A tropical chain of 83 islands nestled in the south Pacific, Vanuatu is a peaceful, vibrant and culturally diverse nation that’s proud to welcome international travellers to its shores. But what exactly do the shores of Vanuatu hold? Not just sandy beaches and sparkling blue seas. Vanuatu is a hub for global investors attracted to the incredibly fast, almost-unbelievably inexpensive second citizenship programme – and the huge advantages that come with it. This includes a strong second passport; a second home in a private, tranquil and prosperous location; and the financial peace of mind that comes with astute wealth protection. Let’s explore why you should consider second citizenship in Vanuatu. Then we’ll talk you through the ins and outs of the programme that could get you there. Why choose Vanuatu? One of the first reasons investors consider second citizenship generally, and Vanuatu specifically, is global mobility. Thanks in part to British Commonwealth membership, Vanuatu passport holders can travel to 125 countries on visa-free or visa-on-arrival terms. That includes the UK and all of Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and Russia.
One of the first reasons investors consider second citizenship generally, and Vanuatu specifically, is global mobility.
So a Vanuatu passport makes life – from the perspective of both business and pleasure – much simpler for anyone who comes from a nation with a more limiting passport. Whether you want to go last-minute to a business conference or take your partner for a spontaneous weekend away (or even just want some privacy when you travel), holding a Vanuatu passport gives you the means. Your perfect second home Travel isn’t the only benefit to gaining Vanuatu second citizenship. While second citizenship means little more than a second passport for many investors, for others, it is the path to a second home. That might mean complete relocation or perhaps a contingency plan for any future upheaval in your home country. Vanuatu celebrates diversity, with citizens from almost every background imaginable, speaking over 100 languages as well as the official English, French and Bislama (a type of creole). Stable, peaceful and tropical – plenty to recommend here if it’s a second home you want. Great for business Then there are the business benefits of Vanuatu second citizenship, thanks to favourable tax legislation. The nation is actually tax-free, apart from VAT and customs tax. That means zero corporation tax for both domestic and international companies, and exemption from capital gains. This favourable landscape means Vanuatu has been an international offshore finance centre since the early 1970s. A globally renowned destination for the world’s wealthy there are numerous international banks that make company formation, management and banking simple and hassle-free. You’ll also find, should you want to invest further, that the islands offer very attractive options. Real estate is low cost, despite stunning surroundings – you could buy a whole island, if you’re that way inclined. The growing tourism sector provides a solid rental market to recoup your investment, although nobody could blame you for living there yourself. The best part is that securing second citizenship here is easy. While some global programmes make you jump through hoops, Vanuatu is fast, simple and inexpensive. So let’s look at the programme in depth. How does Vanuatu’s citizenship-by-investment programme work? To gain second citizenship in Vanuatu, you’ll invest through the Vanuatu Honorary Citizenship Program – otherwise known as the Development Support Program. The only investment programme of its type in Asia-Pacific, the Honorary Citizenship Program was built to drive inward investment into the nation, while actively encouraging investors to settle and build a life in Vanuatu. As Mr Samuel Garae of the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission writes, ‘We hope that as a Vanuatu citizen you will grow to love this country, its people and its way of life’. The programme is fully endorsed and guaranteed by the government of Vanuatu, in other words, so potential investors can trust they’re entering a legitimate and state-backed agreement.
The programme is fully endorsed and guaranteed by the government of Vanuatu, in other words, so potential investors can trust they’re entering a legitimate and state-backed agreement.
