Austrian citizenship by descent
There are multiple ways to obtain the Austrian nationality. When the mother is an Austrian citizen, her children immediately become Austrian citizens at birth. The same is true if the parents are married and only the father is a citizen of Austria.
If their mother is an Austrian citizen, their children are born with Austrian citizenship. If the parents are married and only the father is an Austrian citizen, the same rules apply.
If the parents are not married and only the father of the child is an Austrian citizen, but the mother is a national of another country, the child obtains Austrian citizenship when the Austrian father recognizes his parenthood or the fact that he is the father is determined by a court within 8 weeks.
Children may be granted the Austrian nationality in a streamlined manner in all circumstances where fatherhood is recognized or determined by a court after his timeframe.
Austrian citizenship by ancestry
Children are granted Austrian citizenship at birth if at least one of their parents is an Austrian citizen. There are some additional rules:
- If the child was born out of wedlock on or after 1 August 2013 and only the child’s father has Austrian nationality, he must publicly recognize fatherhood before the child is born or within eight weeks of the child’s birth, and/or paternity must be confirmed by a court (please also see acknowledgement of paternity).
- If the child was born before August 1, 2013, the child acquires Austrian citizenship only through legitimisation or grant of citizenship.
- If the child was born on or after January 1, 2015, he or she is entitled to citizenship in situations of medically assisted reproduction of same-sex female couples in accordance with the manner mentioned above, i.e. the process is the same as for children born to a married pair. Otherwise, the procedure is the same as for children born outside of marriage. The relevant passages, instead of using the terms admission of paternity or establishment of paternity by a court, read acknowledgement of parenthood and establishment of parentage by court, respectively.
- Children fathered by Austrian “intended fathers,” i.e. born to a surrogate mother, will only be granted citizenship by descent if surrogacy occurs in a country where it is permitted. In such cases, no extra acknowledgement of paternity is required because admission of paternity is already inferred from the birth certificate – and before to that, from the surrogacy contract.
- The same rules apply to children born to Austrian “intended mothers” before August 1, 2013. However, for children born on or after August 1, 2013, this will only apply if the children would otherwise become stateless if they did not receive citizenship from their Austrian “intended fathers.”
If the child is not in the position for acquiring Austrian citizenship by ancestry, the only remaining option is adoption and subsequent citizenship for the adopted child (see below).
Other ways to claim Austrian citizenship
Some other very specific ways to claim an Austrian passport are the following:
- through the legitimization of illegitimate offspring born to Austrian fathers – Children up to the age of 14 whose parents were not married at the time of their birth and who have not obtained citizenship by descent (at the time of birth, as outlined above) will obtain citizenship upon their parents’ marriage or upon legitimation, provided that the child’s father is an Austrian citizen at the time. The same conditions apply to children above the age of 14, providing they and their legal guardian approve to the legitimation within three years of their parents’ marriage and these youngsters were still unmarried at the time of their consent. A kid may be deemed legitimised by the Austrian Federal President in very uncommon instances and only until 2016 if one parent or the child itself applies. This is, however, a rather uncommon strategy.
- by awarding citizenship to illegitimate children of Austrian fathers – A child whose parents are not married and whose Austrian father has acknowledged the child later than eight weeks after the child’s birth (see also acknowledgement of paternity) and/or whose paternity has been established by a court later than eight weeks after the child’s birth can obtain citizenship until his or her 14th birthday through a highly simplified procedure. If a child is not a resident of Austria, the father must demonstrate that he has had the emphasis of his life and interests, as well as his permanent and legal abode, outside of Austria for at least 12 months.
- by awarding citizenship to adopted children – Children up to the age of 14 who have one adoptive parent who is an Austrian citizen are granted Austrian citizenship through a streamlined procedure. The competent authority must make the necessary judgments within six weeks. If the child is not a resident of Austria, the parent must demonstrate that he or she has had the emphasis of his or her life and interests, as well legal and permanent residence, outside of Austria for at least 12 months.
- through granting citizenship to spouses – Spouses of Austrian citizens may gain citizenship by granting after at least six years of legal and uninterrupted residence in Austria and five years of unbroken marriage involving living in a shared household.
