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These 8 countries sell their citizenship. Any takers?

Countries sell citizenship (Representational Image) Photograph: (WION)

WION Delhi, India Oct 19, 2016, 06.56 AM (IST) WION Edge

In recent years, offering citizenship or permanent residencies has grown to become a lucrative business opportunity for countries. With more and more countries joining the list of those that offer immediate citizenship, people have a chance at moving beyond borders, more than a tourist.

Here is a list of countries that sell their citizenship, if you have the money to buy it:

Countries and their citizenship program (Table) (WION)

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  • Bulgaria

A pedestrian walks past a puddle near a tree decorated with Christmas lights in Sofia, Bulgaria (AFP)

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Allows: Visa-free travel to 153 countries
The country ties up your cash for 5 years interest free. It will take two years to get the passport and you will be required to visit Bulgaria twice. Residence is granted only after a clean background check. Bulgaria is only one of two countries where the principal amount can be returned to you.

  • Hungary

Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary (Others)

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Allows: Visa-free travel to 152 countries
It has one of the fastest application processes, which can be completed within 30 days. It is a guaranteed investment plan that can be returned after 5 years. The passport gives free movement throughout Europe's Schengen zone.

  • St. Lucia

St Lucia, Caribbean Island (Others)

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Allows: Visa-free travel to 121 countries and 180 days in the Schengen area
Instead of paying the amount, you could also invest $550,000 and get a passport immediately. The capital will be returned in 5 years.  

  • Cyprus

Paphos castle at night in Cyprus (Others)

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Allows: Visa-free travel to 166 countries
Cyprus is the third smallest nation in the European Union. It started its citizenship program after the country faced a severe economic recession in 2013. 

  • Dominica

Typical landscape near the sea along the eastern coast of Dominica (Others)

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Allows: Visa-free travel to 91 countries
It is the least expensive of all the passports in this list.

  • Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua, Carlisle Bay, Caribbean (Others)

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Allows: Visa-free travel to 132 countries

  • St. Kitts and Nevis

View of St. Kitts from a ship on the coast (Others)

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Allows: Visa-free travel to 132 countries, which includes Brazil as the latest addition
St. Kitts and Nevis recorded the highest number of passport sales in the last year. Just pay the money or invest in property and you will be given a passport without even a visit. 

  • Grenada

Grenada (Others)

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Allows: Visa-free travel to 110 countries
It is the second passport on this list apart from St. Kitts that is not necessarily on everyone’s radar and where transaction can be completed in private.

In many nations, foreigners can now purchase citizenship legitimately in return for an investment. There are, however, two forms of residency programs - one that is immediate and one that entails “staying for a minimum period of time.” The recent spurt in the number of applications for residency in these countries has proven that people are increasingly keen to move and experience a new life in places that might be far removed from their countries of birth. This works well for these host countries too, as the influx of foreign money helps build their infrastructure and economies. 

(Contributed by: Zeba Khan)

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