Most recent FAQs

Dependents

Is a British citizen’s child entitled to Austrian citizenship purely by dint of the being born on Austrian soil – ie. to non-Austrian parents.

No. Austria uses lex sanguinis (ie. citizenship by descent, so you are the nationality/nationalities that your parents are) and therefore you are the nationality that your parents hold. In my case, my first child was born in Austria to a Briton and a Russian, and therefore had claims to British and Russian.

We did not exercise the claim to Russian, since he would have lost Russian citizenship automatically when my wife naturalised as an Austrian, as Russians don’t allow the retention of Russian citizenship by minors of parents renouncing their Russian citizenship.

Were the child’s mother or father to be Austrian, the child can of course take Austrian citizenship (as was the case of my second and third children, who were Austrian by birth) by descent (durch Abstammung) and are treated as Austrian from birth. To note is that this also applies even if the parent through whom they have a claim to Austrian citizenship has only been naturalised shortly prior to their birth (in my case, I was an Austrian citizen for only 57 days before the twins were born).

In the event of the child’s parent through whom they have the claim to Austrian citizenship (most likely to be the father logically) dies prior to their birth, provided that at the time of death the parent was Austrian they would have a claim to Austrian citizenship.

NB: currently under British law, a child who is only British by descent (ie. my son through me, who was born in Vienna) is unable to pass on his/her British citizenship to his children by descent unless they were to be born on British soil, or in the event that they would be otherwise stateless, were this the case for both parents.

Categories: Dependents, Legal
  • Does this rule also apply to a child born here when the parents are not married? (Mother British, father Austrian – registered officially as the father)

    • Citizenship by descent (Abstammung) through the father is covered in Article (§) 7 para. 1 nos. 2 to 4 of the Staatsbürgerschaftsgesetz. It needs to read in conjunction with the General Civil Code (ABGB). It may dependent of legal acknowledgement of paternity.

      § 7. (1) Kinder erwerben die Staatsbürgerschaft mit dem Zeitpunkt der Geburt, wenn in diesem Zeitpunkt

      1. die Mutter gemäß § 143 des Allgemeinen Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuches – ABGB, JGS 946/1811, Staatsbürgerin ist,

      2. der Vater gemäß § 144 Abs. 1 Z 1 ABGB Staatsbürger ist,

      3. der Vater Staatsbürger ist und dieser die Vaterschaft gemäß § 144 Abs. 1 Z 2 ABGB anerkannt hat, oder

      4. der Vater Staatsbürger ist und dessen Vaterschaft gemäß § 144 Abs. 1 Z 3 ABGB gerichtlich festgestellt wurde.

      Vaterschaftsanerkenntnisse gemäß Z 3 oder gerichtliche Feststellungen der Vaterschaft gemäß Z 4, die innerhalb von acht Wochen nach Geburt des Kindes vorgenommen wurden, wirken für den Anwendungsbereich der Z 3 und 4 mit dem Zeitpunkt der Geburt des Kindes.

      • Article 144 ABGB reads as follows

        c) Abstammung vom Vater

        Abstammung vom Vater und vom anderen Elternteil

        § 144. (1) Vater des Kindes ist der Mann,

        1. der mit der Mutter im Zeitpunkt der Geburt des Kindes verheiratet ist oder als Ehemann der Mutter nicht früher als 300 Tage vor der Geburt des Kindes verstorben ist oder

        2. der die Vaterschaft anerkannt hat oder

        3. dessen Vaterschaft gerichtlich festgestellt ist.

        (2) Ist an der Mutter innerhalb von nicht mehr als 300 und nicht weniger als 180 Tagen vor der Geburt eine medizinisch unterstützte Fortpflanzung durchgeführt worden, so ist die Frau Elternteil,

        1. die mit der Mutter im Zeitpunkt der Geburt des Kindes in eingetragener Partnerschaft verbunden ist oder als eingetragene Partnerin der Mutter nicht früher als 300 Tage vor der Geburt des Kindes verstorben ist oder

        2. die die Elternschaft anerkannt hat oder

        3. deren Elternschaft gerichtlich festgestellt ist.

