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Country Spotlight: Austria

 Austria Itself – An Introduction

The Republic of Austria is found bordered by its neighbours the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Famed for its mountainous terrain, it is the perfect location for lovers of the slopes as only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 metres (12,461 ft). It is also well known for its vast wealth and luxurious offerings, in fact it is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of USD 52,216 (2014 est.)

Post World War Two, Austria was divided into British, French, Soviet and American zones and governed by the Allied Commission for Austria. In May 1955 it regained full independence and became a member of the European Union in 1995.

For HNWIs looking for a snow coated getaway, Austria is one of the premier locations for those looking to ski in style. As Austria is located in the Alps it has very mountainous terrain. For example, the six tallest mountains in Austria are:

    Name    Height   Range

1              Großglockner    3,798 m                High Tauern

2              Wildspitze           3,772 m                Ötztal Alps

3              Kleinglockner     3,770 m                High Tauern

4              Weißkugel          3,739 m                Ötztal Alps

5              Pöschlturm         3,721 m                High Tauern

6              Hörtnagelturm  3,719 m                High Tauern

All very respectable heights for those looking for a variety of slopes to try and conquer!

Not only is Austria perfect as a skiing destination, it is also a fantastic location to conduct business, with a social market economy and a high standard of living. Industries such as machinery, textiles and metallurgical products are all important for the Austrian economy, however the most vital industry is tourism which accounts to approximately 10% of Austria’s total GDP. This used to be very reliant on visitors from nearby Germany often visiting Austria during the holidays, however in later years the diversity of tourists expanded and they are no longer so dependent on German visitors. An increase in demand for their winter ski resorts has been a big contributor to the rise of tourism from other countries to Austria, including such famous resorts as Arlberg or Kitzbühel.

Austrian Citizenship by Investment 

Austria is a very popular destination for citizenship by investment as it is the only country in Europe which openly promotes the possibility of a foreign person acquiring citizenship by investing large sums of money into the country’s economy.

Under Austrian regulations, what they term “economic citizenship” is a possibility for HNWIs who are able to make a direct business investment of at least EUR 10 million or more into Austria. This investment should help to create jobs and contribute to advances in science and research for the country. Passive investments such as government bonds or real estate purchases generally do not meet these requirements.

Approval of an application is at the full discretion of the Austrian government and if you have children under the age of 18, they can be included in your application and granted citizenship as part of your own. Also, even if you do not speak fluent German, there is no language requirement and so your application may still be permitted without knowledge of Austria’s primary language. Unless obtained fraudulently, once citizenship has been granted, the Austrian government cannot revoke it without legal cause. You will also not be taxed for your citizenship unless you actually live in Austria during which time you will attract the ordinary taxes which all other inhabitants are subjected to.

The requirements are very few: that the minimum investment level is met and that you visit Austria at least once, as long as you have an excellent financial and business background with good references and no criminal convictions. If you do meet these requirements, there is every chance the Austrian government may grant you citizenship.

Benefits of Austrian citizenship are numerous, including granting you an EU passport and all of the travel and other benefits which come from holding one. Austrian passports have excellent reputations on a global scale, and presenting one will grant you extensive visa-free travels to various locations including the USA. It also gives you permission to live in Switzerland which is otherwise notoriously difficult to acquire citizenship for without a minimum requirement of living there for 12 years.

If as a HNWI you decide that Austria is a worthy location to invest and acquire citizenship in, then you may want to begin the application process sooner rather than later as from beginning application to acquiring citizenship can take anywhere between one to two years. However, when considering all of the various benefits such citizenship can grant you, perhaps you will decide that the wait is worth it.

 

Posted in Country Spotlights.

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