Feb 11, 2020

Economic citizenship of Vanuatu via the Development Support Program (DSP) – from 145,000 USD

Would you like to become a citizen of the tropical country of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean? The benefits of a second passport of this state overweigh its cost by far. Applying for citizenship of Vanuatu is the fastest way of obtaining a second passport in the whole world. Have you already resolved in your head that you do need a second passport? Then follow the hyperlink below and go straight on to filling in the questionnaire that you will find below the article. This questionnaire will help us determine which second passport option will suit you best.

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However, if you would like to learn more about ‘buying’ citizenship of Vanuatu, please keep on reading. We will tell you about the Vanuatu Development Support Program that allows acquiring a second passport within less than two months. We are going to show why this program is so attractive and why the island state of Vanuatu implements it. We will also touch upon the issues such as the prices and the terms of citizenship acquisition, the required application documents, the procedures you will have to go through, and the choice of the optimal licensed immigration agent.

The reference to the earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and tropical cyclones that hit Vanuatu from time to time would not be the best way to promote the country. But the comfort of its climate, its generous beaches, the sunny smiles of the local people, the low tax burden, and the high level of bank secrecy will easily compensate for the natural disasters that sometimes happen on the islands. The number of tourists and foreign business people arriving to Vanuatu is continuously growing.

Located in the Pacific Ocean, more or less between Australia and New Zealand, Vanuatu is an island state with the area of around 12,000 square kilometers (4,630 sq. miles). Port-Vila is its capital. The population of the islands is only 267,000 people. There are three official languages in Vanuatu: English, French, and their amalgamation called Bislama. Until 1980, Great Britain and France jointly possessed the islands. Today Vanuatu is a fully independent state.

Under the foreign rule, the country was called New Hebrides. The name Vanuatu comes from the Austronesian words ‘vanua’, which means ‘land’ or ‘home’ and ‘tu’, which means ‘stand’. The combination of these words is supposed to stress the independence of the country. If you wish, you can legally become a citizen of Vanuatu within a very short time.

In April 2017, the Government of Vanuatu launched the Development Support program or DSP whose concept was initially suggested in 2016. The aim of this program is to stimulate the development of the local economy by attracting foreign capital in exchange for granting economic citizenship to them.  

Economic citizenship of Vanuatu via the Development Support Program: why did the Government close the previously available ‘citizenship-by-investment’ programs and introduce a new one?  

Granting citizenship to foreigners in exchange for an investment into the economy or a donation to the national fund is a tendency that is gaining popularity. Actually, this is the supply meeting the demand as more and more people from various troubled parts of the world seek to acquire a second passport thus ensuring freedom for themselves and their loved ones and obtaining new opportunities.

A second passport allows travelling visa-free to a large number of countries. You can use it when getting a job, setting up a business, opening a bank account, or making an investment. This document will let you improve your lifestyle and it can also protect you from the encroachments upon your rights on the part of your home country authorities. The passport of Vanuatu in particular can certainly be used for these purposes.

As we have noted above, the DSP was put into place in order to attract more foreign capital to Vanuatu thus pushing the economic development of the country.

Many wealthy people are looking for a place where they can safely keep their hard-earned money. Vanuatu seeks to attract such people by offering low taxes, a high level of personal financial information confidentiality, and a second passport. The Government needs to raise funds in order to finance critically important social projects.

Becoming citizens of Vanuatu, high net worth individuals (HNWI) invest into various development projects thus creating new jobs, helping to renovate the existing schools and hospitals and build new ones in Vanuatu. They also contribute to the improvement of the infrastructure in the country.

The non-returnable donations also help develop the tourism sector, better the quality of life of the local people, and advance the country in an ecologically sustainable way while ensuring the intactness of the nature of the islands for future generations.

It is important to say that Vanuatu used to have two business immigration programs before. One was called Capital Investment Immigration Plan or CIIP and the other one was called Vanuatu Economic Rehabilitation Program or VERP.

