Austria Citizenship By Investment – The Ultimate Guide By Experts

Austria, the land of breathtaking mountains, world-renowned Bavarian cuisine, and rich cultural activities. Austria is an immigration-friendly European Union country that rewards foreign nationals with Austrian citizenship, via its distinguished Austria Citizenship By Investment Program. 

In this citizenship by investment program guide, you’ll learn about:

  • How to qualify for Austria citizenship as a foreign national
  • Investment program requirements
  • Step-by-step guide on how to obtain Austrian citizenship
  • Plus more!

What is the Austria Citizenship By Investment Program?

Austria offers the opportunity for high net worth individuals to obtain citizenship by investment and an EU passport, in exchange for a substantial direct investment in the country’s economy. For an investment in a government fund or in a business venture that generates jobs, successful applicants receive visa free travel to over 180 destinations worldwide.

While other countries run citizenship by investment schemes like  the Switzerland Citizenship By Investment scheme, Austria’s program is unique in that rather than having set investment options on the table, investors have more freedom to choose their investment, as long as the investment is substantial and serves the Austrian government. Along with being an extremely wealthy country, opportunities for investors to start anew and access a myriad of lifestyle benefits are ripe in Austria.

An applicant for citizenship by investment must invest actively in the Austrian economy, such as through a joint venture or direct investment in a firm that creates employment or generates new export sales. In most cases, significant direct investment is necessary.

Why consider Austrian citizenship?

Austria provides for an excellent quality of life and privileges to its citizens. With jaw-dropping natural landscapes, and a stable economy, Austria makes for an outstanding place to live with your family members.

That’s not all; Austrian citizens are automatically given the same rights as any EU citizen, granting individuals the right to live, work, study and travel around Europe and the Schengen Zone freely.

Financial requirements for Austria citizenship by investment scheme

Under the Austrian Citizenship Act, the applicant must actively invest in the Austrian economy, either via a joint venture or investment in a business that creates jobs or generates new export sales to qualify for obtaining a passport immediately. Alternatively, the investor can donate a lump sum of money to a government fund. 

Unlike other Golden Visa programs, Austria does not allow for passive investments in government bonds or real estate to qualify. Only a significant direct investment is recognized. Moreover, the Austrian government accepts applications on a case-by-case 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
  • 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.

Investment Options For Austrian Citizenship By Investment:

Make a significant contribution to a government fund

Make a significant contribution to a government fund

Joint venture investment

Joint venture investment

Invest into venture capital

Invest into venture capital

Invest into an innovate business or business in an industry considered ‘first priority’ by the Austrian government

Invest into an innovate business or business in an industry considered ‘first priority’ by the Austrian government

Eligibility for an Austrian Passport

The Austrian Citizenship Act, set forth by government provisions, has established a few rules to consider when applying for an Austrian passport.

Namely, the following rules apply:

  • Be over 18 years old when applying
  • Hold a clean criminal record
  • Have enough funds to make the respective investment
  • Prove that the investment is legal and legitimate
  • Proof of German language skills (basic knowledge at the very least)
  • Knowledge of Austria’s democratic system and history of Austria and Vienna
  • Renunciation of current citizenship (Austria doesn’t recognize dual citizenship so your former citizenship has to be given up)
  • Uninterrupted legal residence in Austria

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Citizenship is issued at the exclusive discretion of the Government of the Republic of Austria, and there is no guarantee that your citizenship application will be approved.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTICE: Even though Austria doesn’t recognize dual citizenship and you`ll have to give up your current passport, there is an exception: if citizenship is granted under the requirements of Article 10 (6) of the Citizenship Act, the prior citizenship can be lawfully preserved, which means that the applicant may not be obliged to abandon their current citizenship.

According to Article 10 (6) of the Austrian Citizenship Act, citizenship is awarded based on the extraordinary services performed by foreigners in the past and the expectation of extraordinary services that will be performed in the future. Exceptional benefits are those that are now well above the average in their relevant field.

Benefits of Austrian Citizenship

Become an EU citizen provided you make a minimum capital contribution

Become an EU citizen provided you make a minimum capital contribution

The right to live anywhere in the European Union, including Switzerland

The right to live anywhere in the European Union, including Switzerland

No requirement to live in Austria

No requirement to live in Austria

Excellent education and healthcare

Excellent education and healthcare

Austria passport is extremely powerful

Visa free access to 189 destinations including Canada, Hong Kong, the rest of the EU, and Europe’s Schengen Area.

