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

OE24 Studio Interview: Loss and retention of Austrian citizenship

A parliamentary citizens' initiative has collected over 6,000 signatures and wants to change the legal situation regarding the loss of citizenship for Austrians living abroad. The aim is to make it easier for them to acquire a foreign nationality without losing their Austrian citizenship. The initiator of the petition, Philipp Rader, and citizenship law expert Balazs Esztegar were guests in the OE24 TV studio on 28 May 2024.

Around 600,000 Austrians live abroad. The vast majority of them nevertheless have strong ties to Austria, be it family, professional or as part of their personal identity, because they feel Austrian and do not want to give up this identity. At the same time, acquiring the citizenship of the "new home country" makes sense and is necessary for many, not least because of equal opportunities, social security and career advancement. According to Austrian law, however, you lose your Austrian citizenship if you acquire a foreign nationality. This presents many Austrians living abroad with a difficult choice and many feel abandoned by Austria as a result of this regulation.

The citizens' initiative for the retention of citizenship has therefore collected over 6,000 signatures by hand and would like to achieve a change in the law in the interests of Austrians living abroad. The signatures were handed over to the parliamentary administration on Tuesday, 28 May 2024, after which the initiator, Philipp Rader, reported on the petition in the OE24 studio and lawyer Balazs Esztegar LL.M. explained the current legal situation and its problems. 

As an expert in citizenship law, Balazs Esztegar LL.M. has also drafted a proposal for an amendment to the Citizenship Act, which the citizens' initiative used as the basis for its demands to the National Council and which will now also be dealt with in the Petitions Committee of the National Council as part of the initiative. In addition to clearer criteria for authorising the retention of citizenship, the proposal also provides, among other things, important improvements to the loss of citizenship for children, so that they do not lose their Austrian citizenship due to incorrect information provided to their parents and better uniformity of citizenship within the nuclear family is made possible.