 common mistakes to avoid when applying for Austrian citizenship
You'll likely have to sit a language and possibly an integration exam to become Austrian. Photo by Unseen Studio on Unsplash

Applying for citizenship in Austria can be a tricky process, but it's doable. Here's a look at some common mistakes to avoid to make the application process as smooth as possible.


Austria is known for having strict naturalisation rules which may explain why it's one of the least applied-for citizenships in Europe. 

But there are several benefits to becoming an Austrian citizen - such as voting rights - so the number of applicants is rising. 

If you're thinking of trying to get yourself an Austrian passport, make sure you do the research to avoid falling foul of these common mistakes. 

READ ALSO: How powerful is the Austrian passport?

You haven't fulfilled the residency requirements

People generally need to have lived in Austria for 10 years to get citizenship, although this can be cut down to six years in lots of cases (including if you're from the EU/EEA).

According to the Austrian government, you are entitled to naturalise after "at least 10 years of lawful and uninterrupted residence in Austria, including at least five years under a residence permit".

To apply after six years, you need to have fulfilled certain requirements such as proving integration, being married to an Austrian national for five years or having EU or EEA citizenship.

You can find more information in this article:

How foreigners can get fast-track citizenship in Austria

Your language isn't up to scratch

If you're applying to become Austrian, in the vast majority of cases you'll have to prove that you speak German and are integrated into Austrian life. 


To get citizenship, you need to have B1 level German. You can show proof of this if you have attended school or university in Austria.

Alternatively, you can take the integration test, which includes a B1 German exam and a test about in-depth knowledge of Austrian values.

But if you have B2 German, or higher, you can bypass the integration test. For this you'll need a B2 certificate from a recognised language school to prove your language skills.

READ ALSO: How good does your German have to be to get Austrian citizenship?

Austria flag on field

An Austrian flag flies above a green meadow. Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP

You don't have your documents in order 

It will come as no revelation that a lot of bureaucracy is needed to apply for Austrian citizenship - and the process can be costly so you don't want to mess it up (more on that below). Make sure you have everything ready before taking the plunge. 


As well as an application form, here are the documents you'll likely need:

  • Passport/ID card

  • Birth certificate

  • Proof of other citizenship

  • Proof of address

  • Marriage/divorce certificate (if applicable)

As we mentioned above, you'll also need your German language skills/integration test proof. You will also need to show you can support yourself, so the government will ask for something like a Lohnzettel, if you are employed, and proof that you have paid your rent in the last few months, for example.


EXPLAINED: How to apply for Austrian citizenship

You haven't factored in the costs

The cost of becoming an Austrian citizen varies depending on the citizenship route. 

As a guide, the cost of the application is around €130 and the fee for granting citizenship is typically between €1,100 and €1,500. However, this does not include other costs, such as fees for the translation of official documents and taking the German language test.

Yes, it is pricey... 

You've been caught speeding (or committed another driving offence)

Unsurprisingly, you're not allowed to get citizenship in Austria if you have criminal convictions or pending criminal proceedings.

But smaller administrative offences can also stand in the way of getting an Austrian passport. 


You are barred from applying for citizenship in Austria for at least five years if you have received one or more administrative penalties and been hit with a fine or fines of more than €1,000. 

Administrative violations include drinking and driving, running a red light or stop sign and speeding. That means that if you were slapped with a speeding fine totalling more than €1,000, you need to pay it and wait five years before applying for citizenship. 

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 taking part in illegal street races, failing to stop to provide assistance after a traffic accident and others. 

READ ALSO: Can you be rejected from getting Austrian citizenship over a driving offence?

You've received state benefits

The rules on this are quite complicated but, generally, if you've received income support for a period within the last six years then you could be denied citizenship. 

Lawyer Peter Marhold illustrated the strict rules to Der Standard in 2021 by citing an example of someone who had taken time off work to care for an ailing grandparent and was denied citizenship because it was deemed that the person benefited from his grandmother being on social support.


AMS payments you receive when unemployed do not usually count as state benefits, as they are viewed as a form of insurance. On the Viennese state website, the government states that those who have received the so-called "minimum benefits" (government financial assistance for people who cannot afford monthly expenses such as rent) for more than 36 months within the last six years cannot apply for citizenship.

You - or your partner - also need to have a regular income at the time 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 (as of 2022).

You've spent a lot of time abroad

One mistake you should avoid if you are planning to apply for citizenship is spending too much time away from Austria. 

If you are absent from Austria for more than 20 percent of the time before applying this will be counted against you. 

According to lawyer Peter Marhold, one woman who had lived in Austria for 20 years was denied citizenship because she was posted abroad by her Austrian employers for a three year period.

Note: as with all our articles, this article is intended to be a guide and we recommend that you speak to authorities or seek legal advice for more information when applying for citizenship in Austria. 


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