Austrian citizenship For Members

How long does the naturalisation process for Austrian citizenship take?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
How long does the naturalisation process for Austrian citizenship take?
Austrian citizenship is not easy to get. (© The Local)

If you are a legal resident in Austria and fulfil the criteria, you are entitled to naturalise and get Austrian citizenship. But how long does the process take?


Austrian citizenship allows you to live, work and study in Austria without any visa or residency status concerns. It will also give you the right to vote and be eligible for local, regional and national positions, among other rights and responsibilities. 

However, it is a challenging process, with many requirements needing to be fulfilled and a minimum residency requirement of at least six (up to 10 in some cases) years before you can even apply to become an Austrian citizen. After those residency years, you still need to wait for what can be a very long time before you can get your Austrian passport in your hands. 

So, how long does it take?

The residency period

As mentioned, most people naturalising Austrian (which means they are applying for citizenship through a legal right rather than a blood or familiar entitlement) will have to have lived in the country for several years before they can apply. 

In general, you will have to live in Austria (legally) for 10 years before applying for citizenship. The longer you spend in the country, the fewer requirements you'll need to apply. So, for example, a person who has been living in Austria for 30 years or more and has completed their studies in the country (including the Matura) will not need to prove German skills or pass an integration test. 

READ ALSO: How foreigners can get fast-track citizenship in Austria

Some people only need to have been living in Austria for six years before they can apply for citizenship. Applicants who have been lawfully married to an Austrian national for five years and the spouses live in the same household, those who hold EU or EEA citizenship, those who have been born in Austria, and those who 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) can apply for citizenship after only six years.

If the granting of 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," the waiting period can also be shortened. 


What about after I apply? 

The minimum residency period is already more extensive than in certain countries. In Sweden, for example, EU/EEA citizens living with a Swedish citizen for two years can apply for citizenship after only three years. But one thing that has really angered internationals in Austria is how long the process itself lasts, particularly in the Austrian capital Vienna, where most citizenship requests are processed.

In the first three months of 2023, 3,292 people were naturalised Austrian citizens, and 1,063 went through the process in the capital Vienna. The Viennese authorities, and the MA 35, the immigration and citizenship office, call on that number to justify long waiting times. They also mention that the current regulations are "too restrictive" and bureaucratic, lengthening processing times. 

However, they claim internal reforms and new hires are making things quicker.

In Vienna, appointments for a first meeting regarding citizenship used to take up to one year. Then, it could take another year to get the next appointment to submit documents. If all documents were correct and the procedure was relatively simple, the citizenship could be awarded at any time between three (very rare) to one year (more common), according to informal estimates given by MA 35 workers to applicants. 

After a reform, 93 new workers were hired, and the first consultation can now take place much quicker through group appointments, according to Stadt Wien.


READ ALSO: Is your German good enough for Austrian citizenship?

In fact, Vienna claims that the waiting time for the first meeting has been reduced from one year to six months. The Local tried this as a test and found appointments for the first meetings within four months (the test took place on June 12th, and dates were available for October 3rd and every Tuesday after).

At the new group appointments, which take place up to eight times a month, around 170 people per meeting are informed about obtaining Austrian citizenship. The legal requirements for citizenship and the steps and documents necessary for a procedure are discussed according to the city authorities.


Appointments can easily be made online. The city of Vienna recommends you take a short online survey to check if you are eligible to apply for citizenship before heading for your first meeting.

READ ALSO: Could Austria ever change the rules to allow dual citizenship?

Various measures have been taken to cushion the increased demand as part of the agency's reform process. The aim of the reform process, which is scheduled to run until 2024, is to make the authority more service-oriented and to make work processes more efficient, the city said.

There is still no new estimate of shorter times for the remainder of the process. So, after you submit your papers, you can expect to wait around one year to get your Austrian citizenship - if all documents are correctly submitted.


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