Your Attorneys at Law for Austrian Citizenship - Law Experts Law Firm
Citizenship Law – Bespoke Solutions, Competent Advice from Law Experts Attorneys at Law
The team of legal experts at Law Experts Attorney at Law in Austria comprehensively and competently advises you regarding all questions relating to citizenship law. Our group of experienced lawyers is on your side. We represent your interests throughout Austria.
We advise and represent you in the area of citizenship law, in particular regarding the following:
- Applying for and being granted Austrian citizenship
- Acquiring Austrian citizenship by descent
- Granting of Austrian citizenship in special cases, e.g. if it is in the special interest of the Republic of Austria to confer citizenship
- Application for dual citizenship
- Reviewing prerequisites, plus preparation of the necessary applications and documents
- Procedural law and potential legal remedies
We guarantee you that your legal matter will be given maximum attention, be treated with the utmost precision, and be handled exclusively by highly qualified Law Experts. As your lawyers of choice, we will be there to assist you and provide 100% support.
The State and the Citizen – Citizenship Law in Austria and the EU
Based on the theories of constitutional law, the national population is comprised of the totality of citizens. It is therefore indispensable for every State to create regulations regarding the acquisition and loss of citizenship. In recent years, a variety of geopolitical changes and crises has resulted in an increased demand for citizenship from European Union (EU) countries. Among other things, this has also seen individual countries within the European Union virtually put up a “closeout sale” sign for citizenship which permits access and residence within the EU. The acquisition of citizenship from these countries is often linked to pure cash payments or the acquisition of real estate.
Austria has not taken part in this evident "sale" of citizenship and has maintained its fundamental concept for decades. Austrian citizenship holds special value precisely for this reason, apart from the special aspects of Austria as a place to live and as a cultural and economic area. Everyone who has Austrian citizenship has received it either by virtue of birth or by fulfilling strict legal regulations, or due to special merits.
Anyone who has Austrian citizenship is also a citizen of the European Union and thus also possesses all EU rights and freedoms.
The development of Citizenship Law in Austria - Get some insights
The current Citizenship Act 1985 (StbG) is based on the Citizenship Act of 1949 and the act of 1965. The Austrian Citizenship Act fundamentally distinguishes between 2 groups of persons: citizens and aliens. A citizen is anyone who possesses Austrian citizenship. Those persons who do not have Austrian citizenship are deemed to be aliens.
As noted, citizenship has increasingly become the subject of public discussion in recent years, and associated abuses have been decried across the EU.
In Austria, the Citizenship Act Amendment of 2005 narrowed the criteria for granting citizenship, resulting in significantly fewer awards. A substantial, more extensive amendment of the Citizenship Act was effected in 2013 (StbGNov 2013). The amendment to the Citizenship Act in 2013 resulted in particular in e.g. changes concerning the equal status of children born in and out of wedlock, facilitated the acquisition of citizenship for "putative Austrians" (i.e. persons who were mistakenly treated as Austrian citizens by Austrian authorities but who bear no responsibility for this situation), the introduction of an exemption for persons with special needs, the adjustment of calculation methods used to determine means of subsistence, the creation of a regulation which authorizes citizenship to be awarded when it is in the special interest of the Republic to do so, the broadening of the contents of the citizenship test, the accelerated granting of citizenship to particularly well-integrated persons, as well as the facilitation of the naturalization of children adopted by Austrians.
Granting Austrian Citizenship according to the Austrian Citizenship Act – Law Experts Attorneys advise and support you as a team
Section 10 (1) of the Citizenship Act essentially lists a multitude of conditions that must be met in order to be granted Austrian citizenship.
According to Section 10 of the Citizenship Act, citizenship may only be conferred on an alien if
- he or she has been legally and continuously resident in the federal territory for at least ten years and has possessed a residence permit for at least five years;
- has not been sentenced to imprisonment by a domestic or foreign court for one or more premeditated acts or financial offenses;
- the international relations of the Republic of Austria are not materially affected;
- he/she has a positive attitude towards the Republic of Austria and does not pose a threat to public peace, order and security;
- and that the individual has adequately secured his/her livelihood.
