During World War II, approximately 126,000 Jews fled Austria to escape the Nazi regime. They were stripped of their Austrian citizenship by the Nazi government and forced to immigrate to other countries. Now, the Austrian government offers to restore citizenship to these victims and their descendants.

Our firm specializes in immigration law and provides comprehensive legal services regarding obtaining Austrian citizenship for descendants of Austrian Jews in Israel and around the world. Our experts will guide you through this process and will manage it from start to finish, until you receive an Austrian passport.

Who is Eligible for Austrian Citizenship?

According to the new Austrian law that came into effect in September 2020, descendants of Jews who lived in Austria during 1933-1955 and were persecuted by the Nazis, are eligible for Austrian citizenship.

As defined by Austrian Citizenship Law, victims of Nazi persecution are those who were sent to concentration or extermination camps, were forced to hide in Austria, had to flee the country, etc.

The new law includes all Jews who lived in Austria in the relevant years, until they were forced to leave. Therefore, an application can be submitted even for those who were not born in Austria, but were born in a country which was wholly or partially controlled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire: Italy, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia, provided they were residents of Austria.

If you, your parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents resided in Austria during those years – you may be eligible for citizenship.

If you are interested in Austrian citizenship but do not meet these requirements, you can read about other opportunities for obtaining an Austrian passport, including through investments, in this article.

Who is Not Eligible for Austrian Citizenship?

Even if you meet the criteria mentioned in the previous section, in some cases you may not be eligible for citizenship and your request will be denied.

Austrian citizenship will not be granted to a person who was convicted of a major criminal or financial offense, terrorism, or an attempt to harm Austrian democracy.

In addition, active service members of foreign military forces (not Austrian military) are ineligible to apply for citizenship, this includes the IDF. However, you will be able to submit your request for citizenship after discharge from the army. It should be noted that those who serve in the reserves in the IDF can apply for citizenship.

If you are interested in additional information about Austrian citizenship for career soldiers in Israel, click here.

 

In any case you may have concerns regarding your eligibility status, don’t hesitate to reach out to our firm for a consultation.

How to get Austrian Citizenship?

Anyone who was stripped of their Austrian citizenship or was forced to renounce it in order to emigrate from the country during 1933-1955 may apply. This procedure does not have time limitations, meaning you can submit the application at any given time.

In order to qualify for Austrian citizenship, you will be required to prove by official documents that you or your relatives were persecuted by the Nazis in Austria. Additionally, you will need to prove your relation to those family members.

If you have difficulty finding documents to support your application for Austrian citizenship you may need to conduct a research of relevant archives, in order to find certificates and other official documents to prove eligibility.

Which Documents Are Required?

As a part of the application process, you will need to sign a citizenship request form. The form should include details about the relative who was an Austrian citizen in the relevant years and their life story, details about the persecution by the Nazis, and the chain of events that followed. Beyond that, the form should also include general information about them, such as military service, career, address, and more.

In addition to the request form, you will need to submit the following documents:

  • Birth certificate.
  • Valid passport.
  • A document proving that the relative had Austrian citizenship at the time, for example, an old Austrian or German passport, residence certificate, or certificate of exile.
  • Proof of the date of emigration from Austria (needs to be 30.01.1933-15.05.1955).
  • Proof of other citizenship in another country, such as Israel, the USA, or any other.
  • Proof of name change according to a marriage or divorce certificate.
  • Documents related to military service, academic degrees, or any additional documents which can prove a connection to Austria and support the citizenship request.

The Austrian authorities may require additional documents.

How Much Does It Cost to Apply for Austrian Citizenship?

The Austrian government does not charge a fee for applying for citizenship in the case of descendants of Australian Jews. However, while submitting the documents is free, you might need to pay to obtain the necessary documents for the application.

Please note, it is crucial to know how the process works and understand which documents should be attached to the request. Therefore, it is highly recommended to go through the process accompanied by a lawyer who is an expert in this field.

Are Other Family Members Eligible for Austrian Citizenship?

Austria grants citizenship to those who were citizens during World War II, or to their direct descendants. That is, children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren.

The children of those who successfully completed the procedure and received Austrian citizenship will not be granted citizenship automatically, but they will have to face a shorter procedure. Children of citizens who are interested in obtaining citizenship as well can submit their applications.

However, if the children are born after the parents already had Austrian citizenship; the parents can register the children in the population register of Austria, which will automatically grant the children Austrian citizenship.

On the other hand, spouses of those who received Austrian citizenship will not be entitled to citizenship. In some cases, it is possible to apply for Austrian citizenship for spouses, but usually, the spouse has to live in Austria for several years in order to qualify.

Key differences Between Previous and Current Laws

If you looked into applying for Austrian citizenship a few years back and concluded you are not eligible, you might want to revisit this subject.

As mentioned previously, the Austrian government passed a new law regarding obtaining citizenship for descendants of Austrian Jews. This law came into force in 2020 and significantly expanded the eligibility for Austrian citizenship.

For example, the previous law allowed only the victims of the Nazis to apply for citizenship. The current law allows descendants of the victims to apply as well. Furthermore, the new law extends the eligibility period for Jews who lived in Austria until 1955 (10 years after the war ended), since many Jews had to stay in Austria at that time, to recover or to search for lost relatives.

Another difference that can be significant for many citizenship applicants is the ability to maintain dual citizenship. If you have Israeli, American, Canadian, etc. citizenship, you will not be required to give it up in order to obtain Austrian citizenship.

Benefits of Contacting a Lawyer to Obtain Austrian Citizenship

Austrian citizenship means being part of the European Union, which can open up lots of new opportunities (click here to read more about the advantages of a European passport). This fact, combined with the amendment to the law from 2020 that caused a significant increase in the scope of applications for Austrian citizenship, may make the process trickier than it used to be.

When it comes to a long, complex, and bureaucratic process like applying for Austrian citizenship – you shouldn’t face it alone. Our firm specializes in immigration law to Austria and will accompany you throughout the entire process.

Our lawyers will help you obtain the proof required for the application, will keep in touch with the authorities in Austria, and will deal with bureaucratic obstacles that may arise along the way. Call us now to schedule a consultation if you want to know how to get Austrian citizenship.

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