Can you obtain Vanuatu citizenship by investing cryptocurrency?
Vanuatu doesn’t allow obtaining citizenship by investing cryptocurrency directly, meaning no one can get a Vanuatu passport by investing bitcoins.
Since 2017, several news reports have stated that Vanuatu has started accepting crypto in its citizenship by investment program. While the news keeps spreading from time to time, it has never been true.
The statement on the Vanuatu government website clearly says that the country doesn’t recognise and will not accept any payments made by the cryptocurrency as an investment for citizenship. The only accepted currency, in this case, is the US dollar.
That being said, crypto entrepreneurs can still benefit from the citizenship by investment program of Vanuatu.
The Financial Dealers Licencing (Amendment) Act No. 9 of 2021 describes the term “digital assets” as “an immaterial asset in digital form stored on a distributed ledger technology (such as blockchain) and representing a set of rights and values”. It also mentions that digital assets are to be managed by licensed managers.
The country allows digital asset distribution, resale, and custody. This means that investors for citizenship can use digital assets to prove the legality of income and money for the investment. Note that the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies’ origin still has to be confirmed.
But for the investment itself, one can use only fiat money – the cryptocurrency has to be sold for US dollars.
How to obtain a Vanuatu passport as a crypto investor
As said above, one cannot obtain a Vanuatu passport by investing bitcoins, other cryptocurrencies, or any digital asset directly. To be able to invest in citizenship, first, you need to cash out your coins. Here are a couple of tips to help you through this process.
Make sure to exchange cryptocurrency in a regulated marketplace. This will make it easier to prove the legality of the source of funds. For instance, one can use US or Swiss stock exchanges, as well as those of Vanuatu. Not that you might need to have a bank account in the country of exchange to be able to cash out your money.
Consider moving your digital assets to an agent licensed by the Government of Vanuatu. This will cut the list of documents you need to prepare for the citizenship application.
Pay all taxes on time. When exchanging your crypto, make sure to pay all taxes on the transaction fully and on time. The tax rate depends on the laws of the country you run the trade in.
Apply for the citizenship by investment program. The process will take at least one month.
How to avoid paying extra
Some agencies claim that with their help, one can invest bitcoins in joining the citizenship by investment program. This simply means that these agencies will exchange your cryptocurrency for you. This way, the applicant will have to pay an added cost for that transaction aside from the taxes.
How to prove the legality of income when using cryptocurrency
Digital assets can be used as proof of legal income for Vanuatu citizenship by investment program. However, this doesn’t mean that one doesn’t need to prove the legality of the origin of the funds.
To pass the Due Diligence, the investor has to provide documents stating the source of money the crypto was bought for, as well as the recipient of the crypto during the final exchange. That being said, here are a couple of tips to help you prove the legality of your crypto.
✔️ Contact a lawyer who specialises in crypto transactions. If you’re unsure you can prove your transactions’ legality, contacting a special cryptocurrency and blockchain lawyer might help.
✔️ Start a business using the money from a cryptocurrency exchange. This is a longer path for those who are not confident in their former crypto deals. Starting a business and bringing it to the point where it brings enough income to participate in the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program will take a bitcoin owner at least a couple of years.
On the other hand, this will provide the investor with a transparent and valid income source that a Vanuatu migration officer will likely accept.
✔️ Make sure you haven’t made any illegal transactions. Coins stolen from trading floors, received from an illegal deal or traded on a non-regulated market won’t be valid to prove your income.
How to obtain a Vanuatu passport by investing in the economy
To obtain a Vanuatu passport, one has to invest at least $130,000 in the country’s government fund. The Vanuatu citizenship by investment program is the fastest in the world. If everything is done correctly, it will take from one to three months. Here’s how the process goes with Immigrant Invest specialists:
Before signing a contract with any client, Immigrant Invest runs a thorough check on them. A certified Compliance Anti Money Laundering Officer checks the applicants’ documents and searches for information on them in the international database. This allows to reduce the risk of rejection to 1%.
The applicant, along with the lawyer from Immigrant Invest, prepares the first package of papers for the application.
Usually, applicants need to provide their passports, police clearance certificate and a CV. These documents will be sent to the Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit for their Due Diligence.
Our lawyers send the documents to the FIU. The institution conducts the official Due Diligence on the investor and their family members. The official deadline is one week, but often the check is completed in three to four days.
After the FIU’s approval, it’s time to start gathering the rest of the documents needed for the application. The investor provides their personal and financial records, and the Immigrant Invest lawyers make certified copies and fill out the necessary forms.
