Requirements for Vanuatu citizenship by investment
To obtain Vanuatu citizenship, one must be eligible for the Vanuatu Golden Visa Program and make a non-refundable contribution of a minimum of $130,000 to a special Vanuatu Government fund. The funds are sent to the government of Vanuatu, which then distributes them to support different economic sectors.
Who is eligible to apply for the program
|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 years old||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 by the investor. In the case of children, the option “because of mental or physical characteristics” is possible as well, although this involves financial support.
Citizens of certain countries — North Korea, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq — can not 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.
Vanuatu golden visa benefits
Vanuatu citizenship by investment provides a range of benefits that attract investors worldwide.
The fastest way to the second passport. 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.
One of the lowest minimum investment amounts of all citizenship by investment programs. The Vanuatu golden passport can be acquired with a contribution of $130,000, provided that the investor is the only applicant.
Citizenship for family members. The program also applies to the investor’s close family members:
- a spouse;
- parents over 65 years old;
- children under the age of 25.
No language test or obligatory moving to Vanuatu. Language proficiency and knowledge of the state history are not required to obtain Vanuatu citizenship, and there is no requirement to reside and stay in Vanuatu.
Visa-free access to 95 countries, including the UK and Singapore. Vanuatu passport holders can spend up to 180 days a year in the UK, up to 90 days in Hong Kong, and up to 30 days in Singapore.
Long-term US tourist visa. Vanuatu citizens can apply for a US 5-year multiple-entry tourist visa, allowing them to spend up to 180 days a year in the United States.
Tax optimisation. The investor is allowed to establish an international company in Vanuatu. Although such companies are not eligible to receive income in Vanuatu, they may enjoy tax benefits. For 20 years, companies and their shareholders are not obliged to pay taxes on profits, income, capital gains, inheritance or donations. Instead, there is a fixed annual fee of $300.
Moreover, the Vanuatu tax system doesn’t imply taxes on wealth, capital gains, inheritance, dividends, interest, global income, or profits on the stock exchange. If the investor spends at least 183 days a year in Vanuatu, then they get the tax residency of the country and, therefore, may legally reduce their taxation.
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 the development of Vanuatu, both economically and socially.
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.
Costs of participating in the Vanuatu Golden Visa Program
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 the 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.
Expenses associated with Vanuatu citizenship by investment
|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 for the family||Due Diligence|
|$43 for the family||Submission of the application|
|$86 for each family member included||Issuance of a certificate of naturalisation|
|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.
Due Diligence is a thorough, comprehensive check of the investor 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 a residence or citizenship by investment.
During the Due Diligence, all applicants’ personal and business backgrounds are examined. The inspectors’ duty is to ensure that the investment funds come from legal sources, applicants are not connected with crime, are not on the prohibition 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.
If 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
The step-by-step procedure for acquiring Vanuatu citizenship by investment includes the following stages.
1. Preliminary check. A certified Anti Money Laundering Officer checks the applicant’s biography and 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.
2. Preparation of the first part of the documents. 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.
3. FIU verification. 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.
4. Preparation of the second part of the documents. 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.
5. Submission and consideration of the application. 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.
6. Fulfilment of the investment condition. 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.
7. Taking an oath of allegiance and obtaining a passport. 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.
Vanuatu also provides an opportunity for investors to obtain citizenship by investment in one of the Vanuatu Government Approved Projects.
The current list of such projects consists of 4 options:
- “Pacific Springs” situated at Rentabao on the island of Efate;
- “Narpow Point Coral Bay” situated at Narpow Point on the island of Efate;
- “FPF Rainbow City Project” situated at Narpow Point on the island of Efate;
- “Milai” situated on the island of Espiritu Santo.
What are the pitfalls of the Vanuatu Golden Visa program?
Vanuatu has announced that it will recheck the applications of investors who were granted Vanuatu citizenship by investment since 2015. At the same time, the Due Diligence check will get stricter and more complex.
Vanuatu’s decision to tighten the conditions under which citizenship by investment can be obtained came from criticism from the European Union. The European Council has partially suspended the agreement on visa‑free travel to EU countries for Vanuatu citizens: 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.
Visa-free entry to the Schengen countries for Vanuatu citizenship holders 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 95 countries.
How to obtain permanent residency by investment in Vanuatu
Vanuatu also provides an opportunity for investors to obtain a permanent residence permit in Vanuatu. The advantages of the residency program are that a permanent residence permit by investment in Vanuatu does not require any contributions to the national fund. Besides, the application process takes even less time and can be completed in a few days.
To get Vanuatu permanent residence, an investor needs to prove that they have assets of $350,000.
Suppose an applicant gets the 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.
How the Vanuatu citizenship program differs from permanent residency by investment
|Terms||Vanuatu citizenship by investment||Vanuatu permanent residence by investment|
|Cost||Minimum contribution of $130,000||Proof of assets of $350,000|
|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 investment visa 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-five 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 95 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.
All foreigners, including Vanuatu citizens, need a visa to work in Australia. The type of visa and work determine the permitted period.