BEIRUT, Lebanon According to a Dubai-based company the number of Lebanese investors who obtained a second citizenship surged by 27 percent in 2017 compared to 2016.
Citizenship Invest which is specialized in programs to legally obtain a second nationality issued the report .
“Demand for obtaining a second passport by Lebanese nationals increased by 27 percent in 2017. According to the study, Lebanese residing in Lebanon accounted for 34 percent of the total demand, whereas Lebanese nationals residing in the GCC countries accounted for an immense 66 percent of total demand,” the report said.
It added that among the reasons for this trend in Lebanon is political and economic unrest in the Levant.
“Lebanese nationals are mostly looking for a second citizenship that helps eliminate difficulties to obtain travel visas, getting approvals for residency visas, as well as overcoming restrictions in their professional growth. Further data reveals that Lebanese applicants are mostly families with 75 percent of the total demand against 25 percent for single applicants,” the report said.
The report also listed the countries that attracted Lebanese investors in 2017.
“With a total of 32 percent increase for St. Kitts & Nevis, and 21 percent increase for Commonwealth of Dominica, these countries top the list of most desired citizenship by investment programs among Lebanese nationals. Fast track European second citizenship programs like Cyprus account for a 10 percent increase in the total demand. Almost 93 percent of Lebanese looking for a second citizenship preferred to obtain their second passports through the option of a financial contribution to a government funds and 7 percent chose the real estate investment. The difference arises from the fact that the real estate option is initially more expensive. However. the property can be sold after a period of time cashing out like this the investment,” the report said.
Veronica Cotdemiey, CEO of Citizenship Invest, said: “This trend is mainly affected by the political and economic unrest witnessed by Middle East, specifically the Levant region. We have been advising increasingly more Lebanese applicants who are largely driven by the necessity of visa-free travel, the security of being able to obtain or renew their residence visas if they are living outside Lebanon, and general stability for their families and their professional lives.”
It added Lebanon ranked 86th on the list of countries allowed to travel to other countries without a visa.
“With one rank shy of North Korea and South Sudan’s passports, the Lebanese passport currently ranks 86th with a visa-free score of 39 countries, qualifying it among some of the weakest passports to have. According to the status quo of the political and economic situation in Lebanon, we predict that the demand for a second passport programs will stay on the rise during the course of 2018,” the report said.
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