Becoming a citizen? These countries have notoriously tough access for new citizens!

Chris Evans, November 28, 2017

If your dream home is not within your native country, then becoming a citizen in a new place can be an extremely attractive prospect. However, making this transition can be challenging (unless you marry someone who is a national, or potentially have strong ancestral links to the country). 

Whilst becoming a citizen in any country inevitably involves red tape and normally requires a minimum stay period in advance of application, some countries seemingly offer much more complex citizenship compared to others…The countries listed below are particularly rigorous:  

United States

For a country that was wholly founded by immigrants the US process for becoming a citizen is one of longest and most difficult. Unfortunately, this can be partly attributed to the rise in terrorism the country has experienced over the past 15 years and the bounce back effect on national security.

Unless you have an approved job lined up, or are coming via family, the process of obtaining a green card is very challenging. One of the routes many try is entering the green card lottery, but the chances of success are incredibly slim.

If you have secured permanent residency for a minimum of 5 years then you can apply to become a citizen. This involves taking a citizenship test which includes US history and language skills! Keep in mind you will also have to swear an oath to the US constitution to finalise the process.


To become a citizen of Japan the bottom line is you must have lived in the country for 5 years… What about becoming a permanent resident? 10 continuous years! That’s right, it actually takes longer to become a permanent resident than a citizen!

Once you decide how you want to proceed you will need to seek approval from the Justice Minster and answer a whole host of questions, including some personal queries! Add this to a mountain of paper work and the overall process can potentially take years…


Germany is a country firmly rooted in its heritage and culture, and also makes it reasonably challenging to obtain permanent residency (unless you are an EU citizen).  For people outside of the EU you are looking at a 7 year minimum stay, but more likely 8, to become a citizen of the country.

To succeed you will also have to pass various tests and have contributed to the country’s pension plan, also note you will need to prove you can earn a living, speak the Language, and have suitable accommodation! Most importantly you will need to renounce any other previous citizenship.  

Be determined

Getting permanent residency or citizenship in any country will never be easy, but it is certainly possible for those willing to do their research and integrate into a new country. People do regularly achieve citizenship overseas so if this is your aim do not give up if it’s something you truly want.

Make sure you are fully prepared for what’s needed, gain an understanding of the lengthily process you are likely to be entering into before you apply. Keep track of the process regularly to ensure you are ready to handle any potential issues. After all, once you get there, you won’t need to do it again!

Written By Chris Evans - Manager at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd

comments powered by Disqus