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Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment & Passport Guide for 2024

Mark Damsgaard

Mark Damsgaard

Founder of Global Residence Index

Last updated: April 19, 2024

Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment & Passport Guide for 2024

This guide on the Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment program hopes to assist readers and potential investors to learn more about Vanuatu, its passport, the investment criteria, eligibility, and process.  

One of the most essential elements of the investment migration industry is proper case management and post-approval services for clients. To learn how we, with our local team in Vanuatu, can help you, please feel free to get in touch with us for an initial consultation.

Formation of the Citizenship by Investment in Vanuatu 

The first iteration of the Program was the Capital Investment Immigration Plan (CIIP), formed in 2012 and implemented in 2014. Honorary citizenship was given to investors, slightly different from full citizenship under the Vanuatu Development Support Programme (VDSP). It did not allow these citizens to vote or take public office. 

There have since been several changes to the programs allowing citizenship to foreign investors. The Government is opening up investment opportunities to investors with the ability to redeem some or all of their capital investment. 

In 2021, the parliament passed new amendments to the Citizenship Act, officially adding the Real Estate Option (REO) for citizenship by investment. Citizenship under the Real Estate Option Program under Section 13F of the Citizenship Act [Cap 112].

Vanuatu has launched a third investment option by Issuing Government Bonds Option (IGBO). Order NO. 44 from 2023 was published in the Republic of Vanuatu Official Gazette on March 27 this year. The Order makes amendments to the Vanuatu Citizenship Act.

The transformation of the investment options shows that the Government is adapting to an incredibly competitive investment migration market. 

Investment Criteria for Vanuatu Citizenship

Vanuatu Development Support Programme (DSP)

The one-time contribution or donation to the Vanuatu Development Support Programme (VDSP) for the Vanuatu Government is as follows:  

  • Single Applicant: $130,000
  • Married Couple: $150,000
  • Family of Three: $165,000
  • Family of Four: $180,000
  • Additional Family Members: $10,000

 

Vanuatu passport by investment

 

Vanuatu Citizenship Process from Application to Passport Issuance

The Citizenship by Investment program of Vanuatu follows an eight-step process:

  1. Prepare all the necessary documents along with the nomination application. This includes gathering passport copies, birth certificates, marriage certificates if applicable, police clearance certificates from countries lived in for 12+ months in the past ten years, and medical checkup results. The nomination application should also be filled out with personal and family details;
  2. Pay an initial $5,000 to start the due diligence process. The primary will pay an application fee after submitting all documents and nomination applications to your authorized DSP agent. This allows the Vanuatu government to begin background checks and due diligence on the applicant;
  3. File your application through an authorized DSP agent. The Vanuatu government authorizes the DSP (Development Support Program) agents to handle citizenship applications. They will submit the completed application and all supporting documents to the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission on your behalf;
  4. Wait for two weeks to receive your approval in principle from the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission (VCC). This letter means you have passed due diligence and background checks, pending only the full investment payment;
  5. Pay the entire investment depending on which investment option you choose and whether you apply as a single applicant or with a family. The total amount must be paid only after receiving the approval of the primary applicant. Do not make the entire investment before approval from VCC.
  6. Receive the Letter of approval for citizenship. This will come within two weeks of paying the total investment amount.
  7. Take an oath online or via video conferencing to complete the naturalization process. This oath swears allegiance to Vanuatu and can be done remotely online.
  8. Receive your citizenship certificate and passport from the nearest Vanuatu consulate. These will arrive within one month, typically after completing the oath. Then, you officially become a Vanuatu citizen.

 

Seeking expert guidance for the Vanuatu program?

Navigating through immigration programs, such as Vanuatu’s, can be complex and overwhelming, regardless of the country or program you’re interested in. If you’re struggling to find clear, accurate information, you’re not alone. Our team is here to offer you clarity and reliable advice across a wide range of immigration programs, including Vanuatu.

By scheduling a consultation, you’ll receive personalized guidance tailored to your unique situation. We’re dedicated to helping you understand the details of the Vanuatu citizenship program and various other immigration programs, making them more straightforward so you can proceed with confidence.

Here is how we can help you:

  • Address any specific questions: We’ll answer your questions about the program and the application process, providing you with the clarity you need.
  • Detail every step: We’ll break down each stage of the immigration process, ensuring you know exactly what to expect.
  • Evaluate program suitability: We’ll help you determine if the chosen program is the right fit for you or suggest alternatives that may better align with your goals.
  • We can connect you with local professionals: Gain access to our network of recommended local lawyers in Vanuatu.

 

 

Eligibility for Primary Investor and Dependents 

Other than completing the financial transaction, the Vanuatu citizenship program has multiple other criteria to be fulfilled.  