Based on this regulation, it is clear that citizenship is only to be granted to those persons who are permanently and legally resident in Austria and who support and in no way jeopardize existing values and regulations. The associated conditions and obstacles to the granting of citizenship are regulated here. The award criteria must be present in cumulative manner, which implies that the failure to meet a single condition must result in the rejection of an application.
Section 10 Citizenship Act is thus the most important paragraph for the granting of citizenship, to the extent that special circumstances are not involved.
Citizenship is fundamentally granted in connection with a personal application. The corresponding provision can be found in Section 19 of the Citizenship Act. It is also stipulated that the alien must participate in the procedure and provide all necessary documents, etc. The applicant can be represented by a lawyer. Jurisdiction is based on Section 39 of the Citizenship Act, which indicates that citizenship is fundamentally a matter of the State and that, for most applications, the state government is the responsible administrative authority. Local responsibility is the purview of the relevant state government in whose area the applicant has his or her primary residence.
Granting citizenship under Section 10 is a discretionary decision, whereby the wording of Section 10 itself is the basis for this discretionary exercise.
Granting Citizenship - Only when it is in the special interest of the Republic of Austria
Paragraph 6 of Section 10 of the Citizenship Act is formulated as a constitutional provision and assumes a special position. Per the cited paragraph, the above-mentioned requirements of paragraphs 1 (1) and (7) as well as paragraph 3 cease to apply if the federal government confirms that it is in the special interest of the Republic to grant citizenship to an alien due to extraordinary services previously rendered by him or her as well as those that can be expected from him or her in future.
This conferment under the Citizenship Act thus enables the Republic of Austria to naturalize citizens if it is in the overall interest of the State of Austria. Here, extraordinary services are those that cannot be provided by any other person of the same level of education and training. What is meant are achievements that can only be described as far above average. It is no accident that this conferment is often used by well-known athletes, artists, researchers or business people.
Section 10, paragraph 7 standardizes a further statutory authorization for the federal government. At the proposal of the Federal Minister of the Interior, this may lay down more detailed provisions on the formal procedure for obtaining confirmation from the federal government in procedures for granting citizenship in accordance with paragraph 6. The arrangement of such authorization is, above all, intended to take into account the principle of the rule of law and make it possible to better understand the overall decision-making process of the award procedure. The federal government has made use of this ordinance, which has been in force since March 1, 2014.
Dual Citizenship - An Exception in Austria
One of the basic principles of Austrian citizenship law is the avoidance of multiple nationalities. Dual citizenship exists if one person is simultaneously an Austrian citizen and a citizen of another State. The cited principle of avoiding dual citizenships is broken in exceptional cases.
Thus, in Austria it is the case that a person who voluntarily acquires foreign citizenship automatically loses their Austrian citizenship. In order not to lose Austrian citizenship, permission to retain it must be requested in writing before acquiring foreign citizenship and be approved by written decision.
Austrian citizenship can then be retained by way of exception if:
- It is in the interest of the Republic of Austria, or
- It is justified on the basis of extenuating circumstances in the applicant’s private and family life and Austrian citizenship was acquired at birth, or
- In the case of minors, it is in the best interest of the child
The relevant provision in Section 28 of the Citizenship Act lists the reasons for authorizing the retention of citizenship in the event a person acquires a foreign nationality. If the conditions set out in Section 28 of the Citizenship Act are met, the relevant authority must authorize such retention. This means that the applicant is even legally entitled to such approval if the conditions are met. If they are, approval must be granted and is not at the discretion of the authority. However, since the authorities have a relatively wide range of discretion in assessing whether the requirements under Section 28 of the Citizenship Act have been met, it is important to pay close attention to the wording of the application and the reasons given, and it is recommended that a specialized lawyer be engaged to handle the matter.
You will find more information on Austrian Citizenship by clicking here, in our Knowledge Database or under the menu item News.
Your Experts for Immigration & Austrian Citizenship - Law Experts Attorneys
As specialists for residence and citizenship with longstanding experience, we guarantee you best services and know-how. All our lawyers are experts in the field of immigration, registered at the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE).
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