Pandemic Passports


Applications for new nationalities have increased 42 percent since last year, according to citizenship broker Henley & Partners.

Wealthy travelers have been playing a game of “beat the ban” as countries have closed their borders to try to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Getting it wrong can be very expensive, as one British couple recently learned. The pair bought two £10,000 ($12,000) first-class tickets to escape from London to Barbados, but they were so worried that British Airways would axe its service that they paid £100,00 ($125,000) to charter a private jet instead. (BA carried on flying.)

Henley & Partners, a London-based citizenship broker, is one of the biggest players in the nearly $4 billion-a-year “identity management” business (a.k.a. “passports for sale”). The firm’s latest figures show a 42 percent year-over-year increase in the number of people filing a formal application for a new nationality during the first three months of 2020. The number of inquiries is up by 25 percent.

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