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15 Hardest Countries to Get Citizenship in Europe

In this article, we will explore the 15 hardest countries to get citizenship in Europe. You can skip our comprehensive analysis and proceed directly to the 5 Hardest Countries to Get Citizenship in Europe.

Obtaining citizenship in European countries often entails strict criteria and requirements. Eligibility typically includes a minimum residency period, clean criminal record, adherence to local laws, and other prerequisites. The criteria vary significantly from country to country.

Many European nations mandate a specific period of residency before considering citizenship applications. This duration can range from several years to a decade or more, with some countries requiring uninterrupted residency. Furthermore, language proficiency is a common criterion. Applicants might need to demonstrate competence in the official language(s) of the country through standardized tests or interviews to ensure effective communication and integration.

Host countries expect applicants to demonstrate financial stability and contribute to the economy. This can involve evidence of employment, tax payments, and financial investments. Moreover, some countries restrict or prohibit dual citizenship, requiring applicants to renounce their current citizenship before obtaining a new one. Certain European countries offer citizenship through investment programs where applicants can obtain citizenship by investing in the country’s economy, real estate, or specific industries.

Immigration policies evolve, sometimes becoming more stringent due to economic, political, or social changes. Contrasting the requirements of the hardest countries with those where citizenship is relatively easier can shed light on the spectrum of regulations across Europe.

According to data from the European Commission in 2021, approximately 85.4% of individuals obtaining citizenship in an EU Member State were previously non-EU citizens. Additionally, about 12.6% were previously citizens of another EU Member State, while the remaining 1.9% included stateless individuals and those whose former citizenship status was unknown.

The naturalization rate for individuals formerly categorized as non-EU citizens stood at 3.0% across the EU in 2021. This rate was approximately four times greater than the rate observed for individuals who were previously citizens of another EU Member State, which stood at 0.8%.

Immigration Dynamics: Impact on Europe’s Economy

The influx of migrants has contributed both challenges and opportunities, altering labor markets, fostering innovation, and addressing demographic shifts. While debates persist on the short-term strains on social services and integration, long-term benefits, including diversity-driven innovation and economic growth, underscore the profound impact immigration has on Europe’s economic landscape.

Based on a report from Science Direct, there has been a noticeable rise in the proportion of the foreign-born workforce in Western European nations over the past decade. Between 2010 and 2019, this percentage surged by 3.4 points, ascending from 12.8% to 16.2%. In contrast, the increase in the United States was comparatively smaller, with a rise of only 1.6 points, elevating the share of foreign-born individuals in the labor force from 15.8% in 2010 to 17.4% in 2019.

According to NIH research, immigration positively impacts the European Union’s GDP. The effect is stronger for working-age immigrants, 15-64 years old, and higher among women than men. These findings emphasize immigration’s economic importance, particularly with a working-age population. The study also indicates that immigration’s economic significance diminishes without considering an aging population. Overall, it offers an unbiased view supporting the need for immigrants in the European economy, countering anti-immigration arguments.

Business in European

Some major players within the European market are AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN), Chubb Limited (NYSE:CB), and SAP SE (NYSE:SAP), each specializing in their respective fields. AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) focuses on pharmaceuticals and healthcare, Chubb Limited (NYSE:CB) specializes in insurance and risk management, while SAP SE (NYSE:SAP) is known for its expertise in enterprise software and technology solutions.

On November 20, AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) announced the launch of Evinova, a trailblazing venture aimed at enhancing digital health solutions for healthcare stakeholders. Backed by AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) and partnered with Parexel and Fortrea, Evinova will provide global-scale digital services to healthcare and life sciences. It will focus on deploying proven digital tools, already in use by AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) worldwide, to expedite clinical trials, reduce medicine development time and costs, improve patient access to care, and ease pressure on healthcare systems. Additionally, Evinova plans to explore digital remote patient monitoring and therapeutics, drawing on AstraZeneca plc’s (NYSE:AZN) expertise and insights from patients and researchers. These technologies have shown success in AstraZeneca-sponsored clinical trials across 40+ countries and will be extended to support pharmaceutical, biotech, and CROs globally.

