It’s rare to see one of the wealthiest countries in Europe give away citizenship to a wealthy investor. But that’s exactly what we have with the Austira Golden Visa program!
Considered to be one of the economically wealthiest countries with a high quality of life in Europe, Austria welcomes wealthy third-country nationals to come and invest and get citizenship in return.
However, Austrian citizenship is costly and has some strict limitations. The investment minimum is between €2 million and €10 million. This investment must contribute to the country’s economy and create jobs for Austrian residents.
Getting Austrian citizenship through the Austria Golden Visa also requires applicants to relinquish their original citizenship. Unfortunately, Austria does not allow dual citizenship.
The most significant deterrent of the Austria Golden Visa is that only 300 applications may be approved annually due to strict quotas.
The Austria Golden Visa isn’t all about limitations, though! The investment options are very flexible.
Rather than investing a set amount in a particular fund like other golden visa programs, the Austria Golden Visa looks at the quality and effect of the investment to determine whether the investor is eligible for citizenship.
The entire Austria Golden Visa application process can take around 36 months to complete and have citizenship granted.
Applicants may include spouses and children in their application, giving them Austrian citizenship as well.
In this article, we will dive into the details of the Austria Golden Visa, including the benefits, eligibility requirements, investment options, and how to apply.
What is a Golden Visa?
A golden visa is an opportunity for wealthy individuals to obtain either residency, permanent residency, or citizenship in a foreign country in exchange for a significant investment or property purchase.
These visas are excellent for entrepreneurs, retirees, and wealthy individuals who want to diversify their assets and lifestyle.
Obtaining a golden visa can set applicants up for successful investments and even grant them a second passport. Family members may also be included, allowing the entire family to benefit from a second residency.
Benefits of the Austria Golden Visa
While you may have to give up your original citizenship to obtain the Austria Golden Visa’s offer of a passport, there are plenty of great benefits that come with the citizenship and residency.
Applying for the Austria Golden Visa leads applicants directly to Austrian citizenship. However, to become a citizen, applicants must reside in Austria.
So, before Austria Golden Visa applicants can obtain citizenship, they must live in Austria and set up their residencies within the country.
With an Austrian passport, citizens can travel to 189 countries visa-free.
To obtain Austrian citizenship, applicants must renounce their current citizenship, as Austria does not allow dual citizenship.
Austria Golden Visa applicants may include their spouses and children under the age of 21 in their applications.
Family members do not need to apply for citizenship if they do not want to renounce their original citizenship.
Visa-Free Travel Through Schengen Area
As residents and citizens of Austria, golden visa holders will be able to travel visa-free through the 27 countries that are part of the Schengen Area. This makes it extremely easy to explore this part of the world without passing through border controls.
High Quality of Life
Austria is considered one of the countries in Europe offering the highest quality of life. With excellent education, healthcare, and infrastructure, many Austrian citizens are content with how the country runs and how they are treated.
In fact, Austria was ranked as the 11th happiest country in the world in 2021!
Right to Live, Work, and Study in Austria
Holders of the Austria Golden Visa who obtain residency and eventually citizenship will have the right to live, work, and study in Austria. These rights also transfer to family members who are included in the application.
Who is Eligible for the Austria Golden Visa?
Aside from making a qualifying investment for the Austria Golden Visa, there are other eligibility requirements applicants must meet.
These requirements include:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a clean criminal record
- Maintain a bank balance of at least €40,000
- Achieve A1 level in the German language
- Have private medical insurance in Austria
- Reside in Austria (to obtain Austrian citizenship)
- Renounce original citizenship (to obtain Austrian citizenship)
If you meet all of these requirements and make the necessary investment, you can obtain Austrian citizenship through the Austria Golden Visa.
Austria Golden Visa Investment Requirements
There are no properly set guidelines for the investment required when applying for the Austria Golden Visa.
We can go off examples of past investments, though. Such as a €10 million investment in a business or €3 million if invested in a government fund.
