For members


How foreigners can get fast-track citizenship in Austria

People generally have to live in Austria for at least ten years before they can become naturalised Austrians - but in some cases, this can be cut to six in many instances. Here's what you need to know about ways of fast-tracking your citizenship application.

How foreigners can get fast-track citizenship in Austria
An Austrian and a European flag flutter in the wind. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

Austrian citizenship can be granted to people who live in the country through the naturalisation process – which isn’t particularly easy. In fact, Austria has one of Europe’s hardest citizenship acquisition processes.

If you were not born Austrian, then you are entitled to naturalise after “at least ten years of lawful and uninterrupted residence in Austria, including at least five years under a residence permit”, according to the federal government.

READ ALSO: Austrian citizenship: Do you really have to renounce your original nationality?

There are also several other requirements, including having “irreproachable integrity” (such as no criminal convictions and no pending criminal proceedings), proving you have sufficient resources to support yourself, having a knowledge of German and a basic understanding of the democratic system, and more.

Everyone applying for citizenship must pass these requirements (with few exceptions). However, the ten-year residence rule comes with many exceptions. Here’s how you can fast track your application:

How to apply for naturalisation after six years

If you fulfil the general conditions for naturalisation, you can apply for it after six years of lawful and uninterrupted residence in Austria in any of these cases:

  • You have been lawfully married to an Austrian national for five years and the spouses live in the same household.
  • You possess EU or EEA citizenship.
  • You were born in Austria.
  • Granting citizenship is in the interests of the Republic of Austria “on account of extraordinary accomplishments in the scientific, economic, artistic or sporting fields that have already been achieved or are expected.”
  • You provide proof of sustainable personal integration, which can be done by showing a B2 level of knowledge of German or a B1 level and personal integration (such as three years of voluntary work or professional experience in the educational, social or healthcare sector).

READ ALSO: Could Austria change the rules around citizenship?

austria austrian passport

Austrian citizenship is not easy to get. (© The Local)

How can I apply for Austrian citizenship immediately?

The naturalisation process requires you to live in Austria for a certain number of years. Still, some people are entitled to citizenship regardless of how long they live in the country. In fact, they don’t even need to live in Austria at all.

This is the case for people with “Austrian blood” (Jus Sanguinis) and descendants of the victims of the National Socialism (Nazi) regime.

Children born to an Austrian citizen mother automatically become Austrian citizens themselves at birth.

But if only the father is Austrian and the parents are not married, then an acknowledgement of paternity (Vaterschaftsanerkenntnis) can be made for the child to become Austrian. In cases like this, children can also have dual citizenship. Furthermore, descendants of victims of the Nazi regime can also maintain their previous citizenship.


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For members


How Austria wants to attract more police officers

Austria's staff shortage crisis also affects the police sector, and authorities throughout the country are urgently looking for recruits. Now, they are offering certain perks, but they won't change a crucial basic requirement.

How Austria wants to attract more police officers

Austria’s staff shortage is mainly caused by generational issues – as the baby boomer generation retires – and fewer people are joining the work market. The situation is more pronounced in certain professions, which are particularly demanding (or have been more demanding in recent years), such as healthcare and education.

The police are also urgently looking for new recruits throughout Austria. It is reducing admission criteria and going even further by announcing recruitment bonuses for police officers who recruit new workers. 

The Ministry of Interior is considering offering bonuses of between €500 to €1,000 in the “referral” program.

READ ALSO: Do foreigners in Austria have to carry ID?

There are also changes in the admission procedure itself. Those who fail once can reapply more quickly than before (currently, they need to wait one year). Further details are to be announced in the coming weeks.

According to Austrian media, there was talk that the sports test, which has a 26 percent failure rate, could be cancelled. An indication in this direction is that the Ministry of the Interior has already announced that other qualities will count in the future selection process. For example, the Ministry is increasingly seeking “competencies in the area of communication and conflict resolution.”

Additionally, newcomers will have fewer hurdles. They’ll no longer have to have a driver’s licence already – and will even be reimbursed up to €1,400 for successfully getting a driver’s licence if they also complete their basic police training.

READ ALSO: How critical is the situation in Austrian hospitals?

Another perk is intended to make the police service more attractive to recruits. 

The Ministry of the Interior plans to introduce a measure to reimburse police students for the cost of a Klimaticket (Austria’s federal transport ticket) as part of an effort to enhance recruitment, according to a statement to APA. 

However, the move has faced criticism from the FSG trade union. Hermann Greylinger, head of FSG, acknowledged that their request had been partially granted but emphasised that extending the benefit to all police officers would have been “more favourable”, as expressed by the union representatives.

READ ALSO: ‘I won’t give up my nationality’: Why foreigners choose not to become Austrian

Under the new arrangement, all police students in Austria, including administrative trainees and apprentices, will have their Klimaticket expenses covered by the ministry during their two-year basic training. The implementation of this regulation is expected in the summer of 2023, confirmed spokesperson Markus Haindl.

What won’t change?

There is one requirement to being a police officer in Austria that the government has no intention of changing: the citizenship requirement.

Currently, police recruits need to hold Austrian citizenship and foreigners, even those born and raised in Austria, are not allowed to apply for a position within the police force. 

According to Statistik Austria, Austria has more than 1.6 million (data from mid-2022) foreign citizens living in the country.