Vanuatu is one of the youngest players in the investment immigration market. The country’s citizenship by investment program was launched in 2014. The passport of Vanuatu may be obtained in 60 days, and its cost does not exceed the price of a one-bedroom apartment in the city center. An impressive list of benefits is available to “newly-hatched” citizens. More details in this article.
1. Freedom of movement.
The holders of Vanuatu passport may have visa-free access to more than 113 countries. There is a zero possibility of you being questioned by authorities at any airport or port upon arrival to the UK, Singapore, the Schengen Area. This makes travel much easier, saves the time you previously spent on obtaining travel documents.
Furthermore, the residents of this Pacific state are allowed to stay in the Schengen countries without visas for up to 90 days within any 180 day period, and for 6 months a year in the UK.
2. Favorable tax environment.
The country’s tax system is based on the principles of loyalty. There is no tax on the global income, inheritance and capital gains. According to the World Bank, Vanuatu is one of the top 100 countries in terms of ease of doing business.
3. No need to fly across the ocean to get a passport.
It is not necessary to come to the islands halfway around the world neither before nor after issuance of a passport. Documents may be submitted in Hong Kong. Citizenship application is handled exclusively through a licensed agent. The list of agents is approved by the government.
4. Confidentiality of the application process.
Information on obtaining the second passport is discrete and is not reported to the country of first citizenship. Vanuatu recognizes dual citizenship.
5. Transparent application procedure.
Before submitting a package of documents, the applicant pays due diligence fees and 25% of the required contribution. The remaining part of the contribution must be paid only after the government approves the application.
6. Passport for the whole family in a very short time.
Along with the main applicant, Vanuatu citizenship may also be granted to a spouse, children under 25 years and parents aged 65 and above.
There is no other country except Vanuatu where the application process is this quick. Even in the Caribbean, it takes from 3 to 5 months. The duration of the citizenship application process in Vanuatu is two months.
7. Citizenship is granted for life.
Dependents together with the main applicant obtain citizenship for life. However, as far as passport is concerned, it is issued for a period of 5 years with the right of subsequent extension for a five-year period. There is no need to visit the island to renew a passport. Citizenship may be passed down to descendants (inherited).
Cost of a Vanuatu passport
The Vanuatu passport program attracts investors primarily due to the relatively low investment threshold and short application process. By the way, this is the only immigration program that is available in Oceania.
To participate in the program an applicant is required to invest at least $130,000 to the country’s National Development Fund. This is a non-refundable contribution. The total cost of Vanuatu passport depends on the number of persons included in the application and on the amount of additional fees to be paid by the investor. To obtain a second citizenship, a single applicant will need to pay $202,000 (inclusive of additional fees). In case of filing a collective application including a family of four (main investor, a spouse, two children 10 and 20 years old), the cost of participation will be $238,000.
The investor will have to pay due diligence processing fees. Due Diligence fee is $2,000 per each applicant. Processing fee will be $70,000 for an individual application, and $100,000 for a family of four.
Details that are important to know about obtaining a Vanuatu passport
- Applications for citizenship shall be submitted to the Citizenship Commission only through an authorized accredited agent. The list of agents is approved by the government. The documents cannot be lodged online or personally.
- The main investor is entitled to include in the application for citizenship of Vanuatu not only the spouse, children and parents on both sides, but also grandparents over 65 who receive full financial support from the main applicant.
- Obtaining the passport of Vanuatu is possible even for those investors who for some reason were not approved by one of the Caribbean countries. The authorities impartially consider each application and take their decision independently.
- To qualify for a program an applicant should be over 18 years of age and under the age of 65, with no criminal record, have no less than $ 450,000 of net personal assets. The investor will also have to prove that the source of his fund is legal.
- Citizens of Vanuatu do not need visas to travel to Australia. For example, the owners of a Caribbean passport have no such advantage.
- Only applicants over 18 years of age are subject to a due diligence check. This will allow saving on administrative costs if the application includes underage children.
Alternative: Passport programs in the Caribbean
Caribbean countries occasionally amend their programs, making passports even more accessible, and the application requirements becoming more attractive.
Saint Kitts and Nevis. The country’s citizenship by investment program was launched in 1984. Since its inception, more than 11,000 investors from all over the world became the country’s residents. The program offers two investment options:
- purchasing real property or a share in a real property object for at least $400,000.
- donation to the government fund. Since April 2, 2018, you may choose either donating $150,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund or $250,000 to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation.
The program of Saint Kitts and Nevis is the best option for applicants with families. The age threshold for children is 30 years and for parents it is 55 years.
A donation of $100,000 or buying a villa for at least $200,000 makes the investor eligible for applying for the citizenship of Dominica. The passports of the jurisdiction are already owned by more than 1,200 investors. Today, even with all administrative fees, the Dominica passport is one of the most profitable for single applicants.
Becoming a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda is possible by way of donating $100,000 or more to the National Development Fund or by purchasing a real property for at least $400,000. Antigua’s passport program is most attractive for investors with families, if we consider an option of donation. The benefits of the passport of Antigua and Barbuda are already enjoyed by about 2,000 people.
The passport of Grenada is a key to obtaining the E-2 investor visa to the US, and to visa-free travel to China and 135+ other countries of the world. To become a resident of the jurisdiction, you must choose one of two options: donating $150,000 to a special fund or buying real estate on the island worth at least $350,000. The government has already issued about 1,300 passports.
The investors who have contributed $100,000 to the National Economic Fund or acquired elite real estate on the island (worth at least $350,000) can apply for citizenship of Saint Lucia. This is the youngest program, and therefore it is too early to analyze the statistics of issued passports. According to official data, during the first year of running the program, 38 applications have been approved by the country’s authorities.