A foreigner gets a right to become a Vanuatu citizen if they have lived on the island for at least 10 years, married a country citizen, or rendered an essential service to the state. At the same time, the easiest and fastest way to get a passport is to take part in the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program.
The Vanuatu citizenship program is the fastest in the world. Investors get their passports within 1 or 2 months after applying. There are not any investment options to choose from. All applicants need to make a non-refundable contribution of at least $130,000 to the National Development Fund.
Visa-free countries with the Vanuatu passport
The Vanuatu passport allows visa-free entry to 95 countries.
The UK. As Vanuatu is part of the Commonwealth of Nations, its citizens may enter the UK without a visa and spend up to 180 days in a row. Investors use this opportunity to come on holidays and business meetings, choose a prestigious college or university for their children and visit them often.
The EU and the Schengen Agreement countries have partially suspended the visa-free regimes with Vanuatu. After May 25th, 2015, those who obtained Vanuatu citizenship now have to get a visa to enter the EU and Schengen countries. The term of the suspension is yet unknown.
Ireland is the only EU country that can still be visited without a visa on a Vanuatu passport, as it is not part of the Schengen Agreement and has its own agreement with Vanuatu.
Asia. Vanuatu сitizens are also exempt from visa requirements for travel to popular business destinations in Asia, namely Hong Kong and Singapore. In Singapore, they may stay up to 30 days, whereas in Hong Kong, a 90-day stay is permitted.
Complete list of visa-free countries for Vanuatu passport holders
|№||Country||Entry conditions||Time of stay|
|3||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Visa-free||90 days out of 180|
|5||Great Britain||Visa-free||180 days|
|8||Moldova||Visa-free||90 days out of 180|
|9||Monaco||Visa-free||90 days out of 180|
|11||Russian Federation||Visa-free||90 days out of 180|
|12||San Marino||Visa-free||10 days|
|1||Armenia||Visa on arrival||120 days|
|2||Bangladesh||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|3||Cambodia||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|4||Hong Kong||Visa-free||90 days|
|6||Iran||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|8||Jordan||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|9||Laos||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|10||Macau||Visa on arrival||14 to 180 days|
|12||Maldives||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|13||Nepal||Visa on arrival||90 days|
|14||Palestinian Territory||Visa-free||21 day|
|17||Sri Lanka||Electronic travel authorization||30 days|
|18||Thailand||Visa on arrival||15 days|
|19||Timor-Leste||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|1||Botswana||Visa-free||90 days a year|
|2||Cape Verde Islands||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|3||Comoro Islands||Visa on arrival||45 days|
|4||Egypt||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|7||Guinea-Bissau||Visa on arrival||90 days|
|10||Madagascar||Visa on arrival||30, 60 or 90 days|
|11||Malawi||Visa on arrival||90 days|
|12||Mauritania||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|14||Mozambique||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|15||Rwanda||Visa on arrival||90 days|
|16||Saint Helena||Visa on arrival||183 days|
|18||Seychelles||Visa on arrival||90 days|
|19||Sierra Leone||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|20||Somalia||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|22||Togo||Visa on arrival||7 days|
|2||Antigua and Barbuda||Visa-free||30 days|
|6||British Virgin Islands||Visa-free||180 days|
|7||Cayman islands||Visa-free||180 days|
|8||Costa Rica||Visa-free||30 days|
|10||Dominican Republic||Visa-free||90 days|
|19||Saint Kitts and Nevis||Visa-free||90 days|
|20||Saint Lucia||Visa-free||42 days|
|21||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Visa-free||30 days|
|23||Trinidad and Tobago||Visa-free||90 days out of 180|
|1||Bolivia||Visa on arrival||90 days|
|1||Cook Islands||Visa-free||31 days|
|3||Kiribati||Visa-free||120 days a year|
|4||Marshall Islands||Visa on arrival||90 days|
|6||Nauru||Visa on arrival||N/D|
|8||Palau Islands||Visa on arrival||30 days|
|9||Papua New Guinea||Visa on arrival||60 days|
|10||Samoa||Visa on arrival||60 days|
|11||Solomon Islands||Visa on arrival||90 days|
|12||Tonga||Visa on arrival||31 days|
|13||Tuvalu||Visa on arrival||30 days|
Long-term visas to the USA
Vanuatu citizens are eligible to apply for a 5-year multiple-entry tourist visa to the USA. The visa allows spending up to 180 days a year in the USA. This type of visa suits those who would like to hold business meetings, travel around the country, receive medical treatment and sign up for educational courses that do not lead to a diploma or a degree.