        (3) Auf diese Frau sind die auf den Vater und die Vaterschaft Bezug nehmenden Bestimmungen in diesem Gesetz und anderen bundesgesetzlichen Vorschriften sinngemäß anzuwenden. Gelten im Verhältnis der Eltern zu ihrem Kind und zwischen den Eltern besondere Rechte und Pflichten, so kommen diese gleichermaßen zur Anwendung.

        (4) Würden nach Abs. 1 Z 1 mehrere Männer als Vater in Betracht kommen, so ist derjenige von ihnen Vater, der mit der Mutter zuletzt die Ehe geschlossen hat. Würden nach Abs. 2 Z 1 mehrere Frauen in Betracht kommen, so ist diejenige von ihnen Elternteil, die mit der Mutter zuletzt die eingetragene Partnerschaft begründet hat.

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    Financial

    When am I expected to pay for the whole procedure?

    The citizenship procedure is paid for upon its conclusion. Some costs for submission of documents are paid while the procedure is ongoing.

    Category: Financial
    Tags: Costs, Payment

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    The costs of taking Austrian citizenship depend on whether the application is for a single person or for multiple family members, and also depends on the precise procedure that is used. The only cost of my application appointment was EUR 3.99 for a copy of the Niederschrift (transcript of the appointment), payable in cash or by card. The case officer does however have to notify the applicant about the envisaged costs of the procedure, which will be levied when citizenship is conferred.

    Categories: Financial, Paperwork

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    The current cost (since 6 April 2018) of renouncing British Citizenship is now £ 372. The fee appears to go up annually at the start of the UK tax year on 6 April.

    The current cost (since 6 April 2018) of renouncing British Citizenship is currently £372. A full list of charges for taking British citizenship or renouncing it is available here. The fee appears to go up annually at the start of the UK tax year on 6 April, and rose from £321 to £372.

    Categories: Financial, Legal

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    Legal

    You don’t need to have one, but I chose to also have a Personalausweis.

    I chose to get a Personalausweis to not continue to have to use my passport as an identity card (as I had to as a Briton). I got it a month or so after my passport, to ensure that the two documents do not have the same expiry date. It wasn’t essential or compulsory to have one, but the use outstrips the financial outlay (ca. EUR 65 when I applied in Summer 2018).

    Categories: Legal, Paperwork, Personal

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    No. Because of not being allowed to be stateless as naturalising from holding an EU Member State citizenship, the ceremony was held once I had proved that I had triggered the renunciation process (I sent copies of the full papers to MA35, including proof of payment), and therefore I was temporarily (for approx 2 weeks) a dual British/Austrian citizen. My Austrian passport was sent for processing on the day I gained Austrian citizenship, and I had it within four days. Until my renunciation was confirmed my British passports were still valid. I did not , however, travel with them again.

    Categories: Legal, Paperwork

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    Is a British citizen’s child entitled to Austrian citizenship purely by dint of the being born on Austrian soil – ie. to non-Austrian parents.

    No. Austria uses lex sanguinis (ie. citizenship by descent, so you are the nationality/nationalities that your parents are) and therefore you are the nationality that your parents hold. In my case, my first child was born in Austria to a Briton and a Russian, and therefore had claims to British and Russian.

    We did not exercise the claim to Russian, since he would have lost Russian citizenship automatically when my wife naturalised as an Austrian, as Russians don’t allow the retention of Russian citizenship by minors of parents renouncing their Russian citizenship.

    Were the child’s mother or father to be Austrian, the child can of course take Austrian citizenship (as was the case of my second and third children, who were Austrian by birth) by descent (durch Abstammung) and are treated as Austrian from birth. To note is that this also applies even if the parent through whom they have a claim to Austrian citizenship has only been naturalised shortly prior to their birth (in my case, I was an Austrian citizen for only 57 days before the twins were born).

