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Austrian citizenship For Members

Does Austria allow me to have multiple citizenships?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Does Austria allow me to have multiple citizenships?

The issue of multiple citizenships in Austria is complex, with many myths surrounding the subject.

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Austrian citizenship regulations are based on the principle of "jus sanguinis" (right of blood), meaning that individuals can acquire citizenship through their descent or family connections. 

The laws are different for those acquiring citizenship through a naturalisation proceeding, as the process typically involves meeting specific criteria, including residency requirements, language proficiency, and passing a citizenship examination. 

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However, one common question regarding Austrian citizenship is whether the country allows dual or multiple citizenships. A common myth is that children who are born to an Austrian and a foreign parent will have to choose between the nationalities once they turn 18.

This misconception comes from the very strict laws Austria has on naturalisation. According to the federal government, "Austrian citizenship law does not permit dual or multiple citizenship". However, this information is for Austrian citizens who voluntarily acquire foreign citizenship or foreign citizens who naturalise Austrians. 

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In the first case, the Austrian citizen will generally lose their Austrian citizenship, while in the second case, the foreign citizen is asked to give up their previous nationality in order to become Austria.

The government is clear on an "important exception to this principle", the acquisition of citizenship by descent. Here's the specific information from another official government site:

"If, in the case of parents of different nationalities (Austrian and another), the principle of descent also applies in the country of origin of the foreign parent, the child is a dual citizen. According to Austrian law, the child does not have to decide on nationality when they reach the age of majority - however, it may be that the other state requires a decision," the website states.

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The child can keep their nationality acquired at birth as long as the other states allow it. So, for example, if the mother is Austrian and the father is Serbo-Croatian, the child holds three nationalities and can keep all of them throughout their entire life. 

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How can someone lose Austrian citizenship?

Austrian citizenship is not automatically granted for life, and there are circumstances in which an individual may lose it. Here are some situations in which someone may lose Austrian citizenship:

  • Acquisition of foreign nationality: If a person deliberately acquires the nationality of another country without applying for and being granted retention of Austrian citizenship, they may lose their Austrian citizenship.
  • Voluntary military service in a foreign state: Engaging in military service voluntarily for a foreign country can result in the loss of Austrian citizenship.
  • Harming the interests or reputation of the Republic of Austria: If an individual's actions are deemed detrimental to the interests or reputation of Austria, it may lead to the loss of Austrian citizenship.
  • Failure to renounce previous citizenship: When someone obtains Austrian citizenship but fails to give up their previous one within two years, they may lose their Austrian citizenship.

READ ALSO: Could Austria change the rules around dual citizenship?

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It's important to note that the specific conditions and procedures for losing Austrian citizenship may vary, and individuals should consult the relevant Austrian laws and authorities for precise information in their particular situation.

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