Background and legal considerations
Several countries have adopted provisions that allow the acquisition of citizenship on the basis of an investment and/or a direct contribution to the state as a means of development of the country. In Austria, Article 10 (6) of the Austrian Citizenship Act states that the government can reward foreign persons with citizenship in the event of extraordinary merit. This process may take various forms, including economic ones and can include capital contribution or other economic benefit brought to Austria. However, in Austria, citizenship is not granted on the basis of capital contribution alone. The foreign investor must make an extraordinary contribution alongside their investment, such as bringing new technologies to the country or creating a substantial number of new jobs.
Under the citizenship-by-investment provisions, an applicant is required to invest actively in the Austrian economy, for example in the form of a joint venture or direct investment in a business that creates jobs or generates new export sales. Significant direct investment is generally required. Passive investments in government bonds, real estate, for example, do not qualify.
In addition to standard documentary requirements (such as passports, birth, and marriage certificates), a completely clean personal record (certificate of no criminal record), a comprehensive CV, and business background information, as well as impeccable references must be provided by all applicants.
The Austrian Citizenship Act generally requires the applicant to abandon their current citizenship as a precondition for being granted Austrian citizenship. However, in case of a grant of citizenship under the provisions of Article 10 (6) of the Citizenship Act, the former citizenship can be legally maintained, that is, the applicant may not be required to give up their present citizenship.
The grant of citizenship on the basis of a capital contribution involves various procedures and requires government approval at several levels. It is therefore essential that the applicant is properly advised from the beginning, that each individual case is carefully prepared, and that informal approvals from the key ministries are obtained before the investment is made and the formal application process is started.
Henley & Partners advises on suitable capital contribution opportunities, liaises with the various government agencies and ministries, and, finally, prepares and lodges your application with the government. The procedure involves a thorough background check, and applicants are normally required to attend an interview in Austria. Citizenship documents are issued after the citizenship application has been approved.
The average time frame for an application is 24–36 months. Successful applicants receive full citizenship of the Republic of Austria by decision of the Government of Austria and can apply for a passport immediately afterwards. Passports are issued within a few days.
The grant of citizenship is not published and not reported to any other country, as it falls within the government provisions relating to privacy or official secrets.
As a citizen of Austria, you can live and work in the country and anywhere else in the EU at any time.
The Austrian passport has an excellent reputation and offers very comprehensive visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel, including visa-free access to the USA. It is without a doubt among the best travel documents in the world.
When you acquire citizenship under the Austrian Citizenship Act, you and your family enjoy full citizenship for life, which can be passed on to future generations by descent.
The granting of citizenship is at the sole discretion of the Government of the Republic of Austria, and we are unable to guarantee that applications will be approved. However, great care has been taken to provide the best possible safeguards for persons entering the application process. Prior to taking on any mandate, a written agreement is made between the applicant and Henley & Partners defining the responsibilities of both parties.
Key advantages of Austrian citizenship
- Opportunity to become an EU citizen upon making a substantial capital contribution
- Visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 184 destinations worldwide
- The right to reside anywhere else in the EU, as well as in Switzerland
- No requirement to reside in Austria
Please contact us for more information on citizenship in Austria or to arrange a consultation.