    In the event of the child’s parent through whom they have the claim to Austrian citizenship (most likely to be the father logically) dies prior to their birth, provided that at the time of death the parent was Austrian they would have a claim to Austrian citizenship.

    NB: currently under British law, a child who is only British by descent (ie. my son through me, who was born in Vienna) is unable to pass on his/her British citizenship to his children by descent unless they were to be born on British soil, or in the event that they would be otherwise stateless, were this the case for both parents.

    Categories: Dependents, Legal
  • Does this rule also apply to a child born here when the parents are not married? (Mother British, father Austrian – registered officially as the father)

    • Citizenship by descent (Abstammung) through the father is covered in Article (§) 7 para. 1 nos. 2 to 4 of the Staatsbürgerschaftsgesetz. It needs to read in conjunction with the General Civil Code (ABGB). It may dependent of legal acknowledgement of paternity.

      § 7. (1) Kinder erwerben die Staatsbürgerschaft mit dem Zeitpunkt der Geburt, wenn in diesem Zeitpunkt

      1. die Mutter gemäß § 143 des Allgemeinen Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuches – ABGB, JGS 946/1811, Staatsbürgerin ist,

      2. der Vater gemäß § 144 Abs. 1 Z 1 ABGB Staatsbürger ist,

      3. der Vater Staatsbürger ist und dieser die Vaterschaft gemäß § 144 Abs. 1 Z 2 ABGB anerkannt hat, oder

      4. der Vater Staatsbürger ist und dessen Vaterschaft gemäß § 144 Abs. 1 Z 3 ABGB gerichtlich festgestellt wurde.

      Vaterschaftsanerkenntnisse gemäß Z 3 oder gerichtliche Feststellungen der Vaterschaft gemäß Z 4, die innerhalb von acht Wochen nach Geburt des Kindes vorgenommen wurden, wirken für den Anwendungsbereich der Z 3 und 4 mit dem Zeitpunkt der Geburt des Kindes.

      • Article 144 ABGB reads as follows

        c) Abstammung vom Vater

        Abstammung vom Vater und vom anderen Elternteil

        § 144. (1) Vater des Kindes ist der Mann,

        1. der mit der Mutter im Zeitpunkt der Geburt des Kindes verheiratet ist oder als Ehemann der Mutter nicht früher als 300 Tage vor der Geburt des Kindes verstorben ist oder

        2. der die Vaterschaft anerkannt hat oder

        3. dessen Vaterschaft gerichtlich festgestellt ist.

        (2) Ist an der Mutter innerhalb von nicht mehr als 300 und nicht weniger als 180 Tagen vor der Geburt eine medizinisch unterstützte Fortpflanzung durchgeführt worden, so ist die Frau Elternteil,

        1. die mit der Mutter im Zeitpunkt der Geburt des Kindes in eingetragener Partnerschaft verbunden ist oder als eingetragene Partnerin der Mutter nicht früher als 300 Tage vor der Geburt des Kindes verstorben ist oder

        2. die die Elternschaft anerkannt hat oder

        3. deren Elternschaft gerichtlich festgestellt ist.

        (3) Auf diese Frau sind die auf den Vater und die Vaterschaft Bezug nehmenden Bestimmungen in diesem Gesetz und anderen bundesgesetzlichen Vorschriften sinngemäß anzuwenden. Gelten im Verhältnis der Eltern zu ihrem Kind und zwischen den Eltern besondere Rechte und Pflichten, so kommen diese gleichermaßen zur Anwendung.

        (4) Würden nach Abs. 1 Z 1 mehrere Männer als Vater in Betracht kommen, so ist derjenige von ihnen Vater, der mit der Mutter zuletzt die Ehe geschlossen hat. Würden nach Abs. 2 Z 1 mehrere Frauen in Betracht kommen, so ist diejenige von ihnen Elternteil, die mit der Mutter zuletzt die eingetragene Partnerschaft begründet hat.

