From Nachweis to Gelöbnis

One last queue ticket

As I woke on Monday morning, my head was still getting round the fact that David Davis had resigned on Sunday night, and that was only a foretaste of things to come, later on Monday. Just as I left the house, my Austrian football top arrived, so I hastily packed it into my bag. It was nice to see a friendly face at the entrance to MA35, who was there for a meeting, as I arrived early (since I was expecting a wait and a queue, but I was called straightaway. My case officer had my file in front of her, and there were more forms to sign, including the ones for passports for me and my son.

We ran through more forms, firstly my signing of the Bescheid (administrative decision) of citizenship, as well as me surrendering my Bescheinigung des Daueraufenthalts and my son’s Anmeldebescheinigung and then the two forms for setting up the ordering of  passports for me and my son, who mercifully did not need to be present.  After seeing my case officer I was sent down to the floor below where I was fingerprinted for the passport (a 2 year old is spared this) and then called up to my case officer again. At the point, she advised that I would need to wait about an hour, and that I would now have to pay for my process. I duly did this, with the reason for cash becoming clear, namely that the card terminals only accept a maximum of EUR 1,100 – so for one citizenship a card payment is no problem,  but two or more (e.g. family naturalising) then cash is still king.

While I waited for around an hour,  my case officer was busy with amending my and my son’s Melderegister entry, to reflect our new citizenship, and the title of citizenship and certificates that would be needed for the presenting to whoever needs to see them (Finanzamt, banks, employer). At just before 11am I was taken to the Gelöbnissaal, a small room with capacity for an official and up to ten people, with flags for Austria, the EU and Land Wien.  As the Bundeshymne was played from a CD (I was not required to sing, and I do regret that I had not learnt it note perfect to be able to do so, but as I was in the room only with my case officer this was not necessary), I signed the last documents, and then had to read the pledge of allegiance that is defined in the Citizenship Act of 1985 (Article 21).

Ich gelobe, dass ich der Republik Österreich als getreuer Staatsbürger angehören, ihre Gesetze stets gewissenhaft beachten und alles unterlassen werde, was den Interessen und dem Ansehen der Republik abträglich sein könnte und bekenne mich zu den Grundwerten eines europäischen demokratischen Staates und seiner Gesellschaft.

I read it with a strong emphasis on “europäischen” and “demokratischen”. My case officer concluded the ceremony, I thanked her for her work, and she added that she hoped my wife’s process would soon be finished. I reassured her that should friends also be naturalising I would be happy to help and guide them along the way, as it is a shame to let knowledge and experience gained not be applied wherever possible – and with a smile wished her well and said that I hoped my process might also have brought with it new insights and awareness of British citizenship law, although it was clear that the 102 page submission of the legally valid version of the British Nationality Act of 1981 was probably only printed out, but that no self-study had yet been undertaken.

Freshly Minted Austrian

The only step still to be taken will be to provide the documents confirming  renunciation of British citizenship once they come from the Home Office. Next week our new passports will arrive, and then we can change our Meldezettel accordingly. From application appointment to naturalisation has taken 257 days, which all told is pretty quick and close to “Mindestzeit”.

As I walked out into the sunshine, I changed into my Austrian football top to take a couple of pictures and then headed off to the office, as a freshly minted Austrian. After living in Vienna for 6,566 days, I am now an Austrian citizen, and my personal limbo is over.

10 Replies to “From Nachweis to Gelöbnis”

  1. Congratulations!

    As I read the part about your swearing to be a true and just Austrian I pictured myself in the same position, and I must say it did not come easy.

    It’s almost 10,000 days since I left the UK for Austria, but the thought of no longer being British still comes very hard for me.

    Thanks for the info you’ve posted on the blog. It helps to make the process a lot clearer for all of us who are still toying with the idea of following you down the same path.

    1. Hi
      I am currently getting the lorry-load of documents together required for the application for Austrian nationality and should have them ready in the next couple of weeks.
      I left the UK some 17.000 days ago and have been in Austria for the last 12.500 days.
      Can well understand the swearing issue but feel I would remain a Brit (I like the expression “gebürtiger Brite”) with an Austrian passport.
      Very interesting concerning the renunciation issue. It appears the British authorities need months to process a renunciation and if all applicants are treated equally by MA35 in that the officially confirmed intention to renounce suffices that is really good news!
      Once again, congratulations, Mike!

  2. Thanks Kevin – the further down the road towards naturalisation I have gone, the more I have come to realise that naturalisation it is not for everyone – personal circumstances ultimately determine whether it is a consideration, as well as the strength of your emotional bond to the United Kingdom. Part of my motivation for blogging the process was to also help inform others. One thought I have had, for those who are not yet sure, might be to get an application appointment to get a case number so that you might be able to be treated as an EU citizen if applying – which makes the process simpler than as a third country citizen.

    1. My renunciation was confirmed on 25th June by e-mail as having been received and then I got my stuff back this Monday, with my renunciation effective from 24 July 2018.

      1. Hi
        would appreciate further details here..
        I assume the UK authorities sent you an email to confirm your renunciation i.e. confirm the receipt of your renunciation request.
        But whom do you mean with “got my stuff back this Monday” – from whom? The UK or Austrian authorities?

        1. Hi Duncan, sorry for my sloppy formulation. I sent the form (Form RN) in to the Home Office in Liverpool on 14 June. It was accompanied by a sworn translation of the Zusicherungsbescheid, which had been issued by MA35 in late April. I received an e-mail on 25th June that my application to renounce had been received safely and giving me a link for further contact and a case number. On Monday I got back an envelope from The Home Office, which contained the original documents I had submitted as well as the applicant’s copy of form RN stamped as “Registered” which constitutes the confirmation of renunciation. There was also a cover letter with it. Hope that clarifies it a bit better.

      2. Oh mate you give me so much hope. Been away from my family for 6 months. Ours was received June 25th Still waiting Here’s hoping!

  3. Interesting article in der Standard yesterday- also the readers’ comments:
    See Daffy_Duck1’s comment

    Daffy Duck1
    7. August 2018, 07:34:44
    Ich warte seit November 2016, wohne seit über 30Jahren ununterbrochen in Österreich, erfülle alle Kriterien, habe alle Prüfungen zu 100% erledigt, war nur im Ausland ab und zu auf Urlaub oder auf Dienstreisen und habe kein Problem meinem Britische Pass (Brexit bedingt) abgeben zu können. Und trotzdem geht’s beim MA35 nicht weiter. Meine offizielle Beschwerde ist im Sand gelaufen. Und dafür wollen sie auch noch ein Geld dafür haben. Angeblich gibt es schon hunderte Säumnisbeschwerden.

    1. Thanks for the link – I think my experience has been relatively straightforward. This possibly confirms that so much in dependent on the luck of the draw with the case officer. My wife’s naturalisation is currently approaching the four year mark, and MA35 are finally acknowledging they had “severe problems in processing” in 2014-15

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