Starting September first, Israelis whose relatives fled Austria due to Nazi persecution will be able to obtain Austrian citizenship free of charge.
The announcement comes after the Austrian parliament unanimously approved on September 19, 2019, an amendment to the Citizenship Law, which allows Holocaust survivors and their descendants to receive Austrian citizenship without giving up their current one.
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Previously, only the survivors themselves were qualified to receive citizenship. Moreover, citizenship was entitled only to those who lived in Austria before March 12, 1938, the date the Third Reich annexed the country.
The amendment is part of an effort by the Austrian government and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to restore friendly relations with those who had suffered under the country’s Nazi regime.
T0 apply for Austrian citizenship, start the process by filling an online questionnaire on the website of the Austrian Embassy in Israel. Appointments to fill in and submit declarations can be made by phone or online until the end of August.
Applicants will receive detailed instructions for the documents they should submit to the Austrian embassy starting September first.
Ambassador Hanna Liko stressed that no legal consultation was required in order to complete the process.
There are currently about 8,000 Israeli citizens with Austrian passports. The Austrian Embassy emphasizes that there is no assessment of how many Israelis will be able to obtain an Austrian citizenship under the new amendment.
So far, at least 1,500 Israelis have contacted the embassy and expressed interest in filling out the declaration in order to receive an Austrian passport.