Vanuatu is is located in the South Pacific ocean, on the New Hebrides archipelago near Australia. It is the proximity to Australia that has determined the demand for Vanuatu's investment program. The country occupies 83 Islands, and it’s population is about a third of a million people. The capital city is Port Vila.
Vanuatu is a young state that became independent only in 1980. It was a part of Great Britain and France, which determined the presence of three official languages: English, French and Bislama.
Vanuatu is a member of several international organizations, such as the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, La Francophonie, the South Pacific Commission, the Pacific Islands Forum, and the World Trade Organization.
The state system of Vanuatu is a parliamentary democracy. Elections are held every four years. The country's currency is the Vanuatu vatu (VUV).
The state aims to actively develop and attract investment. Tourism (which takes about 20% of Vanuatu's GDP), agriculture, animal husbandry and, of course, foreign investment contribute to the flow of money into the country's economy.
Vanuatu has a loyal tax system, which makes it attractive to investors. The tax conditions on the islands are the same both for residents and non-residents.
Individuals are not obligated for income, wealth, inheritance taxes, capital gains and exports. Basically, it is a tax haven. The main tax that is levied in Vanuatu is VAT on companies that actually operate on the islands, which is 12.5%.
The state tax system is designed to take into account the interests of foreign investors, since 15% of Vanuatu's GDP comes from international companies. The government intends to create a favorable legal and business environment for businesses.
International business companies registered in Vanuatu are exempt from paying taxes for 20 years. They only pay an annual stamp duty of $300.
The program is not new. The first offers for investors came in the 90s. The last important amendments were made in 2017. They made the program very popular among investors. At the moment more than 5,000 passports have been issued, and the total amount of collected revenue is $230,000,000.
There are two programs in Vanuatu since 2017: the Vanuatu Contribution Program (VCP) and the Vanuatu Citizenship Development Support Program (DSP). They are focused on different markets.
The VCP is designed for residents of the Eastern region, which includes China, Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong. The program is distributed in mainland China through a network of agents. The DSP is designed for people from Europe, America and Africa.
The government of Vanuatu is constantly improving the program, expanding the rights, improving the verification process. As for the security and transparency of the citizenship program, Vanuatu focuses on the EU countries.
Investment: from $130,000.
Time frame: 4-6 weeks
Investment options: grants to the state fund
The investor must be over 18 years old, healthy, without a criminal record. They must have at least $250,000 in their bank account, being able to make an investment and pay for other program expenses.
The spouse of the main applicant, children under 18 years of age, children from 18 to 25 years of age who are not married, are studying at the university and dependent on the main investor can apply for citizenship. The parents of the main applicant and his/her spouse can also submit an application. Parents must be over 50 years old.
To become a member of the program, investors must pass a security check, pay a set fee and make other payments.
In particular, the cost of the program for one applicant is $130,000, the applicant and their spouse - $150,000, couples with a child under 18 years - $165,000, couples with two children under 18 years - $180,000. Plus, you will need to pay $15,000 for each additional family member participating in the program.
The reliability of applicants is checked by the Financial Department of Vanuatu. The service costs $5,000 regardless of how many family members participate in the program. They check all applicants over the age of 18.
Additional service fees:
Duration: 2 days
You can contact the agency to make a preliminary verification of applicants (due diligence). This allows you to make a prediction about participation in the program, thereby reducing the chances of being denied citizenship in Vanuatu.
After you sign a contract. To do so, you need to provide copies of your passports and you family members’ ID.
Duration: up to 96 hours
The Vanuatu Financial Department verifies the investor's trustworthiness. The cost of verification is $5,000. This payment is non-refundable, therefore in case of refusal the money will not be returned. All payments are made through an authorized agent.
You need the following documents: passports of all applicants over 18 years of age with notarized colored copies; certificate of no criminal record from applicant's country of citizenship and from the countries where they lived one year in the last ten years; biography.
Within four days, all applicants are checked for reliability. Based on the results, the Department issues a conclusion that the check has been carried out and you can start processing documents.
Duration: one week
Expenses: 25% of the grant amount
The exact list of documents varies depending on each case. The standard set of documents usually includes:
All copies must be apostilled and translated into English. Lawyers fill out government forms and submit documents for you.
At this stage, the investor pays 25% of the grant amount.
Duration: 4-6 weeks
Expenses: 75% of the grant amount
The commission decides to grant citizenship, if the investor and their family have passed a security check, submitted a full set of documents and made a money transfer to the account of the government.
Meetings are held twice a month. If the investor's application is approved, they need to pay the remaining 75% of the grant amount.
This procedure takes 5 days, but if you need more time to pay, the government of Vanuatu increases the waiting time for the transfer up to 90 days.
Duration: 1 day
Expenses: from $5,000
According to the program's rules, an investor receives a Vanuatu passport after taking the oath. There are two versions of the oath: to the commissioner directly in Vanuatu or in the country that the investor chooses. In that case, the oath can be taken by the honorary consul anywhere in the world. After being sworn in, the commissioner or consul issues a certificate of naturalization and a passport.
Vanuatu recognizes dual citizenship. Obtaining a passport does not require the holder to become a tax resident. Although it is possible.
Vanuatu passport beats the Caribbean on the following points.
First, it can be issued in 4-6 weeks. Other Caribbean can’t provide citizenship for investment in such a short period of time.
Secondly, it is enough to collect a basic set of documents, including a passport, a certificate of non-criminal record, birth and marriage certificates, an account statement and proof of the legality of earned funds. This is an ideal program for those who do not want to disclose all financial information and collect dozens of documents.
Third, the Vanuatu passport provides access to visa-free travel to 125 countries, including the UK (180 days a year), the EU countries (90 days every half-year), Hong Kong and Singapore. It also gives you access to long-term visas to the US, Australia and Canada.
And the program is comparable in cost to the programs of the Caribbean countries. There are comfortable tax conditions and no requirements for stay. Most Caribbean countries also do not have such a requirement. The exception is the Antigua and Barbuda program, where you need to live for 5 days during 5 years.