The first program was drafted in 2012 and put into operation in April 2014. Its goal was to attract foreign investors who would create jobs in the country and contribute to the economic development in general. The Government of Vanuatu passed all the necessary legislative acts to make the offer inviting for wealthy foreigners. Even the Constitution was amended to let foreign investors keep their home country citizenship and have the Vanuatu passport as a second one. However, the CIIP was ‘frozen’ in 2016 due to the discord between the Government and the licensed immigration agents.   

The second program was implemented as an emergency measure. In March 2015, cyclone Pam hit the islands destroying much of the infrastructure and some additional funds were urgently required to rebuild it. The VERP was a temporary immigration program from the very start and it was closed in the summer of 2016.

Thus, currently, there is only one immigration program that allows acquiring Vanuatu citizenship for money, namely, the Development Support Program or DSP. (There is one more program called Vanuatu Contribution Program or VCP but it is meant exclusively for Chinese investors. Immigrants from all other countries have to apply to the DSP in order to obtain a Vanuatu passport.) If anyone invites you to use any other Vanuatu business immigration program, chances are that you are talking to a fraudster.

Economic citizenship of Vanuatu via the Development Support Program: ten main benefits of the Vanuatu passport

When acquiring economic citizenship and a second passport of Vanuatu via the Development Support Program, wealthy foreign nationals gain access to several important advantages.  

First, the Vanuatu passport allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to nearly 150 countries including all the EU states, Great Britain, Ireland, and Russia. Besides, Vanuatu citizens are eligible to apply for an Australian Visitor Visa Subclass 600 and a tourist visa to the USA.

Second, the Vanuatu economic citizenship program allows filing both individual and family applications. In other words, you can acquire Vanuatu passports for your spouse, you children, and your parents too. The required non-returnable donation is higher if you apply for citizenship with your family but only insignificantly. 

Third, the Republic of Vanuatu offers some interesting tax planning instruments. For example, there is no personal income tax in the country, neither is there any property taxes nor inheritance taxes.

Fourth, the applicants for Vanuatu citizenship are not required to reside in the country neither prior to nor after the citizenship is granted. Actually, you can become a citizen of Vanuatu even without ever visiting the islands!

Fifth, both the main applicant and his or her dependent applicants (family members) are granted citizenship of Vanuatu for life.

Sixth, the Vanuatu authorities employ a system of annual quotas and only a limited number of foreigners can become citizens of Vanuatu via the DSP within one calendar year. This decreases the risk of the immigration program being misused or abused. 

Seventh, the Vanuatu Development Support Program is one of the fastest ways to obtain a second passport in the world. Successful applicants are granted full Vanuatu citizenship within less than two months since the date when the application is filed.  

Eighth, Vanuatu citizenship gives access to a well-developed and highly secure banking sector in the country.

Ninth, placed between Australia and New Zealand, the islands make a convenient platform for those who do or plan to do business in the Asia-Pacific region.

Tenth, new citizens of Vanuatu are most welcome to relocate to Vanuatu and live on a paradise island. The country boasts an ecologically sustainable agricultural sector and energy self-sufficiency, which is very important for a compact island state.

Economic citizenship of Vanuatu via the Development Support Program: a look at the terms and the prices

You have to meet certain requirements in order to become a citizen of Vanuatu and obtain a second passport.

The main applicant to the Vanuatu Development Support Program shall be between 18 and 50 years of age at the moment when the application is submitted.

The net personal worth of the main applicant shall amount to US$ 500,000 or more. Besides, at least half of this amount shall be in bank accounts. This requirement adds prestige to the Vanuatu immigration program. By acquiring citizenship of Vanuatu, you are joining an ‘elite club’ in a certain sense. In any case, only HNWI’s (High Net Worth Individuals) can afford buying the Vanuatu passport.

