March 29, 2023
Reading Time: 2 min

Vanuatu AUD-denominated bond investment: a guide to the new citizenship option

Investors applying for the Vanuatu citizenship program can now purchase government bonds, denominated in Australian dollars. The minimum investment is AUD 150,000. This is a refundable alternative to the National Development Fund contribution option.

Here is everything you need to know about the requirements of getting Vanuatu citizenship by investment in bonds.

Elena Ruda
Elena Ruda

Chief Development Officer in Immigrant Invest, lawyer

Vanuatu citizenship by bond investment

Vanuatu AUD-denominated bond investment: a guide to the new citizenship option

Detailing the AUD-denominated bond investment option

Investment-Government Bond Option, or IGBO, is the official new subsection of the Vanuatu Citizenship Act. It came into effect starting March 27, 2023.

The Reserve Bank of Vanuatu will be issuing 500 units of government bonds at

zero interest rates. Purchasing one of those bonds entitles the buyer to join Vanuatu citizenship by investment program.

The threshold of the investment depends on bond maturity. All are denominated in Australian dollars.

Minimum investment, depending on the bond category:

  • from AUD 180,000 — for bonds maturing in 24 months;

  • from AUD 170,000 — for bonds maturing in 30 months;

  • from AUD 150,000 — for bonds maturing in 36 months.

Investors who choose the IGBO option will not be applying for Vanuatu citizenship directly. A government-designated Master Agent will nominate them to the Secretary General.

The Master Agent will be also responsible for transferring certain prescribed fees to the Citizenship Commission and the government.

Vanuatu is yet to appoint the Master Agent or make any additional announcements about this position.

Requirements for Vanuatu investors who choose the bond option

Applicants from restricted or UN-sanctioned countries may be accepted if they prove that:

  • they have resided in another country for the last 5 years;

  • they have permanent residency abroad;

  • they have no criminal conviction carrying imprisonment for 12 months or more.

Family members that can apply with the investor include the spouse, children, and dependents: children under 25 and parents over 50.

In addition to the bond purchase, the investor pays prescribed fees.

Commission fees, depending on family composition:

  • single applicant — AUD 20,000;

  • applicant and their spouse — AUD 30,000;

  • parents and one child — AUD 45,000;

  • parents and two children — AUD 60,000;

  • every additional child and dependent — AUD 7,500.

There are other associated costs that do not depend on the family composition. They are paid in both Australian dollars and Vanuatu vatu:

  • application fee for the investor — VT 5,000;

  • certificate fee for each applicant — VT 10,000;

  • Due Diligence — AUD 7,500;

  • bond transfer — AUD 1,500.

Processing times for the Vanuatu passport by investment in bonds will take approximately one month. The Master Agent will be responsible for delivering documents to the investor, including citizenship certificates and passports.

Another investment option under the Vanuatu citizenship program is the National Development Fund contribution in USD. It is non-refundable, and the minimum threshold is $130,000. This option remains in place and unchanged.

Benefits of Vanuatu citizenship

Second passport. Vanuatu allows dual citizenship, meaning that the investors can keep the passports of other nations.

Visa-free entry to 96 countries. Destinations include the UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Long-term US visa. Vanuatu citizens are eligible for 5-year B‑1/B‑2 visas which allow traveling, having business meetings, and getting medical treatment in the US.

Tax optimization for international businesses. Investors can establish an International Business Company in Vanuatu. Such companies can not earn income in the country but can enjoy a beneficial tax regime for 20 years.

This includes no corporate profits, personal income, capital gains, gifts, or inheritance taxes. A flat annual fee of $300 is paid instead.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the EU and the Caribbean. If you want to become a citizen of Vanuatu, please consult our investment program experts.