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    Someone I know was given Austrian citizenship by marriage, and didn’t have to give up their British citizenship. Why didn’t I get it when I married? Aren’t they breaking the law?

    This situation is known of, and was previously allowed, and the chances are that the acquaintance is of a certain age (without wishing to sound ageist probably 70 or over) Indeed the Staatsbürgerschaftsgesetz 1965 (repealed 1984/5) stated in Article 9 that a spouse could receive Austrian citizenship by marrying an Austrian (source: Stammfassung StbG 1965 https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/…/1965_250_0/1965_250_0.pdf) without any mention of the need to give up their British citizenship. This legislation was however repealed in 1984/5 and the current version of the Staatsbürgerschaftsgesetz 1985 as amended does not contain such a provision. There was only a requirement for the marriage to be intact “am Tisch und im Bett“.

    Category: Legal

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    Can a British citizen renounce as a minor. An interesting question…

    No. In my son’s procedure I had a case officer insisting that he would have to, despite my submission of a commented copy of the valid consolidated version of the UK Nationality Act of 1981 in the version most recently amended. I lodged the 102 pages along with 5 pages of comments in German about the provisions that apply in his case, and paid for this to be submitted for the file. One other case officer had the temerity to ask me when I thought she or colleagues would have the time to read it. I responded with a smile that she would not have to read the 102 pages, only the five page commentary, but failing that I reminded her that ignorance of a law is not a defence when a law is broken.

    In doing my renunciation, I even included a letter stating why I believed that it was in his interests to renounce his citizenship (in light of the fact that he could not pass it on without his own children being born in the UK, and that if he did not live in the UK prior to attaining majority he would not be able to vote in the UK). This letter, which appealed to the Home Secretary to exercise his/her powers to allow renunciation in my son’s best interests and permit his renunciation despite being a minor was rejected. My son’s application to renounce his British citizenship was rejected, he having taken Austrian citizenship by then and when I went to MA35 to lodge my official renunciation, the staff member conceded that I had done everything possible for my son to renounce, going over and beyond the requirement of the law, and that they accepted that he could not renounce.

    Some people have asked about whether a child might have to decide at 18 which citizenship to hold. While a child naturalising can be required to choose at 18, there is a limitation of six years for how long the file can be kept open. If the child is more than six years away from reaching majority, the file will be shut before this applies.

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    Paperwork

    You don’t need to have one, but I chose to also have a Personalausweis.

    I chose to get a Personalausweis to not continue to have to use my passport as an identity card (as I had to as a Briton). I got it a month or so after my passport, to ensure that the two documents do not have the same expiry date. It wasn’t essential or compulsory to have one, but the use outstrips the financial outlay (ca. EUR 65 when I applied in Summer 2018).

    Categories: Legal, Paperwork, Personal

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    My passport was printed and sent out to me within four working days of naturalising.

    4 working days. My passport was sent for processing on the day I gained my Austrian citizenship, and I took delivery of my passport four working days later. I subsequently had a Personalausweis issued a few months later that took a similar amount of time to be issued.

    Category: Paperwork

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    No. Because of not being allowed to be stateless as naturalising from holding an EU Member State citizenship, the ceremony was held once I had proved that I had triggered the renunciation process (I sent copies of the full papers to MA35, including proof of payment), and therefore I was temporarily (for approx 2 weeks) a dual British/Austrian citizen. My Austrian passport was sent for processing on the day I gained Austrian citizenship, and I had it within four days. Until my renunciation was confirmed my British passports were still valid. I did not , however, travel with them again.

