Politics For Members

EXPLAINED: When can Austrian citizenship be revoked?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: When can Austrian citizenship be revoked?
An Austrian passport (© Amanda Previdelli / The Local)

As the far-right proposes 'remigration' of 'non-assimilated citizens' and easier ways to revoke Austrian nationality, here's what you need to know about the process of losing citizenship.


Austrian far-right representatives have made headlines with controversial speeches talking about their proposals for "remigration", a euphemism used to refer to the proposed (and still unlikely) mass deportation of migrants, even those who have acquired Austrian nationality but who have not "integrated" well, the so-called "non-assimilated citizens" ("nicht assimilierter Staatsbürger"). 

It's all very vague, and many in the circles have denied supporting such ideas. Still, the topic of revoking citizenship has become more relevant as the Alpine country heads to an election year with extreme-right parties gaining traction in voting polls.

Recently, centre-right Integration Minister Susanne Raab gave an interview with Austrian newspaper Kurier, saying that "citizenship must be revoked in the event of legal misconduct". She said that there were "already options for revoking" citizenship.

So, which legal instruments exist under Austrian law for revoking Austrian citizenship?

Revoking Austrian citizenship

The law provides for six different reasons that could lead to a revoked Austrian citizenship, political scientist and citizenship expert Gerd Valchars told Der Standard. These should consider human rights and EU law - which aim to avoid "statelessness" persons, as those who live without citizenship are severely restricted in most areas of life. 

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

Under the law, Austrian citizenship can be revoked if another nationality has been acquired in addition to it unless the person is a dual citizen by birth or in other few exceptions

Citizenship can also be revoked after someone voluntarily joins the army of another country, even if it leads to the person becoming stateless. The same goes for if an Austrian citizen is in the service of a foreign secret service. 

People who participate in "combat operations by organised armed groups" (a regulation aimed at IS members) and those with a final conviction for terrorism can also lose their Austrian citizenship, but not if they become stateless.


Finally, anyone who has fraudulently obtained an Austrian passport or forged documents in order to receive it can also lose it.

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So, how many people lose their citizenship yearly?

The number of revoked Austrian citizenships is not recorded, so it's hard to assume. However, the report said, "the annual figures are in double figures at most" - not over 100 cases and most likely much less than that. 

According to the expert, Austria would have a hard time keeping its adherence to international agreements and expanding the grounds for revocation, such as revoking citizenship in the case of conventional criminal acts, which has been talked about by members of the far right.



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