Name of country
- Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia
- 8,884,864 (July 2021 est.)
- The Republic of Austria (Republik Austria) is an inland European country bordered by the Danube River. Austria is a member of the European Union with a population of 8.5 million people and borders the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
- Austria has one of the world’s highest per capita incomes and human development indexes. The Republic of Austria also assures that its citizens have a good standard of living, access to high-quality and cheap health care, and a uniform educational system.
- Austria demonstrated the fastest median download speed during Q2 2021 with 98.79 Mbps
- For Austria, there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Plug type C is the plug that has two round pins and plug type F is the plug that has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Austria operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Per Capita GDP
Real GDP per capita
- $56,188 (2019 est.)
- $55,631 (2018 est.)
- $54,496 (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars
- temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain and some snow in lowlands and snow in mountains; moderate summers with occasional showers
- As an Austrian citizen, you have the freedom to live and work anywhere in the EU at any time.
- The Austrian passport has a good reputation and enables a wide range of visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel options, including visa-free travel to the United States. It is without a doubt one of the world’s best travel documents.
- When you become an Austrian citizen under the Austrian Citizenship Act, you and your family have full citizenship for life, which can be passed down through the generations.
- The investment is typically a minimum of €10 million if injected directly into a business or €3 million as a contribution to the government development fund.
- An application typically takes 24–36 months to complete. By the decision of the Austrian government, successful applicants are granted full citizenship of the Republic of Austria and can apply for a passport immediately. Within a few days, passports are issued.
- Because it falls under government regulations relating to privacy or official secrets, the grant of citizenship is not made public and is not communicated to any other country.
- Opportunity to become an EU citizen upon making a substantial capital contribution
- Visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 185 destinations worldwide
- The right to reside anywhere else in the EU, as well as in Switzerland
- No requirement to reside in Austria
To qualify for an instant passport, the applicant must actively contribute to the Austrian economy, either through a joint venture or investment in a business that creates jobs or generates new export sales, according to the Austrian Citizenship Act. Alternatively, the investor might make a one-time donation to a government-sponsored fund.
Austria, unlike other Golden Visa schemes, does not accept passive investments in government bonds or real estate. Only a substantial direct investment is acknowledged. Furthermore, the Austrian government considers applications on an individual basis.
While the investment amounts aren’t set in stone (but usually range from €2-10 million), there are several rules in place for investors.
- The main applicant must have a notable influence over an entity
- The entity should have a strong economic performance indicator
- A significant number of full-time jobs are to be created from the investment
- The substantial investment must be made (usually in the millions)
- The entity has to have an international reputation
- The achievements of the investor must support Austria’s external relations in the economic sector.
Procedures and Time Frame
- In application typically takes 24–36 months to complete. By the decision of the Austrian government, successful applicants are granted full citizenship of the Republic of Austria and can apply for a passport immediately. Within a few days, passports are issued.
- Because it falls under government regulations relating to privacy or official secrets, the grant of citizenship is not made public and is not communicated to any other country
- Oil, coal, lignite, timber, iron ore, copper, zinc, antimony, magnesite, tungsten, graphite, salt, hydropower
- Austrian 80.8%, German 2.6%, Bosnian and Herzegovinian 1.9%, Turkish 1.8%, Serbian 1.6%, Romanian 1.3%, other 10% (2018 est.)
- German (official nationwide) 88.6%, Turkish 2.3%, Serbian 2.2%, Croatian (official in Burgenland) 1.6%, other (includes Slovene, official in southern Carinthia, and Hungarian, official in Burgenland) 5.3% (2001 est.)
- Catholic 57%, Eastern Orthodox 8.7%, Muslim 7.9%, Evangelical Christian 3.3%, other/none/unspecified 23.1% (2018 est.)
- total: 44.5 years
- male: 43.1 years
- female: 45.8 years (2020 est.)
- urban population: 59% of total population (2021)
- rate of urbanization: 0.68% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
- 5.17 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
- federal parliamentary republic
- 7.35% (2019 est.)
- 7.7% (2018 est.)
- Headline Personal Income Tax Rate (highest marginal tax rate) – 55%
- Headline Corporate Income Tax Rate (excluding dividend taxes) – 25%
Austrian citizenship Benefits
Austrian citizenship is highly coveted:
- This can be of relevance when traveling to the EU, when acquiring companies in the EU or when investing in real estate in the EU – since Austria is an EU Member State.
- This can be of relevance when traveling to countries outside of the EU – since an Austrian passport is one of the top ten passports worldwide and allows visa-free travel to approx. 190 destinations.
Austrian Citizenship (General)
1. Austrian citizenship can be acquired by virtue of:
- descent (i.e., the mother or the father of a child is an Austrian citizen at the time of its birth); and
- conferral (i.e., upon application of a foreigner fulfilling certain conditions).
2. Austria is extremely restrictive in conferring citizenship to foreigners.
3. In the following, we will mention (i) the normally unproblematic conditions; and (ii) the sometimes problematic conditions.
Austrian citizenship (Normally unproblematic conditions)
There are a number of normally unproblematic conditions which have to be met:
- The applicant must not have been sentenced to imprisonment for certain criminal offenses (including tax offenses) by a court and must not have been charged with certain criminal offenses (including tax offenses) which could lead to imprisonment.
- The applicant must not have such relations with foreign states that the granting of citizenship would damage the interests of the Republic of Austria.
- The applicant’s past behavior must warrant that he/she has an affirmative attitude towards the Republic of Austria and does not pose a threat to public peace, order and security.
