In a recent in-depth analysis of Eurostat immigration data spanning from 2009 to 2021, researchers have unveiled insights into the ease and difficulty of obtaining citizenship in European countries for third-country residents.
The study highlights the top ten countries where the citizenship acquisition process is most accessible and explores the challenges faced by residents in the ten most difficult nations.
Easiest Countries for Citizenship Acquisition
The countries where obtaining nationality is deemed easiest present a varied geographic distribution. Among these, four are situated in Northern and Western Europe, while one is located in Southern and Southeastern Europe.
Notably, each of these nations sees an annual conversion of at least 5 per cent of third-country residents into citizens.
1. Sweden: A Pinnacle of Accessibility
At the forefront is Sweden, emerging as the most lenient country, with an impressive 9.3 per cent of non-EU residents acquiring citizenship. This figure surpasses the EU average by more than double, reflecting Sweden’s high acceptance rates for both men and women. Notably, women have a slight advantage, boasting a 10.02 per cent acceptance rate compared to men’s 8.66 per cent.
2. Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, and Iceland: Following Suit
Securing the second to fifth positions are Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Iceland, where citizenship acquisition rates exceed 4 per cent, making them welcoming destinations for third-country residents.
Portugal: A Standout in Citizenship Accessibility
Portugal deserves special mention, ranking fourth among 32 European countries analyzed. The survey indicates that over 6.6 per cent of third-country residents in Portugal successfully become citizens, a commendable acceptance rate.
Most Challenging Countries for Citizenship Acquisition
Conversely, the analysis pinpoints the ten European countries where obtaining nationality is most challenging, with nine of them concentrated in Central Europe.
1. Estonia: The Pinnacle of Difficulty
Estonia emerges as the most challenging country for third-country residents, with a mere 0.6 per cent success rate in obtaining nationality. Notably, men face a lower acquisition rate (0.58 per cent) compared to women (0.69 per cent).
2. Latvia, Czech Republic, Lithuania: Uphill Battles
Following Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania present significant challenges, with less than 1 per cent of their third-country residents successfully acquiring citizenship, well below the European average of 3.56 per cent.
3. Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany: Minimal Citizenship Granting
Countries ranking fifth to ninth, including Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Germany, exhibit citizenship acquisition rates of less than 2 per cent for third-country residents.
4. Denmark: A Unique Challenge
Finally, Denmark stands out as the most challenging country outside Central Europe, with a citizenship acquisition rate of 2 per cent, emphasizing the difficulties faced by third-country residents in this Nordic nation.
This comprehensive analysis sheds light on the varying landscapes of citizenship accessibility across Europe, providing valuable insights into the trends and challenges faced by third-country residents seeking to become citizens.