    Categories: Legal, Paperwork

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    Can a British citizen renounce as a minor. An interesting question…

    No. In my son’s procedure I had a case officer insisting that he would have to, despite my submission of a commented copy of the valid consolidated version of the UK Nationality Act of 1981 in the version most recently amended. I lodged the 102 pages along with 5 pages of comments in German about the provisions that apply in his case, and paid for this to be submitted for the file. One other case officer had the temerity to ask me when I thought she or colleagues would have the time to read it. I responded with a smile that she would not have to read the 102 pages, only the five page commentary, but failing that I reminded her that ignorance of a law is not a defence when a law is broken.

    In doing my renunciation, I even included a letter stating why I believed that it was in his interests to renounce his citizenship (in light of the fact that he could not pass it on without his own children being born in the UK, and that if he did not live in the UK prior to attaining majority he would not be able to vote in the UK). This letter, which appealed to the Home Secretary to exercise his/her powers to allow renunciation in my son’s best interests and permit his renunciation despite being a minor was rejected. My son’s application to renounce his British citizenship was rejected, he having taken Austrian citizenship by then and when I went to MA35 to lodge my official renunciation, the staff member conceded that I had done everything possible for my son to renounce, going over and beyond the requirement of the law, and that they accepted that he could not renounce.

    Some people have asked about whether a child might have to decide at 18 which citizenship to hold. While a child naturalising can be required to choose at 18, there is a limitation of six years for how long the file can be kept open. If the child is more than six years away from reaching majority, the file will be shut before this applies.

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    Question received from a site visitor wondering whether renunciation forms could be circumvented by letting their UK passport expire.

    It is not that simple. Following my naturalisation ceremony, I had to subsequently prove that I had indeed renounced my British citizenship. Seeing as I had to submit and pay for the renunciation process to trigger the naturalisation ceremony, there was no way around doing it. I was also required to furnish the “registered” (ie. formally approved) renunciation of my British citizenship bearing the Home Office stamp and date with MA35 to conclude the process and for my file to be closed.

    Article 20 of the Austrian Citizenship Act of 1985 clarifies that renunciation must be done within 2 years of receiving Austrian citizenship. (Information checked on 05.01.2019).

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    Personal

    You don’t need to have one, but I chose to also have a Personalausweis.

    I chose to get a Personalausweis to not continue to have to use my passport as an identity card (as I had to as a Briton). I got it a month or so after my passport, to ensure that the two documents do not have the same expiry date. It wasn’t essential or compulsory to have one, but the use outstrips the financial outlay (ca. EUR 65 when I applied in Summer 2018).

    Categories: Legal, Paperwork, Personal

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    As a minor a child can only apply with their parent, not on their own. Unborn children will not have a claim to your British citizenship, if you are no longer a British citizen.

    Your child may apply as a minor at the same time for Austrian citizenship as you do it (although not on their own, but by extension (durch Ersteckung) in conjunction with your naturalisation. If your child has not taken up their British citizenship, to which they have a claim by descent (durch Abstammung) they would no longer have a claim to it once you naturalise and renounce your British citizenship. This of course would be of relevance to hitherto unborn children (I have children born after naturalisation who are Austrians by birth/descent (durch Abstammung – see Article 7 StbG – checked on 05.01.2019), who would have also qualified for Austrian citizenship in the unfortunate event that I had died after becoming an Austrian citizen but prior to their birth. This last point might sound trivial, but made a difference to us, given that my wife was stateless at the time of the birth of our twins, only 8 weeks after my naturalisation, by provided that I had been an Austrian citizen at the time I died would have received Austrian citizenship.

    There is no automatic mandatory naturalisation of your children if you choose to naturalise “Zwangseinbürgerung“, although some other citizenships demand that minors of parents changing citizenship also take the new citizenship (this is the case for Russian citizens). When my son’s naturalisation was done with mine, my wife and I had to provide a signed declaration (non-notarised) that our son had not taken up Russian citizenship in the mean time (even though this of course was not possible!)

    Categories: Legal, Personal

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    Revoke and Resume – not a road I will take.

