Many people dream of living in a different country, whether for work, study, or adventure. But getting citizenship in a foreign country is not always easy. Some countries have very strict requirements and long processes for naturalization, making it hard for foreigners to become citizens. In this article, we will look at five of the most difficult countries to get citizenship, and what makes them so challenging.
Qatar is a wealthy and modern country in the Persian Gulf, with a booming economy based on natural gas. It also has one of the most restrictive citizenship policies in the world. To apply for citizenship by naturalization, you need to live in Qatar for at least 25 consecutive years, speak Arabic fluently, have good conduct and financial means, and convert to Islam (if you are not already a Muslim). You also have to renounce your original citizenship, as Qatar does not recognize dual nationality1.
2. Vatican City
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, with only about 450 citizens. It is also the headquarters of the Catholic Church, and the home of the Pope. To become a citizen of Vatican City, you need to be a cardinal living in Vatican City or Rome, a diplomat representing the Holy See, or a worker for the Catholic Church who lives in Vatican City2. Citizenship is not granted by birth or descent, but by appointment of the Pope. Citizenship is also temporary, and can be revoked at any time.
Liechtenstein is a tiny and prosperous country in Europe, sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria. It is one of the richest countries in the world, with a high standard of living and low taxes. However, it is also one of the hardest countries to get citizenship. To apply for citizenship by naturalization, you need to live in Liechtenstein for at least 30 years (or 20 years if you are married to a Liechtensteiner), pass a language and civics test, have a clean criminal record and good reputation, and renounce your original citizenship3. You also need to get the approval of the local community where you live, as well as the parliament.
Japan is an island nation in Asia, known for its rich culture, advanced technology, and beautiful nature. It is also one of the most homogeneous countries in the world, with very few immigrants and foreign-born citizens. To become a citizen of Japan, you need to live in Japan for at least five years (or three years if you are married to a Japanese), speak Japanese proficiently, have good conduct and financial stability, and renounce your original citizenship. You also need to show that you are willing to adopt the Japanese way of life and values.
Switzerland is a landlocked country in Europe, famous for its neutrality, democracy, and quality of life. It is also one of the most difficult countries to get citizenship. To apply for citizenship by naturalization, you need to live in Switzerland for at least 10 years (or five years if you are married to a Swiss), pass a language and integration test, have a clean criminal record and good reputation, and respect the Swiss constitution and way of life. You also need to get the approval of the federal government, the canton (state), and the municipality where you live.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. 😊