As part of its reparative responsibility, Austria allows victims of the Nazi regime and their descendants to apply for citizenship. Depending on your family history, you may be eligible to apply for Austrian citizenship if one of your ancestors was persecuted or feared persecution by the Nazi regime. Make the most out of your ancestry by acquiring an Austrian passport and experience all the business and lifestyle opportunities afforded by one of the top citizenships in the world.
Austria is one of Europe’s wealthiest countries, offering a very high quality of life to its people and visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to approximately 190 destinations worldwide. Austrian citizenship is highly coveted, and as a citizen of Austria, you can live and work in the country and anywhere else in the EU and Switzerland at any time.
The Austrian government is particularly restrictive in conferring citizenship to foreign nationals. The government only grants citizenship to foreign nationals in the following cases:
§ 58 (c) of the Austrian Citizenship Act, amended in September 2020 and May 2022, addresses Austria’s historic responsibility for its part in the heinous acts committed during the Nazi regime. The government provides reparations to persons persecuted by this regime and to their descendants by allowing them to apply for Austrian citizenship by descent.
When you acquire citizenship under the Austrian Citizenship Act, you enjoy full citizenship for life, which can be passed on to future generations by descent.
All direct descendants (as well as those adopted as minors) of a formerly persecuted ancestor are eligible to apply for Austrian citizenship:
Applicants may apply for Austrian citizenship by descent if one of the following cases applies to the relevant ancestor. (In each of these cases, ancestors are not required to have reclaimed or regained their Austrian citizenship.)
An ancestor who was either:
And who primarily resided in Austria before 15 May 1955 and left the country because they suffered, or had reason to fear, persecution by the Nazi regime, including persecution for their support of the emocratic Republic of Austria. Persecutors include, for example, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) and the authorities of the German Reich.
An ancestor who was an Austrian citizen but did not primarily reside in Austria between 30 January 1933 and 9 May 1945 for fear of persecution by the Nazi regime or because of their support for the Republic of Austria.
An ancestor who was an Austrian citizen either deported from Austria by the Nazi regime before 9 May 1945 or killed by the regime (including being killed for their support of the Republic of Austria). In this case, killing and murder does not only mean active killing but also death as a result of being denied or failing to be provided with medical care and sufficient food or due to injuries that arose from torture.
An ancestor who:
Applicants must file an Anzeige (declaration) along with mandatory apostilled supporting documents.
The Austrian provincial government requires applicants who wish to apply for citizenship by ancestry to submit the following documents:
Each application is case-by-case dependent, but these are the usual documents that are required by the applicant on behalf of their ancestor:
All applications for Austrian citizenship by ancestry can be lodged at a local Austrian embassy or consulate general. However, we recommend submitting your application at the relevant authority in Vienna, Austria.
Applicants are advised to read all the requirements carefully before submitting their application. Thereafter, they will need to complete a client intake form to check for eligibility.
Since the law has recently been amended, contact us even if your application has been rejected in the past.
Henley & Partners can seamlessly manage the entire citizenship by descent application process for you, from helping you prove your lineage and your ancestors’ experience under the Nazi regime by checking various institutions and archives, to assisting with legalizing and apostilling documents, to liaising with the relevant authorities, to you receiving your Austrian passport in hand.
The process for acquiring Austrian citizenship through descent takes four to six months.
For more information on how we can help you secure your future by connecting with your family’s legacy, please complete the Austrian citizenship by descent enquiry form below.
Have one of our qualified advisors contact you today.