A segment on this morning’s Ö1 Morgenjournal (Austria’s “Today on Radio 4” equivalent) mentioned that a new study by a Berlin-based researcher has highlighted and increase in British citizens moving to the EU since the 2016 referendum. It mentioned some statistics – for Austria the pre-referendum naturalisations by Britons could be counted on the fingers or one or possibly two hands.
It will be interesting to see how the statistics for 2020 and 2021 develop, with particular interest on the effect of the new §58c StbG provision that enters into force on 01.09.2020, which will allow Austrians who fled the Nazi regime to the UK, as well as their descendents up to two generations removed to take up their citizenship without having to revoke their British citizenship.
I recently asked the question through the Facebook page for this blog about whether anyone had identified any disadvantages from naturalising as an Austrian citizen. I disregarded the issue of having to renounce your previous citizenship(s) unless it could be proven that doing so was not realistic or so adverse that it would be more reasonable for you to retain your previous citizenship (this argument doesn’t apply for those naturalising from previously being British).
I’ve decided to give this question a separate answer in light of the fact that there seems to be some confusion still, possibly arising from the fact that people are mixing information between naturalising as an Austrian and naturalising with another EU citizenship that allows British citizens to retain their British citizenship as well as taking another EU citizenship for which they are also eligible.
The answer is simple. If you take Austrian citizenship you no longer have either the Anmeldebescheinigung (this is part of ensuring you this ability to exercise the freedom of movement), which you get after three months of living in Austria. If you have done a Bescheinigung des Daueraufenthalts you turn in this form in any case. If you naturalise as an Austrian you surrender whichever of these you hold when you become an Austrian citizen (for pre 2006 arrivals your Meldezettel or Bestätigung der Meldung covers the Anmeldebescheinigung).
If you are taking an additional citizenship of another EU country to supplement your British citizenship, the advice is to update your registration to reflect your new status i.e. amending your current residence documents to reflect your supplementary nationality.
This advice was confirmed by the HM Embassy in consultation with the Innenministerium as per the tweet exchange below.
At the start of August, I received a note in the letterbox to say that I had a package waiting. I went to the collection point and it turned out to be my returned renunciation documents back from Liverpool. My British citizenship was officially renounced on 24 July 2018, and my son’s application was rejected, as I had suspected would be the case when I wrote the covering letter, being rejected on the simple and categorical grounds of his being a minor as set out in the British Nationality Act of 1981. In addition, in a superfluity of modal verbs the letter advised that I “should return any valid travel documents that I may still have“. With the legal second having been named, I duly filed my British passports in a safe place (since they contain visa information that might be useful for applications for future visas), although they are of course no longer valid for travel. There is sadly no option for having them cancelled and returned.
I went into MA35 shortly thereafter to deposit this new information with them, but the specialist person I had been advised to see was away. Her colleague took my forms (a copy of the applicant’s RN form stamped as registered is what MA35 required to be able to conclude my process, including the removal of “British” from my nationality on my Melderegisterauszug, so that I was formally only listed as Austrian (this was important for reasons that will only become apparent in another future post). For my son, I deposited the correspondence regarding the rejection of his renunciation, which her colleague would look at upon her return and promptly went to the Altes Rathaus to have my Personalausweis issued.
I had already got my Austrian passport through the post and the ID card arrived a couple of days after ordering it in the same way. I’ve never got the UK’s opposition to ID cards, which seem to simplify a lot of day-to-day tasks – a credit card-sized document which allows me to get a phone contract, sign for a parcel and many other errand-related tasks, and which can even be used within the Schengen area in lieu of a passport, although I intend to still cross borders with my passport.
I haven’t done a Personalausweis for my son yet, due to the fact that doing one of course takes time and at the age of two would only be valid for a couple of years (Personalausweise are available for minors, but are not valid for the full ten years, as with mine, instead usually being for two or five years). I also wanted to wait for the conclusion of his process (to be handled in another post).
As this post is published, I will be seeing my case officer to finish off the naturalisation process for me and my young son. My case officer called last Monday and has requested that I come with my British passport, as well as my son’s and my Bescheinigung des Daueraufenthalts and my son’s Anmeldebescheinigung. We will be required to surrender these documents (since our circumstances have changed and we will no longer be UK citizens) and our Staatsbürgerschaftsnachweise will then be issued, and we can arrange for passports and Personalausweise to be issued, for which we again enlisted the services of Bildermacher on Tuchlauben (they are great with babies and toddlers) to sort us out with a new set of passport photos (once again the photos need to be recent (i.e. under six months old)). In addition, I have to bring just shy of EUR 1,500 to MA35 (in cash, hence why I delayed this post so will not be carrying the cash on me by the time this post goes online) to cover the costs of our naturalisation, in what I hope should be the final Behördenweg (in February 2017, when asked about Austria as a hub for business and what could be the pitfalls of trying to do business here, I mentioned the lengthy Behördenwege. The quote ended up on the national news, coupled with a rebuttal by the then Minister of Finance).Continue reading “The final steps on the road to Austrian citizenship”
According to UPS, my forms were signed for on Monday 18 June before 9am, and I had as requested, not received any acknowledgement to my mail from my case officer acknowledging the copies that I submitted electronically on 14th of the forms that went to the Home Office. I decided to go to MA35 on Thursday (21st) and queued up before the 8am opening time to ensure that the queue in front of me was not too long. Continue reading “With my renunciation forms at the Home Office, what next…”
I started this blog when I had already made the decision that I would naturalise and take Austrian citizenship. From the outset I have always advocated that the decision is the right one for my personal circumstances – both in terms of my professional activities and my family. Given my wife’s experience I am aware that the road ahead is a long one. A number of other Britons in Austria have asked why I already feel so convinced about the decision, while they prefer to wait and see. Continue reading “How do other Brits in Austria feel about naturalising?”
Both permanent residence and citizenship hinge on whether you are financially in a position to support yourself. I will have to produce various proof about earnings and my ability to support myself – they also take into consideration dependants (e.g. children or spouse). The same is true for those seeking permanent residence in Austria. Continue reading “Proof of financial means: How much is enough?”
A keyboard warrior felt motivated to recently accuse me of “treason” due to my having decided to start the naturalisation process to become Austrian. I dismissed the comment, filed the e-mail and will take the matter further if there is some kind of follow-up from the “gentleman” in question (the mail was signed with male forename). Continue reading “My eroded feeling of Britishness”