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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Will my children get an Austrian passport if born in Austria?

Having an Austrian passport can bring many advantages, including rights to stay in the country and to vote in national elections, but are children born and raised here entitled to it?

Austria flag on field
An Austrian flag flies above a green meadow. Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP

Austria is one of the many European countries that adopt citizenship rules based on jus sanguinis, meaning that Austrian nationality is passed on by blood, not by territory.

Other countries also accept citizenship based on territory, so a person born in the United States or Brazil, for example, is considered an US or Brazilian citizen.

Both countries also accept “blood citizenship”, so a child born in New York to Austrian parents will be entitled to both citizenships (American and Austrian) based on US law.

It is not the same in Austrian law. The alpine country does not recognise citizenship jus soli, meaning that being born in Austria does not make a person Austrian.

If none of the parents of this child is an Austrian citizen at the time of birth, the child does not obtain Austrian citizenship either. Instead, they will receive whichever nationality their parents hold, following the parent’s country’s rules.

For example, a child of Turkish immigrants that is born in Austria will be Turkish even if their parents have been legally residing in Austria for years and were born here themselves.

Naturalisation process for people born in Austria

One alternative for people born in Austria to receive an Austrian passport is by going through a naturalisation process.

READ ALSO: COMPARE: Which EU countries grant citizenship to the most people? 

They will still need to fulfil specific requirements, but many will be easier for children born and raised here. For example, children who have six years of legal and uninterrupted residence in Austria and birth in Austria can already apply for citizenship instead of waiting for 15 or even 30 years of legal residence in some cases.

Many other points, including proof of knowledge of German at level B2 or five years of marriage to an Austrian, will also allow people who have been legally and uninterruptedly living in Austria for six years to apply for citizenship early.

Besides that, children born here have an “easier” path to citizenship in certain requirements. For example, those younger than 14 years old don’t need to submit proof of German language skills.

Kids will likely have less trouble proving they’ve had no problems with the law, administrative violations, and that they are not a threat to Austrian security.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get Austrian citizenship or stay permanently in Austria

However, they will need to renounce their previous citizenship. If not possible because of the other country, they will be asked to do so, or to “choose a citizenship”, once they turn 18.

Which children born in Austria are automatically Austrians?

Children automatically become Austrian citizens at birth if their mother is an Austrian citizen. The same applies to children whose parents are married if only the father is an Austrian citizen.

In cases where a child’s parents are not married, and only the father is Austrian, the child acquires citizenship by origin if the Austrian father either acknowledges paternity after eight weeks of the baby’s birth or if the paternity is acknowledged or proven by the court.

In these cases, when the child has parents of different citizenships, Austria allows for dual citizenship.

Whereas in a naturalisation process, the child will need to give up their other passports to become Austrian, if they have an Austrian mother and a British father, for example, they can keep both, according to Austrian law.

What can I do if I want my child to be a dual citizen?

One thing many parents do if they want their child to become Austrian and keep another citizenship is naturalising themselves before the baby is born.

The parent who naturalises Austrian will lose his or her previous citizenship, but the child will then be born to an Austrian and a foreign parent and therefore be entitled to inherit and keep both.

READ ALSO: How can I apply for dual citizenship in Austria?

For example, two American parents living in Austria could have an American-Austrian child if one of them naturalises before the baby’s birth. Provided, of course, they themselves fulfil the criteria for naturalisation.

A child could even hold multiple nationalities if they were all “by blood”

The child of a Brazilian-Italian father and an Austrian mother, for example, would be entitled to all three passports. They would not need to lose any citizenship – not even when turning 18.

Austria provides for loss of citizenship in just a few cases, though, including when a person voluntarily joins another country’s military service.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Am I eligible for Austrian citizenship?

How much does it cost?

Austrian citizenship is not easy to get. Besides the difficulty to fulfil criteria, and the need to renounce other citizenships, it is one of the more costly processes in the EU.

The application itself costs around € 130, and you can expect to pay between €1,100 and € 1,500 if you are granted citizenship.

That is only for the process itself, which does not include any legal assistance you might procure or the translation and certification of documents.

READ MORE: How much does it cost to become an Austrian citizen?

