Citizenship by Investment
Austria – Business Investor Immigration
Austria is a favorite destination for foreign investors as the country was recently ranked the 12th richest country in the world, and its capital city Vienna has been ranked the world’s best city in terms of quality of life.
Austrian passport has an excellent reputation and well recognized worldwide. With a Austria residence it is possible to travel visa free in Schengen and other countries.An Austrian passport is one of the best travel documents in the world. It allows extensive visa-free travel (including to the USA) and gives you the right to live anywhere in the EU and additionally also in Switzerland.
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Background and Legal Considerations
Several countries have adopted provisions that allow the acquisition of citizenship on the basis of an investment and/or a direct contribution to the state as a means of development of the country. In Austria, Art. 10 (6) of the Austrian Citizenship Act states that the government can reward foreign persons with citizenship in the event of extraordinary merit. This may take various forms, including economic ones, and can include investment or other economic benefit brought to Austria. However, citizenship is not granted on the basis of investment alone. The foreign investor must make an extraordinary contribution alongside his investment, such as bringing new technologies to the country or creating a substantial number of new jobs.
Under the citizenship-by-investment provisions, an applicant is required to invest actively in the Austrian economy, for example in the form of a joint venture or direct investment in a business that creates jobs or generates new export sales. Significant direct investment is generally required. Passive investments in government bonds, real estate, etc. do not qualify.
In addition to standard documentary requirements (passports, birth and marriage certificates, etc.), a completely clean personal record (certificate of no criminal record), a comprehensive CV and business background information as well as impeccable references must be provided by all applicants.
The Austrian Citizenship Act generally requires the applicant to abandon his current citizenship as a precondition for being granted Austrian citizenship. However, in case of a grant of citizenship under the provisions of Art. 10 (6) of the Citizenship Act, the former citizenship can be legally maintained, i.e. the applicant is not required to give up his present citizenship.
The grant of citizenship on the basis of an investment involves various procedures and requires Government approval at several levels. It is therefore essential that the applicant is properly advised from the beginning, that each individual case is carefully prepared and that informal approvals from the key ministries are obtained before the investment is made and the formal application process is started.
Henley & Partners advises on suitable investment opportunities, liaises with the various government agencies and ministries, and finally prepares and lodges your application with the Government. As with other citizenship programs, the procedure involves a thorough background check, and applicants are normally required to attend an interview in Austria. Citizenship documents are issued after the citizenship application has been approved.
The average time frame for an application is 12 – 18 months. Successful applicants receive full citizenship of the Republic of Austria by decision of the Government of Austria, and can apply for a passport immediately afterwards. Passports are issued within a few days.
The grant of citizenship is not published and not reported to any other country, as it falls within the Government provisions relating to privacy/official secrets.