At the moment of applying for citizenship of Vanuatu, the foreign national has to pay 25% of the donation amount. Besides, the cost of the due diligence checks also needs to be covered. After obtaining a provisional application approval (Approval in Principle or AIP), the applicant is to pay the remaining 75% of the required donation amount.

All applicants including the main applicant’s dependents have to submit a package of documents. Besides all other documents, the package shall include a police clearance from the country of the applicants’ citizenship or residence. (In case the applicant for Vanuatu citizenship has resided outside his or her home country over the last twelve months, two clean criminal records are actually required: one from the home country, and one from the country of residence.)

The main applicant can bring the following dependents with him or her when applying for Vanuatu citizenship:

  • The spouse.
  • Own or adopted children under the age of 18.
  • Children between 18 and 25 on the condition that they attend a college of university, which shows that they need financial support.
  • Parents of the main applicant on the condition that they are over 50 years of age and require financial support.
  • Parents of the main applicant’s spouse on the condition specified above.

And a few more words about the terms and conditions of applying for the DSP. First, Muslims do not experience any problems when applying for Vanuatu citizenship. This factor makes the Program compare favorably with other citizenship-by-investment programs available in other parts of the world. Second, the child born to an economic citizen of Vanuatu automatically becomes a citizen of the country. Third, police clearances are required only for the applicants above 12 years of age.

Economic citizenship of Vanuatu via the Development Support Program: the package of required documents

Below please find the list of documents that have to be submitted to the Vanuatu immigration authorities when applying for citizenship of the country via the Development Support Program:

  • Completed standard application forms (for the main applicant, the spouse, the children, and the parents).
  • Color scan copies of all applicants’ passports (you have to scan the first three pages, the last three pages, and the cover, which makes seven pages in total).
  • Color scan copies of other ID’s. You have to put both the obverse and the reverse of the ID on one page. If necessary (that is, if the language of the ID is other than English), you also have to supply notarized translations of the documents into English.
  • Marriage certificate (translated into English, if necessary).
  • Proof of kinship relationships between the main applicant and his or her parents or between the main applicant’s spouse and his or her parents (birth certificates).
  • Main applicant’s children birth certificates.
  • Clean criminal records for all applicants above 12 years of age.
  • Most recent education transcripts if students (main applicant’s children) between 18 and 25 years of age are included in the application.
  • Most recent education transcripts for schoolchildren below the age of 18.
  • Medical checklists for all applicants.
  • Documents confirming the possession by the main applicant of personal assets whose worth is equal to or exceeds US$ 500,000.
  • Main applicant’s résumé that describes his or her sources of income (that is, a business ownership confirmation or an employment agreement).

Please note:

(I) All scan copies shall be made in color. All translated documents shall be notarized.

(II) All the document copies submitted for consideration to the immigration authorities shall be signed by the main applicant before they are scanned. This concerns the spouse, the children, and the parents’ documents.

Economic citizenship of Vanuatu via the Development Support Program: the procedure that the applicants have to go through

The application to Vanuatu Development Support Program involves several steps. The procedure consists of the stages described below:

  • A licensed immigration agent obtains all the application forms and the supporting documents described above from the main applicant. After that, the agent submits the documents to the corresponding Government unit (the DSP administration).
  • The applicant makes a payment that constitutes 25% of the required donation and the cost of the due diligence check also needs to be covered.
  • The Screening Committee carries out the due diligence procedures to keep off untrustworthy candidates. After that, the Committee submits the results of the checks to the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission.
  • The Committee has to conduct due diligence checks for every applicant for economic citizenship of Vanuatu. Experts of the Financial Intelligence Unit or FIU are also involved in this process.
  • If the investigations confirm that all the applicants have clean criminal records indeed, the Citizenship Commission will take the application for consideration. If the decision is positive, the Commission will issue a provisional approval of the application (Approval in Principle).
  • Secretary General of the economic citizenship department is to inform the immigration agent about the Commission’s decision within two weeks since the decision is made.
  • With a positive decision, the main applicant has to pay the remaining 75% of the required donation. The payment shall be made within 15 business days since the notification of the Approval in Principle.
  • After the full amount of the donation has been paid, the Citizenship Commission submits the names of the new will-be citizens of Vanuatu to the Prime Minister of the country.  
  • When the Prime Minister obtains this information, he or she has to inform the President that citizenship of Vanuatu has been granted to the (specified) applicant(s) to the DSP.
  • The applicant has to make an oath of allegiance to Vanuatu. The oath can be made in Vanuatu or anywhere else in the world where there are Vanuatu Government officials who are authorized to put the new citizens on oath.
  • The final stage of the application process is the issuance of Vanuatu citizenship certificates and passports to the applicant(s). These documents can be collected in Vanuatu or at an embassy or consulate of Vanuatu in a foreign country.