Whole family

How to get Austrian citizenship by descent? There is a choice for you and your family to enjoy lifetime citizenship, which can be passed onto future generations by descent.

Tax advantaged residence

Enjoy tax incentives with citizenship in Austria. Since there are no residency requirements, you may be exempt from paying certain taxes like income tax.

Step-by-Step Guide on Austria Citizenship

1. Consult with an immigration lawyer

2. Decide on investment route

3. Make the investment

4. Submit citizenship application

Application Processing Timeline for Austrian Citizenship By Investment

There is no formal application process as such, however, the estimated time frame for obtaining citizenship takes around 24 to 36 months. Due to privacy laws in Austria, the citizenship program is kept mostly under wraps. In practice this means that the granting of citizenship isn’t openly reported to any other country or government agencies.

By the decision of the Government of Austria, successful candidates are granted full citizenship of the Republic of Austria and can apply for a passport straightaway. Passports are granted in a few days.

Austria Citizenship Documents Checklist

The following documentation is needed when filing your citizenship application and is subject to government approval. 

 Generally speaking, it is advisable to seek assistance from an experienced investment migration specialist prior to starting your application process, since the requirements are quite meticulous. Successful applicants usually have a consultant onboard to increase the chances of success.

  • Comprehensive CV of all applicants aged 14 years and above containing details of place of residence since birth, education, vocational training, professional career, and details of personal circumstances.
  • Passport-size photographs
  • Birth certificate, marriage certificates, death of spouse if applicable, proof of divorce, and proof of previous marriages.
  • Proof of change of name.
  • Proof of adoption of child by applicant or spouse.
  • Proof of educational qualification.
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Proof of entry in Austria
  • Proof of good conduct and character where the applicant has spent more than six months.
  • Proof of income for three years immediately preceding the application.

Should I obtain Austrian citizenship?

As an Austrian citizen, life in Austria is excellent. An Austrian passport gives you comprehensive visa free travel to over  EU countries, and visa free access to 180 destinations worldwide. In addition, investors gain the right to live, work and study anywhere in the European Union.

Note that individuals granted Austrian citizenship don’t just fall under the investor category. Rather, citizenship for special merits is also available to people of art, science, and philanthropists backgrounds. Applicants receive full citizenship from the Republic by Austria on a case-by-case merit, and this isn’t openly reported since it falls within the Government provisions relating to privacy

Frequently Asked Questions About Austria Citizenship By Investment Initiative

What are the investment requirements for Austrian citizenship?

The main applicant must have a completely clean personal record, as well as invest actively in the Austrian economy and prove their investment has extraordinary merit. Investment options include investing in an active business or other innovative business, donating to a government fund, or investing in venture capital. The substantial investment must be legally maintained for citizenship to be granted, and the decision for citizenship is made at the sole discretion of the Austrian authorities.

Can I buy real estate to acquire citizenship via the Austrian investment program?

You cannot buy real estate to qualify for the program, nor can you buy government bonds like you can with other citizenship programs in many countries. Rather than a passive investment, you must invest actively in the Austrian economy. In return, the Austrian authorities grant citizenship. 

Is dual citizenship recognized in Austria?

 Unfortunately, dual citizenship isn’t recognized in Austria. You’ll have to renounce your previous citizenship.

Can my family become Austrian citizens too?

Yes, Austria’s Investor Visa scheme allows Austria citizenship by marriage, meaning that your spouse and dependent children under the age of 21 can also become Austrian citizens, provided that their present citizenship is renounced.

How much does it cost to get citizenship in Austria?

To get citizenship in Austria, people will have to pay a federal Austrian citizenship cost of 700 euros in addition to 76 euros of a provincial administrative fee. Married couples will pay a 1,400 euros federal cost and 152 euros of a provincial administrative fee.

Is it easy to get citizenship in Austria?

As the easiest way to get Austrian citizenship, you will have to stay in Austria for at least ten continuous years (five of which as a permanent resident), have zero criminal record, sufficient financial means, and a solid level of the German language.