Conditions of the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program
The Vanuatu Golden Visa Program requires applicants to pay a non-refundable contribution of $130,000 to the special Vanuatu government fund to obtain citizenship. Vanuatu's government distributes the funds to various economic sectors after receiving them
Who can obtain a Vanuatu passport by investment
|Investor||Over 18 years old|
With proven legal income
Without a criminal record
Without serious illnesses
With a bank account balance of $250,000
|Spouse||Sex is opposite to the investor|
Without a criminal record
|Children under 25||Dependent on the investor|
Students at a university, if over 18
There may be some exceptions for children aged 25 to 28 years old
|Parents||Over 65 years old|
There may be exceptions for parents over 50
In most cases, dependence on the main applicant is understood as full financial support from the investor. In the case of children, the option “because of mental or physical characteristics” is possible as well, although it also involves financial support.
Citizens of certain countries — North Korea, Yemen, Syria, Iran, and Iraq — cannot participate in the Vanuatu Golden Visa program. As an exception, the commission may consider applications from persons from the prohibited countries if an applicant has not lived in the country of birth for the last five years and has proof of residency in another country.
Does Vanuatu allow dual citizenship?
Dual citizenship is allowed in Vanuatu. Thus, you can be a citizen of Vanuatu and other countries simultaneously.
You do not need to apply for dual citizenship. You will become a dual national automatically after obtaining a Vanuatu passport.
Yet, many countries do not accept dual citizenship. The country of your original citizenship may prohibit you from holding a second passport, so you will have to decide which citizenship you wish to keep.
Vanuatu citizenship benefits
There are a number of benefits of the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program that attract investors from all over the world.
Visa-free travel to 96 countries, including the UK and Singapore. Vanuatu passport holders can spend up to 180 days a year in the UK and certain European countries such as Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, up to 90 days in Hong Kong, and up to 30 days in Singapore.
Second passport in a commonwealth country. Vanuatu is part of the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 56 independent and equal countries.
All Commonwealth citizens can obtain consular assistance from British embassies and consulates. They are entitled to apply for British emergency passports if their travel documents have been lost or stolen, and their national governments have given permission to do so.
While living in the UK, Commonwealth citizens are generally exempt from local police registration, can work in non-reserve civil service jobs, and are eligible to join the British Armed Forces.
Proximity and strong connection to economically developed countries. Australia and New Zealand have close economic and cultural ties with Vanuatu, underpinned by long-term bilateral agreements. Australia has been systematically investing in Vanuatu’s economy and infrastructure, and New Zealand approved a four-year plan in 2021 that implies contributing to Vanuatu’s economic and social development.
Long-term US tourist visa. Vanuatu citizens are eligible to apply for a 5-year multiple-entry tourist visa. For comparison, this type of visa is issued, if at all, for a maximum of 3 years to citizens of many other countries.
Citizenship against a one-time payment. The Vanuatu Golden Passport can be obtained with a $130,000 contribution, provided the investor is the sole applicant. This is one of the lowest minimum investment amounts of any citizenship investment program.
The processing time for a Vanuatu citizenship application is 2 months. It usually takes only 1—2 months between the first step and finally getting a Vanuatu passport. The procedure is shorter than any alternative programs in Caribbean countries, where the average duration of the entire application process may be up to 6 months.
No residence requirements for citizenship. There is no obligation ever to visit Vanuatu or live in the country. According to statistics, 9 out of 10 Vanuatu passport holders by investment have never been to Vanuatu.
Once the Citizenship Commission has approved the application for Vanuatu citizenship, the investor and family members must take the Oath of Allegiance. This can be done in two ways: by flying to Vanuatu or inviting the Oath commissioner and the Migration officer to a convenient location.
Citizenship for spouse, children and parents. The program also applies to the investor’s close family members:
- a spouse;
- parents over 65 years old;
- children under the age of 25.
For family members of the investor, there are two options: to include them in the investor’s application right away or to attach them sometime after the investor has obtained Vanuatu citizenship.
To add a spouse to the application, the investor pays an additional $25,000. Once an investor passport is obtained, the spouse can be attached to Vanuatu citizenship for $45,000.
Adding children or parents to an application costs $15,000 per person. The cost doesn't depend on when they are added.
No language test or other examinations. Knowledge of the language and history of the state is not required to obtain Vanuatu citizenship.
