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 in future only for vaccinated persons?

The COVID-19 Compulsory Vaccination Act could also have an impact on proceedings concerning the granting of Austrian citizenship. In a guest article in the "Rechtspanorama" of the daily newspaper "Die Presse" of 21.02.2022, attorney-at-law Balazs Esztegar examines the possible effects of compulsory vaccination on citizenship law.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Obligation Act introduces a general vaccination obligation against COVID-19 in Austria. According to the currently valid version, the law provides for three phases, with the first phase lasting until 15 March and can be seen as a kind of tolerance period for voluntary catch-up vaccination. In the 2nd phase, starting on 15 March 2022, compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement will be monitored throughout the country by organs of the public security service and non-compliance will be reported to the district administrative authority. Anyone who fails to comply with the vaccination obligation after 15 March commits an administrative offence that can be punished with a fine of up to EUR 3,600.

Administrative offences can become a problem in the procedure for granting citizenship, or more precisely: an obstacle to granting citizenship. Of course, not every single administrative offence is an obstacle to citizenship. However, the citizenship authorities have to make a prognosis of good conduct in their assessment and clarify the question of whether the person to be naturalised offers a guarantee on the basis of his or her previous conduct that he or she does not pose a danger to public peace, order and security.

Particularly due to the political and social importance attached to the vaccination obligation, it can be assumed that special attention will be paid to violations of it.