Along with the full package of documents, the applicant needs to transfer 25% of the investment under the program. After the transaction, Immigrant Invest lawyers send the complete package of documents to Vanuatu.
After processing the documents, the Citizenship Commission sends a notice of approval on the application.
The investor has to pay the remaining 75% of their contribution within 90 days.
The Citizenship Commission issues a naturalisation certificate and submits a request to the passport office for a new passport.
Vanuatu passport obtainment
The investor then takes an oath of allegiance, which can be done either in Vanuatu or in any other location convenient for the investor. The latter will require inviting a Commissioner for Oaths and a migration officer to travel to that location.
Benefits of Vanuatu citizenship for crypto entrepreneurs
While there’s no such thing as a “Vanuatu crypto passport”, this Pacific country still offers quite some benefits to investors holding bitcoins and other electronic currencies.
Travel opportunities. The Vanuatu passport allows visa-free entry to 96 countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, Ireland and Peru. Aside from that, citizens of Vanuatu can get a 5-year US visa that allows multiple entries.
No requirements to reside in Vanuatu. Unlike many other ways to obtain second citizenship or residence, there’s no need to reside in the country for any time. The investor will obtain and keep their status even if they don’t spend a single day in Vanuatu.
Heavenly place as a safe haven. Naturally, citizens of Vanuatu can visit the country or move here any time and stay here for as long as they wish.
Vanuatu is a beautiful country of 13 principles and dozens of smaller islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It boasts pristine nature, beautiful mountains, palm-fringed beaches and mysterious blue holes – deep underwater caves.
No requirements to learn the language of the country. Vanuatu citizenship by investment program doesn’t require participants to learn any languages. Neither does it oblige investors to pass an exam on culture or government structure, which is the case when obtaining citizenship by naturalisation after joining the investment program in many other countries.
Vanuatu has three official languages – English, French, and Bislama, an English-based creole language. Knowing English or French will be enough to travel or live in Vanuatu comfortably.
Tax benefits. Vanuatu doesn’t tax its residents’ income, wealth, capital gains, dividends and interest. This means that once an investor becomes a tax resident of Vanuatu, they will pay 0% taxes, including those for crypto exchanges.
To become a tax resident of Vanuatu, one must spend at least 183 days a year within the country.
Business opportunities. Tax benefits are also applicable to business owners in Vanuatu. Companies registered in Vanuatu and International Business Companies are exempt from tax for 20 years – their yearly payment to the Vanuatu budget has to be only $300.
Fast passport obtainment. Vanuatu citizenship by investment program offers the fastest way to obtain a second citizenship. It is your way to go if you want a secure passport ASAP. It usually takes around 1—3 months to become a Vanuatu citizen, while the process will take around half a year in Caribbean countries and at least 3—4 months in European countries.
The investor’s close family members are also eligible for citizenship under the same investment. Here’s the list of relatives who can also become citizens of Vanuatu:
- the investor’s spouse of the opposite sex;
- children under 25 years old who are dependent on the investor;
- parents over 65 years old.
The price of the investment changes depending on the number of people applying for citizenship. A married couple will have to contribute $150,000. For each child or parent, an extra $15,000 will be added to the total investment price.
The citizen status can be passed through to descendants. Future children and grandchildren of the investor can also become citizens of Vanuatu if they want to – without making any investments.
Frequently asked questions
Investing bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency directly is impossible to join the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program. However, crypto holders can exchange their assets for fiat money and then use that cash to participate in the program.
One of the ways to obtain Vanuatu citizenship is by joining the country’s citizenship by investment program. The minimal investment to be made is $130,000. Along with the investor, their close family members can apply for citizenship – in that case, the investment should be bigger.
The minimum investment to be made to obtain Vanuatu citizenship is $130,000. The investment is processed as a one-time non-refundable contribution to a special Vanuatu government fund.
Yes, Vanuatu does allow its citizens to have a second citizenship. Once you obtain your Vanuatu passport, you will not have to give up the passport of your country of origin. Learn the difference between the terms dual citizenship and second citizenship.
Vanuatu allows visa-free travel to 96 countries, including the UK, Ireland and Singapore. Aside from that, citizens of Vanuatu can obtain a 5-year multi-entry visa to the USA.
Vanuatu allows digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, to be held and used within the country. The law allows distribution, resale, and custody services of cryptocurrency. Assets can be managed only by local and international companies licensed by the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission.