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With Lebanese passport holders unable to travel to most destinations without first applying for a visa, those with means are using hefty investments to obtain more desirable passports. Lebanese nationals can enter only 39 of 218 total global destinations without applying for a visa according the Visa Restrictions Index 2016, published by Henley & Partners, a firm specializing in "residence and citizenship planning" since the 1990s. The country is among those with a long-running "citizenship-by-investment" program.While Lebanese citizens do not have a high-rejection rate for short-term "uniform" visas for the Schengen zone compared to other countries in the MENA region – in 2015, 10.5 percent of Lebanese visa applications were refused, compared to 12 percent from the United Arab Emirates and 26.9 percent from Algeria – the application process is one that many would pay to avoid.Lebanese nationals mainly opt for investment programs in the EU, which come with more advantages but are also the most expensive.Applications to the Golden Residency Program in Portugal have gone from two in 2012, when the program was created, to 1,273 in 2016 – with the Lebanese ranking fifth in Savory & Partners' client base.However, some Caribbean programs are off-limits to even to those Syrian nationals who can afford them.
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