The primary qualifications for the investment include:
- Major personal contribution to the local economy
- The investment must positively impact Austria and the rest of the world
- Multiple full-time jobs must be created from the investment
- The organization must be well-known
- The investor must prove financial success and experience in the industry in which they invest
- Applicants must have influence in the industry and be well-known
Multiple levels of the Austrian government will review the investment and its success before citizenship is granted.
Below are some of the investment options Austria Golden Visa applicants can consider making.
If investing in a government fund, the investment amount may be lower. It could be around €3 million.
However, this investment is more of a donation. The investor will not see a return, and the donation is non-refundable.
When investing in venture capital, Austria Golden Visa applicants can see a direct return on their investment.
They will also contribute to the growth of the economy and local businesses creating full-time jobs. The investment amount for venture capital is often €10 million.
Innovative or First-Priority Business
Investors may also start or invest in an innovative or first-priority business in Austria. However, this business must be approved by the Austrian government to consider eligibility for the visa.
Joint Venture Investment
Investors who want to work on a significant business or project may invest in joint ventures with other local or foreign investors.
The qualifying amount is unclear for this Austria Golden Visa investment option. As long as the investment meets the criteria we stated above, it should be eligible.
How to Apply for the Austria Golden Visa
The application process for the Austria Golden Visa is not as straightforward as we would hope. In fact, there is no structured application process. So, we cannot include a step-by-step guide for this golden visa.
It is recommended to go through an immigration lawyer who is certified and experienced in handling the Austria Golden Visa application.
The process is a long one, especially with making investments, obtaining residency, and eventually applying for citizenship.
Documents Required to Apply for the Austria Golden Visa
When applying for the Austria Golden Visa, applicants must present the following documents:
- Copy of passport
- Colored passport photo
- Criminal background check
- Proof of Earnings from the last three years
- Entry documentation into Austria
- Proof of relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificate, adoption certificate, etc.)
- Certification of academic accomplishments
- CV or Resume (for all members 14 years and older)
The embassy or consulate may require additional documentation, depending on your situation.
Austria Golden Visa Application Fee
When applying for the Austria Golden Visa, applicants must pay a fee of €700 for individual applicants, plus additional administrative costs.
For married couples, the application fee is €1,400, plus additional administrative costs.
Processing Time for the Austria Golden Visa
The time it takes to process your application, make your investment, and obtain citizenship is between 24 and 36 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding this elite golden visa. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the Austria Golden Visa and answers to them.
Does Austria allow dual citizenship?
No, Austria does not allow dual citizenship. Austria Golden Visa applicants who want to obtain citizenship must renounce their original citizenship.
How strong is Austria’s passport?
Austria’s passport is quite strong. It allows visa-free access to 189 countries around the world. Plus, it allows visa-free travel throughout the Schengen Area and the EU.
Do I have to reside in Austria to become a citizen through investment?
Yes, you have to reside in Austria uninterrupted and make it your point of interest to receive citizenship.
To obtain citizenship, you must have an A1 level of German and know the political system in Austria.
Can I bring my family to Austria with the Austria Golden Visa?
Yes, family members may be included in the Austria Golden Visa application. Spouses and children under 21 years old can be included.
How much is the required investment for the Austria Golden Visa?
There are no firm guidelines about how much the investment requirement is for the Austria Golden Visa. We do know that it can range between €2 million and €10 million, depending on the investment.
Will I owe taxes in Austria?
Yes, as a legal resident and citizen of Austria, you will owe local taxes.
Do I have to speak or learn German to get Austrian citizenship?
Yes, you must pass an A1 level German language test to obtain citizenship as a golden visa holder.
Do I have to use an immigration lawyer to apply for the Austria Golden Visa?
Yes, you will have to use an immigration lawyer to apply for the Austria Golden Visa. With such a significant investment sum and an unclear application process, it is more secure and faster to employ the services of an immigration lawyer experienced in the Austria Golden Visa.