Naturalizations in Austria on the Rise Again Due to Descendants of Nazi Victims

Lifestyle & TravelMore+ ♦ Published: February 17, 2022; 19:05 ♦ (Vindobona)

Naturalizations in Austria are on the rise again, mainly due to the large number of descendants of victims of nazi persecution who applied for citizenship thanks to the amendment to Austria's Citizenship Act. Read more about this increase in naturalizations.

The number of naturalizations significantly increased, almost entirely due to the naturalization of descendants of victims of the Nazi regime. / Picture: © BMI Bundesministerium für Inneres / Alexander Tuma

In 2021, there were 16,171 people granted Austrian citizenship, including 6,448 residing abroad.

The number of naturalizations of people residing in Austria in 2021 was 9,723. That is 10.5% higher than in 2020 (8,796 persons) but 7.4% lower than in 2019 (10,500 persons), the last year before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report by Statistics Austria, the total number of naturalizations (16,171) was significantly higher than in previous years, almost entirely due to the introduction of the possibility of naturalizing descendants of victims of the Nazi regime.

For these persons, most of whom live abroad, the possibility of naturalization has existed since September 1, 2020.

This was thanks to an amendment to the Citizenship Act (§58c StbG Abs. 1a and 1b), which now allows them to do so without giving up their previous citizenship.

In 2021, 6,427 persons received Austrian citizenship under this legal title, which corresponds to 39.7% of all naturalizations in that year.

Persons naturalized under §58c are most often nationals of Israel (2,612 or 16.2% of all naturalized in 2021), the United States (1,630 or 10.1%), and the United Kingdom (1,152 or 7.1%).

Previously, those naturalized for other reasons were most often citizens of Turkey (1,101 or 6.8%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (921 or 5.7%), and Serbia (782 or 4.8%).

One-fifth (21.0%) of all naturalized persons in 2021 were already born in Austria. The number of people naturalized that were women was 8,169 (50.5%), and the share of children under 18 was 30.1% (4,870 persons).

In almost all federal provinces, more persons were naturalized in 2021 than in the same period of the previous year; only in Styria were there fewer.

Naturalizations under §58c involved only 73 persons residing in Austria, so a regional comparison with previous years is almost unaffected by this.

Although the overall number of naturalizations was lower than in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, there were more naturalizations in three provinces (Carinthia, Tyrol and Vorarlberg) in 2021 compared to 2019.

By contrast, the decline in naturalizations in Styria was particularly sharp, at almost a quarter (-24.4% from 2019 to 2021). A decline of 10.3% was also recorded here in the comparison between 2020 and 2021.

Salzburg showed the second sharpest decline with -16.0% compared to 2019, while there were 0.8% more naturalizations here compared to 2020.

Statistics Austria