- by granting citizenship in other instances – Foreign nationals and stateless people may petition for Austrian citizenship even if they:
- have a permanent address in Austria for at least thirty years; or
- having lived in Austria legally and permanently for at least fifteen years, including sustained personal and professional integration; or
- have had permanent and legal continuous residence in Austria for at least six years and can
- demonstrate German proficiency at the B2 level; or
- demonstrate B1 German abilities and long-term personal integration (for example, by working on a voluntary, honorary basis for at least three years); or
- have lived in Austria legally and permanently for at least six years, and
- have the status of being eligible for asylum; or
- are a national of an EEA member state; or
- grew up in Austria; or
- They distinguish themselves via exceptional achievements in science, business, arts, or sports in the interests of Austria, and are expected to continue to thrive in their chosen sector.
Awarded Austrian citizenship
In order to obtain Austrian citizenship by award, the normal prerequisites for naturalization must be met, and an application must be made.
Further prerequisites for the issue of Austrian citizenship are either based on legal claim or on the authority’s discretion.
Grandchildren of Jewish Holocaust Survivors: Austrian Citizenship Law
Obtaining Austrian citizenship was difficult for the descendants of Austrian Jews who fled the Nazi repression machine that had taken hold in Austria during World War II until 2020.
Until 1945, the law applied to Jews who were forced to leave the nation. Only male Holocaust survivors’ descendants were eligible. So, even 2 years ago, the answer to the question “Can I get an Austrian passport if my grandmother was Austrian?” would have been different.
The Austrian Parliament revised the Austrian Citizenship Act in 2019, allowing female Holocaust survivors’ descendants to acquire Austrian citizenship.
As a result, now you can qualify for Austrian citizenship through both patrimonial and matrimonial descent. You can also skip a generation, allowing you to obtain citizenship directly from your grandmother. The amendment also added ten years to the deadline for departing Austria during the Nazi regime.
The legislation has made it easier to obtain an Austrian passport. There has been a high level of interest in becoming European Union citizens among Jews in Israel, as well as in the United States and Canada. One of the numerous reasons is that individuals can keep their native country’s passport and different nationality while simultaneously enjoying the privileges of dual citizenship.
If obtaining an Austrian passport through grandparents is not an option, you can examine alternative options, such as citizenship through birth.
Details of Austrian citizenship for (descendants of) Nazi persecution victims
The procedure under Section 58c of the Austrian Citizenship Act begins with the filing of a declaration (“Anzeige”). All direct descendants of a persecuted ancestor are eligible, including children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Children who were adopted as minors are considered direct descendants as well.
This declaration can be lodged with your local Austrian diplomatic representation (Austrian Embassy or Consulate General) by submitting a declaration form together with the required papers. The following people qualify:
- Austrian citizens, or citizens of one of the successor states of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, or stateless persons who left Austria before 15 May 1955, because they had either suffered persecution by the Nazi regime or had reason to fear such persecution, as well as those who had suffered persecution because of their support for the democratic Republic of Austria or had reason to fear such persecution.
- All direct descendants of those people, including those who were adopted as children. It is not required that the ancestors reclaimed and regained Austrian citizenship.
- A Citizenship application must be completed and signed, and it must include a thorough history of the Holocaust survivor’s identity (nationality, residency, military engagement, career) and time in Austria.
- A current and valid passport;
- Birth certificate of the applicant;
- Proof of acquisition of foreign citizenship;
- An official foreign birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable), as well as any proof of a name change (in the case of marriage, divorce, adoption, and so on);
- Proof of emigration from Austria, including the date of departure;
- Evidence of Austrian citizenship prior to departure;
- Official documents proving the applicant’s ties to Austria.
Does Austria allow Dual citizenship?
If the country of citizenship of the non-Austrian parent also provides for jus sanguinis (such as Austria), the child will have dual citizenship.
According Section 7 of the State Citizenship Act in Austrian law, when a child becomes an adult, he or she is not required to choose between Austrian and the other nationality (they can keep a second citizenship); nevertheless, the other state may force such a choice.
Is it possible to obtain an Austrian passport if one of my grandmothers was Austrian?
You cannot obtain Austrian citizenship just through your grandparents. However, if your grandmother (or grandfather) lived in Austria proper between 1933 and 1955, even though you were born in successor states of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and was persecuted by the dictatorship, you are entitled to Austrian citizenship. To obtain Austrian nationality through grandparents, supporting documentation in the form of official documents is required.