  • Primary applicants must be over the age of 18 and under the age of 65 when submitting their applications. 
  • When the Citizenship Commission has approved in principle (AIP), the applicant must deposit the remaining fee by wire transfer to the local agent’s escrow account at the National Bank of Vanuatu.
  • Applicants must submit a certificate of no criminal record from the jurisdiction in which they have resided during the last 12 months and (if different) the jurisdiction of their principal nationality.
  • Primary inventors must show at least $250,000 Net Asset Value (NAV) when submitting their application, of which at least $250,000 in banking assets. Evidence and proof of wealth can be shown through bank statements or personal financial statements drawn up by an accountant.
  • The primary investor should provide evidence that they are solvent and financially able to maintain themselves and their dependents without depending on income from any employment or business arranged in Vanuatu.
  • Dependent children under eighteen and wholly financially dependent parents and grandparents may be included in the citizenship application. 

 

Vanuatu beach

 

Enhanced Due Diligence in 2024

Scrutiny and background checks on investors have undergone multiple changes in the due diligence process. The improvements align with trying to improve relations with the European Council.

Agents authorized by the unit conduct initial high-level due diligence by understanding the background of the applicants, the source of funds, and the criminal background. All initial documents are checked against international databases by a certified compliance anti-money laundering officer.

Agents submit applications, including valid passports, police or judicial clearance, Curriculum Vitae (CV), and any such requested documents are then submitted to the FIU, where the due diligence process is completed, usually in 3-8 working days.

The process for citizenship is one of the fastest in the industry. Applicants with documentation can obtain their passports within one month of deciding to invest in Vanuatu. 

 

Vanuatu Citizenship and Passport Strength

The passport currently is ranked in the top one hundred in the world, with visa-free access to 103 countries and territories. There has been some loss in demand for the citizenship program since the European Council removed visa-free access to the Schengen area. However, recovery plans are in motion, and there is the possibility to retain visa-free access in the future. 

Vanuatu’s passport strength has reduced considerably since losing visa-free travel to Europe’s Schengen area. However, the passport still provides entry to Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia and many other countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. 

 

Benefits of Vanuatu Citizenship 

Apart from adding another passport to the portfolio, there are several other benefits to citizenship. As a member of the Commonwealth, Vanuatu citizens can obtain long-term visitor visas in other Commonwealth countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Citizens can apply for a B1/B2 tourist visa, which can be issued for five years. Long-term tourist visas in these first-world countries can allow for medical treatments and conduct short-term business or academic courses.

Vanuatu is known for its favourable tax policies. Investors can establish an International Business Company (ICB) and tax residence. As long as the company does not earn income from within Vanuatu, there are significant tax advantages. The company can be tax-exempt on profits, and its shareholders can also enjoy tax-free profits, personal income, capital gains, inheritance, or donations. Applicants who create a tax presence in Vanuatu can enjoy the twenty-year benefit. 

The path to citizenship is very straightforward, without a language requirement. 

Ultimately, the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program is a great Plan B option for investors looking to increase their passport portfolio. Living in Vanuatu should also be a consideration for the investors.

With over eighty beaches and crystal clear waters, the island paradise is absolutely worth considering for citizenship investors looking to obtain a second passport.

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I add a future wife or child after I have citizenship?

Yes. The donation cost is currently $45,000 for a spouse and $15,000 for a child.

How long is the passport valid for?

The passport is valid for ten years from the date of issue. After that, it must be renewed which can be done remotely. However, your citizenship is, of course, permanent.

Do I have to renounce my previous citizenship if I become a citizen of Vanuatu?

No. Vanuatu recognizes dual citizenship, and investors can hold multiple citizenships.

How stringent is the due diligence process?

Our authorized agent will conduct the preliminary due diligence before moving forward with the application in Vanuatu. This initial step ensures that you are only onboarded as a client if you are eligible for citizenship.

Is the donation made before or after approval?

Importantly, the donation is only to be made after approval of your citizenship application.

 

Need help?

Navigating through golden visa & citizenship by investment programs can be complex and overwhelming, regardless of the country or program you’re interested in. If you’re struggling to find clear, accurate information, you’re not alone. Our team is here to offer you clarity and reliable advice across a wide range of immigration programs.

By scheduling a consultation, you’ll receive personalized guidance tailored to your unique situation. We’re dedicated to helping you understand the details of various immigration programs, making them more straightforward so you can proceed with confidence.

GET PERSONALIZED GUIDANCE

During our call, we will:

Here is what to expect from a call with our advisory team:

1

We’ll answer your questions about the program and the application process, providing you with the clarity you need.

2

We’ll break down each stage of the immigration process, ensuring you know exactly what to expect.

3

We’ll help you determine if the chosen program is the right fit for you or suggest alternatives that may better align with your goals.

4

Gain access to our network of recommended local lawyers, as well as providers of eligible investment options.