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Austrian citizenship For Members

Can I get Austrian citizenship and immediately move abroad?

Paul Krantz
Paul Krantz - [email protected]
Can I get Austrian citizenship and immediately move abroad?
Can I get my Austrian citizenship and then immediately move abroad - to Malaga, Spain, for example? (Photo by Tabea Schimpf on Unsplash)

Austrian citizenship comes with perks, including freedom of movement in the EU. But some foreign residents are wondering if newly naturalised Austrians get to enjoy these rights immediately or if they have to wait for a period of time before moving abroad.

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Freedom of movement and the ability to live and work in other member countries can be among the best perks of European Union (EU) citizenship for those whose work and family lives allow it.

For example, Austrian citizens who can work remotely may choose to spend the coldest months of the year near a sunny beach in Spain. Likewise, when summer heatwaves start, they can move to the Nordics without applying for any visas or work permits.

READ ALSO: Five surprising Austrian citizenship rules you should know about

But if you are a newly naturalised Austrian citizen, can you get your Austrian documents and then immediately move to another European country - or even further afield?

Can I leave Austria as soon as I get citizenship?

The basic answer is yes, once citizenship is granted you can legally move to another European country indefinitely if you want to.

Asked how EU rules apply to foreigners who naturalise, immigration lawyer Sven Hasse told The Local, “With their naturalisation, third-country nationals also acquire EU citizenship." He added, "And the freedom of movement rights within the EU by the Freedom of Movement Directive.”

READ ALSO: What documents should I get after obtaining Austrian citizenship?

No unique terms and conditions apply to foreigners or dual citizens, and there is no probation period for citizenship once it is granted.

In fact, once citizenship is granted, it can only be repealed for a few very specific reasons, such as joining a foreign military or discovering that you lied on your citizenship application.

So, theoretically, if you gained Austrian citizenship today, you could move to Italy tomorrow, and there would be no reason, at least from a legal perspective, that you would need to return.

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What are EU citizens rights?

EU citizens can move to any EU country to live, work, study, look for a job or retire.

According to the European Union's official website, “You can stay in another EU country for up to three months without registering there”.

Depending on where you are staying, you may need to register your residence after three months. However, provided you register according to the local regulations, you can then continue to reside there for longer.

READ ALSO: Do foreigners in Austria have to carry their residence cards?

You may need to carry your Austrian identity card or passport in many EU countries. If you're without your identity documents, you could be fined or temporarily detained, but this is not reason enough to make you return to your home country.

Additionally, in most cases, if you live legally in another EU country for a continuous period of five years, you will eventually acquire permanent residence there.

Indeed, freedom of movement is a huge benefit to millions of EU citizens, who are, therefore, free to travel much more easily and seek work internationally within the EU region.

The popularity of benefits such as this could be one reason why far-right parties have stopped talking so much about leaving the EU in the current election cycle.

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Perks of the Austrian passport

Along with the ability to live and work across the EU, Austrian citizenship comes with a sought-after passport.

Passports are ranked by the number of countries they allow you to travel to without a visa.

In 2024, the Austrian passport is the second most powerful in the world after the United Arab Emirates passport; according to the Passport Index - Austria shares its 2nd place status with France, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Germany and Switzerland.

Currently, Austrian citizens get visa-free access to 143 countries, and another 43 countries offer a visa-on-arrival for them.

In comparison, the UK passport has the 5th most powerful ranking - along with Singapore, the Czech Republic and South Korea – granting entry to 174 countries. The US, Canada and Australia all share the 7th most powerful passport ranking, with access to 172 countries.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: When is dual citizenship allowed in Austria?

Lower down on the list, Kenyan passport holders have access to 100 fewer countries than Austrian passport holders, for example. Similarly, India's passport has the 66th ranking and allows entry to 73 countries.

On a practical level, having a powerful passport ranking simply means that you can travel to more places with relative ease. So, even if you don’t plan to move elsewhere with your citizenship, the Austrian passport is not a bad one to have.

Coming from countries with weak passports can make moving abroad, or even travelling, difficult. For some citizenship applicants, being granted an Austrian passport could significantly improve their mobility and access to certain countries.

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