On November 15, Chubb Limited (NYSE:CB) introduced their Chubb Methane Resource Hub. This digital platform offers clients insights and information to measure and reduce methane emissions, supported by Environmental Defense Fund expertise. It includes details on regulations, voluntary programs, and a directory of service providers for companies seeking help with emission reduction programs. Chubb Limited (NYSE:CB) stands as one of the largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance corporations globally. Its operational presence spans across 54 countries and territories.

On August 14, SAP SE (NYSE:SAP) announced its collaboration with dnata Travel Management. This partnership marks a significant milestone as dnata Travel Management, an esteemed entity within the travel industry and a part of the Emirates Group, has become an authorized reseller of SAP SE’s (NYSE:SAP) complete suite of travel solutions.

According to Savio Vaz, Vice President of Government and Corporate Travel at the dnata Travel Group,

“This collaboration will enable dnata to empower its valued customers through streamlined and automated travel processes, leveraging SAP Concur’s innovative technology and state-of-the-art products. These solutions automate spend management, allowing us to provide customers with enhanced value, convenience, and flexibility.”

Given this context, let’s now proceed to 15 hardest countries to get citizenship in Europe.

15 Hardest Countries to Get Citizenship in Europe
15 Hardest Countries to Get Citizenship in Europe



We determined the 15 most challenging countries to obtain citizenship in Europe by utilizing data from Eurostat’s Acquisition of Citizenship Statistics for 2021. Our approach involved ranking the European nations based on their total non-national citizens’ naturalization rates. Our underlying assumption was that a lower naturalization rate correlates with a more challenging or stringent process for attaining citizenship within a particular country. Therefore, we interpreted a lower rate as an indicator of higher complexity or difficulty faced by individuals in obtaining citizenship. In instances where the naturalization rate was the same, we used Migrant Integration Policy Index to assess the access to nationality rank as the secondary metric, with a lower ranking signifying difficulty in accessing the nationality. The resulting list is arranged in descending order, with the European country posing the highest level of difficulty for obtaining citizenship placed at the top.

15 Hardest Countries to Get Citizenship in Europe

15. Hungary

Naturalization Rate: 1.3% Access to Nationality Rank: 25

Becoming a Hungarian citizen through naturalization is achievable following a continuous residence of eight years in Hungary. This pathway requires the applicant to maintain a clean criminal record, demonstrate a stable means of livelihood, and successfully pass an examination in fundamental constitutional studies. Additionally, an expedited process for naturalization is available to non-Hungarian citizens who can prove their lineage to Hungarian ancestors or establish their Hungarian heritage while being proficient in the Hungarian language.

14. Liechtenstein

Naturalization Rate: 1.2% Access to Nationality Rank: –

Foreign nationals aiming for Liechtenstein citizenship must reside in the country for 5 years, renounce their previous citizenship, exhibit proficiency in German, and grasp the nation’s political structure and laws. Non-citizens married to Liechtensteiners can seek facilitated naturalization after 10 years, with post-marriage residency counted double. Those residing in Liechtenstein for 30 years, where time before age 20 counts double, are also eligible for facilitated naturalization. Although Liechtenstein allows dual citizenship partially, naturalized citizens must renounce their original citizenship.

13. Cyprus

Naturalization Rate: 1.2% Access to Nationality Rank: 53

Cypriot citizenship can be acquired through various channels, such as being born to at least one Cypriot parent, entering marriage with a Cypriot citizen, or going through the naturalization process after maintaining legal residence in Cyprus. Foreign nationals have the opportunity to attain Cypriot citizenship via naturalization upon fulfilling a residency requirement, typically set at seven years, though it may be reduced to five years under specific circumstances. Additionally, citizenship by registration is contingent upon meeting legal residency criteria, with individuals classified as illegal migrants being ineligible to register as Cypriot citizens.