Tax benefits. Vanuatu does not impose most taxes on individuals: neither personal income nor real estate ownership is taxed.
Moreover, in Vanuatu's tax system, there are no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax, no taxes on wealth, dividends, interest, global income or stock market gains.
If an investor spends at least 183 days in Vanuatu in a year, they gain tax residency in Vanuatu and can, therefore, lawfully reduce their tax liability.
Entities can also benefit from tax relief in Vanuatu. Companies incorporated in Vanuatu do not have to pay taxes for 20 years. Instead, companies pay a levy of $300 per year.
Beautiful nature. The country still has its pristine nature, and you can enjoy it in national parks and other protected areas.
There are mountains, volcanos, rainforests and sandy beaches on the islands of Vanuatu. Also, you can see the blue holes — deep underwater caves; one of the most famous is the Nanda Blue Hole on Espirito Santo Island.
How much does it cost to get Vanuatu citizenship by investment?
The cost of obtaining Vanuatu citizenship by investment consists of a contribution to the government fund and additional expenses. The contribution amount depends on the number of people included in the application and starts from $130,000. The additional fees are related to Due Diligence, the submission of the application and the issuance of a certificate of naturalisation.
Another expense to keep in mind is the Oath of Allegiance. Investors must take the Oath, which can be done in two ways: in-person in Vanuatu or by inviting the Commissioner for Oaths and a migration officer to another place. In any case, the trip’s cost is to be compensated by the applicant.
Costs of participating in the Vanuatu Golden Visa Program
|Contribution to the fund|
|$165,000||Family of 3 people|
|$180,000||Family of 4 people|
|$15,000||For each child or parent, starting from the fifth family member|
|$5,000||Due Diligence for the family|
|$43||Submission of the application for the family|
|$86||Issuance of a certificate of naturalisation for each family member included|
|Individually||A flight to Vanuatu or the Commissioner for Oaths and the migration officer’s trip to a convenient place so that the investor could take the oath|
The Due Diligence fee is one of the most substantial additional costs. This check is a mandatory application step and is highly important in any Golden Visa program.
The term “Due Diligence” refers to a comprehensive examination of investors and their finances for various risks. The check is carried out by special state authorities of the country in which the investor wants to obtain residence or citizenship by investment.
Due Diligence examines all applicants’ personal and business backgrounds. The check is conducted to ensure that the investment funds come from legitimate sources, the applicants are not linked to crime, are not on exclusion lists and do not pose a political, reputational or any other threat to the country.
As an official representative of the Vanuatu program, Immigrant Invest has its compliance department that carries out preliminary Due Diligence checks. Our certified Anti Money Laundering Compliance Officers accompany the entire process and point out everything that needs to be considered before submitting the investor’s application.
When the investor seeks legal assistance and contacts a consulting company to help them through the application process, they also pay for the legal support. The cost varies in each case.
How to obtain Vanuatu citizenship
A certified Anti Money Laundering Officer checks the applicant’s biography and the origins of funds. The process is private and doesn’t require a complete set of documents.
The preliminary check minimises the risk that the citizenship application will be rejected. If any threats are found as a result of the check, then lawyers offer alternative options and solutions, maximising the chances of the application being successful. Only the applicant and the lawyers assigned to their case are informed about the check results.
The applicant and Immigrant Invest’s lawyers prepare documents for verification by the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). Usually, the applicant’s passport, no criminal record certificate and CV need to be submitted.
The Immigrant Invest’s lawyers send the set of documents to the agent in Vanuatu. After that, the documents are transferred to the Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which performs the initial check on the investor and their family.
When the approval from the FIU is received, the process of preparing the necessary documents begins. The investor must provide the required paperwork to the lawyers of Immigrant Invest, and they, in turn, provide their notarisation, translation and filling out the necessary forms in accordance with the requirements of the golden visa program.
The investor transfers 25% of the investment stipulated in the program. Our lawyers send the completed application, including the relevant documents, to Vanuatu, and then The Screening Committee and Citizenship Commission review them. Verification takes up to two weeks.
Once the Citizenship Commission approves the investor’s application, the investment condition is to be satisfied. The applicant must make the remaining 75% of their contribution to the fund within 90 days.
