Austria is a cultural masterpiece of art, music, and literature, with notable names such as Gustav Klimt and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart calling the country their home.
A dominant central European power in the 19th century, Austria has today retained a population with a diverse ethnic heritage, including peoples from Germany, Turkey, and the Balkans. After World War II, Austria became a federal, democratic republic. Austria’s government is seated in the capital, Vienna.
Austria has been a member of the European Union and of the Schengen Area since 1995, but it remains to some extent dependent on Germany, its closest trading partner and a country with which it shares a long history and a common language.
The services sector plays a major role in Austria’s economy, having contributed more than 70 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2015. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ranked Austria as number 22 in the world for exports in commercial services, and number 29 in the world both as an exporter and importer of merchandise. Personal income tax cuts in 2016 have had a positive effect on the economy, expected to grow by 1.4 percent by the end of the year.
Austria is a mountainous nation, a large portion of which is in the Alps. Skiing is a growing industry, with villages like Hallstatt and Alpbach becoming increasingly popular. Locations such as the Baroque town of Saltsburg, whose historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are also major magnets for visitors.
The particulars of Austria’s citizenship by investment procedures are not codified in the laws of the nation. Rather, the scheme draws broad legitimacy from Article 10, Paragraph 6 of the 1985 Nationality Act, which gives leave to the Federal Government to grant citizenship where an individual displays actual or expected outstanding achievements. Failure to fully codify the scheme has made it one of the least transparent processes in the economic citizenship arena.
The outstanding achievement underlined in Austria’s laws translates into a number of accepted avenues for investment, although it has been reported that a monetary donation of €8–10 million was sufficient to trigger the provision.
The process involves significant communication with various Government representatives, and usually takes about two years to complete.
Under Article 10(a), knowledge of the German language, with due regard for the personal circumstances of the applicant, is required for the grant of nationality. However, this has at times been waived under the scheme.
Although Austria generally disallows dual nationality, applicants who apply to naturalise under Article 10, Paragraph 6 are permitted to retain their original citizenship, bringing the scheme in line with those of other jurisdictions offering economic citizenship. Other benefits of Austrian citizenship include visa-free access to all European Union member states, the United States, and Canada. A total of more than 170 nations have implemented visa waiver programmes for Austrian citizens.