Scholarships at British universities
Commonwealth Scholarships are available for citizens of Vanuatu who would like to study at British universities. Children of investors that received Vanuatu passports under the citizenship program are also eligible for certain scholarships. For example, to the Commonwealth Rutherford Fellowships.
In Vanuatu, there are no taxes on wealth, capital gains and inheritance, and dividends, interest, stock and global income. To optimise taxation, a citizen needs to become a tax resident of the country. To obtain tax residence, citizens must spend at least 183 days per year in Vanuatu.
There is another option that may help reduce the tax burden. Investors can register an International Business Company (IBC) in Vanuatu, which is exempt from taxes for 20 years. Instead of taxes, such companies annually pay $300 to the budget of Vanuatu.
Narong found political asylum in Germany but could not get a residence permit in the country for a long time. He lived under the threat of deportation and had no right to travel or start his own business.
With the help of Immigrant Invest lawyers, the investor got Vanuatu citizenship without leaving Germany. Now Narong’s company is registered in Vanuatu and entitled to preferential tax treatment.
Benefits of the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program
Investors are attracted by the advantages of the Vanuatu citizenship program. Issuance of passports is fast and easy while their cost is relatively low. Statistics confirm the interest in the program: investors received 6,500 Vanuatu passports from 2014 to 2019.
1. Fast issuance of passports. Vanuatu is a fast-track second citizenship program. Obtaining a Vanuatu passport takes only 1 to 2 months. The procedure is faster than under the alternative programs in Caribbean countries, where foreigners may receive passports on average within 3 to 6 months.
2. Citizenship for the family. Besides investors themselves, passports can also be obtained by family members: a spouse, children under 25 and parents over 50 years old. Children 18 to 25 years old cannot be married when issuing passports. Yet, filing citizenship for the whole family increases participation costs in the CBI program.
3. Relatively low cost. The Vanuatu citizenship program offers the only investment option of contributing to a state fund. The investor alone needs to pay $130,000, whereas an applicant with a spouse donates $150,000. An additional $15,000 must be paid for each child or parent.
In addition, each applicant pays $5,000 for Due Diligence. The cost does not depend on the number of family members included in the application. There are also fees for filing an application and issuing certificates of naturalisation. Expenses for each family member are about $130.
4. Remote obtaining of citizenship. Investors do not need to visit the country to take part in the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program and submit an application. Applicants may get their passports without a single visit to Vanuatu.
To get a Vanuatu passport, one needs to take an oath of allegiance. Investors can either come to Vanuatu and do it there or pay an additional fee and invite the commissioner for Oaths and migration officers to a convenient place.
The oath is to be taken by the investor and their spouse. Having taken the oath, applicants obtain their passports.
Frequently asked questions
A Vanuatu passport was lowered to 55th in the passport ranking on May 4th, 2022. It happened due to the restrictions imposed by the EU: now, Vanuatu citizens have to obtain a visa to enter EU countries.
Popular business destinations such as the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong are still on the visa-free list for Vanuatu citizens. In total, Vanuatu passport holders can visit 95 countries without visas.
95 countries can be entered on a Vanuatu passport visa-free. The popular destinations are the UK, Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong. Visa-free entry to the Schengen Area has been suspended since May 4th, 2022.
No, to enter the USA, Vanuatu citizens apply for a visa. Yet, Vanuatu passport holders can get a long-term visa. It is a 5-year multiple-entry tourist visa that allows spending up to 180 days a year in the USA.
Yes, Vanuatu does not impose any restrictions on multiple citizenship. When foreigners get a Vanuatu passport, they do not have to renounce their first citizenship.
Issuance of Vanuatu passports is fast and easy while their cost is relatively low. Obtaining Vanuatu citizenship takes only 1—2 months. The minimum investment under the program is $130,000.