- The applicant must not have been the subject of an entry ban or a similar residency law offense.
- The applicant must not have a close relationship with an extremist or terrorist group.
Austrian citizenship (Sometimes problematic conditions)
There are a number of sometimes problematic conditions which have to be met:
- The applicant must have had his/her residence in Austria for at least ten years.
- The applicant must have given up his/her foreign citizenship(s).
- The applicant must have provided proof of sufficient German language skills.
- The applicant must have provided proof of a basic knowledge of the democratic system and the history
In the following, we will discuss two cases where these four conditions do not apply, namely (i) citizenship for descendants of Nazi victims; and (ii) citizenship due to exceptional achievements.
Citizenship due to exceptional achievements (General)
1. Individuals may be granted Austrian citizenship (cf. sec. 10(6) of the Austrian Citizenship Act):
- due to exceptional achievements which have been adduced by the foreigner, and which are also expected to be adduced in the future,
- if this is in the particular interest of the Republic of Austria.
2. The law does not contain a definition of the terms used above. However, the Federal Minister for Internal Affairs (Bundesminister für Inneres) has issued guidelines clarifying the term “exceptional achievements”:
- Pursuant thereto, exceptional achievements are such that significantly exceed average achievements in the respective field. Citizenship may not be bestowed merely for honorary purposes.
- The guidelines deal with cases of exceptional achievements in four areas: (i) science; (ii) business; (iii) sports; and (iv) arts. This does not mean that exceptional achievements in other areas are not possible (e.g., philanthropy).
3. In the past, mostly sportsmen, artists and business people have successfully made use of this provision.
Citizenship due to exceptional achievements (Process 1/3)
1. Pursuant to a decree issued by the Federal Government (BGBl II 39/2014), the process will usually be run roughly as follows, involving a number of different persons and institutions:
- The Provincial Government (Landesregierung), which ultimately issues the decision on the awarding of citizenship, has to assess whether the general award criteria are fulfilled.
- If that is the case, the Provincial Government has to submit the application to the Federal Minister forInternal Affairs. The application needs to contain detailed and well-founded in formation relating to the applicant’s exceptional achievements as well as supporting documentation.
2. The Federal Minister for Internal Affairs has to forward copies of the application to the relevant Federal Ministers for assessment of whether the awarding of Austrian citizenship is in the special interest of the Republic of Austria due to exceptional achievements.
- For example, in relation to economic achievements, the Federal Minister for Digitalization and Business Location (Bundesminister für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort) is competent.
- For cultural achievements, it is the Federal Minister for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sports (Bundesminister für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlicher Dienst und Sport).
- In respect of applicants not having their main residence in Austria, also the Federal Minister for European and International Affairs (Bundesminister für Europäische und Internationale Angelegenheiten) has to be involved.
Citizenship due to exceptional achievements (Process 2/3)
1. The Federal Ministers involved may obtain statements from experts in the respective areas of specialization. In relation to, e.g., achievements in the field of business, the Federal Ministry for Digitalization and Business Location will examine the case through its own specialist departments, but will also ask the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich) and the Austrian Business Agency (Österreichische Industrieansiedlungs- und WirtschaftswerbungsgmbH) for their written statements. The Austrian Chamber of Commerce, in turn, will regularly involve its subdivisions on a local and industry-specific level (i.e., those subdivisions which can assess the economic effects referred to in the application). In the past, we have seen cases where it was particularly helpful to submit to the relevant Federal Minister favourable statements from well-known politicians and/or businessmen.
2. As soon as the relevant Federal Minister has finalized its reasoned opinion, it will forward it to the Federal Minister for Internal Affairs. The opinion has to state the main reasons underlying the assessment, in particular in relation to the evaluation of the exceptional achievements which have been adduced and which are also expected to be adduced by the foreigner in the future and the reasons why the awarding of Austrian citizenship is in the special interest of the Republic of Austria. Further, it has to be evident whether the Federal Minister supports the awarding of Austrian citizenship or not.
3. As a next step, the Federal Minister for Internal Affairs prepares the file, taking into account the statements received, and issues a reasoned recommendation for the decision-making by the Federal Government (Bundesregierung).
Citizenship due to exceptional achievements (Process 3/3)
1. The Federal Government decides regularly, and at least once every calendar half-year, on the granting (or non-granting) of the confirmation pursuant to sec. 10(6) of the Austrian Citizenship Act. The Federal Government has a large degree of discretion in finding whether a particular case meets the criteria; its decision is final and cannot be appealed. Austria currently has a coalition government, consisting of members of the Austrian People’s Party (Österreichische Volkspartei; ÖVP) and the Green Party (Die Grünen).
2. The decision by the Federal Government is to be forwarded by the Federal Minister for Internal Affairs to the respective Provincial Government.
3. Subsequently, the Provincial Government will examine the general award requirements and issue its decision. Even if there is a positive decision by the Federal Government, there could be a negative decision by the Provincial Government in case the general requirements are not anymore fulfilled.
4. The Provincial Government has to pass on a copy of its decision to the Federal Minister for Internal Affairs.
Citizenship due to exceptional achievements (Our assistance)
1. In the past, we have successfully advised a large number of applicants in respect of sec. 10(6) of the Austrian Citizenship Act.
2. Due to (i) our large network of contacts (resulting from the size of our firm); and (ii) our experience with this process (resulting from the number of cases we have handled), we are able to assist you in bringing an application for Austrian citizenship due to exceptional achievements to a successful conclusion.
3. The whole process of obtaining Austrian citizenship takes between one and three years.