Hundreds of thousands of American Jews are eligible for German and Austrian citizenship due to historic legislative changes

Hundreds of thousands of American Jews are eligible for German and Austrian citizenship due to historic legislative changes. Legislative amendments in Germany and Austria, recently enacted, allow descendants of former citizens and residents who were forced to flee due to the rise of Nazism to obtain one of the world’s strongest passports. Approximately 350,000 Jews in the U.S. could finally exercise this right without relinquishing their American citizenship. This paves the way for quick entry into the European Union.

“My grandmother was born in Austria in 1934 but had to flee with her family due to the rise of Nazism. For years, my mother tried to obtain an Austrian passport for us, but the bureaucracy was too complex, and she gave up,” says Jason Klein, 39, from Brooklyn, New York.

According to Klein, the situation changed with the new amendment in Austrian and German citizenship law. “The new law brings historic justice, and for us, it’s good news both morally and practically. It’s an opportunity not to be missed – allowing our children to gain citizenship in an EU country, which brings many benefits and rights and connects us to our family roots.”

The legislative amendments ease the process for descendants of Nazi persecution victims to obtain citizenship. These changes significantly simplified the required procedures for the descendants of Nazi persecution victims, like Klein and his family. For example, there is no longer a need to prove German language proficiency, to relinquish current citizenship, or to reside in the country as a condition for citizenship.

“As soon as we understood there was no need to give up American citizenship and no language requirement for citizenship, we applied for the whole family,” Klein adds.

For an initial, no-cost eligibility check for a German/Austrian passport>>

German and Austrian passports are among the most sought-after in the European Union. American citizens hold one of the strongest passports in the world today, but the German and Austrian passports offer significant advantages for them as well. These passports automatically make their holders residents of the European Union – and are highly coveted both within and outside the Union.

The reasons are many: a German or Austrian passport grants entry to over 180 countries without a visa and allows holders to enter and stay in any EU country without time restrictions, for purposes such as tourism, work, studies, and residence. Citizenship grants eligibility for education and housing subsidies in Europe, as well as immigration options to desirable destinations outside the Union, like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Additionally, the right to citizenship is inheritable, allowing their children and grandchildren to enjoy these benefits.

The recommendation: Apply through a professional

The process of obtaining Austrian or German citizenship is long, complex, and involves a lot of bureaucracy. Incorrectly submitted applications or those lacking proper documents can be delayed for long periods. Sometimes, family genealogy research is required to prove eligibility, or a center of life in Germany or Austria is needed. Therefore, experts, German speakers, in the field of genealogy, are required, who also know how to conduct archival research to locate documents, certificates, and proofs of connection to Germany or Austria during the relevant years.

Professionals who have been working in the field for many years know the process thoroughly, speak the language, and know how to deal with various difficulties. They already know what documents are required, how to correctly fill out the German application forms, and who to talk to if needed to expedite the process.

Submitting the application through a professional ensures adherence to timelines and higher success rates, while saving time, money, and unnecessary effort. Additionally, the fee is usually fixed in advance, with no additional costs later on.

For an initial, no-cost eligibility check for a German/Austrian passport>>

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