Austrian citizenship for investment: A working option or scam?


Becoming an Austrian citizen is harder than you think. It may make sense to pay attention to alternatives. For example, Malta citizenship by investment or economic citizenship Caribbean.

Searching for the ideal second passport and investment citizenship for many people involves the need to “dig through” a lot of articles, studying large amounts of data from different sources. And often they come across outright misinformation paired with colorful myths.

So, one of the most “long-playing” myths boils down to the fact that any well-off and clean before the law foreigner can easily become an Austrian citizen within a few months without much effort.

Austrian citizenship by investment is a myth?

The origin of this myth is difficult to trace. Presumably, it arose when representatives of several immigration companies began to claim that Austria has a “citizenship by investment” program. This statement is fundamentally incorrect. There are about a dozen States that issue passports to investors, but Austria is not one of them.

True citizenship-by-investment programs are usually used by small island countries that use the money raised through potential citizens to Finance their government spending.

The number of countries that introduce such programs is steadily growing. However, most of them are small island countries: from tiny Caribbean island States like Saint Lucia to equally small the European States like Malta and Cyprus. Yes, there are exceptions: recently an economic giant with a vast territory in the face of Turkey entered this market. At the same time, different States offer different conditions and advantages.

Austrian citizenship for investment and a “loophole” in the law

As is the case in many other countries, Austrian law allows the local government to grant citizenship to anyone deemed worthy by the authorities. In particular, it is possible to grant citizenship in this country on the basis of “exceptional merit” or “exceptional contribution”.

This “exceptional contribution” clause has been used by countries such as Singapore and the Gulf States to attract successful Olympic athletes to their national teams.

Earlier this year, Malaysia granted citizenship to a high-class Kosovar footballer to ensure the strengthening of its national football team. Kosovo has a bad passport, and Malaysia needs a victorious football team, which is why its government made such an unusual deal with a foreign athlete.

A number of other governments have made similar deals to attract top Olympians or world-famous artists to their countries to win gold medals for them or contribute to the cultural development of their new homeland, respectively. However, these conditions can also be used to encourage businesses and investors.

How do I become an Austrian citizen by naturalization?

Naturalization is the most common way to obtain citizenship. You live in a country for a certain number of years, pay taxes to its Treasury, learn the language of such a state, wave its flag (optional), and eventually, they give you a new passport. At the same time, to start the naturalization process, you will need to get a residence permit (residence permit or permanent residence).

There are countries that issue so-called “paper residency” that allows foreigners to circumvent naturalization requirements. In other words, it is almost impossible to live in the host country, not perform language tests, and/or use any other loopholes that make it easier to get a second passport.

Austria, of course, is not one of these places. At the same time, the Austrian legislation offers two programs of simplified residence registration at once. One is intended for” financially independent “individuals, the other for “key managers”.

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