VANUATU CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
Overview An archipelago of 80 islands in the South Pacific, located some 1,000 miles east of Australia, Vanuatu is part of the Commonwealth and has consistently been awarded the Happiest Place in the World by the Happy Planet Index, making it attractive for citizenship by investment.
Health and education Life expectancy in Vanuatu is 70 years. There are five public hospitals, and one private hospital with 27 health centres located across the islands and more than 200 aid posts in more remote areas. There is a shortage of healthcare professionals on the island, so health services are supported by visiting doctors. Vanuatu offers children 13 years of education, but only the first six years are compulsory and this has led to an adult literacy rate of just 64%. However, Vanuatu is extending free education from year 10 to year 13. There is no university on the island.
Transport There are three major airports serving Vanuatu. While Bauerfield International Airport, near Port Vila (the capital), operates domestic flights and direct international flights to and from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the Saomon Islands; Santo Airport on the island of Espiritu Santo operates domestic flights and direct international flights to Brisbane. Finally, Tanna airport on the island of Tanna operates domestic flights only. Unpaved roads link coastal settlements, but there are a few interior roads. There is no public transport system, but there are private mini-buses and 4WD taxis. Cycling is a popular way of getting around. Inter-island transportation is by boat or small airplane, via small docks and landing strips which are scattered throughout the islands.
Lifestyle Vanuatu is of volcanic origin with its landscape ranging from rugged mountains and high plateaus to rolling hills and low plateaus with coastal terraces and offshore coral reefs, although the majority of the islands are rainforests. While 75% of the population lives in rural areas, the urban centres of Luganville and Port-Vila on the largest island, Espiritu Santo, are becoming more popular. Vanuatu boasts the world’s most accessible active volcano and one of the largest shipwrecks in the world (a wreck of the US ocean liner and converted troop carrier SS President Coolidge) that is accessible for recreational diving. Rich in sea life, Vanuatu is recognised as one of the best places worldwide for scuba divers, offering incredible reefs and tropical beaches. It is also easy to hop from island to island here. Vanuatu offers a peaceful and happy way of life with the local population proving chilled, friendly and happy and the cost of real estate and living low.
Climate A tropical climate with temperatures ranging from 20C to 32C and with a long rainy season (approximately nine months of warm to hot rainy weather) and the possibility of cyclones.
Population 292,680 (2018)
Languages The official languages of Vanuatu are Bislama (a pidgin language), English and French.
Religion Christianity is the predominant religion, mainly Presbyterian, making Vanuatu the most Presbyterian country in the world.
Capital city Port Vila is both the capital and largest city on Vanuatu’s main island of Efate.
GDP per Capita $3,123.89 (2018)
Economy Vanuatu is a country with economic growth prospects and investment opportunities. The four mainstays of the economy are agriculture, tourism, offshore financial services and raising cattle, with its citizenship by investment programme now said to account for more than 30% of the country’s revenue. Its main exports are kava, beef, cocoa and timber. It has a very low VAT tax rate, no income tax, wealth tax, capital gains or inheritance tax.
Did you know…? Vanuatu has been the site of several reality TV shows, including the ninth season of US reality TV series Survivor and Australia’s Celebrity Survivor.
VANUATU CBI PROGRAMME
- Established 3 years
- Minimum outlay $130,000
- Processing time 45 days
- Residency or travel requirements None
- Freedom of movement 125 countries
- Investment Options 2
Overview Unveiled in 2017, Vanuatu’s citizenship by investment program is the only CBI on offer in the Asia-Pacific. There are two options, but one is purely focused on the Chinese market. Its programme is widely considered to be one of the fastest routes to a second passport.
Best for Speed of processing, claiming to issue citizenship in as little as 45 days, although processing usually takes a bit longer.
Pros Due to Covid-19 crisis, the Citizenship’s office and Commission of Vanuatu is accepting citizenship applications electronically (forms are downloadable online) and they are further accepting digital media (Video conference) for the Oaths presentation, which previously required a trip. Vanuatu is a tax haven with no taxes imposed on income, inheritance or gains. There is no requirement for a physical presence in the country during processing of citizenship. Citizenship can be granted to a spouse, children and grandparents. Vanuatu is a democratic and peaceful community and has been consistently dubbed the Happiest Place in the World.
Cons While the quick processing time of the citizenship by investment programme is a pro for applicants, it could also be that due diligence is not being undertaken properly. Also, Vanuatu’s CBI programme has no real estate option, a downside for those who want to invest in real estate. Upon application, applicants must commit 25% of the payment prior to the application being considered, which is quite hefty. Vanuatu is considered the world’s most at-risk country for natural hazards (2014 report by the UN University), including cyclones and earthquakes and suffered earlier this year, in April, from a cyclone.
USP The only CBI programme that can get citizenship done and dusted within a month.
Ease of processing The fastest citizenship by investment programme in the world today with applicants receiving passports in just 45 days (and even in as little as one month), although this isn’t always the case. There is no language proficiency, business experience, interview, or knowledge of state history required and there is no obligation to reside or stay in Vanuatu before, during or after the granting of citizenship. And while Vanuatu does require applicants to make a one-visit trip in order to attend an oath signing ceremony, the Government is currently allowing applicants flexibility in terms of this, allowing them to undertake the ceremony in other places worldwide, including Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, and during the Covid-19 crisis, it can be done digitally.
Freedom of movement Visa-free travel to 130 countries, including the UK, EU, Russia, Singapore and Hong Kong. While less than most of the Caribbean countries, Vanuatu is gradually increasing its visa-free and visa-on-arrival destinations.
Investment options 2
VANUATU CBI INVESTMENTS
Option 1 A non-refundable donation to a local development fund, which is used to support infrastructural development and to promote economic growth in the region. A donation of $130,000 is required for a single applicant; $150,000 for a married couple; $165,000 for a married couple with one child; and $180,000 for a family of four. Approximate fees of $3,800 are required per application. For further dependents, an additional $15,000 is required for a child under 18 and $20,000 for an adult.
Option 2 A non-refundable donation to the Vanuatu Contribution Programme (VCP), which has been designed solely for Greater China, and involves just one international agent, based in Hong Kong.
VANUATU CBI RANKINGS
Passport Ranking (Henley Passport Index Q4 2020) 40 / 109
CBI Programme Ranking (CBI Index 2020, Financial Times) 71% / 6th out of 14 countries
Ease of doing business Ranking (Doing Business 2019, The World Bank) 107 / 190
Economic Freedom (2020 Index of Economic Freedom) 98 / 186
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