Buying Second Nationalities

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Wealthy individuals are buying passports legally on the open market to hedge their identities and lifestyles in the same way they hedge their portfolio. Direct passport sales are a $3 billion-a-year business worldwide and growing about 25 percent a year, according to Henley & Partners, a London-based global citizenship and residence consultancy founded in 1997.

At the high end, you can buy a passport from Austria—one of 13 countries that sells them—for $9 million. But that’s steep. Costs range (on average) from $100,000 in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Lucia to $130,000 to $150,000 in St. Kitts and Nevis as well as in Grenada and Moldova, $250,000 in Turkey, $1.13 million in Malta and $2.6 million in Cyprus. The Caribbean is the center of the trade, since its islands’ colonial past affords its citizens wide visa-free access, typically to about 130 nations, including the 26 European countries in the Schengen area.-Robbreport

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