Overnight Naturalization? A Guide To Which Countries Have The Fastest Citizenship Process

Having a new nationality is like membership in the coolest club on earth to some people. Sometimes it’s due to an opportunity in the destination country. Other times it’s simply to mooch off the country’s benefits and preferential treatment. 

Depending on your needs and budget, there are countless options to choose from in your pursuit of naturalization. For example, you’ve probably heard that the naturalization process in some countries, such as Portugal, will take almost no time. 

Well, how true is this statement? And are there any others faster than this? Well, let’s find out.

Fastest Countries To Get Your Citizenship By Naturalization

I found the fastest citizenship processes by looking at the number of days it takes to get citizenship, how long you have to live in the country before applying, and the number of documents you need to bring with you.

Fastest By Investment

Cost is one of the main factors for many people, and some countries will allow you to become a citizen in very little time without spending much money at all. Vanuatu, for example, a small island country in the South Pacific Ocean, is one of the fastest countries in the world to obtain citizenship. Individuals and families can apply for citizenship in two months or less with investments as low as $130,000 and $150,000.

If you’ve got much deeper pockets and don’t mind the expense, then going for the EB-5 visa projects might be the perfect option. Simply investing up to $1,050,000 in a US government-approved commercial enterprise gets you qualified to apply for citizenship.

Fastest By Length of Residency

The fastest way to get a new passport is by living in another country for a certain amount of time — usually five years or more — and then applying for citizenship through naturalization. 

According to the CIA World Factbook, only four countries allow foreigners to become citizens after living in their country for less than three years: Argentina, Liberia, Peru, and the Dominican Republic. 

These countries confer on you the right to apply for naturalization after holding legal residency for a minimum of 2 consecutive years. 

You’ll need proof of employment and housing during this period, which is something to consider if you’ve decided on relocation as an essential part of your great reshuffle plan. It’s, therefore, best if you plan ahead so that you don’t have to worry about finding employment once you move abroad.

Fastest By Marriage

If you’re already married to a citizen of another country and want to become a citizen yourself, this is one quick way to get things done. In fact, you can apply for citizenship in less than six months after your marriage in some countries.

It probably might not be the first choice on your list, but Argentina and Cape Verde are two countries you want to be if you’re considering qualifying for citizenship right after your marriage vows. However, If you’re willing to wait an extra year, Spain is another excellent European country you should consider.

Fastest By National Service 

Becoming a citizen through national service isn’t always easy. Still, it does allow you to gain permanent residency or even citizenship without having to wait too long for your application to be processed by immigration officials.

If you have military experience, consider looking into national service programs abroad. These programs will offer expedited citizenship procedures in exchange for serving in the ranks of their armed forces. 

If you’re already resident in the United States, joining the military makes you eligible to apply for citizenship as quickly as one year of active service. 


There are plenty of countries that make it easy for people to become citizens. I encourage you to begin the process of applying for citizenship in a country that fits your values and lifestyle. 

Whether you’re going through one of the above or if you have any insights that might help others, please let me know in the comment section below. 


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