How the Vanuatu Passport Gained Power Over the Last 15 Years

Arguably, the biggest reason high-net-worth individuals apply for Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs is to obtain a passport that is more powerful than one of their home countries. 

This is particularly true for most African countries, like Nigeria and Egypt– whose passports grant citizens unrestricted travel access to just 47 and 89 destinations, respectively – as well as Middle Eastern nations, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia – whose citizens can only travel to 79 destinations with little-to-no restrictions.

However, if you’re fortunate enough to be born in a country like Vanuatu, whose passport is ranked as the 40th most powerful passport in the world, according to VisaIndex’s passport index, you would have the freedom of visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel access to 132 countries and territories worldwide.

Fortunately, quite a few countries – including Vanuatu – whose passports rank highly on the index offer CBI programs, allowing foreign nationals to also benefit from this excellent global mobility in exchange for an economic contribution to the country. 

With this in mind, it’s not difficult to see why so many people from the MENA region are seeking out second citizenship in nations like Vanuatu, especially when it comes to unrestricted travel to popular destinations, including the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore. 

But the Vanuatu passport was not always favoured as highly as it is today. In this article, we explore how the Vanuatu passport gained power over the last 15 years to become one of the most sought-after passports in the world. 

Shaky beginnings 

The South Pacific Island currently holds an overall high mobility score and offers unrestricted travel to many popular destinations around the world. However, this was not always the case for the nation.

Vanuatu’s Passport Act was passed in July 1980 for the issue of passports and was later revised in 1988, which saw foreign nationals having to reside in the country for a minimum of 10 years to obtain citizenship and the prohibiting of dual citizenship. 

In the 1990s, Vanuatu scrapped these laws and joined a host of pacific countries – including Tonga, Samoa, Marshall Islands and more – in selling its passports to thousands of purchasers who were seeking to migrate to states with more favourable conditions. 

Pacific island passports were so popular that they quickly overtook the Caribbean CBI programs in St. Kitts and Dominica. However, these were unofficial passport schemes operated in secrecy with no transparency and were backed with no legislation. 

The schemes were known as a ‘passport for convenience’ and came with no citizenship rights, but allowed holders to travel freely around the world, escape military service at home and provided tax-free perks. 

Naturally, these passport schemes came to an end due to stricter passport security regulations coming into play worldwide and the increasing media scandals and negative press surrounding these ‘ passports for convenience’ programs. 

The passport scheme damaged Vanuatu’s international reputation and some countries, like Canada, revoked their visa waivers for nationals from the country.

The journey to redemption

In 2006, Vanuatu’s passport granted citizens visa-free access to less than 50 countries and territories worldwide. Fast forward 15 years later and the Vanuatu passport has gained more strength as the nation’s government expanded global visa waiver commitments with other countries.

Two significant agreements happened during that time in the form of:

  1. Mutual visa waiver agreement with Schengen Area countries on 28 May 2015.
  2. Mutual visa waiver agreement with Russia on 20 September 2016 and implemented on 21 October 2016.

When looking at it on a year-to-year basis, you can see Vanuatu’s passport strengthening over time in the last 15 years:

Vanuatu PassportVisa-free Destinations

In a decade and a half, Vanuatu has managed to strengthen its passport to such an extent that it rivals or surpasses that of some European nations. For example, Turkish citizens only have unrestricted travel access to 110 countries and territories worldwide. 

Therefore, if you are seeking second citizenship for better freedom of movement around the world, then holding a Vanuatu passport is a great way to achieve this goal.

What else can you do with a Vanuatu passport?

In addition to excellent global mobility, being a citizen of Vanuatu offers many benefits and opportunities to foreign nationals, including:

  • Citizenship for life: Once citizenship is obtained, you and your family will be citizens of Vanuatu for life, and can pass it down to future generations.
  • Perfect for retirement: Being a Vanuatuan citizen will save you a lot of time and hassle when trying to figure out where to spend your golden years. The beautiful scenery, clean beaches, year-round tropical weather, laid-back atmosphere and low cost of living is the perfect place to retire after years of hard work.
  • Favourable tax policies: The island nation places no tax on worldwide income, capital gains, dividends, gifts, wealth and inheritance – making it the perfect place to protect your wealth and assets.
  • Benefit from all citizenships: Vanuatu permits dual citizenship. This means that you are not required to renounce your current citizenship(s) and can benefit from all nationalities. Also, your home authorities will not be notified of your new citizenship and passport.
  • High quality of life: Vanuatuan citizens enjoy a safe, stable country with a vibrant culture, beautiful scenery, clean beaches and year-round warm weather.
  • Plan B: Holding a second passport comes in handy during times of economic, social or political instability in your home country – or even a global pandemic. It’s the perfect Plan B to ensure safety and future prosperity for yourself and your loved ones. You’ll always have a safety net in the South Pacific.

How you can get Vanuatu citizenship

Acquiring a Vanuatuan passport is one of the best things you can do – and the easiest. The Vanuatu CBI program offers foreign nationals a direct path to naturalisation in exchange for investing in the country.

The application process is fast, straightforward and efficient, with individuals receiving their new citizenship within 2 to 4 months – making it one of the quickest routes to second citizenship in the world. If all requirements are met and the qualifying investment is made, investors will receive full citizenship and the accompanying passport of Vanuatu.

Qualifying investment options

  1. Donation

    Investors only have one investment option when applying to this program – contributing funds to the Development Support Program (DSP). The income received via the DSP will be used to support infrastructure and strengthen the economic development of Vanuatu. 

The costs are as follows:

  • Single applicant: USD 135,000
  • Family of 2: USD 165,000
  • Family of 3: USD 180,000
  • Family of 4: USD 195,000
  • Each additional family member: USD 15,000

Citizenship by Investment program requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years of age or older
  • Possess a clean criminal record
  • Hold a valid medical insurance and health certificate
  • Have enough funds to live in the country
  • Make an economic contribution to Vanuatu
  • Successfully pass all due diligence checks
  • Must be of good character
  • Have confirmed investment sources
  • Receive approval from the government of Vanuatu

Book a free consultation

When seeking second citizenship in Vanuatu, be sure to render the services of an accredited and recognised advisor, like Savory & Partners.

When choosing us as your partner on this journey, you can be assured that you are in safe and capable hands. Savory & Partners is a long-standing and well-respected authorized agent that specializes in helping high-net-worth individuals secure citizenship and residency through investment for themselves and their dependents. 

The Savory & Partners team is made up of a diverse group of industry experts who span over 15 nationalities, speak over 25 languages collectively, and come with decades of accumulated CBI and RBI industry experience. Our level of expertise and competence combined with our commitment to serving our clients with the highest level of professionalism and transparency has led us to aid over 1,100 families obtain a second passport with a 100% success rate. There is no one better positioned and more trustworthy than Savory & Partners when seeking the best results on your quest to secure a better future for yourself and your family. 

If you would like to apply to Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment program or would like to learn more, get in contact with us today for a free online consultation and one of our skilled agents will happily aid you in your enquiry.

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