Vanuatu citizenship by investment

Vanuatu citizenship by investment

  • The fact that not many of us have heard about this beautiful archipelago only shows how much we are missing out. Here, you’re going to learn all about the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program

What is Vanuatu citizenship by investment?

In short, it is a national program where foreigners are granted citizenship once they meet a minimum investment requirement in the nation. There are several countries with similar programs, such as Malta and Dominica. Each one has its specific characteristics.

Coming back to our case on this article, Vanuatu citizenship by investment can be useful to many people because it offers many benefits, which we’re going to explain here.

What are the advantages of Vanuatu citizenship?

First of all, any citizenship by investment program gives you the opportunity to invest in a national development fund. In other words, you will contribute with the nation’s infrastructure and help provide well-being for its population. But there are many other benefits when you gain Vanuatu citizenship.

Visa free travel to 123 countries

Because of the nation’s good political stance in the global context, the Vanuatu citizenship program grants you visa free access to dozens of countries especially in Asia – and that includes Hong Kong.

Visa free travel is particularly useful for people who do business with all those countries. It means you can arrive there legally with nothing but your passport. Each country has its own rules in terms of how long you can stay there, but it’s usually a matter of months before you have to return.

Long-term US visas

The USA is among the countries visa free. In this case, Vanuatu citizens are entitled to the B-1/B-2 tourist visas for 5 years. They can legally stay in the country for up to 180 days at a time.

During that period, they may travel across the region, hold business meetings, even enroll in some courses, and even get medical treatment if necessary.

Vanuatu Tax Considerations

The Vanuatu government allows citizens to establish an international business company (IBC) in the nation. They may not earn income in Vanuatu per se but enjoy special tax benefits.

For example, the company’s stakeholders don’t pay capital gains tax, corporate tax or income tax, and get inheritance tax benefits. All government fees are concentrated into a flat amount of $300, recurrent for 20 years.

Other Vanuatu Citizenship Benefits

Vanuatu citizens can stay in the island nation whenever they want, not to mention they can travel to all those countries visa free. This possibility can be very helpful when you are under difficult personal circumstances, such as when your birth country is in turmoil.

Parallel to that, Vanuatu passport holders can perfectly keep dual citizenship; the nation doesn’t create any problems in that regard. That is an excellent option to consider if you run offshore financial services.

St Lucia has a similar program too. In that case, the advantages include adding older children (up to 30 years old) and younger parents (starting at 55 years old), and there is no personal taxation on income, wealth, inheritance, or capital gains. There is no gift tax either.

What family members qualify for Vanuatu citizenship?

It’s obvious that the Vanuatu government extends its citizenship by investment program to your family members. The main applicant may also obtain Vanuatu citizenship for their spouse, any children under 18 years old, and their parents if they’re above 65 years old.

The main applicant can also obtain the citizenship certificate for older dependent children (18 to 25 years old). In that case, they must be financially dependent on the investor, and must be enrolled at a university.

Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment Requirements

Now that you know everything about the benefits conceded by the Vanuatu government, it’s also very important to know the requirements to obtain the citizenship certificate. The good news is that they’re quite simple. We’re going to break them down for you:

Family requirements

The main applicant may include a spouse, children under 18 years old, and parents above 65 years old. It’s also possible to include dependent children up to 25 years old in case they’re financially dependent on the investor and are enrolled in a university.

Due Diligence Requirements

The application process aims at people with good character and intentions. Therefore, there are diligence checks such as providing a clean criminal record, having no previous Vanuatu passports refused in the past, and providing all the required documents.

Those documents include police clearance certificate, birth certificate, proof of personal income, and proof of employment. They will help confirm eligibility for you and your family.

Minimum Stay Requirements

The Vanuatu citizenship program does not have such a requirement. You can visit Vanuatu and stay for how long you wish or obtain permanent residence. You may also like to know that it doesn’t require an interview or a language test.

Vanuatu citizenship by investment cost

The Vanuatu contribution program requires an investment in the national. The minimum investment is of $130,000 considering only the single applicant. It increases to $150,000 if you want to add your spouse, and to $180,000 if you also want to include dependent children.

Step-by-step procedure for obtaining Vanuatu citizenship

If you are interested in becoming a Vanuatu citizen, the process is quite simple. It may take some time, but it’s definitely easy to execute. Here are the important steps you’ll need to take.

1. Preliminary Due Diligence

A certified officer will check your background to make sure you are in good faith. That means they will investigate your character to make sure you have a clean criminal record, and no intention to execute money laundering.

2. Preparation of the first documents

The country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) provides a list of documents the applicant must present. They include the passport of the main applicant, a police clearance certificate, and a CV describing their life and career so far.

3. Due diligence fees

The investor’s lawyers send those documents to the Vanuatu citizenship program, who sends them to the FIU. You are also required to pay the due diligence fee, which starts at $129 for a single applicant. These diligence checks have the official deadline of one week.

4. Other required documents

Once the investor has the FIU’s pre approval confirmation, they can proceed gathering the rest of their documents. In short, they must provide proof of personal and financial records for the lawyers to make certified copies and submit.

