Austria’s immigrant investor program gives the opportunity to qualifying ultra-high-net-worth individuals to directly obtain citizenship through a sizeable investment into the Austrian economy. Family members, including an applicant’s spouse and dependent children under the age of 18, are all included in a single application. Citizenship is granted for the lifetime of its holder, and can be passed on to future generations by descent.
In general, foreign nationals must reside in Austria as permanent residents for 10 years prior to obtaining citizenship. However, investors that make a significant contribution to the nation through this immigration program get to bypass the lengthy residence requirement and fast-track their way directly to citizenship. Other European programs offer residence in return for investment, and not citizenship.
Bottom of FormA second citizenship and passport from Austria can offer you and your family safety and peace in times of political unrest. Austria is a small, peaceful country located in the heart of Europe with a solid global reputation. Millions of tourists travel to Austria each year to experience the country’s rich heritage, to ski the Alps, and to attend festivals that demonstrate the nation’s unique culture, cuisine, arts and music.
Austria is not only loved by tourists, but it is also among the most desired countries for foreign investors as it was ranked the 13th richest country in the world in 2016 based on GDP per capita. In addition, Austria’s capital, Vienna, was named the world’s best city for quality of life. Austria has a thriving economy, a high standard of living, and very well regarded education and healthcare systems.
The Austrian Citizenship Act states that the government can grant citizenship to foreign nationals in the event of “extraordinary merit”. Investors in Austria’s citizenship by investment program are expected to actively engage in the Austrian economy by investing around €10 million into a business or joint venture. The investment alone does not qualify an investor for citizenship, as it must bring a significant contribution to the Austrian economy, such as the creation of new jobs or the introduction of new technologies to the country. Passive investments including government bonds and real estate are not eligible under the citizenship by investment program.
As Austria grants direct citizenship and the country wants to maintain its status as one of the safest countries in the world, an interview is generally required, as well as a personal visit to Austria to complete the formalities at a citizenship ceremony.
The average processing time from application submission to citizenship approval is approximately 12-18 months. Many documents are required for an Austrian citizenship by investment application. In addition to the standard documentation, the applicant must have an excellent financial history, a clear criminal record, exceptional business background, as well as several character and employment references.
The Austrian investment-based citizenship program is a rigorous process and requires government approval at several levels. Having sufficient investment funds alone does not guarantee that citizenship will be issued. The Austrian government is looking for both the ultra wealthy and the best individuals to contribute to the nation.
Austrian passport holders may also purchase real estate or transfer their assets to any EU member state. In addition, Austrian passport holders do not require visas to enter the U.S. if their planned stay will be less than 90 days, due to the special international travel agreement between the two countries.
Once the passport is obtained, there is no requirement to physically reside in Austria if the investor chooses not to relocate. As a non-tax resident, investors who are not residing in Austria are not subject to paying the nation’s taxes.
The Austrian government treats citizenship by investment applications with the highest level of secrecy, and will never publicize or reveal the issuance of a new passport to any foreign government. There is also no need to renounce former citizenships in order to obtain Austrian citizenship.
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