The whole process of applying for Vanuatu citizenship via the DSP and acquiring the passport of the country takes between five and eight weeks.

Economic citizenship of Vanuatu via the Development Support Program: the licensed immigration agency that we recommend

In accordance with the legislation, candidates for Vanuatu citizenship cannot apply to the country immigration authorities directly. They have to use the services of a licensed immigration agent who will submit the documents to the Vanuatu authorities on behalf of the applicant.

It is quite obvious that the choice of the right immigration agent is an important success factor. After all, you are planning to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to obtain a second passport.

We highly recommend that you hire our partner company for these purposes. This company is an international immigration agent working with various citizenship-by-investment programs. Via cooperation with this agency, Offshore Pro Group has already helped a number of clients to acquire citizenship of the Caribbean basin countries.

The Vanuatu Development Support Program is rather young but our partner company has already established an office in Vanuatu and put an experienced local agent on the staff. This person keeps close ties with the Government officials and is very knowledgeable about many little things involved in the process of Vanuatu citizenship acquisition. With the help of this agent, you can minimize the chances of application rejection. Please contact us via e-mail info@offshore-pro.info and we will connect you with our Vanuatu partner.  

Economic citizenship of Vanuatu via the Development Support Program: FAQ

Below we would like to provide answers to most frequently ask questions in order to facilitate the process of contemplation over the issue of acquiring Vanuatu citizenship for you.

Is it possible to later retrieve the money spent on obtaining citizenship of Vanuatu via the Development Support Program? And when can I reclaim the money?

Purchase of Vanuatu citizenship via the DSP is not a returnable investment. Citizenship is acquired via a donation to the national fund. The money will be spent on important social projects in Vanuatu and contribute to the general economic development of the country. If you are interested in acquiring a second passport via a recoverable investment rather than a donation, we suggest that you consider the Caribbean countries that do offer such opportunities. You can also make an investment in a couple of European countries and receive a passport in return.

Can I invest into real property in Vanuatu and acquire its citizenship in exchange?

No. There is no such opportunity.

Are the children born to economic citizens of Vanuatu granted citizenship of the country?

The children born to citizens of Vanuatu automatically become citizens of the country too. Thus, acquiring citizenship of the country, you are acquiring it for generations to come.

What is the Medical Checklist? Is there a universal medical form to submit? How does it look?  

The official medical certificate that you can obtain in your country of residence will be acceptable when submitting the application documents for Vanuatu citizenship. However, if the certificate is made in a language other than English, it has to be translated into English and the translation notarized.

What is the amount of the donation that is necessary in order to acquire citizenship of Vanuatu?

The following amounts of money have to be paid when applying for Vanuatu citizenship:

  • A sole applicant: US$ 145,000;
    • The main applicant + the spouse:US$ 155,000;
    • The main applicant + the spouse + one more family member (dependent): US$ 165,000;
    • The main applicant + the spouse + two family members (dependents): US$ 175,000.

These prices include the donation proper, the Government duties, and the cost of the immigration agent services. The cost of making the oath of allegiance is not included.  

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