Do You Know What Country the Raclette Comes From?
This was one of the questions that Briton Dave Lewis had to think about, while he expected Swiss citizenship. He had already lived in the country most of his life.
Can you answer the questions that come across in the tests for citizenship of various European countries? Let’s try! We present questions from official tests developed in several European countries.
But Let’s Go Back to Swiss Raclette…
This tasty dish based on Raclette (semi-solid cheese) comes from the French-speaking Swiss canton of Valais. But even with encyclopedic knowledge of the origin of cheese, potential new citizens can easily fail the obviously “impassable” test. Thus, in August 2018, a Muslim couple was denied citizenship after their refusal during an interview for handshaking with members of the opposite sex.
Back in 2017, Funda Yilmaz, born in Switzerland with Turkish parents, was unable to pass the citizenship test. Despite the fact that she lived in the country all her life. What reasons have been given? Among other issues, she did not seem to know enough about how to process the oil, and went shopping at the “Aldi” discount.
In the same year, Dutchwoman Nancy Holten, who lived in Switzerland from the age of 8, was denied citizenship. Cause: she repeatedly spoke out against the use of cowbells on the neck of cows. And objected to the traditional hunting of wild boars also.
In 2016, a family from Kosovo was denied citizenship on the grounds that all members of this family were wearing sports suits. And walking around in the same way in the city where they lived.
For acquiring Swiss citizenship, consent is required at the level of the confederation, canton and commune where the candidate resides. It is at the local level, where questions are asked by groups of activists from among the neighbors that the most controversial questions arise during the citizenship test.
If the Swiss tests were repeatedly criticized for their rather arbitrary filling, tests for citizenship in other European countries are also often not easy.
Racket Rather Than Raclette …
The problem with Swiss cheese could cost David Lewis 2,810 euros, which he paid to apply for Swiss citizenship. But the amount was returned. And this, at least, indicates that the approval of the Swiss authorities cannot be bought with money.
What can be said about some other European countries…
In September 2017, a scandal erupted around a new directive approved by the authorities of Cyprus. The island was accused of “selling” passports of the EU countries to wealthy clients. Who wanted to invest more than 2 million euros in the country. What a shame, isn`t it?
Portugal also became the object of criticism for organizing a similar scheme. A long-term visa in exchange for an investment of at least 500,000 euros.
Even in countries where there is no Citizenship by Investment programs, obtaining citizenship is not a procedure for the poor. In the UK, the process requires you to fork out at about 1,480 euros per adult and 1,125 euros per child. At the same time, in France the whole process is much cheaper. Officially, the price is 55 euros. Although all certified translations of documents that are required for obtaining citizenship can cost you 500 euros.
Why Do We Need Tests?
So what do residents of the Swiss cantons expects from potential new citizens? It is obvious that most of the tests for citizenship are designed to test the candidate’s ability to speak the language of his new country, his knowledge of the history and culture of the country. And what is important – the degree of integration into the local community.
The latter, among other things, is also achieved through long-term residence in the country where the request for citizenship is being submitted. The obligation to live in the country varies from five years in the UK, France and Russia to 10 in Spain and Switzerland.
Social integration is the most difficult aspect to test as a selection criterion. The authorities are faced with a puzzle: if you publish the test in advance, the candidates can simply memorize all the answers. And their reaction to questions will indicate more about their ability to learn, than about the level of knowledge of local culture and laws. At the same time, if not to publish, then the subjects may encounter arbitrarily invented wording in the tests for citizenship.
Solomon’s decision by the French authorities is to publish only a small part of the information necessary for testing with the help of the “citizen’s guide” posted on the Internet! This is a 28-page review of French politics, history and culture, far from being exhaustive, but acting as a guide for a future new citizen.
In Germany, on the contrary, a “bank” was created from 310 questions. And 33 of these questions were chosen spontaneously for the test. The passing score is the correct answer for only 17 of them. A complete list of questions is available online.
Meanwhile, in Spain, no preparation will help the candidates to answer the difficult question during testing. The question can get to the list at the last moment. One of these questions is: “What a river flows between Madrid and Barcelona?” (Answer: there is no such river).
So, I Passed the Test. Am I a Citizen Now?
Even if you pass a citizenship test in your chosen country, you may have to wait quite a long time. Immediately apply and get a passport will not work.
In France, where, at best, the registration process will take 9 months. In some regions of the country the flow of requests for citizenship due to the wave of refugees and brexit, led to an increase in waiting time to two or even three years from the date of application for citizenship.
What is the Solution?
What is the best solution for European citizenship, then? We strongly recommend Citizenship by Investment Program in Bulgaria. For 18 months you get a Bulgarian passport that guarantees you all the rights and benefits of a full-fledged European citizen. As well as visa-free travels to 168 countries around the world. Take a quality European passport quickly and without any hassle!