When the agreed investment is received, the Citizenship Commission issues a certificate of naturalisation and forwards a passport request to the passport office. The investor and the other applicants then have to take an oath of allegiance. This can be performed in two ways: flying to Vanuatu or inviting the commissioner for Oaths and migration officer to a convenient place.
How long is the Vanuatu passport valid?
Vanuatu citizenship is permanently granted to investors. However, a passport is issued for a limited period. Vanuatu passports expire after 10 years and must be renewed after that.
The Passport Act sets out the consequences of a breach of the Vanuatu Citizenship Act. Under this Act, using an expired Vanuatu passport is an offence. It may lead to imprisonment for up to 5 years or a fine of US$45,000.
A Vanuatu passport holder must renew their passport within the time limit prescribed by Vanuatu law to avoid legal issues.
What are the pitfalls of the Vanuatu Golden Visa program?
It has been announced that Vanuatu will recheck the citizenship applications of investors who have been granted citizenship by investment since 2015. At the same time, the Due Diligence check for investors has become increasingly rigorous and complex.
European Union criticism led Vanuatu to tighten citizenship by investment requirements. As a result of the European Council's decision, Visa-Free travel to EU countries for Vanuatu citizens has partially been suspended: from May 4, 2022, Vanuatu citizens who have been granted citizenship by investment since 2015 need to apply for a visa to visit the EU.
For Vanuatu citizenship holders, visa-free entry to the Schengen countries may be resumed in May 2023. The government of Vanuatu must comply with the requirements of the European Council, the most important of which is to strengthen the Due Diligence procedure.
However, the Vanuatu passport still provides other travel and business opportunities, including but not limited to visa-free access to 96 countries.
How to obtain permanent residency by investment in Vanuatu
Vanuatu also provides an opportunity for investors to obtain a permanent residence permit. Investors must prove that they have $350,000 in assets to get Vanuatu permanent residence.
A major advantage of the Vanuatu permanent residence program is that no contribution to the National Fund is required. Besides, the application process takes less time and can be completed in a few days.
Suppose an applicant gets a Vanuatu permanent residence permit. In that case, the naturalisation process can be launched after ten years of residence in the country so that an investor can acquire Vanuatu citizenship.
The differences in requirements: Vanuatu Citizenship and Permanent Residence by investment
|Terms||Vanuatu citizenship by investment||Vanuatu permanent residence by investment|
|Cost||$130,000 Minimum contribution||$350,000 Proof of assets|
|Processing time||1—2 months||Up to 5 days|
|The requirement to live in the country to obtain citizenship||No need to reside in the country to obtain citizenship||10 years of residence in Vanuatu to apply for citizenship|
The Vanuatu PR program is the fastest in the world. Application processing time is record-breaking: the entire process of acquiring the Vanuatu Permanent Residence Permit can take as little as five days.
Frequently asked questions
To obtain Vanuatu citizenship, you should meet the eligibility criteria and make a non-refundable contribution to the Vanuatu Government fund and some additional processing fees.
Ninety-six countries, including the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. However, Vanuatu passport holders temporarily can’t travel visa-free to EU countries.
Yes, this option has become available in 2021. However, there is no official information on financial conditions, the minimum investment amount and the criteria by which real estate is selected at the time of June 2022.
It usually takes 1—2 months to obtain a Vanuatu citizenship. To apply for the program is possible only through a licensed agent.
Yes, the program applies to the investor’s spouse, parents over 50 years old and children under 25.
The Vanuatu passport allows entry to 96 countries without a visa. The list includes the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. However, Vanuatu passport holders can no longer travel visa-free to EU countries.
Vanuatu passport holders can spend up to 180 days a year in the UK.
Yes, it does. The investor is not required to renounce their existing citizenship of another country to obtain a Vanuatu golden passport.
Working in Australia requires a visa for all foreigners, including Vanuatu citizens. The permitted period depends on the type of visa and the type of work.
The cost of obtaining Vanuatu citizenship by investment consists of a contribution to the government fund and additional expenses.
The contribution amount depends on the number of people included in the application:
$130,000 — for an investor;
$150,000 — for a married couple;
$165,000 — for a family of 3 people;
$180,000 — for a family of 4 people.
Additional fees: $5,000 for Due Diligence for the family, $43 for submission of the application for the family, and $86 for the certificate of naturalisation for each family member included.