How does acquisition of Austrian citizenship by declaration work?

Austrian citizens or citizens of a successor state of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy, who were forced to leave Austria prior to 15 May 1955 for reasons relating to their race or for political reasons, and who subsequently lost their Austrian citizenship as a result of taking up a foreign citizenship may reacquire Austrian citizenship by declaration (durch Anzeige), as set out in §58c of the Austrian Citizenship Act (StbG 1985; Staatsbürgerschaftsgesetz 1985).

Possible reasons for being forced to leave Austria may have been:

  • Persecution by bodies of the Nazi party, or
  • Persecution by agencies of the Third Reich, or
  • (Fear of) persecution due to their support for the democratic Republic of Austria.

Since 1 September 2020, the direct descendants of such cases have also been entitled to acquire Austrian citizenship by declaration.

Foreigners considered as putative Austrians (Putativ-Österreicher) who would have been Austrian citizens by descent (kraft Abstammung), in the case of their paternity subsequently showing that they were not descendants, are able to acquire citizenship back-dated to the date of their birth by means of a declaration. Acquisition of Austrian citizenship by declaration does not necessarily require the person to renounce their previous citizenship.

Since under this circumstance citizenship is granted upon the declaration to the authority, it is recommended to check in advance with the competent authorities of the country you were citizen beforehand, whether in such a case you would lose your current citizenship (in the case of the United Kingdom, where dual citizenship is permitted, there is no impediment to holding both citizenships when acquiring Austrian citizenship under these circumstances).

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