How long did your naturalisation process take from start to finish?

Naturalisation timeline
Naturalisation timeline based on my experience

I had my information appointment in April 2017, and was given an appointment for the application (Antragstermin) in late October 2017. The decision confirming eligibility (Zusicherungsbescheid) came through at the end of April 2018, with the ceremony for Austrian citizenship taking place at the start of July 2018.

Do I need to also get 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).

Is my son/daughter’s British citizenship affected by my decision to take Austrian citizenship and renounce British citizenship?

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!)

Will you have dual citizenship?

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.

Britain hasn’t left yet, only signalled its intention to leave after negotiations. Why are you naturalising at this point?

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.