The Top 15 Hardest Countries to Get Citizenship 2024

Written by

Aditya Raj

Fact check by

Afreen Abbasi

Updated on

Jul 25,2024

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Getting citizenship can be a daunting process consisting of rigorous proceedings, that too can be bearable but there are countries where getting citizenship is the toughest or almost impossible. Let's know about the top 15 hardest countries to get citizenship and their possible reasons.

Top 15 Hardest Countries to Get Citizenship

Not every country has easy access to citizenship. Many countries in the world guard their citizenship process very strictly with zero negligence. These are the top 15 countries in which getting a visa is almost like squaring a circle.

1. Qatar

Qatar flag infront of a building

Being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Qatar has set its extremely tough policies for citizenship. Qatar has a small population and a major chunk of the economy is based on natural gas. This Gulf country has the world's toughest criteria for citizenship and comes under the top 15 hardest countries to get citizenship.

Unlike other countries, Qatar does not allow people to have dual citizenship. If you wish to have citizenship of Qatar, you have to give up your citizenship of your country.

Language proficiency is nothing new when getting citizenship in any country. Following the same language criteria, for Qatar, you will need to have proficiency in Arabic language skills. Followed by sufficient financial stability to live your life.

Marriage can be a ground on which citizenship can be availed. Yes if you get married to a Qatari, the doors can be open for you to the country.

Well if you're a foreigner and want Qatari citizenship, you'll have to live there for 25 years. No, it's not the eligibility criteria, after 25 years you can apply for citizenship by naturalisation.

Not only this, but changing your religion is also in the scene; you'll have to convert to Islam from your religion. By setting up these criteria mentioned above, Qatar is the hardest country to get citizenship.

2. Vatican City

Vatican city photos

It is another of the smallest countries in the world, with the toughest policies for getting citizenship there. The country has set up a rigorous process making it in the top 15 hardest countries to get citizenship.

This small country, with less than a thousand people, has several ways to get citizenship.

1. To the cardinals living in Vatican City or Rome.

( Cardinal is a priest at a high level in the Roman Catholic church)

2. To the people who are diplomats representing the Holy See

3. People living in Vatican City because of the work for the Catholic Church

These are the limited ways Vatican City offers its citizenships.

3. Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein landscape

Like Qatar, Liechtenstein is also one of the richest countries in the world, with several citizens of around 40,000.

The period that you will be living for the eligibility application is more than Qatar for Liechtenstein, which is at least 30 years before you apply for citizenship.

Marriage grounds can be considered for getting citizenship. In this case, if you get married to a Liechtenstein citizen you can avail citizenship after five years.

4. Bhutan 

a statue of buddha

The timeline for Bhutan is 20 years, if you are a foreigner, and want citizenship of Bhutan the number of years you'll be living is 20 years before you can apply for citizenship.

Followed by the good behaviour expected, with no bad records, and it depends on the authority that your citizenship will be granted or not.

Read More: India: 2nd Largest Source of US Citizens

5. Saudi Arabia

Dessert landscape with camels

It's strange to read this name in this section because access to work and job opportunities seems easy there, and expats have been working also for many decades from across the world. 

But it's not as easy as it seems. You'll have to live at least 10 years before you can apply for citizenship there. Making it the hardest country to get citizenship.

Language proficiency is a must, along with reading, writing, and speaking Arabic.

The authority has its decision-making bars to granting citizenship by looking at your overall records, including criminal offences.

6. Kuwait

Kuwait landscape and buildings

The timeline here is doubled by the neighbouring country Saudi Arabia, which is 20 years. This oil-rich country allows individuals to apply for citizenship after 20 consecutive years of living.

Being a Muslim is mandatory here. So, if you're from a different religion, you'll have to convert yourself if you wish to get citizenship in Kuwait.

7. Switzerland

Swiss flag with Swiss alps in the background

Hilly mountains, soothing weather, and heartwarming sceneries are the toughest processes to get citizenship.

The residency timeline is ten years, which makes it one of Europe's longest. 

A language bar is also available here, which means you'll have to be fluent in one of Switzerland's national languages.

The language includes French, German, Italian, and Romansh. The level of speaking can be B2, and writing can be A2.

Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world, and it is worth going through the rigorous process.

8. China 

Chinese map drawn with a chalk

China's policy of getting citizenship is also as tough as that of the countries mentioned above. The criteria say if you have family ties in China or your relatives living in China for work or the special reasons that the country allows. These guidelines make China one of the toughest countries to get citizenship.

9. North Korea

 North Korean flag with sky in the background

This country also does not allow dual citizenship, and another condition is when you have Korean citizenship, you would not be able to give it up. 

The process of naturalisation can be considered a way to citizenship, and different policies are not mentioned by the authorities. 

10. Japan

Pink blossoms on a tree

An individual can avail Japan's citizenship if the person has lived in the country for 5 years. Japan holds one of the world's most powerful visas, which allows citizens to travel to 193 countries without a visa.

Japan also does not allow dual citizenship and has a low language barrier, which means having a basic Japanese understanding.

Read More: Great Opportunities with UK Work Visa for Indians

11. United Arab Emirates

UAE flag on the map

The timeline is as tough as the other Gulf countries. You'll have to live there for at least 30 years before the UAE will consider your application for naturalisation. 

Exception for Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman citizens, all of whom can apply after just three years of residency.

12. San Marino

San marino buildings

San Marino, with a timeline of 30 years, makes this country among the top 15 hardest to get citizenship in. You must have been a resident for at least 30 years. San Marino also doesn't recognise dual citizenship.

13. Austria

Austria landscape

Austria is one of the EU's hardest countries to get citizenship. The reason is that it has one of the EU's longest timelines for citizenship. You'll need to have residency in the country for a minimum of 10 years before applying for naturalisation. Followed by a B2 German language skill.

14. Monaco 

Monaco landscape

To become a citizen of Monaco, you first need to spend ten years as a resident there and to naturalise as a citizen of Monaco, you'll need to give up any of your existing citizenships.

15. Finland 

Finland flag with sky in the background

For Finland, language proficiency is the biggest barrier to passing the eligibility test for citizenship. Because of the tough language requirements for naturalisation, this country is considered one of the hardest to get citizenship.

Conclusion

These are the hardest countries in the world to get citizenship in, and they have different guidelines and timelines for the naturalisation process. There are countries for which getting into a rigorous process and availing citizenship is no less than a gift. The countries mentioned above are considered the toughest and hardest to get citizenship in. 

TerraTern helps to make this process easier and smoother by providing expert guidance and assistance throughout the application process. With TerraTern's comprehensive knowledge of immigration laws and processes, individuals can navigate through the complexities of obtaining citizenship in several difficult countries. So if you are determined to become a citizen of one of these challenging nations, let TerraTern guide you on this journey towards a new nationality.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which country tops the hardest in getting citizenship?

Qatar ranks 1st for its rigorous policies and is the hardest country to get citizenship.

Which country's passport is the most powerful one?

Japan has access to193 countries with no visa, making its passport the most powerful one.

Which country has the weakest passport?

North Korea has the weakest passport in the world.

Which countries have the highest timeline for naturalization?

Liechtenstein, United Arab Emirates, and San Marino.