Austria Citizenship Investor Programme
Many countries have provisions that allow the acquisition of citizenship based on an investment and/or a direct contribution to the country’s development. The Article 10 (6) of the Austrian Citizenship Act states that the government can provide citizenship to foreign persons in case of extraordinary merit. This can be in various forms, including investment or any other form of economic benefit being brought to Austria. However, investment is not enough to be granted citizenship of Austria. The investor must also make some type of an extraordinary contribution to Austria besides investment, such as by introducing new technologies to the country or creating employment opportunities for local citizens.
Requirements for Austria Citizenship Investor Programme
Austria’s citizenship-by-investment provisions require an applicant to actively invest in the Austrian economy in the form of a joint venture or direct investment in a business which creates new jobs or produces more export sales. The direct investment should be significant and passive investments in real estate, government bonds, etc. do not qualify.
The citizenship criteria requires the standard documentation – passports, birth and marriage certificates, etc. in addition to a completely clean personal record substantiated by certificate of no criminal record, business background information, a comprehensive curriculum vitae, and impeccable references.
Generally, the applicant will be required to abandon his current citizenship as a precondition for being given the Austrian citizenship. However, if citizenship has been granted to someone under the provisions of Article 10 (6) of the Citizenship Act, then the person can legally maintain his/her former citizenship.
Procedure and Processing Time
The application process for Austrian citizenship requires government approval at many levels. It is therefore important that each application is carefully prepared and informal approvals are obtained beforehand from the key ministries before the applicant makes the investment and formally starts the application process.
Law firm Henley & Partners advises interested applicants on suitable investment opportunities, liaises with the various government ministries and agencies, and also helps prepare their formal application. The procedure would require a complete background check of the applicant and a personal interview in Austria.
On an average, it takes about 12-18 months to process a citizenship application in Austria. The final decision is made by the government of Austria. Successful applicants are granted full citizenship of the Republic of Austria and can apply for a passport immediately afterwards. Passports are usually issued within a few days of application.
Such grants of citizenship are never published or reported to other countries, as they falls under the Austrian’s government’ provisions relating to privacy/official secrets.
Benefits of Austrian Citizenship
An Austrian citizenship allows you to live and work anywhere in the European Union at any time. It also allows you to reside in Switzerland, which is very popular for its tax-advantaged residence.
Once you are granted Austrian citizenship, you are not subject to tax in the country unless you reside there. The Austrian passport has an excellent reputation and it allows you to do visa-free travel in Europe and also to the USA.
An Austrian citizenship also allows your family to enjoy full citizenship for life, which can be passed on to future generations by descent.