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On 1 August 2013 the amendment to the Austrian Citizenship Act (Staatsbürgerschaftsgesetz) entered into force. It includes a number of important changes especially regarding the acquisition of citizenship by acknowledgement of paternity, by adoption, for children born in wedlock before 1 September 1983 who have so far only obtained foreign citizenship although they were born to an Austrian mother, and also with respect to “putative Austrians”.

The amendment to the Name Law (Namensrecht) of 1 April 2013 opens up new opportunities with regard to surnames.

Since 1 January 2015 – restricted only to women – same-sex parenthood has been possible for registered partnerships. Likewise the recognition or the judicial establishment of same-sex parenthood has also been made possible by the amendment.

The 2009 survey among Austrians abroad about their priorities

In April 2009, the FMEIA in cooperation with the Auslandsösterreicher-Weltbund (AÖWB) conducted an anonymised internet survey aimed at determining the topics our fellow-citizens abroad are most interested in with respect to Austria. Out of ten pre-defined topics participants were able to choose three priority topics and could also state one further priority.

The 2,779 participants clearly identified citizenship matters, pension and insurance issues relating to Austria and participation in Austrian elections as the topics that enjoyed top priority among Austrians living abroad (for more details please see the more extensive presentation of the outcomes). Lower down the list but rated as equally important are return to Austria, social support abroad and information about Austria. These issues are followed again somewhat lower down the list by the third group of priorities assigned a comparably similar level of importance, namely inheritance matters related to Austria, education and training in Austria, Austrians abroad as members of the Austrian Parliament as well as finding employment in Austria. 350 participants also provided suggestions on a range of interesting priorities (for further information please see the supplementary analysis data).

The 2005 survey among Austrians abroad on citizenship issues

In 2005, the Foreign Ministry conducted an internet survey on citizenship matters among Austrians living abroad in which a total of 4,700 individuals from 92 countries participated. Some 2,300 compatriots rated the importance of the individual areas of topics, 1,800 voted on more detailed aspects and 1,600 contributed towards analysing the project in detail. In the context of this e-democracy and e-government project, a total number of 730 Austrians living abroad contributed comments, opinions, views, ideas and suggestions. The final report (for more information please refer to the PowerPoint presentation) on the survey’s findings indicates clear trends.

Out of 150 voting options the following six topics were most frequently selected:

  1. Retaining Austrian citizenship when obtaining citizenship of another country - VERY IMPORTANT
  2. Passing-on citizenship to children born in wedlock - VERY IMPORTANT
  3. Facilitating dual citizenship - VERY IMPORTANT
  4. (Ability to) always retain citizenship of one’s country of origin - YES
  5. Dual / multiple citizenship should be prevented - NO
  6. Anyone who has missed the deadline for obtaining Austrian citizenship from their mother should be able to apply at a later date - YES