    No. To gain Austrian citizenship will require me to give up British citizenship. The claim about “revoke and resume”, which Britain allows – i.e. to revoke your British citizenship to take another citizenship and then resume your British citizenship (at considerable cost) is not compatible with holding Austrian citizenship. Part of the reason for hitherto not taking Austrian citizenship hinged on the lack of a necessity to do so as well as the fact that prior to the UK Referendum on EU Membership, there was no need to do so, given that British citizenship entitled me to reside and work in Austria, and taken Austrian citizenship was contingent on giving up British citizenship. I am aware of people claiming that Britons in Austria may have used “revoke and resume” to obtain Austrian citizenship and then retake British citizenship , but technically, based on a commentary on the Citizenship Act, they lost Austrian citizenship at the point of resuming their British citizenship. There is too much at stake for me to risk this – it is not the Kavalierdelikt some think it is. See also my post on A quick primer about the Staatsbürgerschaftsgesetz 1985.

    Categories: Legal, Personal

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    Having been in Austria for approaching 17 years now, and not having a right to vote in the UK and with my contact to the UK now restricted to the occasion trip to the UK for work or pleasure, and feeling increasingly as though I don’t belong, and with the uncertainty about what will emerge from negotiations, I’ve decided that being financially “all in” in Austria, I might as well be towards the front of the queue rather than joining a longer queue as negotiations run on.

    I also find myself increasingly unable to identify with the government’s stance, and being unable to vote in the UK, feel increasingly isolated in this regard.

    I also have to consider my family’s position – working at an Austrian government agency might become more difficult/impractical once the UK leaves the EU, and as we are intending to stay in Vienna for the long-haul, even if my current job is not affected, I wouldn’t want to mix out on full access to the employment market in the event that the situation were to change.

    Category: Personal

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    Renunciation

    Can a British citizen renounce as a minor. An interesting question…

    No. In my son’s procedure I had a case officer insisting that he would have to, despite my submission of a commented copy of the valid consolidated version of the UK Nationality Act of 1981 in the version most recently amended. I lodged the 102 pages along with 5 pages of comments in German about the provisions that apply in his case, and paid for this to be submitted for the file. One other case officer had the temerity to ask me when I thought she or colleagues would have the time to read it. I responded with a smile that she would not have to read the 102 pages, only the five page commentary, but failing that I reminded her that ignorance of a law is not a defence when a law is broken.

    In doing my renunciation, I even included a letter stating why I believed that it was in his interests to renounce his citizenship (in light of the fact that he could not pass it on without his own children being born in the UK, and that if he did not live in the UK prior to attaining majority he would not be able to vote in the UK). This letter, which appealed to the Home Secretary to exercise his/her powers to allow renunciation in my son’s best interests and permit his renunciation despite being a minor was rejected. My son’s application to renounce his British citizenship was rejected, he having taken Austrian citizenship by then and when I went to MA35 to lodge my official renunciation, the staff member conceded that I had done everything possible for my son to renounce, going over and beyond the requirement of the law, and that they accepted that he could not renounce.

    Some people have asked about whether a child might have to decide at 18 which citizenship to hold. While a child naturalising can be required to choose at 18, there is a limitation of six years for how long the file can be kept open. If the child is more than six years away from reaching majority, the file will be shut before this applies.

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    Question received from a site visitor wondering whether renunciation forms could be circumvented by letting their UK passport expire.

    It is not that simple. Following my naturalisation ceremony, I had to subsequently prove that I had indeed renounced my British citizenship. Seeing as I had to submit and pay for the renunciation process to trigger the naturalisation ceremony, there was no way around doing it. I was also required to furnish the “registered” (ie. formally approved) renunciation of my British citizenship bearing the Home Office stamp and date with MA35 to conclude the process and for my file to be closed.

    Article 20 of the Austrian Citizenship Act of 1985 clarifies that renunciation must be done within 2 years of receiving Austrian citizenship. (Information checked on 05.01.2019).

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