5. Vanuatu Citizenship Acquisition Process

The actual expenses for obtaining Vanuatu citizenship start here: the investor is required to send 25% of the minimum investment requirement to the FIU. The lawyers finish submitting the documents to the Vanuatu government.

6. Non refundable contribution

Once Vanuatu’s citizenship commission approves your application, you will have up to 90 days to send the remaining 75% of your investment requirements. This way, you will have finished the most difficult part of the process towards obtaining citizenship.

7. Take an Oath, Obtain a Passport

The nation’s Citizenship Commission issues the naturalisation certificate once all the money is received. That is also the moment when it assigns a passport officer to request your second passport.

Parallel to that, there is an oath swearing ceremony. You can either fly to Vanuatu or invite a migration officer and a Commissioner of Oaths to the location of your preference. Both the investor and their spouse must undergo the oath ceremony.

Get maximum information about the process

Of course, we cannot present this information in full detail because it involves classified procedures and sensitive personal information. If you are interested in all the benefits that this second passport offers, the next step is to contact your lawyer. They will have the resources to better assist you moving on.

Let’s discuss the details

Even though the text above was written based on the most important topics of this process, we know that many people have other questions about the Vanuatu development support program. Therefore, we have compiled many of those in this section. Give it a look!

Benefits of Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment Programme

Investing in a local development fund is interesting for many reasons. Here are the most common ones:

  • You can obtain the Vanuatu passport, which expands your immigration possibilities.
  • The Vanuatu citizenship grants visa free access to over a hundred countries, especially in the South Pacific.
  • This second passport can also obtain a limited visa to the USA under certain conditions.
  • Vanuatu recognizes dual citizenship, so there will be no problems in that regard.
  • The oath ceremony can be held at a location of your preference, not necessarily in Vanuatu.

Last, but not least, citizenship by investment is a great opportunity to invest in a country. You will be making direct contributions to the well-being of its population by providing its government with additional funds to invest in the local infrastructure.

Does Vanuatu have more than one citizenship by investment program?

The Vanuatu citizenship by investment is not the only program you can enter. The Reserve Bank of Vanuatu issues 500 government bonds with zero interest rates. They’re nominated in Australian dollars and are divided in the following categories:

  • AUD 180,000: the bonds mature in 24 months;
  • AUD 170,000: the bonds mature in 30 months;
  • AUD 150,000: the bonds mature in 36 months.

Investors who want to apply for this program will be assigned a Master Agent, nominated by the government, to assist them with the application process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Vanuatu recognize dual citizenship?

Yes. You can obtain Vanuatu’s citizenship without giving up on your existing one. However, you will have to check whether your country of origin has a similar policy.

How Does Vanuatu CBI Compare?

Another option to consider is the Dominica citizenship by investment program. Compared to Vanuatu’s citizenship, it requires a lower minimum investment (starting at $100,000) and offers visa free travel to more countries (over 140). The whole procedure takes 3 months on average to be concluded.

How good is the Vanuatu passport?

If you want to know how many countries you will gain visa free access to, Vanuatu passport holders can travel to up to 123 of them. That includes Commonwealth countries, South Pacific countries, and many participants of the European Union.
Your new passport will also grant you access to the USA under special conditions. In that case, the visa free travel grants you the right to stay there up to 180 days at a time.

How long does it take to get citizenship by investment in Vanuatu?

Vanuatu’s citizenship commission is quite fast in that regard. The initial diligence checks take up to 60 days. Applicants usually take up to 6 weeks to gather the required documents. Having all things considered, you can obtain the Vanuatu citizenship in a total of 4 months.

How to Obtain Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment?

In short, you will need the assistance of a licensed agent and a lawyer. The procedure requires gathering the necessary documents, filing the application with the Vanuatu government, and following the next steps.
And, of course, you will need to make the minimum investment according to how many relatives will participate in your application.

Is there any other interesting citizenship by investment program?

In case you want a nation that belongs to the European Union, Malta citizenship commission also offers an investment program. However, you will have to keep in mind that it requires an investment of at least 738,000 euros for 36 months of residence.

What documents are needed for the Vanuatu citizenship application?

Typical documents are certificate of birth or marriage, personal ID, proof of funds, proof of residence, and a clean criminal record. But it’s always advisable to have your lawyer check that list for you because it may be updated in the future. In the future, you will also have to undergo an oath swearing ceremony.

What is the citizenship by investment application Process?

It consists of requesting another country (in this case, Vanuatu), to issue their citizenship to you and your immediate family. This is one of the few countries which have created a program to do that in exchange for a non refundable contribution to their local development fund.
To do that, you will need to have your lawyers file the application. There is a list of documents you will have to present, and the country will run a background check on you.
You will also have to pay diligence fees besides the actual investment. There is an oath swearing ceremony, but it can be held anywhere you want; not necessarily in Vanuatu. In up to 4 months, you can obtain the Vanuatu citizenship and its benefits, such as visa free access to several countries.

Who is eligible to apply for a Vanuatu passport?

The investor must be at least 18 years old, have a clean criminal record and no serious illnesses, provide proof that the income is legal, provide proof of a clean background overall, and have a bank balance of at least $250,000.

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