CBI or the Citizenship by Investment program allows overseas individuals to buy real estate in a country and get its citizenship and passport. It is also known as the “golden visa”.
Many countries around the world have such a program for various reasons – to bring in foreign investment, boost the realty market, generate employment, and improve the economic conditions. Countries that have the CBI program include Portugal, Grenada, Spain, Greece, Dominica, Cyprus, Saint Lucia, USA, Montenegro, Moldova, and a few more.
The landlocked European nation of Austria also has such a program, but it is slightly different from the CBI plans you will find elsewhere. There are countries allowing residency by investing money in realty, government bonds. There is very little connection with these countries through these investments. However, you can travel freely within Schengen Europe, which can eventually give you Permanent Residency, citizenship.
How Austria is Different
Unlike these countries, in Austria, you won’t find a golden visa program when you make only a passive investment. There is, however, a CBI program where overseas individuals can get citizenship, but it must be an active investment into the country’s economy. It should also create jobs. You will have to invest money directly into a development fund managed by government or make a business investment. The minimum investment amount should be €10 million for a business. It is €3 million for a fund.
Austria is a beautiful country with excellent scenic beauty. The Alpine mountains, countryside are gorgeous. Its capital Vienna has rich historic, cultural heritage, which is why it’s a pleasure to own a home and live here. Austria also offers very high living standards. Infrastructure is excellent. There are many economic opportunities. The environment is clean. Communication, transport is both outstanding.
Advantages of Citizenship
With your residence permit, you can travel throughout the Schengen zone without visa. In fact, you may not even stay in this country if you don’t want to, even though Austria is fantastic for living and raising a family. With the passport, you could live anywhere within the Schengen area. You can become a EU citizen when you make an investment. You can travel without visa to many countries throughout the world.
This European country does not have any wealth or inheritance tax. The property tax rates are also very low. Personal tax rates are also progressive. The capital gains tax is at 30%.
Also, the investment you make can give you good returns because the country’s economy is very stable and there are a lot of growth opportunities.
The permit for residence will be granted initially for 1 year after you apply for your Austria citizenship by investment. It is renewable easily without problems. You will get citizenship after ten years. But in some situations, you may also get Austrian citizenship after 7 years.
Austria Residence Permit Legalities
The most important factor here is the availability of sufficient capital. You may be asked to prove that your liquid assets are worth 40,000 Euros for each adult, 10,000 Euro for each minor below the age of 18 years. This amount must be shown in a bank statement of a big international bank and even a bank from Austria. There are no restrictions for any country and their residents from making a financial investment or from citizenship application.
You must also have health insurance where the coverage is full. You can include your spouse and kids below the age of 18 in your application. It may take a long time for the processing, though. Once you get citizenship, your Austrian passport, it will pass to your future generations as well, just like a natural-born person in Austria.
To apply, you must submit the standard documents like your birth and certificate of marriage (if applicable), passport, and others. Also furnish your university diploma, six photos (passport size), business license certificate, and medical certificate. You must also submit a certificate that proves that you don’t have any criminal records in your country, CV, a background of your business, and must also provide references. It’s also essential to prove that your funding source is legal.
According to Article 10 (6) of Austria’s Citizenship Act, government may also award citizenship to foreigners who have extraordinary merit. There are various considerations for this, which also includes economic ones. But here, citizenship is never given just because you are making an investment. The contribution of the foreign investor should be extraordinary. For instance, the money you bring in should help develop new technologies, create many jobs. Your investment can be directly into any business. You may also invest in one joint venture.
Usually, you will have to forego citizenship of your present country. It’s a necessary precondition to get your Austrian citizenship. Austria doesn’t recognize dual citizenship. But for citizenship according to Article 10 (6), you may still get to keep your present citizenship legally.
Austrian citizenship through investment involves many procedures. Approval from the government is required at many levels. Approval is required from many ministries and authorities. It is thus important that you know all laws, the entire procedure and are adequately advised at every stage. You must prepare your case and approach the issue correctly before investing.
There will be a detailed background check. In most cases, the applicants will have to appear for an interview, which will be held in Austria. Your document for citizenship document will only be issued once your application has been approved.
The entire process to get your citizenship may take anything between two to three years, which is longer than in most other countries. Passport applications can be made immediately afterward. It will only take some days. There is, however, no guarantee that your application is going to be approved, which is why it is always best to get professional help.
The fact that you are now an Austrian citizen won’t be reported or published anywhere as this is private information according to Austria’s government laws.
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