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Vanuatu Citizenship By Investment: Your Step-by-Step Handbook

Vanuatu citizenship

Holding dual citizenship confers many benefits. 

For starters, second citizenship provides a chance to travel to more destinations with ZERO or minimal visa restrictions. It also grants access to better living standards and more business opportunities. Not to mention the ability to live, work, or study in another country.  

Vanuatu has recently hit the headlines for enacting favorable policies for second citizenship seekers. The archipelago offers dual nationality opportunities through its citizenship by investment (CBI) program.  

Read below for a step-by-step handbook to Vanuatu citizenship by investment. 

Vanuatu citizenship

Unpacking Vanuatu’s Citizenship By Investment Program

Vanuatu introduced an initiative in 2017 known as Citizenship by Investment with a view to attracting foreign investment and promoting economic growth within its borders.  

The Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment program, or the Development Support Programme (DSP), is a legal mechanism for investment tourists seeking citizenship and permanent residency in this archipelago. Eligible applicants must invest at least USD 130,000 into a local development fund or other government-approved investment schemes.  

Although officially launched in 2017, the idea of the Vanuatu citizenship by investment was first mooted back in 2012. The program’s first iteration was known as the Capital Investment Immigration Plan (CIIP). It offered honorary citizenship that excluded the rights to vote and work in the country’s civil service.  

The CIIP underwent tremendous changes over the years, culminating in the DSP in 2017. The new program broadened the aperture by introducing more investment options. It also clearly spell out the number of relatives a primary applicant can bring.  

Vanuatu passport visa free countries

What Makes Vanuatu’s CBI Program Attractive? 

1. Visa-free Entry to Dozens of Destinations

This is unarguably the biggest Vanuatu citizenship benefits. 

Qualified applicants to the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program receive passports. The country has one of the strongest passports in the world, granting visa-free access to 98 international destinations. 

Notable Vanuatu passport visa free countries include the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Singapore. It’s also worth noting that many countries that require Vanuatu passport holders to have a visa before granting entry into their borders actually issue visas on arrival.  

2. Vanuatu Passport Holders Need Not Relocate To the Country

Successful DSP applicants can live, study, and work in Vanuatu. However, they don’t necessarily have to relocate to the island.  

So, even after obtaining Vanuatu citizenship, you can maintain residency in your native country and occasionally pop into the archipelago to marvel at its scenic landscapes or catch up on your investment. This provision is particularly beneficial for prolific, on-the-go investors.

3. Favorable Tax Regime 

There are also plenty of tax advantages to reap by obtaining a Republic of Vanuatu passport too. 

Investors not residing in the country enjoy full exemption from paying income tax. The implication is that you’re entitled to full revenues if operating a Vanuatu-based company from overseas.  

There are also exemptions on wealth, gift, and inheritance tax for non-residents with citizenship in Vanuatu. 

4. The Process Is a Breeze

In addition to the ability to travel with a Vanuatu passport visa free, the country also maintains a quick second citizenship application procedure

First, the screening process is exclusive of interviews. You don’t have to worry about passing language proficiency tests.  

Besides, your application takes about two weeks to be processed. 

Investment Opportunities for DSP Applicants 

Applicants to the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program must commit a $130,000 investment to the National Development Fund.  

See Also: Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment Program 

In 2021, the Vanuatu parliament passed the newly amended Citizenship Act, adding the Real Estate Option (REO) to the DSP program. This option allows you to tap into the rapidly evolving real estate market in Port Villa and other major cities.

Vanuatu enacted yet another amendment to the Citizenship Act in 2023, which added the Issuing Government Bonds Option (IGBO). Shortly after this amendment, the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu announced it would issue 500 units of government bonds interest-free. The bonds were initially valued from AUD 150,000 to AUD 180,000, depending on their maturation period. 

Note that the $130,000 base fee is levied on the primary applicant only. The fee varies depending on the number of applicants, as indicated below;

  • Married Couple – $150,000 
  • Family of Three – $165,000  
  • Family of Four – $180,000 

NB: These rates are exclusive of processing fees and charges for every additional family member, which varies from time to time. 

Besides proof of financial commitment, there are other Vanuatu citizenship requirements to qualify for the DSP program. They include the following documentation: 

  • Government-issued identification card 
  • Birth certificate 
  • Marriage certificate (where applicable)

You’ll also need to provide similar information for the secondary applicants. The DSP supports three different secondary applicants, namely your spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents aged 65+ years. 

Other relevant documentation includes; 

  • Bank statements 
  • Medical reports 
  • Proof of address 
  • Police clearance report 
  • Business/employment documents 
  • Evidence that you’ve got no outstanding visa refusals 

Vanuatu citizenship by investment

How Do I Apply For The DSP? 

Applying for Vanuatu citizenship by investment is rather straightforward:

i. Prepare all the legal and financial documentation. 

ii. Submit the documents through an authorized DSP agent. 

The Vanuatu government only handles citizenship by investment applications submitted through authorized DSP agents 

iii. Pay a non-refundable processing fee of USD 5,000.

After these initial steps, the Vanuatu government will start conducting background checks and due diligence to validate the provided information.   

iv. Wait. 

The first phase of DSP application processing typically takes two weeks. You may receive a confirmation letter from the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission (VCC), which officially authenticates the provided documents.  

v. Pay the full investment amount.  

You’ll then wait up to two weeks to receive a letter of approval for citizenship.  

vi. Take an oath pledging allegiance to Vanuatu. 

You can take the oath in person or remotely through a video conferencing app. Thereafter, you’ll receive your citizenship certificate and a passport Vanuatu within one month, which officially confer citizenship.  

What Makes The Vanuatu CBI Program Special? 

Vanuatu prides itself on being the only country in the Asia-Pacific hemisphere to offer citizenship through an investment program. Globally, several other nations have explored this initiative as an instrument to spur their economies through foreign investment. Noteworthy mentions are the Dominican Republic and Portugal.  

However, the Portuguese citizenship by investment program, known as Portugal Golden Visa, has since been suspended. You can keep up with the Portugal Golden Visa news for insights into if and when the program may resume.

As previously stated, the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program stands out in its faster processing time. Applicants are exempted from interviews; the process takes a paltry 14 business days. 

Abode Options to the Rescue 

The process of applying for the Vanuatu citizenship by investment program may prove daunting for first-timers. That underscores the significance of consulting legal and financial professional experts like Abode Options. 

See Also: Citizenship by Investment 

At Abode Options, we’re committed to assisting investment tourists to secure second citizenship in their destinations of choice. We partner with a team of legal experts to deliver premium services to applicants interested in the DSP program 

Besides Vanuatu, Abode Options provides second citizenship services to all other countries with CBI initiatives. Feel free to contact us for more insights into how the DSP and similar programs operate 

Republic of Vanuatu passport

Wrap Up 

Vanuatu provides one of the most accessible citizenship by investment programs. The country’s DSP initiative allows investors to pledge $130,000 in various investment schemes. Applicants can tag several family members provided that they meet the relevant surcharges.  

However, while you can apply for the DSP program yourself, obtaining Vanuatu citizenship is much easier when you engage professionals.