From September 1, 2020, it is becoming easier for victims of the Nazis and their descendants to acquire Austrian citizenship. They will only be required to notify the authorities of their claim rather than having to submit an application and they will not be required to give up their existing nationality.
An amendment to the Citizenship Act passed in October 2019 facilitates the acquisition of Austrian citizenship for Austrian victims of the Nazi regime and their descendants from September 1. The relevant Section 58c(1a) of the Citizenship Act applies to
- citizens of Austria,
- citizens of one of the successor states of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy,
- and to stateless persons,
whose main residence was in Austria and who were forced to flee abroad before May 15, 1955 because they “feared or suffered persecution by organs of the NSDAP or by authorities of the Third Reich. Or because they stood up for the Democratic Republic of Austria and were therefore subjected to persecution or had reason to fear such persecution.”
The law also covers the direct descendants of such persons—i. e. children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. as well as adopted children who were adopted as minors. They too can obtain Austrian citizenship by notification.
You can submit this notification to the competent Austrian embassy or consulate general (see list), which will forward it to the competent authority in Austria, namely “Magistratsabteilung 35” (MA 35) of the City of Vienna:
MA 35 Department for Citizenship
1200 Vienna, Dresdner Straße 93, Block C
Please note: In some countries, you automatically lose your citizenship if you take up a foreign (in this case Austrian) citizenship. If in doubt, we recommend that you contact the citizenship authorities in your home country prior to submitting your notification.
Advice from ESRA
In addition to the information provided by Austrian embassies and consulates, the ESRA Psychosocial Centre in Vienna also provides advice on the new law. If you have an uncertainties or questions regarding your right to claim Austrian citizenship, or if you have any questions about the application process itself, please get in touch with the advisers at ESRA. ESRA gives advice free of charge.
If your relative is still alive, ESRA will also assist you with possible claims for compensation.
- Supporting advice is also provided by the National Fund of the Republic of Austria
- Information provided by the Jewish Community of Vienna (IKG)
- Information provided by the Austrian Foreign Ministry
- Form for notifying intention to acquire Austrian citizenship
- City of Vienna: Acquiring Austrian citizenship for persons persecuted by the Nazi regime and their descendants