in June 2016 Denmark introduced a new multiple-choice citizenship exam focused on Danish history and culture.
the test is reportedly so difficult
that less than a third of four nationals have passed
and many Danes even have had trouble with it.
This comes at the heels of other efforts bythe Danish government to crack down on immigration,
including a law requiring refugees to handover their valuables upon entry.
But even with these new regulations, Denmarkis still far from the hardest place to naturalize.
So, where is it the hardest to become a citizen?
Well, one of the most infamously hard placesto gain citizenship is Switzerland.
Unlike Denmark, Switzerland places less importanceon a foreigner’s knowledge of the country,
and instead ensures that they are fully integratedinto society.
Most prospective citizens are eligible onlyafter living in Switzerland for at least a
decade, during which time they must fullyadopt Swiss culture and traditions.
Integration is overseen by local officials,who have been known to go to great, arguably
intrusive lengths to monitor applicants, includingregular check ups to ensure they interacting with their community.
In one famous case in 2014, a local naturalizationcommission rejected citizenship for a 75-year-old
man who had lived in Switzerland for nearly40 years and taught at a Swiss University,
only because they felt that he did not knowenough about the region’s politics and geography.
Austria has similarly strict requirementswhen it comes to integration.
Anyone planning to stay for more than twoyears must sign an “Integration Agreement”,
a six-month program designed to improve Germanlanguage skills and one’s ability to [quote]
“participate in the social, economic andcultural life in Austria.”
But the real hurdle on the path to Austriancitizenship is the time commitment.
A foreign national has the right to obtaincitizenship only after living in the country
或在证明自己已完全融入当地社会的前提下 生活满15年 才能取得国籍
for 30 consecutive years, or 15 if they canprove that they’ve fully integrated.
Most prospective citizens must also renounceany other citizenship they may have, as Austria
does not allow dual citizenship, with fewexceptions.
But perhaps the most difficult place to naturalizeis Japan, where prospective citizens must
live in the country for at least 5 years,gain approval by the Minister of Justice and
submit a slew of paperwork, which is knownto include detailed questions about the applicant’s personal life.
Some applicants have reported having theirhome or workplace inspected by immigration
officials, in order to corroborate the detailson their application.
If approved, applicants must renounce anyother citizenship.
According to the Japanese Ministry, this processtakes anywhere from 6 to 12 months, however
those who have gone through it have said itcan take years.
Interestingly, the process to obtain permanentresidency, but not citizenship, is even longer.
This is because permanent residents receiveall the benefits of citizenship, without being
required to swear allegiance to the Constitutionof Japan or renounce other citizenships.
Although the road to citizenship in Japan,Austria and Switzerland is lengthy and demanding,
it is very rare for an applicant to be denied.
In Japan for example, about 99 percent ofcitizenship applications are approved.
What’s more, all of these countries rankextremely high in terms of quality of life.
So obtaining citizenship, or at least residency,might be worth the wait.
On the other hand, some places are so opento new citizens that you can just buy a nationality,
sometimes for only a few thousand dollars.
That said, these might not necessarily beplaces you’d want to live in the first place,
so where exactly can you buy citizenship?
Find out in this video!