Earth & Conservation

Which Countries Sell Citizenship?

A person can gain citizenship by birth, marriage, employment, or in some cases by check. So where can you buy citizenship?

Sale alert: Act now, and for the low, low price of $100,000, you can be a citizen of the Caribbean island of Dominca.

As explained in today's Seeker Daily dispatch, several nations around the world effectively offer citizenship for sale, including some countries that might surprise you.

Purchasing citizenship in another country is generally a shady business. Often, the transaction is a way for wealthy criminals to escape a country where they're wanted for a crime, or for tax avoidance schemes. But sometimes purchasing citizenship with another nation is legitimate. For instance, victims of oppressive governments can use the process to escape travel restrictions in their home countries.

As of 2016, nine countries are effectively selling citizenship. For the tiny Caribbean island nation of Dominica -- not to be confused with the Dominican Republic -- selling citizenship has become a primary source of revenue. Citizenship can be purchased for $100,000 cash, or with a real estate investment of at least $200,000.

Dominca needs the money, frankly. A tropical storm in 2015 wiped out around 90 percent of the country's GDP.

RELATED: What Does Citizenship Even Mean?

Similar programs exist in the nearby nation of St. Kitts and Nevis -- two Caribbean islands that form one country. You can get citizenship here for $250,000 up front, or $400,000 in real estate investments. The deal includes visa-free travel to the roughly 130 countries that accept the nation's passport.

About a dozen other countries worldwide don't sell citizenship outright, but they offer a pretty good approximation. The United States has been known to offer permanent residency -- or "golden visas" -- to foreigners who invest properly in U.S. businesses and public assets. The United Kingdom offers similar deals.

So yes, it's entirely possible to buy citizenship, if you've got the resources. It's also possible to lose citizenship, but that's a whole other story.

Double Secret Bonus Trivia: Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis are called "Kitticans."

-- By Glenn McDonald Learn More:

Washington Post: 7 countries where you can become a citizen or resident-if you have the cash

CNBC: Buying citizenship: Which nations are affordable?

CNN: This Caribbean island makes 25% of its money selling visas

Caribbean News Now: Dominica's citizenship programme main source of FDI, officials say