12. Germany

Naturalization Rate: 1.2% Access to Nationality Rank: 42

German citizenship through naturalization requires residing legally in Germany for either eight years or seven years with an integration course, with exceptions for spouses or same-sex partners of German citizens who qualify after three years of residency. Applicants must pledge allegiance to the constitution, demonstrate proficiency in German, understand the legal system, society, and living conditions, be financially self-sufficient, and have a clean criminal record. Additionally, passing a naturalization test is crucial for successful integration. Citizenship is predominantly acquired through lineage or naturalization, with similar requirements for residency duration, allegiance, language proficiency, legal understanding, self-sufficiency, and a clean record. Proficiency in German and passing the naturalization test are key factors for integration into German society.

11. Denmark

Naturalization Rate: 1.2% Access to Nationality Rank: 41

To acquire Danish citizenship through naturalization, individuals need to adhere to specific criteria and complete the application process. Eligibility requirements include: having resided in Denmark for a minimum of 9 years before applying, holding a permanent residence permit for at least 2 years upon the introduction of the Danish citizenship bill, passing Danish language and citizenship tests, and providing necessary documentation such as a passport, indefinite residence permit, language test results, and proof of passing the citizenship exam. Nordic country citizens can obtain Danish citizenship through a declaration submitted to specific authorities within a designated timeframe. Spouses of Danish citizens require 6-8 years of uninterrupted residence in Denmark to apply. While Danish citizenship isn’t automatically granted through birth on Danish soil or from Danish parents, children born abroad may acquire Danish nationality if either parent is Danish, irrespective of marital status. Danish citizens can also acquire foreign nationality without forfeiting their Danish citizenship.

10. Malta

Naturalization Rate: 1.1% Access to Nationality Rank: 63

Acquiring Maltese citizenship offers multiple pathways, such as naturalization, marriage, and investment. The predominant route involves naturalization, necessitating a minimum residency of seven years in Malta along with a residence permit, although this duration can extend up to 18 years in specific cases. Vital prerequisites for naturalization encompass familiarity with Malta and the Maltese language, residing continuously in Malta with a valid permit within the last 12 months before application, and maintaining a minimum of four years of residency within the preceding six-year timeframe. Each application undergoes meticulous scrutiny through a rigorous due diligence process that includes comprehensive background checks. Additionally, the application requires endorsement from two non-relative sponsors to substantiate and finalize the citizenship application process.

9. Greece

Naturalization Rate: 1.1% Access to Nationality Rank: 40

Individuals without Greek heritage can obtain Greek citizenship through naturalization by residing in Greece for a period of 7 years, passing a qualifying exam, or through residency obtained by investment. Eligibility criteria for citizenship encompass being a minimum of 18 years old, possessing no criminal record, demonstrating a basic proficiency in the Greek language, and providing evidence of a positive relationship with the Greek community. Acquiring Greek citizenship can be a complex and lengthy process.

8. Slovenia

Naturalization Rate: 1.1% Access to Nationality Rank: 22

Residency in Slovenia for a minimum of 10 years, with the last five years being uninterrupted, is a prerequisite for naturalization. Alongside this, candidates are required to exhibit proficiency in the Slovene language for fundamental communication purposes and furnish proof of their active connections within the country. Furthermore, there exists a special naturalization procedure for those capable of contributing to Slovenia’s economic, social, scientific, cultural, or similar domains. Additionally, citizenship eligibility extends to the fourth generation, provided the person is a direct descendant and has resided in Slovenia for a year. The citizenship application necessitates a visit to the capital city of Ljubljana.

7. Austria

Naturalization Rate: 1.1% Access to Nationality Rank: 13

The criteria for naturalization in Austria encompass a mandatory duration of 10 years with lawful and uninterrupted residence, wherein a minimum of 5 years should involve holding a valid residence permit, displaying integrity, and ensuring adequate financial support. Moreover, Austria provides an alternative route to citizenship through investment. This pathway necessitates applicants to make a substantial investment in the Austrian economy.

6. Czechia

Naturalization Rate: 0.9% Access to Nationality Rank: 36

To obtain citizenship in Czechia, individuals have the option to apply through citizenship by descent, naturalization, or conferment. Citizenship by naturalization requires a residency period of a minimum of five years with a permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic, or three years for citizens of another EU country. Moreover, applicants need to demonstrate proficiency in the Czech language, possess a clear criminal record, and exhibit a fundamental understanding of the Czech Republic.

Source : Yahoo Finance