Austria is one of the best and exciting countries to live, work, study and do business in Europe. Austria is ranked as the fourth peaceful country in the world and Vienna named the most livable city in the world for the second year running.
The conferral of citizenship in Austria is fully discretionary and the investment amounts are not specified, so in a sense the country does not have an official Citizenship by investment (cbi) scheme.
Special Citizenship in State’s Interest
Art 10(6) of the Austrian Citizenship Act, have provisions for granting citizenship for special merit or extraordinary achievements in state’s interest in the field of science and technology, sports and economic activity. Therefore under this provision, the following conditions are waived for discretionary naturalization.
- Uninterrupted legal residence
- Proof of German language skills
- Knowledge of the democratic system and history of Austria and Vienna
- Sufficient means of subsistence
- Renunciation of current citizenship
At its meeting on 25 February 2014 concerning the criteria for granting citizenship in the special interest of the Republic, the Council of Ministers adopted the decisions in accordance with Article 10 (6) of the Citizenship Act 1985 (StbG). The constitutional provision of § 10 Abs. 6 StbG provides for the awarding of Austrian citizenship, if the Federal Government confirms that the award is because of the alien already performed and expected by him extraordinary achievements in the special interest of the Republic of Austria.
Extraordinary benefits are only those that are currently well above the average in the respective area. Furthermore, the granting of citizenship on the basis of these services must also serve the special interest of the republic to a special degree. This means that a person is never naturalized “honorary”, but only because of the services provided and expected by him in the special interest of the Republic. Therefore, for example, even the mere awarding of decorations is not enough to justify a special interest of the Republic.
The four following fields of activity together with the indicated criteria was identified as examples in the special interest of Austria, this is not exhaustive list.
1. Scientific achievements
- Scientific activity in areas not yet developed or the further development of scientific fields;
- Predominantly permanent employment in Austria or when working abroad, if the scientific activity was predominantly for Austrian or Austrian-based science and research institutions;
- high reputation in the international scientific community and international recognition;
- National and international publications;
- Transfer of knowledge from new knowledge acquired abroad to Austria (eg to students and other scientists);
- Active recognized research activities;
- Teaching at Austrian universities;
2. Economic services
- Owner of a company or executive function with significant influence in a company; the board membership on its own is not sufficient;
- High economic performance of the company;
- Creating and securing employment on the Austrian labor market to a relevant extent, especially in economically weak regions of Austria;
- Relevant investments, in particular already made or projects carried out by the company in Austria; mere cash flows are not sufficient;
- Name recognition of the company also abroad;
- Promotion of bilateral and multilateral foreign relations of Austria in the economic sector;
3. Sports performances
- There is currently no other, with regard to the performance level comparable Austrian athletes available, not even from the junior area;
- The outstanding sporting achievements have already been made in Austria over a longer period, which amounts to at least one year;
- Foreseeable that the active, successful career as an athlete, especially taking into account his age, will last even longer;
- Intention and formal right of immediate applicability in an Austrian national team;
- Very good placements at national or international competitions as individuals or with the team;
4. Artistic performances
- The individual artistic achievement represents a significant contribution to the art scene in Austria;
- The extraordinary artistic qualifications provide essential services in the field of education at Austrian universities;
- Strengthening and disseminating the artistic reputation of the Republic of Austria at the international level;
- The outstanding artistic achievement of the individual attracts the audience;
- Development of own technique, reactivation of an old art technique in new use or development of a new, modern art form.
How many citizenships granted in the interest of the state?
According to Austrian statistics office, a total of 287 citizenships granted for extraordinary achievements in the interest of the Republic of Austria between 2007 and 2018 during the period of eleven years. The report does not provide reasons or breakdown to specific fields for granting citizenship.
- Naturalizations for Special Merit
Austria under ordinary naturalization, requires atleast ten years of residence to acquire citizenship. Austria does not allow dual citizenship for naturalized persons. Those who take austrian citizenship are required to renounce previous nationality. Further conditions include german language skills and cultural integration.
According to Statistics office, during the first half of 2019, number of naturalisations increased by 6% , 5 349 persons acquired Austrian citizenship during the first half of 2019.
The largest groups of naturalised people (41.6%) were former citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina (585), Turkey (485), Serbia (418), Kosovo (316), the Russian Federation (230) and Afghanistan (193).
The naturalization rate was recorded highest and lowest in these areas: Salzburg (+ 76.6% to 242 naturalizations), followed by Upper Austria (+ 31.8% to 766), Styria (+ 18.3% to 472), Vienna (+ 8.9 % to 2,348) and Tyrol (+ 3,9% to 320). In Carinthia (-30.5% to 146), Lower Austria (-22.1% to 713), Vorarlberg (-3.4% to 200) and Burgenland (-2.7% to 107),