VANUATU’S CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM HAS ISSUED MORE THAN 4,000 PASSPORTS AND MAY CHANGE ITS REQUIREMENTS
Vanuatu, an 83-island tropical paradise nation in the South Pacific, between Australia and New Zealand, with sustainable agriculture, energy independence, and a free market economy with no personal income taxes, is believed to offer the only citizenship by investment program of its type in the “Asia-Pacific hemisphere”. A June 20 article in the “Vanuatu Daily Post” describes both the prior popularity of Vanuatu’s citizenship by investment program, as Vanuatu has issued more than 4,000 passports under the program since it commenced in 2017, and possible future changes in the requirements of the program.
MP Kalo Seule, co-chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Policies (CEP), stated, “Since the establishment of the Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment Program in 2017, every year there has been an increase in the number of the sale of passports. . . . Currently we are selling passports to some foreigners who have no interest to invest in Vanuatu, the Passport Office and the Citizenship Office must include policies such as if a foreigner wants a Vanuatu passport, he or she must come and invest in Vanuatu. . . . Maybe they (foreigners) do not want to stay in Vanuatu but they have the duty to invest in the country and by doing so, they will provide jobs to locals”.
According to the June 20 “Vanuatu Daily Post” article, the CEP wants “to tighten regulations on passport sales”. The article further states that “[t]he CEP also wants to see every foreigner who buys a Vanuatu passport coming to pay and getting it here in Vanuatu, not overseas or through agents outside the country”.
Currently, Vanuatu’s citizenship by investment program is based on a donation (contribution) of not less than $150,000 for a single applicant, not less than $170,000 for a married couple, not less than $185,000 for a married couple and a child under age 18, and not less than $200,000 for a married couple and 2 children under age 18. There are also due diligence fees, passport fees, and citizenship processing, application, and certificate fees. It is believed that the CEP wants the introduction of direct investment options in Vanuatu’s citizenship by investment program besides the above-described “donation (contribution)” path to citizenship.
Processing of citizenship under Vanuatu’s citizenship by investment program is estimated to only take between 45 to 60 days to complete, making it one of the fastest citizenship by investment program processing times in the world. With Vanuatuan citizenship, you can gain “visa-free/visa on arrival” access to over 120 countries, including most of Europe, Russia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Dual citizenship is recognized in Vanuatu; you do not have to renounce your existing citizenship to become a citizen of Vanuatu.