This case concerns an Estonian national who renounced her nationality on the basis of an assurance that she would be granted Austrian nationality once proof of her renunciation was given. This assurance was revoked on the grounds that the applicant had committed road traffic offences, leaving the applicant stateless. In its judgment, the CJEU confirms that the situation at issue in the main proceedings falls within the ambit of EU law, and concluded that the authorities' decision to revoke an assurance to grant Austrian nationality was not compatible with the principle of proportionality.
The applicant was born in 1974 to an Iranian father and Austrian mother, and by virtue of the laws applicable at the time only acquired Iranian nationality. Austrian nationality was granted to him by a court decision in 1981. He later moved to the US where he wishes to naturalise, and requested permission from Austria to retain Austrian nationality. Such permission, however, can only be granted to nationals by birth. The Court found a violation of the principle of equality of treatment among nationals.
The applicants arrived to Austria in 1989 from the Soviet Union, and became stateless the same year. They applied for Austrian nationality in 1993, before fulfilling the ten year residency requirement, and the judgment considers whether their statelessness can be considered as a circumstance "worthy of special consideration" allowing for an exception to the ten year residency requirement.
The applicant was born in Austria to an Austrian mother and a father who was a refugee from Poland. The applicant argued that his father was stateless at the time of his birth (as this would lead to applicant being recognised as Austrian), and requested the authorities to accept his father's testimony as proof. The authorities concluded that the applicant's father was a Polish national solely on the basis of the Polish legislation, without evaluating the content of the testimony. The decision was declared unlawful on procedural grounds, as the testimony should have been taken into account.
Applicant is a refugee from Vietnam, whose refugee status was withdrawn after a number of criminal convictions, combined with the fact that he made a safe trip to Vietnam. He applied for a travel document for foreigners claiming that he is stateless or at least that his nationality status is unclear. The authorities maintained that he was still a Vietnamese national, but the Court sided with the applicant, insisting that the authorities should have taken more factors into account in considering the applicant's potential statelessness.
After having been born, having lived, worked and and paid taxes in Austria his whole life the applicant was told he is not entitled to unemployment benefits as he did not have a right to work in Austria. While he was granted Austrian nationality upon application, he argued that he was entitled to unemployment benefits also in the time frame between becoming unemployed and acquiring the nationality, invoking his statelessness, and lack of implementation of Statelessness Conventions by Austria. The Court denies direct applicability of the Statelessness Conventions in Austria, and rules against the applicant.
The applicant was born in Iraq and formerly possessed Iraqi identity documents. After establishing permanent legal residence in Austria he applied for a travel document for foreigners on the basis that he has an "unclear nationality" status. The application was rejected without granting the applicant the right to an oral hearing. The Constitutional Court upheld the applicant's right to have an opportunity to explain his allegedly unclear nationality status in an oral hearing.
The applicant was born in Armenia and belongs to Yazidis minority. After many years of unlawful residence in Austria, and several unsuccessful attempts to deport him, he applied for a toleration permit, which was refused as he did not cooperate sufficiently with the authorities' attempts to obtain travel documents for him to travel to Armenia, and there is also a possibility he may be a Russian or a Ukrainian national. The Court sided with the applicant, stating that it was the authorities' responsibility to substantiate any presumed links between the applicant and a specific state, before the duty to cooperate could be imposed.
The applicant acquired Austrian nationality in 1995 and renounced her former Turkish nationality in 1996 as a condition for retaining the Austrian nationality. In 2018 the Austrian authorities declared that she has no longer been an Austrian national since 1997 as it appeared that she voluntarily re-acquired her Turkish nationality at that time, which is a ground for automatic loss of Austrian nationality. The Court set aside the determination of loss of Austrian nationality as it did not carry out a proportionality test on the basis of the Tjebbes judgment.
The applicants are children born presumably in a surrogacy arrangement in Ukraine to two Austrian nationals. Even though the custody of the commissioning parents over the applicants was confirmed under the Austrian law, their parentage and consequently the Austrian nationality of the applicants was initially denied. The Court considered that the best interests of the child prevail in such a case over the prohibition of surrogacy under Austrian law, and confirmed the applicants' right to Austrian nationality.
The applicant is of Roma ethnic origin, with parents from former Yugoslavia, who was born, grew up, and worked his whole life in Austria. He has had a permanent residence permit until 1995, when the latter was withdrawn due to applicant's criminal convictions. The Court found the applicant to be stateless, and determined that expulsion of a stateless person without a former country of habitual residence amounts to violation of Article 3 ECHR.
The applicant was born in Belarus between 1990 and 1993, to parents of Armenian ethnic origin, and lived in Austria since the age of 9. Austria's civil registration allows for the registration of births of individuals who are stateless or whose nationality status is unclear, and the applicant argued her birth should be registered based on this provision, as she is stateless, or at least her nationality status in undetermined. The authorities considered that the applicant is an Armenian national based on findings in her asylum file, but the Court sided with the applicant and determined that she is entitled to have her birth registered in Austria.
The applicant received assurance of obtaining Austrian nationality if she renounces her Estonian nationality. After the renunciation, it appeared that the applicant committed two administrative offences related to her driving, which in addition to the eight she committed previously were considered as an indication of her no longer fulfilling the public order requirement for naturalisation. This resulted in the withdrawal of assurance of obtaining Austrian nationality, leaving the applicant stateless.
The applicant was issued an assurance that she will acquire Austrian nationality if she renounced her former Serbian nationality, which she did. However, after the assurance was issued the applicant committed a number of administrative offences, leading to the assurance being withdrawn after the renunciation of the former nationality has already taken place, resulting in the applicant's statelessness. The Court emphasised the constitutional significance of a letter of assurance of acquisition of nationality, and sided with the applicant.
The applicant acquired Austrian nationality by naturalisation in 1997, and renounced her Turkish nationality in that context. In 2018 it appeared that the applicant was listed on the voter registers for Turkish nationals abroad. She did not provide proof that she did not re-acquire Turkish nationality, and on that basis the Austrian authorities declared she has lost her Austrian nationality automatically due to acquisition of a foreign nationality.
In order to acquire Austrian nationality, the applicant renounced her Turkish nationality in 1997. Over a decade later it came to light that she has re-acquired Turkish nationality in 1998, which according to Austrian law resulted in automatic loss of the Austrian nationality. She renounced her Turkish nationality again in 2009, but in 2010 the Austrian authorities confirmed that she was no longer Austrian since 1998. The Court found that this was not in violation of Austria's obligation to avoid statelessness since the applicant's statelessness was not caused by a decision of the Austrian authorities.
The applicant received an assurance of acquiring Austrian nationality if she renounces her former, Serbian, nationality. Shortly after the renunciation the applicant lost her job and was unable to find alternative employment due to her statelessness, which resulted in her no longer complying with the income requirement for acquiring Austrian nationality. The Court declares unconstitutional the law which requires continuous fulfilment of all the conditions for naturalisation, even after Austrian nationality has been conditionally granted and the former nationality has been renounced.