The 10 countries where it is most difficult to obtain citizenship

Sushree Behera

Numerous countries in the world follow different processes to obtain citizenship for individuals. It is not a surprise that the process is long and complicated; citizenship directly contributes to a country’s national security. Foreigners who want to be part of a country need to fill in paperwork and go through procedures mandated by the nation’s government. 

Factors like marriage and ancestry are essential in determining whether an individual is qualified to be a country’s citizen. There are certainly some countries in the world which make the process of obtaining indeed hard. Countries like Germany, Finland and many more have stringent and complex policies that one compulsory needs to follow. 

1. North Korea

North Korea is debatably one of the most self-isolated countries in the world. The country practices a dictatorship form of Government, which makes it very tough for people to get citizenship.

In addition, it does not follow the concept of dual citizenship, which makes individuals renounce their previous country’s citizenship. A minimum age of 21 is required for anyone to apply for a citizen in North Korea. A complicated interview and examination then follow a clean slate in a criminal record. 

2. China

Out of all these countries, China has the hardest process for people to obtain citizenship. To be qualified for citizenship, one needs to have a Chinese descent, i.e., the individual applying must have a parent who is of Chinese nationality.

In addition, one can obtain citizenship by marrying a fellow Chinese citizen; however, to apply, the couple must be a resident for at least two years. 

3. Switzerland

Another country that falls under this list is Switzerland. It is a beautiful and scenic country filled with stunning landscapes and mountains but stringent and complicated citizenship policies as well.

Expensive and time-consuming are the best words that describe the process of obtaining citizenship here. Unlike China, the individual must reside in Switzerland for at least 12 years to fulfil the eligibility criteria. 

Another significant requirement is they must know the official language and have participated in the community to showcase their loyalty to the country. The process is then followed by a civic exam. 

4. Qatar

Qatar is an arab country that follows the difficult process to render citizenship. It only grants citizenship to people who have been born into Qatari families or have married a Qatari citizen.

Getting citizenship in Qatar is easy when an individual has made considerable investments there or worked under its government for numerous years. 

5. Vatican City

Vatican is considered to be one of the smallest countries in the world, with a population of around 800 people. The country, however, has a very strict procedure to obtain citizenship. To be even qualified for citizenship, one must have been born in Vatican City or appointed by its Catholic Pope, which is a pretty big deal and unlikely to happen. 

6. Bhutan

Bhutan is a South Asian country that follows the most strenuous process of providing citizenship. It follows a similar process, just like Switzerland, with some changes.

The minimum criteria to be a fellow Bhutanese citizen requires an individual to have lived in the country for 15 years, followed by proficiency in the Dzongkha language. An exam is conducted as the last process, asking questions regarding Bhutan’s history and culture.

Read also: Bhutan is the first carbon-negative country in the world

7. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s richest countries and the most difficult to obtain citizenship. An individual must belong to the Muslim community to qualify for citizenship. That said, they must also be 21+ years of age and should have lived in the country for 5 years. 

8. Germany

Germany is regarded as one of the world’s most advanced countries. However, the country’s citizenship process is not as advanced and easygoing.

To become a citizen, one needs to have parents who are of German descent. Another means of becoming a German citizen is either getting married to a German national or procuring a job there, which takes a lot of time to take place.

9. Finland

Finland is a country which is extremely inflexible in providing citizenship to individuals. In addition to being skilled in speaking Finnish, the individual is also required to be a resident of Finland for a minimum of 8 years.

The process becomes even lengthier as the country expects you to be a person with a stable financial life with no criminal record whatsoever. 

10. Kuwait

Due to its richness, the country follows a strict process for procuring citizenship. It is not given to just anyone who applies, and an individual is required to hold a residency permit to be considered for citizenship in the first place. One also needs to hold this residency for 10 years before meeting the criteria. 

What are the factors that affect the citizenship acquisition?

There are numerous factors which often fluctuate that affect the citizenship process. Sometimes, the country’s government is vehement about conducting certain strict processes irrespective of the situation of the person. Economic and political play a significant role in the whole process. 

 Most of the time, the countries don’t disclose the reason why the citizenship request is disapproved. Other factors like LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident) also influence the process. If the citizen has not lawfully obtained the country’s citizenship, then there is high chance to get it revoked, and the country will be on high alert.

Read more: The 10 countries counting the most immigrants worldwide

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