The above proves you’ll have every reason to fall in love with Vanuatu. But first things first. Let’s look first at the cost implications, then we’ll talk through the process. 1. Investment requirements: Vanuatu’s citizenship-by-investment programme sets itself apart on the world stage by being incredibly affordable, especially for families. Overall you’re only looking at USD 210,000 donation into the Development Support Program (plus nominal fees) for a single applicant, or USD 240,000 for up to four direct family members. This means spouse, children under 18, dependent children under 25, and dependent parents over the age of 65. As of 2018, Vanuatu now supports the latest in financial technology by accepting Bitcoin as payment for citizenship-by-investment. Head of the Vanuatu Information Centre James Harris confirmed in a recent interview that a robust system and process has been implemented and has been proven to be reliable, with a number of payments having been successfully made using the cryptocurrency and the government’s unique process. And what is that unique process? It’s quite simple. The Vanuatu government establishes a line of communication with the payer and provides a unique account identifier for the payment, in addition to a price for their application in Bitcoin that must subsequently be made within two hours of a specified time. This fast payment within an agreed window allows for fair and accurate payment with Bitcoin and avoids potential fluctuation in the value of the cryptocurrency negatively affecting the overall value of the payment involved for the applicant. It’s for families that the Vanuatu Honorary Citizenship Program most sets itself apart, working out at incredible value to bring additional members. For a family of four, you’re looking at only USD 60,000 per passport – incredible value, especially given the multi-million dollar price-tag for some similar global programmes. There are few, if any, investments that deliver the lifelong returns of second citizenship (several lifetimes long, actually, given that citizenship is hereditary and will continue down your line after your one-time investment) – and certainly none at that price threshold. 2. Process: As well as cost, the Vanuatu Honorary Citizenship Programme especially distinguishes itself because it’s incredibly fast. Realistically you could have your new passport in-hand within 45-60 days. The application process is simple and transparent.
- Apply for pre-approval. You’ll need your existing passport (certified copy) a second form of certified ID copy (such as driving license), a police clearance report showing you’ve got a clean criminal record, and a personal profile (CV). Your provider will work with you to secure these. A one-off due diligence fee of USD5,000 is payable at the same time as document submission (bitcoin acceptable).
- Gain pre-approval and submit investment. Within ten days of initial application, you’ll gain written confirmation of clearance to proceed (in effect a “pre-approval”) from the Vanuatu government Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and make your full payment along with the remaining documentation filing.
- Submit for screening. The Vanuatu Citizen Commission will examine your application for citizenship to check that you have obtained the requisite clearance to proceed (FIU), and to check that all stipulated documentation and payment has been received. You will be guided through this to ensure that the documents are presented at this stage in full, with no errors or omissions.
- Confirmation by the Prime Minister. The Citizenship Commission will inform the Prime Minister who, as a formality will confirm your citizenship with the President who personally signs your Citizenship Certificate.
- Take oath and become a citizen. The last step is to take your citizenship oath, which is a requirement from the Vanuatu Government’s Commissioner of Oath. This is a ceremony where you pledge your allegiance to Vanuatu, and in return become a full citizen of Vanuatu with all the associated rights. At this stage you get your Certificate of Citizenship and your new passport.
It’s worth noting, you don’t have to be physically in Vanuatu to take your oath. You can take your oath at any Government of Vanuatu Consulate or global nominated office. Although it would be a shame not to spend time on the islands, you don’t have to visit Vanuatu at any point, either during your application or after citizenship is granted. 3. Eligibility requirements: Low cost, high value and fast: so far Vanuatu second citizenship ticks all the right boxes. But what are the eligibility requirements? Here too, Vanuatu proves a highly competitive option for second citizenship. The programme is, as we’ve said above, especially suitable for families but it’s certainly not limited in that way. Anyone over 18 with a clean criminal record can apply, and there are no language, business or knowledge requirements which we find in some other programmes. There are no restrictions on dual citizenship, making this an exceptional passport for investors building a portfolio as well as those who might be stateless or renouncing their current citizenship.
There are no restrictions on dual citizenship, making this an exceptional passport for investors building a portfolio as well as those who might be stateless or renouncing their current citizenship.
Next steps: As you see, the Vanuatu Honorary Citizenship Program is genuinely very straightforward and the government makes the process as transparent as possible. To kick off your application or discuss second citizenship further, your first port of call is a second citizenship specialist who can ensure you’re eligible first, before walking you through the process. And less than two months from today, you could be a fully-fledged citizen of Vanuatu. One of the world’s strongest second citizenship programmes The second citizenship landscape can feel overwhelming, and it’s difficult to know where best to invest for maximum returns. While Vanuatu certainly isn’t the only programme that offers benefits such as a strong second passport, a stable second home and lucrative wealth protection, it does set itself apart with the speed, ease and cost of its programme. Taken together, these things mean the Vanuatu Honorary Citizenship Program is very competitive amongst citizenship programmes: this warm, peaceful and eclectic nation deserves a place in your passport portfolio – and a place in your heart.
Next Generation Equity specialises in dual citizenship-by-investment and residency-by-investment programmes around the world. To schedule a no obligation consultation.