Mag. Balazs Esztegar LL.M.
Attorney-at-law Vienna

Piaristengasse 41/10
1080 Vienna, Austria
Tel. +43 1 997 4102
Fax +43 1 997 4102-99

Citizenship for children

Many people can contribute stories about the citizenship of children. Some of them are based on experience, some belong to the category of "dangerous half-knowledge" and many have lasted for decades as "urban legends". In the 1/2022 issue of the magazine "Rot Weiß Rot" (Red White Red) published by the Auslandösterreicher-Weltbund, attorney-at-law Balazs Esztegar explains why the devil is often in the detail.

For many people it seems self-evident that a child receives the citizenship of its parents at birth. However, this is not always the case, and especially if the parents have different nationalities or if the child is not born in the actual home country, it is worth checking the legal situation more closely. This depends on the national citizenship laws of the individual countries.

Especially if the parents have different nationalities, the possibility of dual or even multiple citizenship may open up for the child. However, the prerequisite for this is that the legal systems involved allow this in each case and, if necessary, that the parents take the necessary official steps in good time and in the right order. Errors here are often difficult or impossible to rectify retrospectively, so timely information in advance is very important.

It should not be overlooked that according to Austrian law, loss of citizenship generally occurs if someone voluntarily acquires a foreign nationality upon application or declaration. This also applies to children if their parents apply for a foreign citizenship on their behalf. A possible way out may be an application for retention of citizenship (submitted and approved in time).