Lebanon: More people want second nationality

Lebanon: More people want second nationality

Lebanon: More people want second nationality

An increasing number of Lebanese citizens are aiming to acquire a second nationality so emigration can be an option should the war in neighbouring Syria spill over the border.

Lebanon has a history of emigration dating back to 1860, when the Ottoman-ruled Mount Lebanon saw an outbreak of sectarian violence that resulted in many fleeing to the Americas.

Ever since, the Mediterranean country has experienced a number of waves of emigration, with the last exodus en masse coming during the 15-year Civil War between 1975 and 1990.

Although the majority of Lebanese cannot afford to flee when violence erupts, those that can view a plan B as a necessary means to an end. According to residence and citizenship planning specialist Marco Gantenbein, the number of well-off people in the country inquiring about obtaining a second citizenship or residency elsewhere has almost doubled since the war in Syria began.

Gentenbein, an executive at international residence and citizenship planning company Henley & Partners, explained that people would prefer to stay in Lebanon if possible, but they want to have a plan B as back up so they can get their families out if the situation worsens.

He went on to say that Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, which permit their nationals to take a second citizenship, top the list of Middle Eastern states in terms of inquiries, with the majority of people wanting to take up residency overseas to ensure their safety and security.

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