Hardest Countries to get Citizenship

There are hundreds of reasons countries have strict immigration laws or policies, most of those reasons have to do with economics, you know taking jobs away from the locals.

While some countries make it easy for Ex-pats to gain citizenship other don’t. For whatever reason, if you want to become a citizen in another place outside the United States or wherever place you’re coming from there are going to be forms to fill out, waiting lists to get on and in some cases bribes to be paid.

Some countries won’t be on this list because you can’t migrate to them or it’s just a place you shouldn’t want or migrate to or it’s just a place you don’t want to be a citizen such as Syria and North Korea.

There are no definite ways to rank these countries because they are all different and have their policies to become a citizen or a naturalized citizen. The ranking is based on which country has the toughest immigration laws or is the hardest one to become a citizen.

Let take a look at the countries with the harshest immigration laws and these are the hardest countries to get citizenship.

10 China

The people Republic of China

The nationality law of the people’s republic of China allows foreigners to become naturalized citizens if they have relatives who are Chinese citizens or you have another legitimate reason to want to seek naturalized citizenship.

If you don’t have a relative who is a Chinese citizen the chance of you becoming a Chinese citizen yourself is slim.
According to the CIA naturalization is possible but it is extremely difficult to become Chinese citizenship, long-term residency has requirements but they’re not specific, they change all the time. You can’t say because you have resided in the country for five years then you can apply to become a citizen, there’s nothing like that.

9 The United States of America

Hardest Countries to get Citizenship

The United States as a country was started by immigrants we all know that and for a long time they wanted everyone and it is manifested on the statue of liberty, that was kind of the open door policy the United States had but you still had to apply.

The United States has been bipolar when it comes to immigrants some decades they want them other decades they blame them for everything from poverty, inflation aids, and many other things. Since the 9/11 attack, the process has become more and more complicated as the United States has used immigration laws to try and protect its citizens from harm.

Unless a person is coming to the United States through a family member or an approved job offer, it is very difficult to establish legal permanent residency. Different refugee categories help people get their green card a little bit faster and after that, you have to wait on a lottery system. Also, those who have had permanent residency status for five years can begin the process of applying for citizenship by filling out an application and taking a test which includes knowledge of the history of the United States and the government and also of the English language and after that you must swear an oath to the constitution.

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8 Switzerland

Hardest Countries to get Citizenship

For some reason, the countries in the Alps are hardest countries to get citizenship, they don’t want people moving into their country. According to a law that went into effect in 2018 to live in Switzerland permanently you must have lived in the country for 5 or 10 years and have had a working permit called a C permit that whole time and they don’t care who you’re related to here.

The C permit which allows you to live and work in the country requires five years of continuous residency in Switzerland for European Union, Canada, and U.S citizens.

If you’re from a country outside the U.S, Canada, or The European Union you have to have a C permit for 10 years and not be convicted of any crime.

7 Kuwait


Kuwait makes you wait for quite a while, in 1999 they passed a law putting the clamps on immigration, it is called the nationality law of 1999.
Here’s how it works, after living in Kuwait for 20 years, 15 if you’re from another Arab country you can apply to be granted Kuwaiti citizenship but only if you are a Muslim by birth or by conversion, if it is by converted you must have been practicing for five years at least and also speak fluent Arabic. They don’t cut you much slack if you marry a Kuwaiti man either.

6 The United Arab Emirate

Hardest Countries to get Citizenship

U.A.E is one of the hardest countries to get citizenship, getting a U.A.E citizenship is like a marathon. When it comes to citizenship they will let you apply to be a citizen if you have legally resided in the country for 30 years according to the CIA website.

Federal law number 17 as it’s called states that if you’re an Arab citizen from Oman, Qatar or Bahrain you can apply for naturalization after three years of residency. Arabs from other countries are eligible after seven years of residence in the U.A.E.
If you’re a female citizen of the U.A.E. married to a foreign man you can’t pass citizenship off to your kids.

5 Austria


Austria like most European countries has some strict immigration laws. Austria is one of the hardest countries to get citizenship. Austria has one of the longest paths to citizenship.

If you are not a citizen of an E.U country and plans on staying longer than six months in Austria you must have a residence permit before you even get into Austria. If you want to stay longer than two years you must sign an integration agreement, you promise to try and be an Austrian or at least like the Austrian people by learning German and their social norms.

For permanent residents, you must have lived in the country continually for 10 years before you are eligible to apply for citizenship and after applying your chance of gaining citizenship are less than ideal, it doesn’t happen too often if approved applicants must renounce any other citizenship.

4 Japan


Japan used to be considered one of the easiest countries to become a naturalized citizen but things changed in 2009. What you need now is to be a professional, a university degree, or a lot of professional experience in the field that they need, this will get you a visa in most cases but also requires that you have a prospective employer as a sponsor.
The Resident’s permission is granted in periods between four months and five years and it is extendable.

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Japan immigration law got stricter in 2009 when they passed a law that offered unemployed Latin American immigrants $3000 to leave Japan and return to their home country, their family members were also given $2000 for relocation. You only get the payment if you promised never to return to Japan to work.

3 Qatar

Hardest Countries to get Citizenship

They is a saying in Qatar ”if your father isn’t Qatari neither are you.” Even if your mother is, only the father counts in this situation.
You can’t get citizenship if you’ve been a legal resident in Qatar for 25 years without leaving the country for more than two consecutive months then you can apply for citizenship, the chance of you getting it are very slim. You can get a work visa but living in the country long term they kind of don’t want it.

Qatar naturalizes less than 50 foreigners a year and naturalized citizens are not treated the same way under the law as citizens born in Qatar and this is because the country provides very generous government benefits that would be extremely expensive if they started handing them out to anyone.

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2 Liechtenstein


Liechtenstein is beautiful, small and most people don’t even know it exists and they’re so small that Google forgot about it when they started doing their street view, they have no street view just tourists who took pictures around there.

It’s hard to get information about this country, it is a little country in the Alps with the Rhine river flowing along its entire western border. They only have about 40000 residents and the country’s immigration policies are kind of designed to keep it that way, if you want to become a citizen you need to live in Liechtenstein for at least 30 years.

If you’re married to a Liechtenstein citizen and already live in the country that time can be shortened down to five years of marriage, if you want a shortcut from the 30-year residency requirement you can ask the community to vote on you after 10 years. They all get together in a little town hall and they vote whether to let you be a citizen or not. If you ever do become a Liechtenstein citizen you got to give up your old citizenship doesn’t matter where you came from.

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1 Vatican City

Hardest Countries to get Citizenship

Vatican City is the smallest country on earth, it’s also the hardest country to become a citizen. Vatican City has around 800 residents with only about half being citizens.

There isn’t a lot of ways to become a citizen here you can’t just decide you want to go there and become a citizen. You can only become a citizen in Vatican City if you are a cardinal living in the city, if you are a worker living in the city for the Catholic Church you can also ask to be a citizen but there are no guarantees you will get permanent residence.

I did read that the worker permanent residence has a time frame but I found different amounts of time so it ranges anywhere from 10 to 30 years so you got to be working for the catholic church for quite some time before asking to be a citizen.


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