Follow-up costs, like for the actual passport, are also not included. Don’t worry, though. For this sort of cash, Austria takes credit cards.

Useful vocabulary

Staatsbürgerschaft – citizenship
minderjährige Personen – minors
Voraussetzungen – prerequisites
bestimmten Zeitraum – specific period of time
Nachweis von DeutschKenntnissen – Proof of knowledge of German

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MONEY

Reader question: Why haven’t I received my Klimabonus in Austria yet?

Austria started paying €500 to every resident in the country in early September. But some people entitled to it still haven't received the payment. Here's why and what you can do about it.

Reader question: Why haven't I received my Klimabonus in Austria yet?

With rising inflation, the Austrian government announced several measures to try and cushion the effects of higher cost of living for those who live in the country. One of the most talked about measures is the so-called Klimabonus (officially, the full name would be something like “the climate and anti-inflation bonus”), the €500 one-off payment that every resident in the country is entitled to.

The Klimabonus is supposed to be straightforward: no need to apply for it, no long queues, no different criteria or different amounts depending on income. However, there are two rules: the recipient must live in Austria for six months in 2022, and minors receive half the amount.

READ ALSO: Reader question: I’ve received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

The “easy” payments would be sent directly to the recipient’s bank account registered with FinanzOnline – those who do not have their data up to date would instead get a secure letter with Klimabonus vouchers that can be exchanged for money or used in hundreds of stores and supermarkets.

It hasn’t been that simple, though, as payments started on September 1st and many people still haven’t received their money. Here are some reasons why you might not have received your €500 payment yet.

READ ALSO: Why is Austria’s €500 climate bonus causing controversy?

You are not entitled to it

The first reason, of course, is if you are not entitled to the payment.

According to the federal government, “Everyone who has their main residence in Austria for at least 183 days in the year of entitlement receives the climate bonus – regardless of age or origin and citizenship.”

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Austria in October 2022

This means you must have your primary residence for around six months in 2022 to receive the climate bonus this year. So if you moved this year and haven’t been here for that long, then you are not entitled to it – yet.

If you moved but are unregistered with the authorities here (in other words, you haven’t got your Meldezettel), then you are also not entitled.

You recently moved to Austria

Those who moved to Austria this year might also only get their payment next year. This is because the government uses the data from July 3rd to assess who has been in Austria for 183 days.

READ ALSO: Reader question: I recently moved to Austria, will I receive the ‘climate bonus’?

This means that if you moved in 2022 and have not been in Austria for 183 days on July 3rd, you’ll likely end up in the second payout round to be made at the end of the year.

The same is valid for babies born this year in Austria. As these people won’t show up as living in Austria for 183 days as of July 3rd, they should get their payment (the total amount, referring to 2022) only in early 2023.

(© The Local)

You are one of the last people to get it

There is another reason why you might not have gotten your payment: you’re just last in line for this first payment. The transfers are made daily but capped to a – technical – limit and are made randomly.

According to the Linz IT company Programmierfabrik, which programmed the database behind the system, the payments are ongoing. Managing director Wilfried Seyruck said: “We have been making 300,000 transfers every day since September 5th.

“Therefore, it will take us 25 days until all 7.4 million claimants have received the transfer. We should be finished by the end of the first week of October.”

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What is the ‘Vollmacht Klimabonus 2022’ letter everyone in Austria is receiving?

So, if you are getting your payment through a wire transfer to your bank account, it might take a bit longer. However, it might take even longer if you don’t have your updated information with Austria’s FinanzOnline authorities.

As the government stated when they announced the bonus, those who don’t have their bank accounts up to date will receive a voucher instead. There are about 1.2 million people in Austria in that situation.

In these cases, it can take until the end of October to arrive by secure mail – and then people will have to trade the voucher for cash.

You got unlucky

We can’t rule out that there might have been an error in your case. You can check your bank information on FinanzOnline to see if the data is up to date and correct.

If you haven’t gotten your transfer or a voucher by the end of October – and there has been no announcement of delays by the government -you can reach the Klimabonus service team on the phone.

The service is available in German, from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm on 0800 8000 80.

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